Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The LuLac Edition #864, July 1st, 2009



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. When prisoners are transported for hearings, aren’t they already cavity searched? I had a friend in the slammer and they took everything, even the underwear.
2. When they stopped for “coffee”, wouldn’t it be better if one of them went into the store instead two? Leaving a county vehicle unattended is careless.
3. Why did Savokinas say the Wilkes Barre Police Department and his own District Attorney had no on file from him on the incident?
4. Why didn’t Savokinas coordinate with other departments on this incident? He took great pains to make sure his deputies took photos of the drugs to cover himself because he said it didn’t look good.
5. Why was the car in question parked for several days in Duryea by a Savokinas crony’s house before the incident happened?
6. Why oh why did Savokinas talk without gathering all of his information? Many, many people were unhappy with Lackawanna County DA Andy Jarbola’s presentation on The Brenda Williams death investigation but no one can say he wasn’t prepared. The latest flap is just another in a long line of problems since Savokinas took office after a close election with 2 term incumbent Barry Stankus.
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:


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.


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.


At 12:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats to AL FRANKEN! Finally!

At 1:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are right shut everything down bring someone in from outside

At 1:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to know who was going over morans head

At 10:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes there were many comedians in the Senate but as you correctly point out, they honed and cut their teeth there. By the way, I'm working on a teleplay called Luzerne County RFD. Casting for Aunt Bea and Opie begins next week.

At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its just endless in Luzerne County, isn’t it? Might wanna move to the Lac and change the name to LacLU!
Beware of firewiorks.

At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luzerne County RFD
I might have a potential Aunt Bea
as I always said my late Mother in Law looked like Aunt Bea and now my wife is morphing into her Mom. With the right make up and a house dress...
As to Opie, youre on your own. Same with Andy.
For Barney look to the Law Enforcement profession. Otis shouldnt be a problem.

Sheldon Leonard Smith

At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luzerne County RFD?? It's more like a cross between Deliverance and The Godfather. Delivering the Goods, maybe??


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