Yeah, so basically Wilkes-Barre needs to professionalize its police department.
Its leaders should have at least a college degree, and maybe while everyone is at it, the department should check out this whole "accrediation" thing. Apparently it was contemplated once but loose as things apparently tended to be, it was never topped off. Perhaps too many folks along the way didn't like the constraints of accredidation. Hmm.
For those not so laser-focused on who gets blamed for what in the report (spoiler though: Lendacky and Foy feast on babies for breakfast while Seargant Myers and the PBA are too busy passing out halos to orphans to be willfully causing turbulence. Why, the report even says in a single flat parenthetical that it found no evidence that Myers was upset about being passed over for that stupid-head job of police chief that only stupid-heads want anyway - so there!, question resolved!) this is a vindication in no way between the parties, but of the sense that the department is woefully juvenile and has been for some time. It has neither the leadership nor the fabric of rank and file maturity to pull it together.
The assessors do not assess that Myers had any interest
in becoming police chief.
Oh, there may be a state that it once had of "business as usual" that some might confuse with healthy "good times" for the department, but remember, any such period is the parent of the freaky state of being we have now. Honey, there was nothing healthy about it, ever. And this report is possibly the best thing Wilkes-Barre has to right the ship if only out of shame.
I for one was shocked by how willing the report seemed to directly wade into the politics of personality. But I've never seen a report of its nature before so maybe that is common, and, since all institutions boil down to the people who run it, inevitable. Plucking away at Lendacky and Foy was an easy path because neither holds a college degree for the advanced positions they hold in a field that prides itself on its trending incorporation of a college education. There are now departments in America where not having a college degree would mean you couldn't be a road officer let alone the chief.
Face it, the 26 grand or so to compile the report didn't involve a lot of sweat on that fact alone.
There are other things to muse over from here. What does all of this have to say about Tony George's judgement? Somehow he saw no problem installing such a controversial leader and cared little to address the calamity. That was his absolute preogative among several such preogatives which I maintain that people who were honest about everything could have lived with and worked through. But alas now that we walk through these smoldering ruins by people who were not prepared to do so, we can fairly ask, what was he thinking in the first place?
Also, I hate reading in the many DISQUS threads how Lendacky and Foy, or maybe Myers, are all horrible people. Let's try to remember they are all in fact noble people electing to engage in (physically dangerous) careers on behalf of the community. Nobody here is evil. What is of course apparent is that they have all become principals in a low drama where nobody expects to find any of such crippling level. The police department should not have the air of a "club" where people elbow through each other at personal whim, yet somehow that's what all of this looks like. Seriously, this is why Wilkes-Barre can't have nice rail.
Tony George is going to have to answer for this mess, Lendacky and Foy are going to have to chin up and maybe get out, and the PBA is going to have to live up to the new world it probably beckoned forth which is a professionally accredited police department with an emphasis on education, and a smart approach to dealing with "passive-aggressive" malcontents. The report has put too many eyes on things now for any of that not to happen and I bet Myers and the PBA are excited to see it so.
Our cat sits bedazzled by the confrontation between WB City Council and Bob. Original You Tube video here.
I honestly don't mean to make this blog all about Wilkes-Barre City videos. Someone should do that - start a blog devoted to nothing but the antics of the people who show up at those meetings, but not me. I really want to focus on its core theme of rail transit development in Luzerne County.
That being said, I seem to be the only blogger fascinated enough by what's going on to say anything. So I'm just going to say it: Something needs to be done about Bob.
We can explore what this something should or might be in future postings but for the second, let's just agree on the problem. In my opinion Bob Kadluboski is engaging in serial harassment. There may have been a time when he was just being colorfully adamant, even a lovable champion, but to this author his behavior has exceeded what should be tolerated. He claims to have a piecemeal purpose to justify himself, taxes, corruption, "rights", things that normally hold up and endear a little tolerance on behalf of everyone. But now he just seems to enjoy being intimidating, controlling, and one can construe fairly, even threatening, depending on the subjective sensitivities and interpretations of the people who are targeted.
His usual technique is to bait someone on the council into an argument on high topic at first, and once this is accomplished, ride that tether down to trivial battles over how much time he is allowed to speak or over whether or not he should be allowed to respond to a response to the first admonishment. Every address to him is skillfully spun to add another prompt that leads to louder and more intimidating behavior.
