December 10, 2014 |
An agreement has quietly been ironed out to shift the city courts' 47 "warrant officers" to the Sheriff's Office, and not everyone is happy about it. The warrant unit, created in 1972 to enforce court orders and encourage voluntary surrenders, tracks down criminal defendants and manages people under electronic monitoring. Its officers are firearms-trained and carry 9mm pistols. They can enter private property in their hunt for people who skip out on court appearances. It can be dangerous work.
October 6, 2014 |
Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams, elected in 2011 on promises of openness and accountability, has handed out 38 contracts, some to his political donors, without competitive bidding or other safeguards required by the City Charter. In two years, records show, the Sheriff's Office has signed contracts worth $1.2 million without formal bidding or city Finance and Law Department approval. Payments have come out of proceeds from one of the office's main duties: sheriff's sales. The charter says any contract over $32,000 - a limit adjusted for inflation every five years - must be competitively bid. Contracts under $32,000 must be for one-time services and can't be renewed.
July 25, 2014 |
Farm 51 was bustling on a Thursday in early July, as neighbors poured into the lush educational farm and market to load up on kale and collards, eggs in delicate shades of beige, cream, and blue, bunches of herbs, and jars of honey. "This is the annual flower show, right here," said Shelly Nieves, who stopped in to buy greens and left with an armful of gifts: a bouquet of flowers and three kinds of sage. It's hard to imagine that when Neal Santos and Andrew Olson moved to the 5100 block of Chester Avenue in West Philadelphia, this space - made up of two lots, one then city-owned, the other long abandoned - was a haven for crime and dumping.
July 9, 2014
Philadelphians took a gamble when they elected a veteran legislator to serve as sheriff. But Jewell Williams, who was a state representative for 11 years, assured voters that he was not so steeped in local politics that he couldn't reform the agency. Unfortunately, Williams hasn't followed the rules instituted to address the poor accounting that plagued the Sheriff's Office under his predecessor, John Green, who retired in 2011 after an audit revealed millions in undocumented expenditures.
July 2, 2014 |
The Philadelphia Sheriff's Office has failed to enact a number of financial reforms it promised the Nutter administration it would make, City Controller Alan Butkovitz contended in an audit released Monday. The audit also was critical of the administration as not ensuring that those changes were made, primarily one requiring the Sheriff's Office to have all contracts approved by the Law and Finance Departments. "The city was supposed to provide leadership and support," Butkovitz said in a statement.
July 1, 2014 |
CITY CONTROLLER Alan Butkovitz wants to know why the Nutter administration is not following through on an agreement intended to clean up the Sheriff's Office. Following news that the office has continued to dole out contracts to politically connected people with little oversight despite a recent reform effort, Butkovitz today will release a harsh report on the subject. The report, a copy of which was obtained by the Daily News , says the administration and Sheriff Jewell Williams have failed to implement many aspects of a 2012 memorandum of understanding between the Mayor's Office and the Sheriff's Office.
June 28, 2014 |
Philadelphia Sheriff Jewell Williams has continued to award contracts, some to political contributors and friends, without the legal approvals required by a 2012 agreement with the Nutter administration. The Inquirer obtained copies of 14 recent contracts that violate the 2012 memorandum of understanding that stipulated that all sheriff's contracts be approved by the city's Law and Finance Departments. Williams' office contends that the contracts were too small to require city approval and were not being paid with city appropriations.
May 30, 2014 |
ON NOV. 13, 1982, Deputy Sheriff Roy J. Fortson Jr. was killed while engaging with two gunmen who were attempting to rob the Majestic Bar on the 400 block of North 36th Street. He was the first deputy sheriff in the city to die in the line of duty. Yesterday morning, members of the Philadelphia Police Department, friends and family gathered to watch as a Hero Plaque was dedicated in Fortson's honor outside the Criminal Justice Center on Filbert Street near 13th in Center City. "To be able to be a part of these events is really just so rewarding to me," said attorney James J. Binns, founder of the Hero Plaque Program.
May 17, 2014
New Montgomery County Sheriff Russell J. Bono has chosen the man who for years was his second-in-command at the Norristown Police Department as his second-in-command in the sheriff's office. At a news conference on the courthouse steps Thursday, Bono introduced Willie Richet as his new chief deputy, saying, "I literally trust this person with my life. " The two have known each other for about 40 years. They rose through the ranks after partnering as officers in the Norristown Police Department.
February 18, 2014
THE PHILADELPHIA Sheriff's Office has long been known as a crossroads of corruption and incompetence. It's where the city's antique patronage system meets the demands of the new age - and fails miserably. Columnist Ronnie Polaneczky is the latest to reveal how dysfunctional the office can be. She called and called the office's Real Estate Department recently, only to have her calls go unanswered or disconnected. When she finally did get a human on the line, she was told that there was no one in the Real Estate Department that day. Which struck Polaneczky as odd, because she had made those calls on her cell while standing inside the department's offices, where she could see several workers behind the counters.