Morning Call (Allentown)
HIRED PRISON INVESTIGATOR
private investigator from New York City was paid more than $ 7,500
by Northampton County to investigate alleged improprieties in
the prison, Controller Jean Lewis confirmed yesterday.
G. Kessler & Associates spent nearly six weeks in the prison
guiding a controller's office investigation into alleged abuses
of sick and vacation time by warden Robert Olander and other prison
believe it was money well spent," Lewis said. "This
type of investigation is very new to us. We didn't want to make
a wrong move that could open us to a lawsuit later."
an investigator who Lewis says has served as a special correspondent
to ABC news, worked in the prison from April 17 to May 31, assisting
controller's investigators as they interviewed more than 20 prison
employees about alleged abuses.
was given access to prison employees and records and paid $ 7,548
to help conduct interviews. In addition, he was charged with doing
background checks on some employees.
was mainly there to keep us from going down the wrong path and
to keep us from asking inappropriate questions, just in case this
whole thing ends up in court," Lewis said. "Additionally,
he had access and the expertise to certain computer records needed
for researching an employee's background. These are things we
simply didn't have any experience at."
Olander went on medical leave in February, administration officials
began to question how he could have accumulated nearly 220 days
of sick time while reportedly missing several weeks of work each
year for medical reasons.
endorsement from the Prison Commission, Brackbill asked the controller's
office to investigate.
yesterday said Lewis initiated the hiring of Kessler, but he endorsed
it. Lewis said the money to pay the investigator came out of her
1995 budgeted funds.
applaud them for their efforts," Brackbill said. "Anytime
an agency hires a consultant so that they can do their job better,
I think that's commendable."
felt we needed to bring in outside counsel because a man's career
and his retirement are on the line," Lewis said. "It's
not something we took lightly. We wanted to make sure we had the
proper expertise to do this right."