08 Held:
09 Thursday, June 30, 2005
11 Time:
12 7:00 p.m.
14 Location:
15 Council chambers
15 Scranton City Hall
16 340 North Washington Avenue
16 Scranton, Pennsylvania
23 Lisa M. Graff, RPR
24 Court Reporter
01 MR. DIBILEO: Please stand for the
02 Pledge of Allegiance. Please remain standing for a
03 short prayer. Kay, can we have a roll call, please?
04 MS. GARVEY: Mr. McTiernan.
05 MR. McTIERNAN: Here.
06 MS. GARVEY: Mrs. Evans.
07 MS. EVANS: Here.
08 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Pocius.
09 MR. POCIUS: Here.
10 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Courtright.
12 MS. GARVEY: Mr. DiBileo.
13 MR. DIBILEO: Here. If we can
14 dispense with the reading of the minutes, please,
15 Mr. Walsh.
16 MR. WALSH: Certainly. Third
19 MR. DIBILEO: Are there any
20 comments on 3-A? If not, received and filed.
23 2005.
24 MR. DIBILEO: Are there any
25 comments on 3-B? If not, received and filed.
03 WEDNESDAY, MAY 25, 2005.
04 MR. DIBILEO: Are there any
05 comments on 3-C? If not, received and filed.
06 MR. DIBILEO: Are there any
07 comments on 3-C? If not, received and filed.
08 MR. WALSH: 3-D, Clerk's notes.
09 MR. DIBILEO: Mr. Saunders, if you
10 would, please.
11 MR. SAUNDERS: Mr. President, last
12 week a woman spoke about Fellows Park, she spoke about
13 the park over on Fellows Street or on Main Avenue,
14 which is Fellows Park.
15 I talked about to Bob Scopelliti,
16 he looked into that. He said sent Paul Ludovicci, over
17 there, he's a project manager, they're actually
18 evaluating the playground equipment to see if it is
19 safe or if it's not safe.
20 They will make that evaluation and
21 determine if they're actually going to leave that
22 equipment in there or if they're going to remove it or
23 move on to the next step of possibly getting new stuff
24 for that park, but they are over evaluating it, he
25 said, as we speak, and that was at ten o'clock this
01 morning.
02 Staying on the park issue, we sent
03 a letter out, I'm not 100 percent sure who actually
04 said this, but we sent the letter out, if it was a
05 speaker from the audience or if it was a Council
06 person, about Weston Park Teener League, about the
07 problems they're having up at the Weston Park Teener
08 League with the grass in the infield, holes around the
09 bases, not being maintained, just a total being
10 maintained.
11 I talked to Mr. Scopelliti about
12 that, and he did remind me, and I was not aware of
13 this, that the city does not maintain that park. They
14 will help, but the city leases it to the teener
15 leagues, little leagues, they lease for one dollar,
16 they lease these parks to these leagues, so he said the
17 league is responsible for the upkeep.
18 They call the city in when they
19 need help for it, they will help out. As a matter of
20 fact, they were up there last week helping out on that
21 park.
22 Councilman Courtright spoke last
23 week about Glen Capman, he's a Lackawanna County
24 Sheriff that was involved in rescuing a man last week
25 in South Side. I spoke to Glenn today, he said he will
01 be in hopefully on the 7th of July, we'll have him in
02 at seven o'clock. He's checking with his boss, which
03 is Sheriff John Szmanski, and if the sheriff is
04 available, we will do that on the 7th, if not, we will
05 push it out to the 14th, I believe.
06 CRF legislation that we he have
07 had on hold, I don't believe we introduced it. We did
08 introduce it. The CRF is -- we had Kevin Wilson in
09 here speaking about that, where a company is buying out
10 the city revolving loans for 91 cents on the dollar.
11 That legislation has been on
12 hold. We got all of our questions, I believe, answered
13 to this point, and we will have that on the agenda for
14 next week.
15 Marywood, Tree Stadium, as it's
16 being referred to, we've had questions about that for
17 the past week about when that legislation will be back
18 on the agenda.
19 That legislation will not be back
20 on the agenda until July 28, I believe. We will have a
21 public hearing at that time on that issue, and then we
22 will put it on for the next meeting after that.
23 Yeah, it may be -- depending on
24 the notice requirements, it could be that week or the
25 week after that.
01 In the meantime, we have to send
02 out letters to the zoning, the city zoning -- or the
03 city planning commission and the county planning
04 commission, and we've got note back from the city,
05 we're waiting back from the county, and we should have
06 that shortly.
07 659 Wales Street, that is the
08 property we talked about recently about PA Water
09 purchasing that property, a piece of parcel from the
10 City of Scranton, tonight we had in our open caucus in
11 the back, we had an attorney, Jim Zaydon, from
12 PA Water, come in and discuss that situation and one of
13 the homeowners that is directly involved was there to
14 hear this out, so we actually have that piece of
15 legislation on hold until they, Pennsylvania American
16 Water and the neighbors, sit down and discuss the plans
17 for this pump house.
18 And the last thing I have is the
19 traffic on McDade, the Expressway and Main Avenue,
20 where Main Avenue intersects with Euclid Avenue and
21 also the Expressway, we've had a traffic study done on
22 that, we've talked to PennDOT about that, neighbors are
23 still upset about that situation.
24 I actually drive there every
25 morning, it is a dangerous situation, so we're
01 discussing the possibility of making a no turn on red
02 coming off the McDade Expressway.
03 I talked to a woman that spoke to
04 PennDOT today, she said the possibility of us making a
05 motion for a restudy of that land, PENNDOT was actually
06 opened for us to do another traffic study on that.
07 George Parker had talked to me in
08 the past about that. He believed if his professional
09 opinion, but he didn't put it in writing, that we may
10 be backing traffic back out onto McDade Expressway,
11 where that problem may turn into an
12 Expressway problem.
13 So, for the safety, I think that
14 sometime tonight maybe we make a motion about doing a
15 traffic study up there.
