The LuLac Edition #864, July 1st, 2009
THE TARNISHED BADGE
First off, I feel sorry for Sheriff Mike Savokinas. Yeah, that’s right, I do. I’ve had my share of jobs where when you go on vacation, you really don’t. You think of the people you left behind who might screw up, you think of something you didn’t get to that could turn into a disaster and you also dread a phone call from the office. So even though you are physically removed from your job, mentally you’re back behind the desk. This week Savokinas got a call from the media on the latest mishap in his tenure in the Sheriff’s office. The Citizen’s Voice reported that there were at least two occasions where drugs were found in a Sheriff’s vehicle. Savokinas said there have been two separate incidents where drugs were found in sheriff's department vehicles. Savokinas said he discovered "a small packet" of what appeared to be cocaine on the floor on the front driver's side of his unmarked, Ford Crown Victoria, sometime in April. In the other case, packets of heroin and hypodermic needles were found in a prisoner transport vehicle, he said. Savokinas said he and two deputies found the packet of cocaine after stopping for coffee at a convenience store. They had been transporting prisoners to and from Central Magisterial Court in Wilkes-Barre, he said.
This is just another item in a list of tumultuous Courthouse happenings and still another red mark on the rookie Sheriff’s record. Savokinas doesn’t shy away from reporter’s questions, I’ll give him that but some of his answers don’t add up. The latest incident leaves many questions unanswered like:
1. TRAIN-GATE-When Savokinas first took office, it took reporters dogged questions before the Sheriff admitted that he was still working for the railroad, in effect double dipping. A furor erupted and the Sheriff took a leave from the choo choo job.
2. HEROIN-GATE-Savokinas admitted to WILK talk show host that he had 7 bags of the drug stashed in his office for safe keeping. The chain of evidence implications in this admission are breath taking.
3. TIME CARD-GATE-Savokinas has been widely criticized for letting his office procedures go amuck when it came to keeping track of his people’s vacation and personal time.
4. GUARNIERI-GATE-The Sheriff’s top deputy was not in the office for a few weeks and there was no record of vacation time. Guarnieri who was interviewed by WBRE’s Joe Holden was not happy with the line of questioning and lunged at the reporter’s microphone.
All of these things add up to some problems for the Sheriff. First off, every story shows that he is not running the ship correctly. Second, because the perception is one of problems, that impacts on the morale and loyalty of his staff. Third, If his staff is in turmoil, that can cause political problems ensuring the Sheriff of just one term in office or in the worst case scenario, resignation in his current term.
If I were the Sheriff, I’d be concerned that one of my deputies went to other people under the dome with this latest issue. I’d want to know who I pissed off and why. And if I wanted to stay in office or have a political career, I’d find out.
Savokinas, in his dealing with the media has said that anything is “possible”. It is “possible” he was being set up, and it was “possible” the cocaine dropped from a prisoner’s shoe. At the 1968 GOP convention, then Illinois Senator Charles Percy was asked if he was going to be nominated for President. His reply was, “possible but not probable”. Savokinas has to learn, for his own political survival that anything that might be possible is not necessarily probable.
The latest fiasco coming out of the Sheriff’s office screams the word “reform”. The County Courthouse needs fixing. The Home Rule Charter, hopefully will do that in due time. But right now, (sorry to be redundant) shut everything down:
ANIMALS DO BREED
A horrible story out of Scranton, the Times Tribune reported that, Darak Williams, 26, waived formal arraignment before Judge Michael Barrasse on first- and third-degree murder charges in the slaying of Kavannah Salvador. She died Feb. 21, 2008, shortly after she was taken to Community Medical Center by Mr. Williams and her mother, Kashema Reddish. After they dropped off the baby, the two fled to Buffalo where they were caught a year later. Mr. Williams said he’s innocent and that he “respects” life. I guess he respected it so much that must be the reason why he ran. As for mom, she’s charged with third degree murder. Taxpayer funded public defenders will try to justify “Mr. Mom’s” and “The Muthuh of the Year’s” crimes. Prison is no fun for two individuals in their 20s but come to think of it, a cold, hard, stone grave is no picnic either for an innocent, dead 3 year old who was beaten to death by somebody. With these two animals, the kid never had a chance.
FRANKEN A SENATOR
The Minnesota Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that Democrat Al Franken be certified as the winner of the state's long-running Senate race, paving the way for a resolution in the seven-month fight over the seat. The high court rejected a legal challenge from Republican Norm Coleman, whose options for regaining the Senate seat are dwindling. Justices said Franken is entitled to the election certificate he needs to assume office. With Franken and the usual backing of two independents, Democrats will have a big enough majority to overcome Republican filibusters. Franken will make history by becoming the first comedian ever elected to the Senate . Many became comics after getting there but Franken is the first who actually had the job as a vocation before coming to D.C.