The Montgomery County commissioners voted 2–1 to appoint a convicted murderer to the Prison Board of Inspectors last June.

Now that man, Vernon Steed, has been arrested again and is charged with forgery, identity theft, and theft by deception. Court records show he was unable to make bail and remains in custody.

Minority Republican Commissioner Joe Gale voted against Commissioners Val Arkoosh and Kenneth Lawrence Jr., opposing Steed’s appointment.

Gov. Josh Shapiro appointed Arkoosh as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. She stepped down as county commissioners chair earlier this year. Arkoosh declined to comment about Steed.

In 1988, Vernon Steed was convicted of first-degree murder and served 32 years of a life sentence before his release in 2018.

At the June 2, 2022 meeting, Arkoosh said, “I just want to comment that I do intend to support Mr. Steed’s appointment. That he will bring an individual to the Prison Board of Inspectors with lived experience. And I think that will be an extremely important perspective to have as part of our county Prison Board of Inspectors.”

Gale said, “I would just like to point out the lived experience that this individual brings is 32 years in state prison for murder. So, I can’t support this, and we will need a roll call vote.”

Now Gale is telling his Democratic colleagues, “I told you so.”

Gale, who is running for re-election to the board, said in a press release, “It is unacceptable and embarrassing that a member of the Montgomery County Prison Board of Inspectors has been arrested and is being held in detention. It was an absolute disgrace for the Democrat County Commissioners to appoint a convicted murderer to the Prison Board of Inspectors in the first place. Now, less than a year later, their decision to override my opposition has proven to be a grave error in judgment, which jeopardized the safety and welfare of many.

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“For the protection of the general public and all county employees and workers, Mr. Steed must be removed from the Montgomery County Prison Board of Inspectors immediately,” said Gale. “I have long advocated that appointees to the Prison Board must 1) Document an unblemished history as a law-abiding member of the community; and 2) Offer positive experience as a correctional officer, law enforcement officer, or legal practitioner well-versed in the criminal justice system.

“I fully expect that my input will now be heard and a qualified, law-abiding applicant will be chosen to replace Vernon Steed,” said Gale.

Kelly Cofrancisco, county communications director, said, “While the commissioners are unable to comment on this specific case, the county continues to support applicants from all backgrounds to apply to serve on Montgomery County boards and commissions in a volunteer capacity. The county remains committed to appointing residents with lived experience and diverse perspectives to serve in these positions.”

The prison board is a citizen’s oversight board with members appointed by the county commissioners and the courts.

As of Monday, Steed’s name was scrubbed from the Montgomery County website. Steed resigned from the board on April 21, Cofrancisco said.

A notice on the website said applications for a new member are being sought.

Linda Stein is News Editor at Delaware Valley Journal.

This article was republished with permission from the Delaware Valley Journal.

9 thoughts on “Convicted murderer appointed to Montgomery County Prison Board of Inspectors by Democrats is back in jail”

  1. The “lived experience” may serve when not dealing with the bad and violent aspects of human behaviour, but it doesn’t work otherwise. Consider the logic, if a felon/prisoner brings a unique insight, then our homicide detectives should have at least one murder they committed so they could bring a unique insight to the job. “Set a thief to catch a thief” is just a lame folk myth.

    1. While I agree with not giving Gale any credit, I do think that the other two who voted for this fellow to be in that position deserve some blame.

      1. Gale opposed this ridiculous and stupid appointment of a convicted murderer to the Prison Board of Inspectors last June. Don’t give him any credit?!? That’s why he keeps winning on a bullet vote. Val Arkoosh and Ken Lawrence Jr. – both now provably wrong about their dictatorial and draconian Covid policies – don’t care to comment about their reckless decisions. Not a surprise.
        “Kelly Cofrancisco, county communications director, said, ‘While the commissioners are unable to comment on this specific case…” What?!? Why are they unable to comment?!?
        “I’m twice elected commissioner. I wasn’t originally appointed to be commissioner. I was elected without the support of either major party, and people put me here to be the watchdog for them and provide checks and balances. And I’m not going to shut up and just go along to get along,” Joe Gale continued. “I’m going to continue to provide those checks and balances, and you all should be ashamed of yourselves. And that concludes my comments. Go along with your dog and pony show.”
        After finishing his remarks, a handful of claps could be heard [for Commissioner Joe Gale] from the audience.”

        1. Yes. Don’t give him credit. He is so awful no one takes him seriously. Being correct about this issue is comparable to being against confounding the police.

          He isn’t smart for having the position. He’s terrible for not being able to recruit more Republicans in a County that was voting Republican 12 years ago.

          The Dems DO deserve to be held accountable – especially Arkoosh.

  2. Why would anyone think someone who’s been locked up in prison for murder over 30 years will be able to come out and be criminal minded. He was locked away at an early age. He’s stuck in that era and his time in jail is all he knows.

  3. Joe Gale says he’s against criminals holding office but he supports an insurrectionist rapist document thief running for POTUS.

    Joe Gale says he supports cops but he is antivax despite covid being the leading killer of cops for three consecutive years.

    Joe Gale says he wants fiscal responsibility but his hero Trump added $7 trillion to the national debt and is blaming Democrats for it. Also, Gale has been paid over half a million dollars as commissioner while living comfortably in his parents’ two homes in PA and NJ and campaigning for governor in other counties and posting daily tweets of photo ops.

    Joe Gale says he is pro life but his antivax antimask policy has killed over 1 million Americans.

  4. 1. Joe Gale put US flags at veterans’ grave sites during a Memorial Day weekend. Normal stuff. Except on that Memorial Day our entire nation was gripped in irrational fear. It took guts for Joe Gale to do that. Because we had tyrants shrieking his behavior was reckless – we had CNN with a death count and an outrageous fancy studio set – and now in 2023 the science shows they were absolutely wrong, and Joe Gale was right to stand up to the fearmongering and tyranny. And these same tyrants today now demand that children should be indoctrinated such: libraries themselves created a children’s section but now it is set up for adult men to play oversexed dress up fantasy reading to children, and women aren’t defined by scientific things like chromosomes or reproductive organs these days but instead by lipstick, high heels, and makeup. That is what defines a woman?!? The masks were utterly pointless and in 2023, we agree again with what we knew about air borne disease and masks…in 2014.
    2. Dung Mastriano – you have my ear because of your acknowledgement about Val Arkoosh.

    1. 1. Covid Joe defied all experts and common sense measures during the middle of a worldwide pandemic, putting over 1 million Americans in their graves. Covid Joe says he supports cops but covid was the leading cop killer for three consecutive years. In MAGA fantasy land this is called “pro life” and “personal choice”.
      2. The covid vaccine reduces death and hospitalization. Masks reduce transmission. Common sense.
      3. MAGA Christian nationalists are brainwashing kids with their 2000 year old myth and are trying to use government (public school) to brainwash them with the myth.
      4. Trump is a rapist. Joe Gale supports a rapist. Now, what’s this about oversexed?

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