16 I discussed that with Delores
17 Ferrario at length yesterday, and she had talked to
18 PennDOT about that.
19 MR. DIBILEO: Yeah, there's a
20 question, Jay, as to whether or not this has already
21 been addressed, because it seems as though there has
22 been a traffic study done, but I know Mrs. Ferrario is
23 saying that PennDOT is telling her that the city never
24 really requested a no turn on red coming off the
25 Expressway onto Main Avenue.
01 So, how about for simplicity sake,
02 we simply clarify the fact that we are asking PennDOT
03 whether or not it is feasible to have a no turn on red
04 off the Expressway onto Main Avenue, I don't think we
05 need a motion for this, and this way we'll get it clear
06 as to whether or not that is allowable or not.
07 We don't want any dangerous
08 situation backing up onto the Expressway; however, for
09 the benefit of the citizens of Tripp Park, it is very
10 difficult to enter Main Avenue coming down
11 Dorothy Street, especially now with a lot more traffic
12 coming down Dorothy than used to come down.
13 So, why don't we see if we can
14 simply ask that question and get an answer for all of
15 us, including Mrs. Ferrario?
16 MR. SAUNDERS: Okay.
17 MR. DIBILEO: Okay.
18 MR. SAUNDERS: The last thing I
19 have is I received a letter back from Dave Elliot or
20 Chief Elliot from the Scranton Police Department in
21 response to the 500 block of West Market Street, he
22 said that they are monitoring traffic up there and
23 that, if necessary, they will do a special enforcement
24 detail up on that to stop the speeding.
25 MS. EVANS: Mr. Saunders, with
01 regard to that, if they could please conduct their
02 enforcement detail between the hours of, I would say,
03 6:30 to 8:30 a.m., and then six to 8:30 p.m., because
04 the residents have indicated those are the hours during
05 which most of the speeding occurs, and, you know,
06 particularly, in my opinion anyway, those morning
07 hours, since that's the time at which the DPW workers
08 have had to jump out of the way of speeding vehicles,
09 but I was wondering also perhaps we could ask, or maybe
10 someone here knows, if not if we ask Mr. Hayes, could
11 the State Police assist us, in that the State Police
12 has the ability to use radar, and would it be possible
13 that perhaps they could come in on one occasion and
14 with the use of radar, you know, crack down on some
15 speeders there?
16 MR. SAUNDERS: Okay. I'll pass
17 that on.
18 Also, Connell Park,
19 Councilman Courtright, I believe, was it you that was
20 talking about Connell Park?
21 MS. EVANS: No, that was me.
22 MR. SAUNDERS: Okay.
23 Councilwoman Evans, Chief Elliot says they were aware
24 of that problem, he's informed all shifts to patrol
25 that area and that they will do the best they can, and
01 they keep passing that park until they get the problem
02 solved.
03 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
04 MR. SAUNDERS: The last thing I
05 have, there's a public meeting for the Scranton
06 Riverfront Greenway Project, Natalie Solfanelli from
07 the Lackawanna Heritage Valley was scheduled to come in
08 to see Council. We've had so many things built up, we
09 can't get to her yet, but they are having a -- about
10 the river project that's running by the
11 Lackawanna River, they're having a meeting at the
12 Scranton High School auditorium. It will be Thursday,
13 the 7th at seven o'clock. That's all I have,
14 Mr. President.
15 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
16 Mr. Saunders.
17 MR. POCIUS: Can I ask him a
18 question, Mr. President?
19 MR. DIBILEO: Certainly.
20 MR. POCIUS: I just wanted to
21 follow-up.
22 MR. DIBILEO: Sure.
23 MR. POCIUS: Jay, you did call me
24 earlier this week on our motion last week to look for
25 that sidewalk money and everything, and you're still
01 pursuing that?
02 MR. SAUNDERS: Yeah. The letter
03 is out, I talked to Sara about it.
04 MR. POCIUS: So, we're going to
05 look to keep pursuing that?
06 MR. SAUNDERS: Yes, yeah. I
07 talked to Sara earlier about that. She gave me the
08 guidelines for it, if there's money left on it. She is
09 going to continue to look for it and let me know about
10 it. The letter is out to her.
11 MR. POCIUS: That's the 400 of
12 Linden. Thank you.
13 MR. DIBILEO: Anyone else have any
14 questions? Okay.
15 MR. WALSH: Fourth order, Citizen
16 participation.
17 MR. DIBILEO: Okay. We have a
18 sign-in sheet, and I ask speakers to refrain from
19 comments of a personal nature and to please keep
20 comments related to city business matters and state
21 your name and address for the record, please.
22 Now, before getting to the first
23 person on the sign-in sheet, our director of licensing
24 and inspections is here this evening, Mr. Bill Fiorini,
25 Bill's become a regular speaker here of late, and we're
01 happy about that, and he asked if he could speak first,
02 if the public doesn't mind. So, Bill, go right ahead.
03 MR. FIORINI: Thank you very
04 much. I'm glad Jay's gone so he can't ring the bell.
05 Last week at the Council meeting, a Mr. Lameo made
06 several statements that were incorrect, and I would
07 like to set the record straight.
08 Number one, he said Scartelli
09 Construction was working without a permit down at the
10 Guild Studios, the permit was issued November 11 of
11 last year, when we had the collapse there, and the
12 reason of the delay, Mr. Pocius stated it correctly,
13 an HOP had to be issued, they just got it a few weeks
14 ago, they proceeded with the work, also there was
15 insurance litigation going on there. So, it does take
16 time, but they did get their permit.
17 MR. DIBILEO: What does that stand
18 for, HOP?
19 MR. FIORINI: Highway occupancy
20 permit. See, Wyoming Avenue and Mulberry Street are
21 both state highways, and that's what happened. A guy
22 came to clean the glass on the windows there and the
23 state wouldn't allow him to be on the highway, so he
24 proceeded to go on the sidewalk, and it's a vaulted
25 area on that side. Mulberry Street is filled, but
01 Wyoming Avenue is vaulted, and the machine went down
02 in.
03 So, in turn, when that happened, I
04 gave an order to the Guild Studios that I wanted a
05 structural engineer to go ahead and do a survey on what
06 had to be done there, and I do that all the time
07 because it takes the city out of harm's way making a
08 decision like that.
09 The other thing he stated there
10 that there were city workers working there. Well, if
11 he took a close look, there's two catch basins, and
12 also if you notice around the city, we have DPW workers
13 putting handicap ramps in. That's what they were doing
14 there, they were doing their job.
