HAGERSTOWN, Md. -- The warden of the Maryland Correctional Training Center, citing personal reasons, said this week that he was resigning after 2 1/2 years on the job.

John Conte, 43, said his resignation was effective today and he and his family would return to Illinois immediately.

"I have a job prospect in Illinois in the prison field," Conte said. "But nothing is certain there yet."

There has been no official announcement of Conte's replacement, but the 13-year veteran in the corrections field said an interim warden should be named soon.

Corrections officials said after Conte's announcement Tuesday that it was too soon to say who would head the prison until a permanent replacement is named.

A native of New York, Conte took over at the center in January 1985 with plans to cope with crowded conditions at the medium-security institution.

He recently clashed with members of the Maryland Classified Employees Association over his three-day suspension of union President Ronald Silver in February when Silver was accused of disobeying a direct order. Silver's suspension was overturned.

The dispute involved the union's public disclosure of an alleged incident in which an inmate drew architectural plans for Jon Galley, warden at the Roxbury Correctional Institution, a 721-bed medium security prison here. Union members, who believed Galley's use of an inmate to perform a personal service was improper, made the plans public at a January meeting.

Conte asked Silver for the name of the person who supplied the plans and levied the suspension when Silver refused.

The plans were for a Masonic temple to which Galley belongs.

The center houses 2,500 inmates. Conte supervised a staff of 515, including about 300 correctional officers.