Sheriff Candidate Kromer On Funds Request

Acting Sheriff Barbara Deeley has gone before City Council and asked for more funds to run her office, particularly $2.8 million to hire new staff, a scene the Daily News this morning called a “lovefest.” In spite of the office’s seemingly endless scandals and strange operations, it was noted that Councilpersons Curtis Jones, Jannie Blackwell and James Kenney – all of whom are having an easy time with their re-election campaigns this year – defended the office’s right to remain independent at the hearing and slammed those who have other ideas for the  row office, which is currently under a federal grand jury investigation.

Should we assume City Council is ready to throw more money their way? After all, it’s just a small fraction of the $53 million in missing bank records and certainly has nothing on the pension former Sheriff John Green will be receiving from now until whenever. But no decision’s been made, yet.

John Kromer, former housing director under Mayor Ed Rendell and candidate for sheriff this year stuck with his campaign’s promise – to be “The Last Sheriff” — in statements on this issue. “City Council’s goal should be to zero out the funding of this dysfunctional agency, not to expand its budget,” says Kromer. “Council can save money by shifting taxpayer dollars from the Sheriff’s Office to professionally managed city operating departments–departments that are responsive to the Mayor and Council throughout the year, not just at budget time.”

He also said in light of this, we should just go ahead and close the office for good, now.  “We shouldn’t wait any longer to place the Sheriff’s Office under the supervision of the Managing Director or to abolish the position of Sheriff altogether, as the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA) proposed more than a year ago.”

We’ve detailed Kromer’s stance before and the quick, failed battle City Council almost fought to eliminate the office last summer. Some critics of elimination, such as candidate Cheri Honkala say many sheriff responsibilities will be shifted to the courts if the office is eliminated, making it worse for those hardest hit by the mortgage crisis. Other candidates, such as Jewell Williams, believe the office can still be run properly by the right people. It may be confusing but at least we’ve got people running — for sheriff, no less — who’ve got actual opposing ideas. That’s a rare treat in Philly.

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