STATE Wednesday, September 17, 2003 — Page 5 State police to change policy Rendell supports inspector generaTs sexual misconduct report By PETER JACKSON Associated Press Writer HARRISBURG — Gov, Ed Rendell endorsed a hard-hitting report Tuesday that calls for a crackdown on sexual misconduct in the ranks of the Pennsylvania State Police. The governor also said he will hire a nationally known consultant to oversee implementation of the changes the report recommends. "The vast majority of our troopers are excellent public servants ... men and women who put their lives on the line and do it (in) a manner that would make the citizens of Pennsylvania proud," Rendell said. "But we want to prevent even one incident from occurring again." In his report, state hispector General Donald L. Patterson said his office's,review of complaints filed against uniformed members of the state police since 1995 revealed a pattern of lax and inconsistent discipline, and an organizational culture that tolerated it "The procedural problems are symptomatic of an attitude that fails to respect and recognize the importance of sexual harassment and sexual-misconduct issues," Patterson said in his report, which incorporates the work of 11 full-time investigators. Patterson initiated his .investigation in late June amid publicity over dozens of past sexual-misconduct complaints made public in federal court as part of a civil lawsuit. That suit was brought against a former trooper now serving prison time for crimes committed against several women and teenage girls while he was on duty. State police Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller subsequently conducted an internal review of 163 such complaints during a six- year period ending in 2001 and said he found no indications that any were handled improperly. Sixty-eight of the complaints, involving 75 troopers and four other employees, were found to have merit. Fourteen employees were fired, though four were later reinstated by labor arbitrators. "We cannot go back and remake the past — make every Museums restore artifacts to tribes Stale Police Commissioner Col. Jeffery Miller, right, Gov. Ed Rendell, center, and Inspector General Don Patterson announced the release of a report on sexual-misconduct charges against the state police. (AP photo) wrong right — but we can continue to lay the groundwork for change and ensure that these kinds of problems are not a part of our future," Rendell said at a news conference where- he was flanked by Patterson and Miller. Rendell said he would hire Kroll Associates, a New York- based risk consulting company, to monitor the implementation of Patterson's proposed changes in the Pennsylvania State Police for one year. Among Patterson's findings and recommendations: • State police should bar the practice of allowing troop commanders to investigate allegations of misconduct and mete out punishment, often leading to "minimal" and inconsistent penalties. Sexual misconduct complaints should be investigated by the department's Bureau of Professional Responsibility, and punishment should be decided by the department's disciplinary officer. • Arbitrators have refused in some cases to sustain the firing of an officer convicted of criminal conduct. State police should seek legislative action to require dismissal under such circumstances. • State police should develop an outreach program to make it easier for citizens to file misconduct complaints with the Bureau of Professional Responsibility through mail or the Internet. A toll-free hot line for sexual-misconduct complaints also is recommended. • Training about the problem of sexual-harassment, which has not been part of mandatory in- service training for state police since 1999, should be restored. Solution to budget woes: Merge county, Pittsburgh PITTSBURGH (AP) — Amerger of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County could be a long-term solution to the city's budget woes, but government leaders should increase taxes and consolidate certain services in the meantime, a group of business leaders said. The Allegheny Conference on Community Development, a private sector leadership group, is urging Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy, Allegheny County Chief Executive Jim Roddey and county Controller Dan Onorato, who is also running to unseat Roddey in the Nov. 4 election, to support a plan to completely merge the two governments. "We will be failing ourselves and future generations if we do not aggressively pursue ways to modernize and simplify the structure of government in southwestern Pennsylvania," Allegheny Conference Chairman Martin G. McGuinn said. Pittsburgh faces a budget shortfall this year of more than $40 million and could run out of money by the end of the year. In 2004, the city could face a $81 million shortfall. Murphy has asked the state Legislature for a new 0.45-percent payroll tax on tor-profit businesses and an increase in the city's occupation tax from $10 to $52. 