Pa. official charged with drunkenness

March 13, 2009 7:33:25 AM PDT
The acting head of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry was charged with public drunkenness after an incident at a Harrisburg hotel.

Police issued a summary citation to Sandi Vito after a dispute Wednesday night over whether she would take a taxi home from the Harrisburg Hilton. It was unclear who else was involved in the incident. The charge was confirmed to The Patriot-News of Harrisburg by city Police Chief Charles Kellar.

Vito issued a statement Thursday apologizing to the public, her agency and Gov. Ed Rendell.

"I am deeply embarrassed and profoundly humiliated by my actions last night," Vito said. "My behavior was inexcusable. I did not have a car and was intent on walking to my nearby home. In retrospect, I understand that the authorities were merely considering my safety when they insisted I take a cab rather than walk."

Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo said it was too soon to say if any discipline will result from the matter.

"I don't know anything like that at this point," Ardo said. "This story is just coming to us."

Vito is awaiting Senate confirmation of her nomination to serve as labor secretary on a permanent basis. She has been acting secretary since February 2008.

Steve MacNett, general counsel to the Senate Republican caucus, said senators will expect to be provided with details about the incident before a confirmation vote is scheduled.

Vito was previously chief of staff to a Democratic state senator and political director of the state Democratic Party.

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