Saturday, October 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Ironic Photo of the Day

Character and accountability classes from a former DHS worker.

Ironic Photo of the Day

This photo of former DHS supervisor Valerie Mond accompanies a CourierPostOnline.com story about Community Education Centers.
This photo of former DHS supervisor Valerie Mond accompanies a CourierPostOnline.com story about Community Education Centers. (DOUGLAS M. BOVITT/Courier-Post)

This photo accompanies a story on the Courier Post website about  Community Education Centers, a Philly-based company providing training services to inmates.

The caption identifies the woman in the picture as Valerie Mond, who was photographed while leading a "character and accountability class" at Hoffman Hall, a prisoner re-entry facility in North Philly.

If Mond's name is familiar, it's because she's mentioned in the Philadelphia District Attorney's 2008 Grand Jury report into the death of Danieal Kelly, the child with cerebral palsy who starved to death while under DHS care.

The report alleged that Mond, a former DHS program administrator, was among the agency's supervisors who "ignored deadlines and DHS policies with impunity" in their supervision of those responsible for overseeing Danieal's case.

Of Mond and other DHS workers, the report noted, "a share of the stain of responsibility for Danieal's death remains on their hands."  The child's life, the report concluded, "did not depend on these DHS employees taking heroic action to save her. It depended on them merely to do their jobs."

Mond was not indicted, but she resigned after the report was released, which perhaps was a way of being accountable for her part in one of the most horrifying and heart-wrenching botch-ups in DHS history. It would be enormous evidence of character if she used her own story in the classes she teaches Hoffman Hall's inmates.

Mond, whose voicemail identifies her as working on the "Unity Unit" at Hoffman Hall, did not return my call for comment.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
About this blog

When my phone rings here at the Daily News, nine times out of ten the caller begins the conversation with, “Yeah, so what happened was…”.

Because this is Philly, the caller doesn’t say, “My name is Bob” – or Mary – “and I wonder if I could have a moment of your time?” Philadelphians are too direct for that. They just say, “Yeah, so what happened was…”, and then tumble into a tale they think oughta be shared with a wider audience. I love getting these calls (even the ones where it becomes clear, after 30 seconds, where the caller sowed the seeds of his own misery), because they give me chance to connect with fellow citizens in a way that no other job allows. Well, okay, no other job for which I’m remotely qualified.

That’s why my blog is titled “So What Happened Was…”. To me, it’s the quintessentially Philly way of saying, “Once upon a time.” When I hear it, I know a good story is coming. And I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Ronnie Polaneczky has been an award-winning columnist for The Philadelphia Daily News since 1999, offering a front-steps perspective on every aspect of city life, from the sublime to the stupid. In her past life, she was the editor-in-chief of Atlantic City Magazine, associate editor at Philadelphia Magazine and a fulltime freelancer published in Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Reader's Digest, Men's Health, MarieClaire and others. She lives with her husband, daughter and various pets in the city's Fairmount section, where she dreams of one day singing The National Anthem at an Eagles game. In addition to her column and blog, you can enjoy Ronnie's musings in podcast form here.


Read more from Ronnie Polaneczky at Earth to Philly, the Daily News blog on anything and everything "Green Reach Ronnie at polaner@phillynews.com.

Ronnie Polaneczky Daily News Columnist
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