Former City Official Says He'll Run For Sheriff, Abolish Office

Check this out from former City Housing Director John Kromer:


John Kromer, former housing chief under Ed Rendell, wants to be “The Last Sheriff” pledging to dismantle a bloated bureaucracy and then resign.

 PHILADELPHIA—Convinced the current Sheriff’s Office is unable to play an effective role in strengthening Philadelphia’s neighborhoods, John Kromer is announcing he is running for Philadelphia Sheriff in the May 2011 Democratic Primary, intending to shut down the office for good. “The Sheriff’s Office remains the weakest link in the city’s flawed system for dealing with abandoned and tax delinquent properties,” says Kromer. “The office continues to be plagued by mismanagement and abuse. We can solve these problems by reassigning the responsibilities of the Sheriff’s Office to other agencies that can do the job more reliably. Then the position of Sheriff can be made an appointed position or abolished altogether. I want to make Philadelphia’s next Sheriff the last Sheriff.”

 Kromer served as Director of the Office of Housing and Community Development (OHCD) under then-Mayor Ed Rendell. While Director of OHCD, Kromer oversaw a major restructuring of Philadelphia’s housing agencies and financed the creation of a citywide network of housing counseling organizations—nonprofits that are now playing a key role in helping thousands of Philadelphia homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Kromer is launching his campaign today along with his Web site where Philadelphians can get more information about this unprecedented campaign to replace an outdated and mismanaged office within city government.

The Sheriff’s Office is responsible for processing the sale of tax delinquent properties in Philadelphia, but mismanagement and political patronage have corrupted the Sheriff’s Office and weakened neighborhoods by rewarding real estate speculators and scofflaws. “It’s time the Sheriff’s office be put to work to strengthen Philadelphia neighborhoods by returning vacant and tax delinquent properties to good use and ensuring that community residents are not excluded from Sheriff Sales by political insiders and speculators,” says Kromer.

As recent reports from the City Controller prove, it makes no sense to place a politician, selected by a group of ward leaders, in charge of a public agency such as the Sheriff’s Office. The results are predictable and cost Philadelphia taxpayers millions of dollars. Right now, there is $53 million in eleven bank accounts for which no accurate records have been found. Overtime costs and other personnel costs have skyrocketed out of control.

“As Sheriff, I will dismantle the bloated bureaucracy in the Sheriff’s Office and bar owners of neglected properties from bidding at Sheriff Sale. I’ll work with the Mayor, City Council, and the court system to assign the responsibilities of the Sheriff’s Office to departments that are already performing similar tasks more efficiently and cost-effectively,” says Kromer. “Then I’ll close the Sheriff’s Office and resign.”

“This campaign is not about the political ambitions of one individual—it’s about enabling members of Philadelphia communities to put an end to cronyism and mismanagement,” says Kromer. “With community support, I’m ready to make the changes that are needed to improve our neighborhoods and increase the effectiveness and accountability of our city government.”