15 The only thing he missed was the
16 Sewer Authority. They were there cleaning out the
17 catch basins. So, sometimes I wish they would get
18 their stories straight instead of just rambling up here
19 about things that aren't true.
20 The other thing he said about
21 Leslie Drive, I'm not going to mention names, a
22 property owner or anything, the gentleman up there has
23 12 acres of land, and the dispute between him and I is
24 he says he's landscaping, I say it isn't landscaping.
25 So, I issued a stop work order, but he
01 continues to work. But like everybody here, you can
02 come up to this podium and speak, they have the
03 First Amendment right, so does that property owner.
04 He has the Fourth, Fifth and
05 Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution, and the most
06 important is due process of law. Until I can get him
07 into court and have a magistrate or judge say it isn't
08 landscaping or it is landscaping, I can't do nothing to
09 that gentleman.
10 And I don't know what Mr. Lameo
11 wants me to do. I physically can't go up there with a
12 gun and pull it out and say, Hey, Bud, stop. You know,
13 you just can't do that stuff. So, there's where that's
14 at on what Mr. Lameo said.
15 On another note I would like to
16 address issues that have been sent to me from this
17 Council, Councilwoman Evans, and the rest of Council.
18 Daron Products, it's an old
19 subject, but the paving program is done down there, so,
20 I hope it does the job, if not, we'll have to take
21 further action.
22 MS. EVANS: Will you continue to
23 monitor the situation?
24 MR. FIORINI: Yes.
25 MS. EVANS: Very good.
01 MR. FIORINI: Okay. Walgreen's
02 the guardrail has been installed, that's taken care
03 of.
04 Leggetts Creek, Loop Avenue,
05 there's a gentleman there that has a garage, he has it
06 like a junkyard now with a lot of vehicles, a letter
07 was issued to that gentleman to cease and assist.
08 He had 30 days. He came in, he's
09 appealing the zoning officer's decision. So, he will
10 be up for zoning in August, which it will be posted
11 around the neighborhood.
12 What he wants to apply for is a
13 variance to do an auto reconditioning there in his
14 garage with a maximum of ten vehicles. So, that's
15 going to stay until we have the zoning hearing, then
16 that will be resolved one way or the other.
17 The other issue, Price Rite,
18 Ms. Evans, you called me about that with the stench
19 from the dumpsters, the leachate leaking out.
20 I've talked to one of their
21 engineers, they're looking at it to see which way they
22 can route a catch basin there to take that out and they
23 can wash it down.
24 I mean, that's something that
25 should have been done years ago when they did the
01 store, but it's an oversight.
02 Let's see, the abandoned lot also
03 across from 1900 Joy Court has been cleaned up by the
04 contractor that was working on the bridge.
05 MS. EVANS: Excellent.
06 MR. FIORINI: Okay. Corner of
07 Luke Avenue and Ash Street, that's being addressed.
08 That situation and the situation with three members of
09 a family disputing, okay, so we have a garage up there
10 that's partially collapsed and we're trying to get him
11 to tear that down, cut the high grass, so that's being
12 worked on.
13 401 Jefferson Avenue, the one you
14 see up here, the corner of Mulberry and Jefferson,
15 that's owned by Mrs. Munchak, A.J. Munchak, the
16 commissioner's aunt.
17 A.J. owns the one behind her.
18 I've been trying for years to get in there, and we
19 can't. She doesn't answer the door.
20 So, he told me what he's going to
21 do within the next month is tear down the house that's
22 in the rear. He intends to put up a condo, move her
23 out of there and sell the front property.
24 MS. EVANS: Okay.
25 MR. FIORINI: So, we'll see what
01 happens with that. I think she's 90-years-old or more,
02 and she doesn't even answer the door.
03 Also, Phelps Street is being
04 addressed. What else do we have here? Keystone
05 Building Block, I just got these today, okay?
06 MS. EVANS: Yes.
07 MR. FIORINI: I sent an inspector
08 over there, addressed our concerns. They are going to
09 wet the piles down with water and probably lower them,
10 but I will go over there either tomorrow or next week
11 as soon as I get a chance to see the whole situation,
12 and maybe make them put up concrete barriers around
13 that and keep them below it so the wind does not take
14 it away.
15 MS. EVANS: I'd appreciate that
16 very much, because the residents claim that much like
17 the situation with Daron U.S.A., they're suffering from
18 increased dust levels, as well, so --
19 MR. FIORINI: Well, it's similar.
20 I mean, years ago Mary Alice Burke was the director
21 here, we spent many weeks down there with complaints,
22 you know, about the dust, and I guess the silo on top,
23 they have a blow-off, and that cap wasn't secured
24 properly, so every time they came in and filled it, it
25 would blow up and out and over to the neighbors.
01 MS. EVANS: But I'm sure if you
02 monitor that situation as well as you've been
03 monitoring Daron, I think we can successfully take care
04 of that for the neighbors.
05 MR. FIORINI: Well, I think I can
06 handle our own dirty laundry. I don't have to get
07 DEP in here. If I have to, I will, but I'll try to
08 handle it on my own.
09 MS. EVANS: Very good.
10 MR. FIORINI: Okay. Another
11 question from Ms. Evans, can a health inspector be paid
12 overtime to accompany police when they're called to
13 drug houses or LCB officers when they inspect nuisance
14 bars?
15 Yes, but there are proper
16 procedures that have to be followed, okay? No. 1, The
17 thing is is that when the Drug Task Force or the LCB
18 gets into the bar and they find violations, etc., they
19 have to make a phone call to Comm Center, Comm Center
20 then will call me, I will go to the bar or to the
21 location, make a determination, whether I need a health
22 inspector, electrical inspector or mechanical
23 inspector. I'm not going to get in a catch 22 like I
24 did before, okay?
25 And the thing is, Mayor Doherty
01 has, the last three years, has budgeted $20,000 in the
02 budget for overtime. He has instructed Chief Elliot,
03 Chief Davis, he doesn't care what day, time or night
04 that I'm called, even on holidays, and my inspectors
05 are ready to rock and roll any time day or night.
06 I mean, last Christmas,
07 Christmas Eve, I was sitting at the table with my
08 family, I got a phone call, Jack Bannon, the electrical
09 inspector, him and I went out and we did our thing and
10 then we came home.
