Jul 17, 2010

I Shot the Sheriff


Andy Roman shot the sheriff, but he didn't shoot the deputy. Once in Allentown, before this Administration chased out people who actually invested their own money, there was a coffee shop called Jerry's. Early in the morning people would gather for coffee and banter. Several large tables would fill up with county workers and early risers, such as myself. It was at these tables, over a few years, that I got to know Sheriff Rossi. I can describe him in one word; dedicated. It is very ironic that Andy Roman called Rossi the "Stealth Sheriff", just because Rossi didn't attend this past Commissioner meeting. I suppose Roman wanted him there to beg for the row office raise, and repent for charging more for laminating gun licenses. I think if Andy wants to find Rossi, he should try the Sheriff's office.

related post at LV Ramblings

23 comments:

Andy Roman said...

All I wanted the Sheriff to do was display common courtesy and show up and explain;

1. Why he submitted a request to the Commissioners for an ordinance giving him authority to charge more than the State law allowed for a 'license to carry' permit when he was already doing it for 15 years?

2. Why his premise for charging the extra fee was to reimburse the Sheriff's office for the extra cost of laminating an ID card when the State Fee of $25.00 included $5.00 which went into a fund that provided that reimbursement?

3. Why his office indicated it needed to be reimbursed for equipment costing $8,000.00 when over the last 3 years the Sheriff collected $104,000.00 in extra fees according to State police logs?

4. Why his permit application instruction form required $38.00 with no option of the $25.00 card?

5. Why he thinks he can make up his own rules, accountable to no one and with total disregard to State law?

6. Why numerous applicants were treated with disrespect when questioning his fee in violation of State law and told "they were petty" for raising the issue?

He's dedicated alright. Dedicated to one man's rule. Himself.

The rule of law is what separates our form of government from all the bananna republics of the world.

Good government requires divided government to fulfill the role of "checks & balances", to maintain some level of accountability.

And as a member of the legislative branch, responsible for the "purse strings" I intend to fulfill that role, no matter how pious one may think they are.

So the Sheriff is not above the law and shouldn't be dodging questions about a controversy he created.

michael molovinsky said...

mr. roman, the first thing i want to emphasize is that i am in NO way speaking for the sheriff, nor am i in contact with him, but reacting as a citizen to your use of the word "stealth". i will state some generalities i observed about him.

1. he is not motivated by politics and is the type of person who probably would rather address any concerns in the least public forum as possible.

2. i do know that he prides himself in getting the most efficiency possible out of his office at the least cost to the taxpayers of lehigh county.

3. "stealth" is an inappropriate word to use in describing someone who almost "lives" at his office, as is "banana republic" and "pious"

4. as a citizen, voter and taxpayer, i find the above traits of the sheriff serve me well.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

For the record I'm no fan of Rossi either. Remember his(and Pawlowski's) claim that he was going to use his department to clean up Allentown.
The truth is a lot of people would like to see some real changes in that that office.

Scott Armstrong

michael molovinsky said...

scott, as someone who has spoken with rossi numerous times, and also with a half dozen of the deputies, i believe rossi really has the taxpayer's best interests in mind. i don't think he's trying to be either popular as a boss, or as a politician. both rossi and mcclain had to stand behind pawlowski in news conferences, but i wouldn't hold that against them.

Anonymous said...

MM said

"both rossi and mcclain had to stand behind pawlowski in news conferences, but i wouldn't hold that against them."

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Michael -

Could you stand behind Pawlowski at a news conference?

Sorry, but I say anyone supporting Pawlowski is at least somewhat complicit in what has happened to Allentown.

The same goes for the fat-cat businessmen who show up at his fundraisers.

The time to forgive such "minor" transgressions has long since past. Pawlowski, his supporters and his news conference "props" must also be held accountable.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 10:44, i find such sentiment too dogmatic and probably partisan based. for instance, i would have stood behind pawlowski on the cell phone ban.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Rossi is independent and collects his pay from the county taxpayers. The same cannot be said of Allentown's Chief of Police. What happened to the "warrant sweeps" he was going to run with Ed? The guy may have our best interests at heart but intentions only work for liberals.

Nice guy, but part of the problem. Anyone standing with Ed lacks integrity.

Scott Armstrong

michael molovinsky said...

scott, i reject your blanket statement. i know both rossi and mcclean, they have both been photographed standing behind pawlowski, and they both have integrity.

this post concerned roman's use of the word "stealth" in regard to rossi, who practically lives at his job.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Allentown's Chief of Police is hired and fired by the mayor; he/she must stand with any mayor. The same cannot be said of the county sheriff, he/she is independent. Rossi chose to stand with Pawlowski that tells me all I need to know. One may be judged by the company they keep.

Scott Armstrong

michael molovinsky said...

scott, dean browning was recently photographed with don cunningham; would you make the same conclusion about browning? there is much more to everybody, than who they happened to be photographed with.

Anonymous said...

Why is the sheriff allowed to charge this fee? Why don't state auditors come to his office and review all financial records? Mr. Roman's post sounds pretty valid to us.

Anonymous said...

What has Rossi done with the $100K?
Someone just said the Lehigh County solicitor said this extra fee charge IS legal? Is this true?

michael molovinsky said...

anon 7:21, if you're going to have a carry license in your wallet for five years, you would appreciate having it in plastic, like your drivers license. i suppose the extra money was used to keep your taxes the same; nobody, even roman, has suggested any nefarious use of those funds.

