When it comes to Lackawanna officials, well, where do we begin? The latest debacle involving a ticket-fixing City Court judge and the mayor not seeming to care much about it is cringe-worthy, even for this small city with big-city problems.
The judge, Louis P. Violanti, orchestrated a courtroom charade so that he could dismiss a friend’s traffic ticket. The judge even enlisted a Lackawanna police officer in the lie. Ironically, the judge’s friend probably would have been able to clear up this matter by going through the proper channels.
Instead, Violanti broke the law in dismissing an expired-registration ticket given to Daniel E. Endress of Hamburg, according to District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III. Violanti staged a ticket-fixing court scene that included dialogue with “just-following-orders” Lackawanna police officer John S. Hruby pretending to be the judge’s friend. This was a messy scene set to stage an unnecessary deception.
Endress’ Dec. 7 ticket was based on a paperwork mixup at the state Department of Motor Vehicles. It likely would have been dismissed or at worst downgraded to a parking ticket.
But Lackawanna’s troubles extend beyond patronage to recent questions on overtime. With still two months left in the fiscal year, firefighters have all but used up the $300,000 city officials had budgeted for overtime expenses. The council president is breathing fire over what he sees as excessive spending and a failure to manage overtime by the mayor.
Reining in overtime costs, just like reining in its public officials, continues to be an ongoing problem in Lackawanna.