11 But a lot of people don't
12 understand that. We get called out at two, three,
13 four o'clock in morning, but we're here at 8:30 to
14 continue on during the day.
15 MS. EVANS: And also with the
16 police, as well, concerning, let's say, this is not the
17 proper terminology, but for lack thereof, nuisance
18 apartment house --
19 MR. FIORINI: See, the thing is we
20 have -- if the police go and they get in, they have to
21 make that phone call. If they fail to make that phone
22 call and I get a report the next day, I can't get in.
23 I don't have the right of entry, I don't have probable
24 cause.
25 MS. EVANS: Right.
01 MR. FIORINI: So, the key thing
02 is, once they're in, they got to call me, and we will
03 go.
04 MS. EVANS: Very good.
05 MR. FIORINI: That's the key. So,
06 the next day, you've got to be stupid to let me in,
07 you know what I mean?
08 MS. EVANS: Yes.
09 MR. FIORINI: Okay. Mr. DiBileo,
10 I think you received from Joseph Pilchesky on
11 Daron Products.
12 MR. DIBILEO: Yes.
13 MR. FIORINI: Okay?
14 MR. DIBILEO: Uh-huh.
15 MR. FIORINI: What's in this
16 letter is not the truth. There's an I-L zone over
17 there, they're allowed to have a block plant there.
18 I don't know what he has against
19 Mr. Wallace, but that was not approved by Mr. Wallace,
20 that was approved by the prior zoning officer.
21 It does not need variances. The
22 structure was there. He has a list of some permits. I
23 have a list of permits here in building alone between
24 the officer office and the mercantile area he's going
25 to put on, that go over $1.2 million in permit fees.
01 So, and he also states in here
02 that he wants a letter back from me on an answer or the
03 zoning officer, well, I'll tell you what, hell will
04 freeze over before I give him a letter, because it's
05 not the truth.
06 MR. DIBILEO: Bill, I have to
07 disagree with that. Wouldn't an ordinary citizen,
08 wouldn't an ordinary citizen requesting information on
09 a particular building or property deserve an answer
10 from you?
11 MR. FIORINI: I can get an answer,
12 but it will come from the law department, not from me
13 dealing with him.
14 I mean, he in her insinuates that
15 if I don't give an answer, he's going to take me to
16 court and sue. That's fine. Do it, start it tomorrow.
17 I mean, I don't know where he's
18 gotten his information here or, etc., but it's wrong.
19 I mean, I could have the city solicitor read this and
20 give him a reply back, but I'm not.
21 MR. DIBILEO: Well, I disagree
22 with threatening to sue if not responded to, but --
23 MR. FIORINI: Well, that's what he
24 says in here, and he does this all the time with us.
25 MR. DIBILEO: It would seem the
01 courtesy of a response might be warranted, but if you
02 can do that, we'd greatly appreciate it.
03 MR. FIORINI: I'll have the city
04 solicitor, but I won't do it, because every time I talk
05 to that gentleman, it's always a conflict, so I don't
06 want to get in a conflict with anybody.
07 MR. DIBILEO: Okay.
08 MR. FIORINI: That's all I have.
09 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
10 Mr. Fiorini.
11 MS. EVANS: And, Mr. Fiorini, I
12 thank you for all of your work on my many, many
13 projects.
14 MR. FIORINI: Well, I come here,
15 and I don't want you to take offense to this, remember
16 Mark Walsh with the cast on his arm and everything,
17 well, see, I don't want to be doing all these letters
18 and stuff and end up like him with a cast.
19 MS. EVANS: Well, I got a little
20 bad news here, I have a lot more projects for you this
21 evening.
22 MR. FIORINI: Okay.
23 MS. EVANS: But thank you. Thank
24 you for that good work.
25 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. Okay.
01 Now, the first speaker on the sign-in sheet is
02 Wayne Fenton.
03 MR. FENTON: Good evening,
04 City Council. My name is Wayne Fenton, from the corner
05 of East Parker Street and Boulevard Avenue speaking on
06 behalf of my elderly parents.
07 The city and the fire department
08 with the pumps neglect this area when flooding occurs.
09 They don't take the time to consider the East Parker
10 Street residents.
11 They have already installed flood
12 gates only on the Main Avenue side of East Parker
13 Street neglecting the Boulevard Avenue side of
14 East Parker.
15 Many years ago when they removed
16 the overhead trestle, they left a cut where the river
17 waters have found their ways to East Parker Street,
18 which causes major flooding and the needs of the
19 residents are as follows:
20 The city attention to that area,
21 river dredging, sewers need to be badly cleaned,
22 there's a gate on the sewer which flows into the river
23 which needs to be cleaned, it's blocked with dirt and
24 debris coming down the river.
25 I understand Mr. Parker was here
01 earlier tonight at 6 p.m. to address the problem, which
02 he answered some of the questions, but where that
03 trestle was removed, they have mounted dirt on the
04 other side of Parker street on the Main Avenue side.
05 They need a mound of dirt in the
06 empty lot on the East Parker Street side where the
07 river flows in. That's what causes the flooding where
08 the cut in that trestle bridge was taken out.
09 MS. EVANS: Were you able to speak
10 with Mr. Parker tonight yourself?
11 MR. FENTON: Yes, I did get a
12 minute with him, that's about all.
13 MS. EVANS: Did you mention this
14 to him?
15 MR. FENTON: I didn't get a chance
16 to mention the trestle part to him.
17 MS. EVANS: Okay Kay, could we
18 send that to Mr. Parker? Just add it onto the requests
19 that I have for him this evening, but let's put that at
20 the top of the list. Thank you.
21 MR. FENTON: How would you like to
22 replace a $375 hot water heater due to basement
23 flooding due to overflowing sewer basins or when the
24 river does go over dealing with 6 foot of water in your
25 basement and 3 foot on the first floor?
01 The Sewer Authority should be held
02 responsible for the expenses occurred by the East
03 Parker Street residents. We had to go to the Plot,
04 raise hell with city inspectors and engineers over
05 there to get the city's attention to pick up the
06 remains of garbage after flooding occurred.
07 All their attention is on the
08 Plot, Nay Aug Avenue, Albright Avenue. The mayor has
09 never once showed his face at our location.
10 FEMA doesn't cover half the
11 expenses to replace hot water heaters, furnace or
12 personal items.
