Over the past few months, a string of allegations of abuse of power has swept through the four corners of the Schuylkill County Courthouse. Now, I am not here to judge the veracity of those allegations, but considering that many of these stories have been swept under the rug, some by government themselves, and others by our trusted local media, it seemed proper to use this venue to at least bring one such allegations to the light of the public’s attention.
It is no secret that many county agencies are assigned government vehicles for business use. Children and Youth Services has vans for transportation of children and Juvenile Probation has cage cars to transport delinquents to and from court and secure placements. Most of these vehicles are nothing special, just minivans and old police cars. However, a few years ago, the Adult Probation Office purchased a brand new black Dodge Charger for use by officers on-call overnight and on the weekends. Some critics at the time argued that it was extravagant and unnecessary, but the county commissioners permitted the department to kept it. Now, this vehicle is only permitted to be driven by authorized county personnel on official county business. Joy riding and personal use are, of course, strictly prohibited.
A few months ago, though, APO’s Charger was allegedly involved in an automobile accident during one of those weekends. A source in the courthouse, who is a high ranking county employee privy to the details, exclusively told The Clarke Report over the summer that not only was the accident the fault of the person driving the Charger, but that the person manning the wheel, although a county employee, was not an authorized driver of the Charger and was not conducting county business at the time.
The source further said that the accident victim had filed suit against the county for damages. As a result, a memo was reportedly sent to certain personnel with knowledge of the incident ordering them not to talk about the incident to anyone. Violators would reportedly be terminated immediately.
My source did not disclose the identity of the driver, nor did I inquire further as to who it was. Although, interestingly enough, a few short weeks after I was given the story, County Administrator Darlene Dolzani abruptly resigned. Coincidence? You decide.