Dwayne Sampson has not been the chair of the New York City Board of Correction for very long.

But already that tenure has been marked by division.

What You Need To Know

  • This week, the chair of the Board of Correction tried to install a new executive director on his own

  • In response, some more progressive members of the board blocked the move

  • It's just the latest incident at the board that points to more division in its ranks

This week, Sampson sent this letter to board members and staff saying he took action to bring the agency back from dysfunction.

And that he was unilaterally replacing the current interim executive director of the agency.

Quickly, a majority of the board members gathered on Monday to put a stop to the move.

They kept their current executive director, and they changed the board’s bylaws.

Among the changes: changing the chair’s job description to, among other things, requiring he maintain relationships with board members and work collaboratively.

It’s a clear indication of a division in the board between some members seen as more progressive and the chair who is closely aligned with the mayor.

“Mr. Sampson is bringing a level of experience on how to run a board,” Mayor Eric Adams said on Tuesday. “And they’re going to go through their moments.”

Nonetheless, the drama follows other controversies and has rattled some confidence in the agency by advocates.

Last month, the chair removed two longtime board members from a death review committee.

And during its May meeting, he tried to remove an advocate from the room.

Other board members tried to go into executive session to prevent the move. Sampson called the advocate a security issue.

Some previous board members say this direction is worrisome.

“We’re really at a time where we need the board to be fully engaged in partnership with the department so we have appropriate oversight and accountability,” said Stanley Richards, a former board member now with the Fortune Society. “And I think we’re taking some step backwards right now.”

Sampson did not want to comment for this story. He told us he wanted to concentrate on the work.