RE: Ronnie Polaneczky's column: At no time did Warden John Delaney "mishandle" or convert to his personal use any monies entrusted to him. At the hearing on this matter, the city "investigator" was asked a series of questions on this issue and specifically stated that it was not his belief that Warden Delaney stole any of the money entrusted to him or that he used it for other than authorized purposes.
After a three-year investigation costing the city likely thousands of dollars, the presenting of more than 15 witnesses by the city's deputy chief integrity officer and a recognition by the commissioner of prisons that this problem could have been resolved three years ago, Warden Delaney was reprimanded. Not for any felonious flaw in his character, but because his method of record-keeping was not in accordance with standard accounting procedures. The warden accounted for all funds that passed through his office.
Warden Delaney has been employed by the Philadelphia Prison System for 28 years, and before this unfortunate circumstance had never been disciplined for any reason. When we changed the requirements for promotion to warden to include a college degree, John Delaney answered the call, went back to school as an adult and graduated with honors from Peirce College. He is not part of some jail cabal intent on defrauding employees of the City of Philadelphia, or engaging in what is reported to be serious criminal violations going on with the Philadelphia Prison System.
While the city has to investigate complaints it receives, it applies an investigatory standard that is inconsistent, and violates some of the basic principles of a fair and unbiased investigation.
In the final analysis, this fiasco cannot be dismissively described as being about hurting Warden Delaney's feelings as stated by Mr. Resnick. To the contrary, it is about the credibility of the Office of Public Safety's investigations, the waste of taxpayer money and the unjustified calling into question of Warden Delaney's character.
Leon A. King II
Attorney for Warden John Delaney
On behalf of the 2,300 city civil-service and more than 300 contracted employees of this department, readers should know that these men and women are some of Philadelphia's bravest public servants. They willingly come to work daily with the fortitude and courage to be locked in with inmates, many of whom are deemed by the courts to be too dangerous or disruptive to function in our society.
In addition to maintaining control over these individuals, prison staff is charged with trying to change their habits so that they can return to society and engage in law-abiding behavior. That aspect of our mission was featured in your sister publication, the Inquirer, during the same week, in a series of articles about a successful inmate-training program. Ronnie Polaneczky could have learned more about what's going on in the city jails.
To be sure, the Philadelphia Prison System, like any other law-enforcement agency or corrections organization, has its faults. The correctional environment is rife with temptation and deviance. It is unfortunate and dangerous when employees model the behavior of those they are charged with supervising. However, we refuse to be defined by these faults, but rather by how we respond to them. Occasionally, we encounter disgruntled employees and ex-employees who are more than willing to write anonymous letters conveniently devoid of critical facts, which would make any investigation easier to conduct.
Conveniently, Ms. Polaneczky failed to mention that in all of the incidents she reported on, it was the prison system that discovered the behavior, investigated the conduct and subsequently did take or is taking corrective action. The case of the social-work services manager trafficking drugs resulted in a one- to three-year sentence in a state prison. In the case of the correctional officer trafficking contraband, which resulted in a federal indictment, correctional supervisors apprehended him by acting on information they uncovered in the course of their duties.
In all cases where misconduct and criminal behavior are alleged, investigations are conducted. Corrective action is taken where needed. We as an agency do not condone or tolerate misconduct or abuse. However, this bad behavior is in no way typical of the correctional officers and support staff who work in the Philadelphia Prison System.
Unfortunately, the unbalanced opinion "reporting" by Polaneczky demonstrates a tabloid style that prefers broad-brush condemnation of an entire staff and agency for the sake of headlines rather than properly sourced, responsible journalism that describes the important work done by the vast majority of our employees.
Philadelphia Prison System
Are they printing some?
The State's Republicans claim that there is no money for the school district.
However, they are willing to discuss the possibility of more funding if the teachers would give up their seniority.
Where will that mysterious money come from, or is it really just a union-busting technique?