The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


October 9, 2013

Northumberland County judge disputes commissioner's allegations

— SUNBURY — Stating that he wanted to return to the scene of the “attack,” President Judge Robert Sacavage on Tuesday denied allegations that he was involved in falsifying documents so that a friend could collect unemployment benefits.

In turn, Rick Shoch, the county commissioner making the charge, stood by his allegation that the judge had helped a former adult probation chief obtain the benefits illegally and called for an investigation by an outside agency.

Sacavage arrived for his press conference at 11 a.m., took a seat at the county commissioners table in the county administration building and spoke about the allegations leveled by Shoch, who left the conference early, but fired back in a statement Tuesday night.

Sacavage said, “This will not be a dog and pony show, and I chose this location because this is where Mr. Shoch decided to attack me when I was not around to defend myself.

“I could have done this in my courtroom and wore my robe and had sheriffs all around me, but I decided to come here.”

Sacavage said he would tell his side of the story and the verdict would be up to the residents of Northumberland County, and he also asked for Shoch to be removed as the liaison between commissioners and the courts.

Shoch sat in the front row and watched as court administrator Brandy Yasenchak passed out media packets that countered Shoch’s charges. About 40 minutes into the press conference Shoch left.

Shoch leaves early

After the press conference was over, Chief Clerk Gary Steffen announced that Shoch said he had to leave to attend a deposition.

Sacavage said: “Mr. Shoch wanted to paint this dark picture that I had been a part of corruption and was part of a co-conspiracy with other commissioners to scheme to set up a program that would reward a former employee by allowing him to receive unemployment benefits. But the truth is Mr. Shoch’s theories don’t hold up.”

During an Oct. 1 public meeting held by the commissioners to set row office salaries Shoch displayed a hire sheet that he said showed Sacavage signed off on former Adult Probation Chief John Wondoloski’s termination although Wondoloski actually retired.

The sheet had the signatures of Sacavage, Commissioners Vinny Clausi and Steve Bridy and other county officals.

Sacavage said he had a plan to save the county more than $100,000 and that plan included eliminating Wondoloski’s position.

“First I will not deny Wondoloski is a friend of mine, and he was a credited state trooper and we were lucky to get him after he left the state police,” Sacavage said. “But the fact is Mr. Shoch has said Mr. Wondoloski applied for unemployment benefits in June, which was before the salary board meeting in July. As an attorney and a commissioner you would think Mr. Shoch would have done his homework and made sure he had the proper evidence to back up these claims, but as you can all see Mr. Wondolsoki did not contact the state Department of Labor and Industry until July 21.”

Text Only
  • Baby, 3 others hurt in Route 11 crash near Danville

    DANVILLE — Two women, an infant and the baby’s 2-year-old girl sister were taken to Geisinger Medical Center following a three-vehicle chain-reaction accident at 3:14 p.m. Friday on Route 11 near Steve Shannon Tire and Auto Center in Mahoning Township.

    July 26, 2014

  • eyebrows.jpg Coming Sunday: Browsing for brows

    As makeup sales soar, four tips to make your eyebrows raise others'. Coming Sunday

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • William Cameron to spend $12,000 to find new chief

    LEWISBURG — The William Cameron Engine Company will pay a State College consulting firm more than $12,000 to help the Lewisburg fire house find its first paid chief after its first national search to fill the job ended without a new leader.

    July 26, 2014

  • Ann Targonski DA clears officer in Sunbury shooting

    SUNBURY — Three shots from a Taser could not stop 390-pound Erick Trometter from attacking Sunbury’s then-acting Police Chief Brad Hare with a large filet knife, so the veteran officer drew his gun and shot the 22-year-old city man in the leg, according to a report issued Friday.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • stauffer25br.jpg Area cyclist pedals 4,233 miles in 21 days for race

    Growing up in a Mennonite family, Jesse Stauffer often traveled the roads in Snyder County on a bicycle.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Amazon worker pilots drone around Space Needle

    Police say an out-of-town Amazon employee was the operator behind a drone that buzzed the Seattle Space Needle this week.

    July 25, 2014

  • Carjacked vehicle strikes crowd, killing 2 kids

    Two men forced a woman into the backseat of her car at gunpoint and drove it into a group of people on a corner in Philadelphia on Friday, killing two children and critically injuring three other people, police said.

    July 25, 2014

  • Man calls police chief "brain dead"

    A Liberty Township man was cited for placing a sign calling Mahoning Township’s police chief “brain dead and hell bound.”

    July 25, 2014

  • New warden returning to Lewisburg penitentiary

    David J. Ebbert has been tapped to replace Jeff Thomas as warden at United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg.

    July 25, 2014

  • Fast food workers to escalate wage demands

    Fast food workers say they’re prepared to escalate their campaign for higher wages and union representation, starting with a national convention in suburban Chicago where more than 1,000 workers are expected to discuss the future of the effort that has spread to dozens of cities in less than two years.

    July 25, 2014

The Daily Marquee

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.