6 The conference would support Murphy's legislation, which is now pending in Harrisburg, as long as the city considers a merger. Roddey has proposed the city and county merge as many as 13 services, from purchasing offices to police forces, and has estimated it would save Pittsburgh $5.7 million and Allegheny County $3.3 million. Murphy and Roddey have asked the Pennsylvania Economy League, which is affiliated with the Allegheny Conference, to study the consolidation of county and city services. Onorato said his office is auditing city and county services and wUl release consolidation recommendations by the end of the week. The conference also expressed support for Roddey's plan or similar ideas, as long as the governments follow up with an overall merger. "We're not talking about filling an $80 million budget deficit with only a city-county consolidation of services," said Allegheny Conference spokesman Bill Flanagan. "We want to look at it, but it is just the first level of options." Cities such as Louisville, 'Ky., Indianapolis and Miami have merged with their surrounding counties, making them more attractive to new businesses and residents, said McGuinn, who is also the chairman and chief executive officer of Mellon Financial Corp. Watchdogs fight oil-heritage By LARA JAKES JORDAN Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON — Congressional efforts to designate the birthplace of the nation's commercial oil industry as a historic region hit a slippery patch Tuesday as tax-watchdog groups charged it would violate the rights of property owners. The plan, by Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., would direct up to $1 million in federal funds annually over a decade to parts of Venango and Crawford counties in northwest Pennsylvania to spur tourism in the economically barren region. It is one of 46 areas nationwide vying to win designa- tion as a national heritage area. "It puts us on the map," Peterson said. "Notiiing has changed our society like oil has, except the computer. It changed the world." But officials from the American Policy Center and Americans for Tax Reform said the proposed heritage sites would drive up the already-burgeoning national deficit. Moreover, they said, the sites usurp property owners' rights since the National Park Service can limit construction in historically designated areas. "Heritage areas have boundaries, and these boundaries have consequences for the property owners within them," said J. Peyton Knight, legislative director of PITTSBURGH (AP) — Museums statewide are scouring their collections of national history artifacts to return human remains and other objects sacred to American Indian tribes. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History, California University of Pennsylvania, Penn State University and the State Museum of Pennsylvania are among the museums working to return the sacred items, including bones and religious items that had been excavated or taken from tribes. According to the National Park Service, which oversees a 1990 federal law to return the items, museums and federal agencies have reported the remains of more than 27,000 people and 622,000 artifacts in their collections. While some museums got artifacts from grave robbers, most were excavated by archaeologists with noble intentions at the time. Lacking written languages, scientists were limited to talking to descendants or digging up sites to reconstruct tribes' cultures, said James B. Richardson, curator of anthropology for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. "Today it's illegal to do this," Richardson said. "Back then, it wasn't, but it certainly was unethical." Russell Simms, executive director of the Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center Inc., which represents 76 tribes, agreed. "It's not right to dig up remains," Simms said. "We appreciate accurate history, but not in that manner." t The Carnegie Museum is working with the Lakota tribe to return eight fragments of human remains from the Great Plains, and the Hopi to return 100 sacred objects, such as masks and dance wands found in Arizona. The museum already returned 1,500 grave items to the Iroquois, including pieces of pottery and arrowheads. The State Museum in Harrisburg has the remains of more than 1,100 American Indians .— ranging from teeth to complete skeletons — in its collection and more than 100,000 objects that must be returned, including beads, pottery, glass and axes, said spokeswoman Jane Crawford. The State Museum is negotiating with the Stockbridge-Musee Indians in Wisconsin and the Delaware Indians, both part of the Lenape tribe. "Depending on the tribe, agency or museum, you'll get a different opinion," said Paula Molloy, a program officer with the National Park Service. the Warrenton, Va.'-based American Policy Center. "Experience shows mat it will not only become a funding albatross as more and more interest groups gather around the federal trough, but also a program that quashes property rights and local economies through restrictive federal zoxiing practices." But Peterson's bill would specifically prohibit the use of federal funding to acquire property, said Robert Murray, chairman of the Venango County Board of Commissioners. No property owners in the region have protested the plan since it was introduced in 1999, Peterson said. magic mist Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning -WATER & FIKE DAMAGE & RESTORATION STEAM DRY SYSTEM - dries in 1 hour Tile & Grout Cleaning CALL 1-800-452-3306 THE SECRET IS OUT! w- VmUWNS FOR IfSS! vrtairtnsfor ' At Renaissance Circle Shops ^ ^^ ' RT. 286 (Across From Perkins) ^ w raml) r~ a » §\, tow, tow ..pttawl CALL 724 463-3826 Mon. & Frl. 1(« Tue., Wed., thiits. 1O8; Sat 10-3 SOURCE A NATURALS- riff WHIM^SJULC Paraclete Low Carb WHEAT BREAD I Bread Loaves • Dtawr Rods I • Matt Bread • Pizza Shells , • Sandwich Buns VITAMINS FOR LESS STOP BY OR CALL ABOUT ALL OUR "BLOW-OUT BARGAINS" OR VISIT US AT www.4lessvitamins.com . MOWS THE TIME TO GET INTO SHAPE! 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