13 FEMA is overburden already.
14 Thanks to Janet Evans, this problem is finally being
15 addressed. I would publicly like to thank her.
16 Mounds of dirt need to be placed
17 where that trestle has been removed on East Parker
18 Street.
19 And another note is, a friend of
20 mine has asked that a sign on the corner of
21 Archbald Street and South Main Avenue be placed for
22 street notification. There is no street sign on that
23 street, Archbald Street and South Main Avenue.
24 MR. DIBILEO: Jay, can you make a
25 note of that, please?
01 MR. SAUNDERS: Yes, I will.
02 MR. FENTON: Thank you very much.
03 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
04 Mr. Fenton. Frank DeAngelis. Oh, Frank's not here.
05 Okay. Robert Albertson. Not here? Okay. Andy
06 Sbaraglia.
07 MR. SBARAGLIA: I am here. Andy
08 Sbaraglia, citizen of Scranton. Main Avenue, to be
09 exact.
10 Fellow Scrantonians, I come before
11 here many, many times, and the only matter I really
12 bring up most is money matters, but I read in the paper
13 we have a lot of money for fireworks and bands, but no
14 money for the kids to swim free.
15 What happened? The kids can't
16 vote. Grown-ups can, but the kids can enjoy the
17 fireworks, I won't say there's nothing wrong with them,
18 but if we've got money for fireworks and money for
19 bands, I think we should be able to find money for the
20 kids to swim free. There's no reason for it. There's
21 no reason for a lot of these things.
22 I ran through the Scranton
23 Redevelopment Authority audit, but I notice there was
24 no mention of the $12 million letter of credit in that
25 audit. Could somebody look into it and find out why it
01 was overlooked?
02 MS. EVANS: Jay, can we get a copy
03 of that, please? I think he's referring to the $12
04 million line of credit that was used to finance the
05 garage project, you know, whereby the parking meter
06 revenue is also being used toward the payments. That's
07 correct, right, Mr. Sbaraglia?
08 MR. SBARAGLIA: Yes, it is, it is.
09 MS. EVANS: And that is not
10 contained in the audit we received, so I'd like to have
11 a copy of that agreement, please.
12 MR. SAUNDERS: Okay.
13 MS. EVANS Because I think
14 Mr. Sbaraglia made a very good point, that is money --
15 well, the bottom line is this, if they reneg, as you've
16 pointed out a number of times, it's the city who's
17 ultimately responsible for those payments, which means
18 it's ultimately the taxpayers, so you're absolutely
19 correct. So, we need that information as soon as
20 possible, please.
21 MR. SAUNDERS: I'll take care of
22 that.
23 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
24 MR. SBARAGLIA: Now, I don't know
25 if any of the authorities came through with their
01 audit, and I guess they're a little past due some of
02 them, but I guess eventually we will get all their
03 audits from all these different authorities.
04 I was noticing that the SRA, which
05 is the Scranton Recreational Authority, is going to
06 receive, like, $175,000 for an engineering look at our
07 zoo, what was our old zoo, with the hopes of expanding
08 such a zoo, and so forth and so on.
09 Now, you know, this money is only
10 for engineering. That will not go out for bids at
11 all. I presume they will be able to give the Scranton
12 Recreation Authority, will be able to give the contract
13 to anybody they see fit to do it; am I right or wrong?
14 MR. DIBILEO: Quite possibly.
15 MR. SBARAGLIA: So, actually we
16 know we can't afford to expand the zoo. There's no
17 way. We couldn't even afford to keep the old zoo open
18 when we had a lot more people, so there's no way we can
19 expand this zoo.
20 So, I'm asking you, this could be
21 a form of a giveaway, and it's not a very good way to
22 give away our money, because that money is coming from
23 the taxpayers somewhere along the line.
24 Somewhere we paid for this money,
25 and to get into something we can't afford or can't do,
01 it's ridiculous. We've got enough garages going up
02 that we can't afford, and we've got a lot of projects
03 in this city we can't afford.
04 We can't afford to pay twice for
05 the DPW site, but we're doing it, and we can't afford
06 to let an administration take money that belongs to the
07 citizens of Scranton and give to the
08 Recreational Authority if that ballpark is sold. That
09 money belongs to the people of Scranton.
10 The only reason that legislation
11 was written like it was was to deprive the citizens of
12 Scranton the money that was due to them.
13 And the funny thing is, if they
14 didn't do that, they probably would have sold that
15 playground, the ballpark would have been sold, the
16 South Side Complex.
17 Because of the fact they went
18 through the SRA, they ran into a lot of legal hassles,
19 and then it's still in abeyance.
20 But that money belonged to us, to
21 the taxpayers, not to the SRA not to appointees. And
22 the worse part about it, it was done with the full
23 knowledge that they wanted to sell that ballfield.
24 That was the sad part about it.
25 They were trying to deprive the
01 citizens of $1.1 million that belonged to all of us to
02 give to a group of people that they appoint. And the
03 worse part about it, they don't have to apply by any of
04 the rules that you have to apply by. That's the sad
05 part of these authorities, they play by different
06 rules.
07 Maybe at one time they had people
08 that were committed to what they were doing, but we
09 don't have it today. We got people that are committed
10 to a lot of different ways, but they are definitely not
11 committed to the taxpayer. I thank you.
12 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
13 Mr. Sbaraglia. Lee Morgan.
14 MR. MORGAN: Good evening,
15 Council.
16 MR. DIBILEO: Good evening.
17 MR. MORGAN: The first thing I'd
18 like to say is that I agree with basically everything
19 Andy said here.
20 MR. DIBILEO: Excuse me, Lee. For
21 the record, your name and address, please.
22 MR. MORGAN: Lee Morgan,
23 810 North Washington Avenue. I agree with everything
24 that Andy had to say here at the podium.
25 The one place I differentiate from
01 what he said was in regards to the zoo at Nay Aug Park,
02 I think that the county and some outlining communities
03 should help fund that, I think that could be a good
04 thing for a lot of other places than just Scranton,
05 like Dunmore, Throop and all the other areas that could
06 use it for an educational format for their schools.
07 The other thing I have here is,
08 you know, I don't think anybody should look at this
09 forum as an anti-Doherty biased group of individuals.
