Sheriff Green is outta here

Though auditors are still to scour his office's financial books, Philadelphia Sheriff John D. Green has retired - this time for good.

He sent a letter Friday to Gov. Rendell, advising him that that was also his last day:

"After discussions with family, friends and supporters, I have decided to move forward with my plans to retire early as of December 31, 2010. Again I would like to sincerely express my appreciation for the trust and confidence the citizens of Philadelphia have had in me by electing me to six terms as the Sheriff of the City and County of Philadelphia. I am secure in making this decision with the knowledge that Chief Deputy Barbara Deeley has the experience and commitment to lead the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office as it continues to respond to the needs of the neighborhoods of this city."

Then, this afternoon, Rendell issued a  news release nominating Deeley to succeed Green until a new sheriff is elected and can take office a year from now. The state Senate, which reconvenes tomorrow, would have to approve her nomination.

Green's resignation now allowed Deeley to be nominated by Democrat Rendell, as opposed to Republican Governor-elect Tom Corbett, who is sworn in Jan. 18.

Deeley had anticipated holding the title of acting sheriff back in October -- she would be the city's first female Sheriff -- when Green had announced he would be retiring at the end of that month. But then he suddenly decided to stay on indefinitely, right around the time when he would otherwise be packing up his belongings, after City Controller Alan Butkovitz issued a not-so-glamorous audit of the sheriff's office. Butkovitz's initial report detailed a shocking lack of documentation for accounts holding more $53 million in total.

On Monday, Butkovitz said he would press on with a comprehensive forensic audit that Green had agreed to. The Controller has issued a request for proposals from accounting firms specializing in fraud detection, and those proposals are due on Friday.

"We are in the beginning stages of the forensic audit, and we hope and expect that Sheriff Deeley will cooperate with the Controller’s Office, as Sheriff Green has since Nov. 1," Butkovitz said. "We hope that continues, because it's important for us to determine whether there was any misuse of funds from sheriff’s sales and tax liens, in accounts that run into many millions of dollars."

Deeley, in her own letter today to the governor, said: "I assure you that I will run the Office with integrity, transparency, and efficiency."

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