Anonymous said...

michael molovinsky said...

"...if you're going to have a carry license in your wallet for five years, you would appreciate having it in plastic, like your drivers license..."

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MM -

I would also have appreciated knowing that I could have gotten the license for $13 less.

I could have then laminated it myself for about $0.50.

I think I know better than a government official how to spend the extra $12.50.

Anonymous said...

MM -

Getting back to Andy Roman's reply (Item #2), it would appear that permit holders were being charged $38 for a $20 permit (since Roman states that $5 of the $25 fee was already allocated for lamination).

I don't really care what the sheriff used the money for - $18 excess (for "lamination") on a $20 permit is outrageous!

michael molovinsky said...

anon 8;26 and 9:03, i introduced the term laminate to the dialogue; the morning call article referred to plastic licenses. i don't know if the "plastic" issued by the sheriff dept. was a laminate or plastic such as a credit card.

the allentown police department issues tickets and thus generates some cash in addition to their budget. we assume that cash is spent on department function which in turn reduces their request at budget time. i recall that in the past rossi was very conservative about budget increases for his department. considering the license is good for 5 years, the added fee amounted to less than $3.00 a year. i'm more concerned about the necessity of so many concealed weapon permits, than the extra money.

Anonymous said...

michael molovinsky said...

"...i introduced the term laminate to the dialogue; the morning call article referred to plastic licenses. i don't know if the "plastic" issued by the sheriff dept. was a laminate or plastic such as a credit card.

the allentown police department issues tickets and thus generates some cash in addition to their budget. we assume that cash is spent on department function which in turn reduces their request at budget time. i recall that in the past rossi was very conservative about budget increases for his department. considering the license is good for 5 years, the added fee amounted to less than $3.00 a year. i'm more concerned about the necessity of so many concealed weapon permits, than the extra money."

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MM -

So many things to comment on, so I'll take them in order:

1) The "lamination" is better described as creating something similar to a driver's license (without the hologram), although not quite as durable (I've had fading/wear issues with my carry permit but not my driver's license)

2) The Allentown police write tickets that are presumably based on ordinances passed by City Council. That cash is budgeted for as are the related expenses.

A more appropriate example would be if the Allentown Police are issuing tickets (for whatever infraction) and the Police Chief decides to add a surcharge to cover whatever department expense he sees fit. This creates a situation that is ripe for abuse, if not for present employees then for those in the future.

3) Why would it be fair for some of the Sheriff Department's excess expenses to be paid by concealed carry permit holders? How would you feel if one office holder arbitrarily decided to take an extra three bucks a year from landlords? I'd imagine your outlook would be somewhat different.

4) Perhaps the budget of the Sheriff's office has been "conservative" about increases because this isn't the only fee that he is overcharging for.

Maybe he hasn't really been good at controlling spending. He's just been able to cover it by overcharging for fees. Maybe a clerk has been pocketing some of the fees. That's what can happen when these situations arise.

5) As to being concerned about the number of concealed carry permits, I think that is the least of your worries. Numerous studies have proven that there is less crime when a (legally) well-armed population exists.


I am by no means "anti-Rossi". However, he is clearly wrong here and the County Commissioners (and County Executive) need to hold him accountable.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 1:51, i know of no other fee's charged by the sheriff dept. fyi, the rental license fee this year jumped from $11 per apartment to $75 per year, or a 700% increase. i'm a former target shooter and had a permit for many years. i support gun ownership, but carry rights are a separate issue.

Anonymous said...

michael molovinsky said...

"anon 1:51, i know of no other fee's charged by the sheriff dept. fyi, the rental license fee this year jumped from $11 per apartment to $75 per year, or a 700% increase. i'm a former target shooter and had a permit for many years. i support gun ownership, but carry rights are a separate issue."

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MM -

Yes, the rental license fee did jump last year, but it had to be put forth by the Administration and APPROVED by Council. We can argue about Council being rubberstamps, but the process was followed.

As to carry rights, I don't understand how you can say you support gun ownership but not carry rights. It seems that they go hand-in-hand. One's right to self defense shouldn't end when they walk out of their house.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 5:24, the right and requirements to carry varies state to state, and even within states. in one's home the right to defend is very clear and universal. outside the home, the responsibility increases greatly, and the line between offense and defense can become murky. in nyc it is almost impossible to get a license, here in the valley, anyone but a felon qualifies. you may reply, but this will be my last comment on carry laws.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Dean never campaigned for Cunningham.

Scott Armstrong

michael molovinsky said...

scott, i never said he did. you chastised rossi for appearing with pawlowski at a news conference. brown appeared recently alone with cunningham at the linden st. bridge dedication. rossi didn't campaign for pawlowski, he appeared with him at a news conference. furthermore, the appearance has nothing to do with roman labeling rossi as stealth, when in fact rossi is very hand's on; unless roman's accusation is partisan based, as yours is.

Anonymous said...

There is way too much inside baseball going on in this subject area. There are far, far more important things that we should be looking into. Rossi is basically one of us: honest, fairly conscientious, old-school Allentown, and runs an above board operation with no grandstanding, etc. I wish there were more like him holding public office in the year 2010.

Anon