10 I think what Channel 61 has done
11 by televising these Council meetings is made this the
12 sitcom of the week, because people like to be
13 entertained, but you know something, not only are they
14 being entertained, they're being informed. And it's
15 opening a lot of eyes, it really is.
16 At one time there would have been
17 no resistance to giving away the South Side Sports
18 Complex. There would have been a lot -- no resistance
19 to an awful lot of things that have happened here.
20 We never would have had the
21 changes in Council that we've had, the people would
22 have never become empowered, as they have now. There's
23 a lot more dialogue taking place here.
24 But the one thing that hasn't
25 taken place here that should take place is a subpoena
01 should be used on all the authorities to find out where
02 we are.
03 We've just discussed where we
04 believe certain documentation is missing out of only
05 one authority's audit. And are these true numbers?
06 And are these all the facts? And are we going to get
07 them from all the authorities?
08 Because, you know something, all
09 this debt comes back to the city, and how can we find a
10 plan to turn this city around without true and thorough
11 facts?
12 We don't have to like what the
13 facts will be, because we'll have to deal with them,
14 but they should be there, and evidently they're not.
15 On community reinvestment fund,
16 you know, I've read the documentation that I've
17 received from Jay, you know, and I really can't see any
18 reason to agree to that agreement. I mean, you know,
19 maybe Council, when it decides to speak about this
20 issue, can tell us what's so good about this for the
21 taxpayers of this city.
22 I've seen who they've given money
23 to, Allied Services, a multi-million-dollar
24 corporations, and a lot of other corporations, that, to
25 be honest with you, could have funded their own
01 situations or went to a loan through a commercial
02 format.
03 You know, I mean, we have to look
04 at the residents of this city and the condition of this
05 city and make sure that the funds go to the people
06 would really need them, besides special interests.
07 Because you know, I think that
08 that's where this city went wrong 40 years ago. We've
09 worried about special interest, instead of the
10 residents and the taxpayers, and we've eroded our tax
11 base to the point right now where it's really hard to
12 truly explain where we stand.
13 And on this dangerous dog
14 legislation, I understand that Attorney Walsh is going
15 to say something on that, and, you know, I did talk to
16 Ray Hayes about that today, he seems concerned.
17 I mean, there's a lot of people
18 concerned, the only question is, what are we going to
19 do about it? I've read some laws about it, and I think
20 the laws are probably in place to take care of this
21 problem.
22 And the last thing I have here,
23 well, one other thing besides this, is the Pennsylvania
24 American Water Company that wants to build this station
25 next to Leggetts Creek, you know, I sat through that
01 meeting in Council chambers, and I just hope that
02 Council wouldn't react to a situation where -- I guess
03 this gentleman was an attorney, he was talking about
04 taking the judicial route, and I just hope that Council
05 wouldn't be intimidated by that and would realize that
06 there's a lot of people that are going to be affected
07 by that, and this company can come forward, he can meet
08 with all the residents and everybody can be in a
09 win-win situation.
10 This gentleman that was in Council
11 shouldn't have been there fighting like he was and be
12 so brushed away by him saying, well, we can go
13 judicially and do whatever we want. We can use eminent
14 domain or whatever and we've got all the power.
15 And it shouldn't come to that,
16 because they're a servant to the people, and they work
17 hand and hand, and we've got to recognize that.
18 And the last thing I'd like to say
19 is, Gaynor Cawley has House Bill 1545, that he's
20 working through -- well, he's trying to work it through
21 the legislator, and I think that I'm saying this so
22 everybody in Scranton can call their legislators or
23 legislator and tell them that they really appreciate
24 what Mr. Cawley is trying to do.
25 And I don't know how you'd reach
01 the rest of them in Harrisburg, I mean, you could if
02 you were like me, and find their numbers and call them
03 or use their web pages, but, you know, he's saying that
04 the people in Harrisburg should pay 2 percent of their
05 wages towards health care, and I just think that he's
06 absolutely right.
07 The only thing I find troubling is
08 that only 6 representatives in Harrisburg have backed
09 this bill, and I just like to say that when the
10 South Side Sports Complex was in trouble, all the
11 representatives walked away from us, every single one,
12 and Gaynor Cawley stood there in a fire storm in the
13 House of Representatives and fought for us, and I think
14 we should all appreciate that, and we've got to
15 recognize legislators who legislate for us. Thank you.
16 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
17 Mr. Morgan. I just became aware of House Bill 1545
18 this evening, and I have to take my hat off to
19 State Representative Gaynor Cawley for this
20 legislation.
21 You know, it can't be the most
22 popular piece of legislation in Harrisburg, whereby
23 he's recommending that 2 percent of wages of state
24 elected officials pay for their own health care, go
25 towards their own health care, but, you know, many
01 people are doing it in private industry.
02 Myself, for example, I pay for my
03 own health care. I think it's much more than 2
04 percent, to be honest with you, but I take my hat off
05 to Representative Cawley, Representatives Calterjaroni,
06 Udacheck, Curry, Gavin, Dollie and Scavello, for
07 co-sponsoring the legislation with
08 Representative Cawley, and I think that is something
09 that people within the community should call their
10 representatives about and tell them that you might
11 support that if you would, if you do. I certainly
12 think it's a great idea. Okay. Jack McGuigan.
13 MR. McGUIGAN: Hi, I'm Jack
14 McGuigan, I live at 314 Birch Street. I have one
15 criticism to present and a poetry lesson.
16 Over the past several weeks some
17 of the rhetoric and tactics of this Council have
18 offended me, in particular the tactic used to blame
19 students, who have no control over their lot in life,
20 by wrapping them in a statistic to further your own
21 agenda.
22 I'm a rostered artist with the
23 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Artists and Education
24 Program. I'm a poet, and I've conducted poetry
25 residencies, which means the teaching of the writing of
01 poetry in most of the schools in Scranton, as well as
02 around the state.
03 I know the students you have
04 changed into statistic. They are human beings,
05 energetic and creative human beings.
06 And it reminded me, that tactic,
07 of an author, ecologist and biologist Garrett Harden,
08 one of my favorite quotes in a situation like this,
09 There is nothing more dangerous than a shallow thinking
10 compassionate man.
