Our friend the Golden Cockroach has a few things to say about what’s happening in Pottstown. Very eye-opening commentary. History has a way of continually repeating itself in the borough. Perhaps because of political inbreeding. Time for some new blood and fresh air.
HARRISBURG – The new chief executive of the troubled Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission says he’s glad a scathing grand jury report is finally out, despite its damning allegations of political corruption and influence-peddling within the agency.
“We all knew it was coming, so there is limited relief that it’s here,” Mark P. Compton said in his office overlooking the toll road, outside Harrisburg. “Now we can deal with it.”
Supplied with the 85-page report, state Attorney General Kathleen Kane earlier this month filed criminal charges against eight men, including former State Sen. Robert Mellow (D., Lackawanna) and one of Compton’s predecessors, former Turnpike chief executive Joseph Brimmeier.
The grand jury said top turnpike officials solicited contractors for campaign contributions to favored politicians, including then-Gov. Ed Rendell, and took gifts of international travel, sports events, and lavish meals. In return, the contributors’ companies received multimillion-dollar contracts, even when other bidders were less expensive and more qualified, the report said.
Former Pittsburgh police chief Nate Harper intends to plead guilty after a grand jury returned an indictment against him Friday charging him with conspiracy and tax evasion, his attorney said.
Robert Del Greco Jr. said the evidence against Mr. Harper was “unambiguous.” He said Mr. Harper would plead guilty to all five counts contained in the indictment without modification.
“It’s a felony,” Mr. Del Greco said this afternoon. “It’s cost him his career, possibly his pension. I don’t know that I could put it any better.”
He said his client’s actions were indefensible, that the “lure of the account” proved an “irresistible temptation.”
Marcus Hook Mayor James D. Schiliro was arraigned Thursday on charges he allegedly had a police officer bring a 20-year-old friend to his home, where he gave the minor alcohol and fired a gun in his house while drunk.
Judge David R. Griffin set bail at $50,000 unsecured for Schiliro, 38, on charges of recklessly endangering another person, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, furnishing alcohol to a minor and official oppression.
“We intend to fight these charges,” said Michael Malloy, Schiliro’s attorney. Schiliro did not comment.
Schiliro has been asked by the borough council to resign, which he has said he would not do.
A tumultuous week in the Pittsburgh police bureau ended Friday with the acting chief promising to create an additional layer of oversight for the office at the center of a federal investigation.
Effective Monday, the personnel and finance office will report directly to the assistant chief of administration. It had done so until 2010, when former Chief Nate Harper ordered it to report directly to him for reasons that remain unclear.
“It was something that a number of chiefs felt,” Chief Regina McDonald said, referring to the desire to move the office out from under the chief’s direct command. “No unit should report directly to the chief or deputy chief. It protects the chain of command.”
Chief McDonald, on her second day in the bureau’s top spot, said additional changes could come next week but declined to specify what they might be. She said her focus moving forward will be to repair the bureau’s reputation.