Just a Corruption Conviction. No Big Deal.

Oh, Donna, where can you be? Where can you be? -Richie Valens

A month ago, I wrote that with yet another person indicted for corruption in her office, Donna Miller was still oddly silent. In the comments, I was told:

This post sounds like your still bitter about your dad losing in the primary election....

The latest former staff member is just an indictment and doesn't equate to a conviction, isn't even qualify that she committed any illegal acts, just that the Federal Prosecutor Patrick Meehan has enough to warrant a trial.

In this case Donna Reed Miller shouldn't say anything.The councilwoman trusted her enough to have her on staff as did City Controller Alan Butkovitz who has been doing a great job at finding corruption.

Until the case is heard in a courtroom and decided upon there is nothing to talk about.


Aside from the past election, Councilwoman Miller shouldn't be speaking about the pending trial or anyone related to it.If the woman is found not guilty people might have to re-think alot about what they say.

This is why there is a court process to determine the guilt or innocence of a person, none of us here or anyone besides the judge and or jury has the right to make a determination on charges.

Well, I sort of forgot to mention this, but look what happened:

A Philadelphia woman pleaded guilty on Friday to extorting more than $5,000 in cash and a cell phone in exchange for services she was required to provide as a city employee.

Charges were filed against Theresa Pinkett last month, who is alleged to have extorted $5,000 in cash and a cell phone from 2001 to 2003 while serving as a constituent services representative for City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller. Pinkett is also alleged to have extorted $1,200 in cash from September to December of last year while serving as a community specialist in the Community Affairs Division for the City Controller's Office. No wrongdoing is alleged by others in Reed's office or the Controller's Office.

Okey dokey, so, guilty as charged. Maybe now we could get a simple quote saying, "I am sorry that someone under my employment used their position to extort money from the public. I apologize, and assure my constituents this breach of trust will not happen again."

Think that will happen? Doubtful.

And by the way, an almost instant guilty plea, followed by...

Sentencing is scheduled for April 18 for Pinkett, who faces a maximum of 20 years imprisonment, three years supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

I don't really know how federal sentencing works. Maybe people are really busy. But, a delay that long in sentencing makes it seem like maybe, just maybe, there is something else that we may be hearing about soon.

Sad but true. Unfortunately

Sad but true. Unfortunately it is just another corruption conviction. We have had many before and we will have many yet to come.

One of the problems I feel is that far too often in Philadelphia the idea is for city government not to work by default so that you are required to make friends with a council person's office (usually the district council office) to achieve just about anything.

Even in instances where the councilperson doesn't exercise such bad oversight over her personnel (which bare minimum is what happened here, if not some degree of passive acceptance), the system itself actually encourages corruption. The system is already built around forcing businesses and residents to "chum up" with the district council office one way or the other. Having the people doing the "constituent services" ask for a tip is only next step down the path of an overall pathological approach to delivering city services.

Its part of why I'm such a huge proponent of not just 311, but a 311 system similar to CitiStat, that gives a tool for public accountability in the distribution of city services.

By the way, I am willing to entertain small bets that the next City Council staff person to be indicted is right around the corner (less than 6 months lets say) and that the target will be Councilman Jack Kelly's Chief of Staff Chris Wright . I missed a chance to pick up some beer money on former Councilman Rick Mariano's fate and I don't want to let another opportunity slip through my fingers.

Ah "constituent services" . . .
MrLuigi, my cat, actually only types half as badly as I do.

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