Harassment is never clearly defined in a single instance or by a single set of behaviors. The very nature of harrassers, stalkers, and the ilk therein, is to embed their activity into legitimate overhead (in this case, the right to speak at public hearings). Instead, harassment is delineated as a pattern of behavior that must be carefully documented over time. Certainly the very videos depicting all of this could be used to sway a prosecutor.
Maybe nobody wants to go there - maybe I'm just the nut for calling it out. Maybe the city council and Wilkes-Barre citizens are afraid like the beaten wife who would prefer to manage her abusive husband's bouts rather than act firmly and with breakage to suburban tranquility.
But to the rest of us cats looking on, something really has to be done sooner or later.
For the benefit of those not so focused on the going ons in Wilkes-Barre let me just paint this quick picture of what is stopping talk of high speed rail.
First, the city is broke. In this meeting they voted to approve a city tax hike which as you can imagine didn't go down well among many, but in particular as the meeting shows, the usual bitchers.
Heh - yeah there should be a degree of sympathy for tax hikes but this lot of objectionates sure make achieving it tough. I honestly think some of these people if not all of them are just organized harassers whose goal seems to be to intimidate and control the meeting process for worse, much to astonishing toleration of the council.
Much of the video is just one obnoxious "tax hero" after another fostering confrontation and self-righteousness though it isn't like they don't have a point of course, I just tend to doubt their authenticity and definitely question their approach. Demanding that city officials solve problems exactly to your expectation or you're no longer playing nice is not being an "accountable" "valuable" citizen.
The Times Leader puts pretty good drapery over the tone and constructiveness of what bordered on just blatant bullying with the tax issue as guise.
Their take on public comment:
Starting with Sam Troy, a half dozen residents and taxpayers pleaded for relief from a tax hike and recommended increases and cuts elsewhere.
Yeah, I think the video will show it was not really that polite.
None of it is flattering to the city since it does show a certain ceiling of civic intellect. At one point Wilkes-Barre city resident Bob Kadluboski "asks" Tony (Mayor Tony George) to stand up when he speaks in what comes off to me more like a way to push Tony's button (Bob has a tendency in my view to control the space as a method of intimidation though he is always left explaining "I'm just doin' this" or "I'm just doin' that!"), which is bait that Tony immediately falls for by shouting back something like "And I'd like you to take off your glasses!" - after which they go back and forth for a few seconds on the subject. It's a head shaking moment that tells us we're a few years out before there's any kind of ground breaking on light rail or whatever.
Can't We All Just Get A Cop?
Then there's the police department drama playing out in open court. A one Commander Foy took the stage to try and shed light on the other side of the coin with respect to the police persecution of Tony George's pick for police chief, Marcella Lendacky. His remarks reinforce my suspicion that there is a single personality or cluster of personalities who are frustrated by loss of previously enjoyed informal control that are predictably trying to manipulate the grand scheme of things as a way to correct.
If that is what none of this is really about, they have not produced anything publicly as of yet that shows why a green executive (if that's what Lendacky really is which I doubt) should not be given a chance to grow into the job. Somewhere there's a survey floating around speaking to how bad she is at the job and how low morale is in the department.
But to give credit to some anonymous survey (which, uh, if the respondents did not use Tor or something similar while filling it out, actually wasn't - the data collected in any web log file is not outright telling, but, it isn't hard to put pieces together or rely on markers to match forms to people with this basic information) you have to completely suspend any notion of the ways and means of pressuring people who in this case would be, as Foy optly notes, most officers who just want to police the cityno matter who the god damned chief is.
With zero other information to go on I feel Foy may be spot on.
Unfortunately in making his points he offended Beth Gilbert (who we have to herald for her work in getting these council meeting videos online), who is a highly respected council woman with great populist favor at present, and rightly so. When we speak of perhaps breaking Wilkes-Barre's intellectual and professional barrier to make way for rail in Wilkes-Barre politics, she and Tony Brooks offer examples of hope.
Beth had sharp rebuke for him over his suggestion that she was a bit too green to involve herself in the controversy as this Facebook embed from her illustrates:
Speaking of the investigation, if it were not for Beth I'd not be in favor of it. As I just wrote I think it's little more than internal power play based on the outward evidence today.
However, in honoring Beth's lead, there can be nothing wrong in my opinion with taking a look if only because it is healthy to vent those pipes before someone gets fucking killed. While all of this is going on, you really have to wonder if you can trust angry cops who want their chief to look bad to do the right thing and interface properly with the public. Wilkes-Barre really, really, doesn't need this.