DAYTONA BEACH MORNING JOURNAL AUG 25, 1968
Marianna Chief's Hearing Continued
Conditions at boy's reform school in Marianna reached the point of being a general breakdown until Lenox C.
Williams was fired as superintendent of the Division of Youth Services charged Thursday.
OJ Keller, who made the controversial dismissal off Williams, testified that staff morale had deteriorated, runaways
had increased sharply, and he had disagreed with Williams over programs, losing confidence in the official.
Appearing at a hearing of Williams's appeal of his dismissal, Keller told the Career Services Council that he is also
convinced Williams had abdicated use of spanking the boys at the school, when he spoke before a legislative
In August 1968, Keller had banned spanking and all forms of corporal punishment at the school.
Keller's testimony was denied and attacked vigorously by attorney Joseph Jacob of Tallahassee, who represented
Williams. Jacobs read excerpts from William's remarks to a legislative subcommittee and said they proved that the
ousted official did not advocate the use of spanking.
Keller charged that Williams had not moved adequately toward improving physical conditions of school, and failed to
follow up on efforts to improve community relations, did not conduct an adequate recreation program for the
hundreds of juvenile delinquents housed there, was slow in attending requests from the central office, judges and
legislators, and had generally caused division to lose confidence in him.
Keller said the rate of runaways have risen alarmingly under Williams.
When the situation reached the degree that the towns people expressed concern I was summoned by legislators. I
was convinced the truancy problem had reached major proprortions. It was a general breakdown in the institution,
which was being commented on by legislators, Keller said.
He contended that Williams had shown little concern over the runaway problem. Jacobs, however, produced letters
from Williams to the central office in Tallahassee, which he said showed otherwise.
The hearing recessed for the day, with Keller still on the stand. It was scheduled to resume this morning. Earlier,
Jacob's charged the only charge lodged against his client was Keller's lack of confidence in Williams.
Some local citizens in this northwest Florida community became aroused over the dismissal. They alleged that
Williams had been made a scapegoat and that Keller was attempting to move too rapidly with new rehabilitation
The controversy reached a peak two Broward County Juvenile judges, who had visited the school came away and
said conditions were so bad that they regretted sending boys there. But they said they were confident Keller would
be able to make improvements
Williams responsibilities have been assumed by Jack Blanton, acting superintendent.