11 On your next trip to the mall, at
12 the Steamtown Mall, as you leave the food court, pass
13 the kiosk and the picture booth, you'll come to a
14 display of posters, and one of those posters reads,
15 A young mind is like gelatin, the idea is to put in
16 lots of good stuff before it sets.
17 And at the bottom it says, Nurture
18 the future. Be a head start volunteer. And that's the
19 end of the criticism part of it.
20 The arts unite, and this is not a
21 generalized statement, but a truism, a fact. When
22 people are working together creatively, great things
23 happen.
24 Recently we had a One City One
25 Book Program where everyone was asked to read the same
01 book. What I want to do tonight is to put a twist on
02 that and get the citizens writing poetry.
03 And one of the simplest kinds of
04 poems to write is a list poem, and I usually start off
05 my workshops with this kind of poem, because it teaches
06 one to be specific and to use concrete images.
07 And I'd like to do something
08 tonight, which I know will help to present a positive
09 picture of the City of Scranton.
10 A list poem can be written about
11 anything, but I would like to focus, to concentrate on
12 a single theme, Living in the City of Scranton.
13 Imagine if the whole town began
14 writing and creatively working together to present a
15 positive picture of the city.
16 I don't know if it's ever been
17 done before, but, you know, Scranton could become known
18 as a City of poets. As an example I have a excerpt
19 from a poem that I'm working on, a list poem, and it's
20 not finished by any means, but I want to use this as an
21 example to get the viewers and the people here in the
22 chambers to maybe start thinking positively and to
23 start writing.
24 What I call this was Thing I Like
25 About Living In Scranton. The title may change later
01 on, but this is just a excerpt.
02 I like the fact that there are
03 three theaters in the City of Scranton which bring live
04 drama and comedy to the citizens. All of them have
05 existed for years, the Providence Playhouse,
06 Scranton Public Theater, and the Northeast Theater,
07 which has just moved into the Hotel Jermyn.
08 I like the city for supporting the
09 Mulberry Poets and Writers Association, a community
10 based literary organization now in its 28 year, and
11 this is a feat shared by only about a half dozen
12 cities.
13 I like our literary heritage,
14 which includes such writers as Jean Kerr, Please Don't
15 Eat the Daisies and the Snake Has All the Lines;
16 Jane Jacobs, The Life and Death of Great American
17 Cities; Bill Coxwinkle, one of my favorite writers,
18 whose short stories and novels have been translated
19 into 22 languages, but whose name didn't really become
20 well known until he wrote a novel for Steven
21 Spielberg's E.T.
22 There's Lee Bennett Hopkins, a
23 children's writer and a reading specialist, who has
24 over 100 books published, and then current people who
25 come in and out of our city, Jay Perrini, Karen
01 Blomain, W.S. Merwin, and Jason Miller.
02 I like the promise of a better
03 future for the city that I see in the construction of
04 new buildings, just as importantly, the preservation of
05 older ones, especially the plans I see for the 500
06 block of Lackawanna Avenue.
07 I like the health care provided
08 here in this city by three trauma certified hospitals,
09 which for a city the size of Scranton is remarkable.
10 I like the ethnic festivals and
11 church picnics, Sunday concerts in the park, noontime
12 concerts on Courthouse Square, Jazz on the Avenue, and.
13 I like being able to walk into town every week.
14 MR. DIBILEO: Finish your thought,
15 Mr. McGuigan.
16 MR. McGUIGAN: Okay. What I want
17 to do is to ask all the viewers and those in the
18 audience here to think about positive aspects of the
19 city and write your thoughts in a list.
20 When you write something specific,
21 don't just say living or -- I want you to write
22 something specific, don't just say living here is fun,
23 that's too vague. Think of something fun and write it
24 down.
25 I like the fresh vegetables that
01 my neighbor gives me from the garden is better than
02 saying, I like people. Don't just say I like my
03 neighborhood, but show us why. Maybe you like it
04 because four generations of your family have lived
05 there.
06 And if you do something like this
07 and write it down, I have an Email address for you,
08 Citypoem, C-I-T-Y-P-O-E-M, citypoem@aol.com.
09 And as I said at the beginning,
10 the arts unite, and I think we can get a lot of
11 positive energy going writing about the city.
12 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
13 Mr. McGuigan.
14 MR. McGUIGAN: And I'll leave with
15 one quote here, We hear a lot of things going on here,
16 real difficulties can be overcome, it's only the
17 imaginary ones that are unconquerable.
18 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
19 Mr. McGuigan. Maureen McGuigan.
20 MS. McGUIGAN: Maureen McGuigan,
21 613 East Market Street. I remember being a
22 ten-year-old girl in 1984 and walking past abandoned
23 buildings, blighted lots, empty store fronts and
24 listening to the adults talk about depressingly about
25 the fate of the once industrial city.
01 Coal declined as early as 1917,
02 major building stopped in Scranton in 1930,
03 manufacturing left in the '60s, and nothing replaced
04 it.
05 I remember wishing I could turn
06 the abandoned lot near my house into a park just to
07 breathe some life into the city.
08 Now here we are in 2005, there is
09 building again in Scranton, we have a thriving arts and
10 culture scene in downtown, the revitalization is
11 spreading to the neighborhoods, and I find myself
12 involved in several organizations, among them the
13 South Renaissance Community Development Center, the
14 Lackawanna River Corridor Association, that cares about
15 its neighborhoods and wants to see businesses and
16 culture prosper there, as well.
17 There are a number of new
18 businesses in the city, including many coffee shops,
19 specialty stores, there are new kind of jobs finding
20 their way here in technology and medicine, we're trying
21 to improve our tourism sector.
22 I bring this up because we are one
23 of the lucky former industrialist towns. Their name is
24 legion across this country. We are actually
25 reinventing ourselves.
01 And I do owe some of that thanks
02 to the present administration, but also to the many
03 organizations, some of them who have been working for
04 decades to reinvent ourselves.
05 If you go to the reference section
06 in the Scranton Public Library on the second floor in
07 local history, there's recovery plans starting as early
08 as the 1940s.
09 It's taken a long time to get
10 there, but we have to reinvent ourselves, otherwise
11 Scranton's fate is to just stagnate and rust.
12 Because I take this business of
13 city revitalization very seriously, I have really been
14 pouring over books and articles, journals, attending
15 conferences talking to people from other cities about
16 what to do, and I brought one tonight, because I think
17 that we are on the right track.
