PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There’s a new sheriff in town, and for the first time, it’s a woman.
Longtime Philadelphia sheriff John Green (pictured, center) announced last fall that he would retire in a matter of months, and he left without fanfare last Friday.
In his place now is his longtime deputy, Barbara Deeley (pictured, left), who must be approved by the Pennsylvania State Senate.
Deeley has been with the sheriff’s office for 23 years. It is unclear when the state senate will take up her nomination, which was made by outgoing governor Ed Rendell. Until then, she will serve as acting sheriff.
“But for all intents and purposes, I am the sheriff — the first female sheriff of Philadelphia,” Deeley told KYW Newsradio on Tuesday.
The sheriff’s office, which is responsible for transportation of prisoners and the auction of foreclosed properties, has been embroiled in controversy over apparently shoddy bookkeeping.
Deeley is moving ahead with hiring new accountants and vows cooperation with an independent audit by the city controller. “I’m going to work with the controller,” Deeley said. “We’re going to cooperate, and we’re going to try as best as we can to move forward.”
Deeley is also promising her own reforms, including what she says is a “surprise” that will please the citizens of Philadelphia.
Two City Council members have introduced legislation calling for a charter change to abolish the sheriff’s office, an idea supported by the local political watchdog group The Committee of 70.
If approved by the Senate, Deeley would serve out Green’s current term, which ends January 2012. Deeley says she will not run for the office.
Reported by Mike Dunn, KYW Newsradio 1060.