18 I brought the Brookings Report,
19 which if you're not familiar was put out a year or two
20 ago, it's actually an agenda for renewing
21 Pennsylvania.
22 You know, there were a lot of
23 depressing statistics in it, but I found a lot of hope
24 for Scranton, and I think it's important to say this,
25 because a lot of what we see in this city right now is
01 not just fluff, it has real economic impacts for our
02 citizens.
03 One of the things the Brooking
04 Report recommended is that city's leverage industries
05 that promote revitalization, such as medicine and
06 education.
07 I think that's clear that Scranton
08 has a head start on that with our colleges and
09 hospitals.
10 Another recommendation, that we
11 invest in consumption amenities. No urban economic
12 development strategy can ignore the important role that
13 retail and services play in local economics.
14 And just one more, I won't read
15 the whole book, make Main Street and small town
16 revitalization central to economic development.
17 That's what we're really seeing
18 here with Nay Aug and things like coffee shops and art
19 galleries. The glass is half full, I didn't say it was
20 full, we certainly have problems and challenges that I
21 hope that we can work through with meaningful dialogue
22 based on facts, research and mutual respect.
23 Tomorrow is the Electric Friday,
24 the downtown will be full of people of all ages
25 strolling, eating looking at art. This is the kind of
01 thing that people talk about when they come home from
02 places like San Francisco, Georgetown and even European
03 cities.
04 I think this is a sign that in
05 many ways Scranton is returning to the healthy city
06 that it was in the early part of the 20th century.
07 Thank you.
08 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
09 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
10 Rosemary McGuigan.
11 MS. MCGUIGAN: This is not a
12 conspiracy. Rosemary McGuigan, 314 Birch Street. Feel
13 relieved, I will not be long.
14 I have watched some Council
15 meetings and have seen and heard just two things I wish
16 to address. I did hear more than once somebody say we
17 give too much to the arts, we support the arts too
18 much, maybe they don't need as much.
19 I have to laugh, and I wanted to
20 say if the builders of the Cultural Center and the
21 Jermyn were here, what would they say to us and when
22 would we tell them, no more art, stop for a while?
23 So, I just have a little quote on
24 the arts asking the Council in any way that you can now
25 and in the future if it comes across your ability to do
01 so, you do support the arts in any way. Scranton
02 cannot have too much art.
03 James Baldwin, Art lays bear the
04 questions hidden by our answers. And the second one
05 is, Art is the soul of the community, it speaks before
06 it is understood that the beauty of the here and now is
07 bigger than all of us. Thank you.
08 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. Thank
09 you. Rosemary, may I ask you a question? You said
10 that you had heard here at Council that someone said
11 too much art, anybody in particular, like Council
12 members?
13 MS. McGUIGAN: No.
14 MR. DIBILEO: Oh, okay. I'm
15 sorry. I just wanted to make sure. Thank you very
16 much. And I think you're correct, you know, art is a
17 wonderful thing for a community.
18 As a matter of fact, I heard a
19 rumor this week that I said to someone we have too
20 much, I don't know how it was phrased, but that there
21 was too much art going on in the town, and that's
22 absolutely not true, and I'm sure that's not why you're
23 here saying what you're saying, but if you heard that
24 rumor, it's untrue. I agree with you. Thank you.
25 MS. McGUIGAN: No. I was
01 referring to something else, no.
02 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
03 Dick Laske.
04 MR. LASKE: John, I'm going to
05 publicly apologize. I'm buying my own scooter. Keep
06 it.
07 Okay. Seriously, this is all very
08 interesting about poetry. My wife's uncle was an
09 accomplished poet, he was also the ambassador of
10 Lithuanian with Woodrow Wilson, but Lithuanians have a
11 few upstairs, John, you know what I mean?
12 Okay. Now, why don't somebody
13 write a poem and give it to the administration about
14 what I read in Sunday's paper about Judge Mazzoni going
15 against the city in defense of the clerical workers for
16 the police department? Did you read that article?
17 Now, that would be a very
18 interesting poem, how to stop arbitration. Because if
19 you go back over the years, you're starting with the $6
20 million to the firemen, you're talking a lot of money.
21 We'd all be driving Mercedes, believe me.
22 But that's neither here nor there,
23 but everybody is pounding on the idea there's only nine
24 cops on the street. Theoretically that's correct.
25 I've heard this so many times, I can almost become a
01 cop.
02 Okay. Now, this is my -- one of
03 my pet peeves, that Northeast Credit, as you know, it's
04 no secret, I'm not on their Christmas list. They don't
05 like me, and I really don't care, but seriously
06 speaking, I don't know when the contract is up, but
07 I'll tell you this, I would like to go on record, tell
08 this young lady right here that you can refer back when
09 there's snow outside, that Dick Laske said they
10 shouldn't be taking advantage of the people.
11 I don't like to sound repetitious,
12 but I was in this room when Mr. and Mrs. Chase was
13 here, and that poor lady was halfway to tears. Nancy
14 Krake solved the problem, not them guys that laugh all
15 the way to the bank. I don't like to be prejudiced,
16 but that's the way I am. Like John said, We talk from
17 the shoulder, that's why we get a couple of shots in
18 the horns.
19 Okay. I apologized to John. Now,
20 Mr. McTiernan, front and center. I agree with you and
21 Mr. Pocius about children, you don't send your children
22 to school for the teacher to have them. They're not
23 the teacher's kids.
24 When the mother brings the baby
25 home, you teach it right from wrong. Once they become
01 in their teen years and they're out, you know what I
02 mean, like going to museums and stuff like that, I
03 mean, the boys and girls, it's kind of hard to control
04 them, even a choke don't work, because we raised eight
05 kids. I've been there, I saw that.
06 Okay. How am I doing so far?
07 Okay. The 200 block of Wyoming Avenue, there's six
08 benches. The 100 block of Wyoming Avenue there's no
09 benches for old people waiting for the bus down by the
10 Globe Store, right, because I'm trying to be a senior
11 myself.
12 Now, the Courthouse Square has at
13 least 40 benches around it, right? I think. I didn't
14 really count them, it might be 38, 39 or 41, I won't
15 debate that.
16 Okay. Now, on a positive note, I
17 read in the paper where the city and the school board
18 worked together to repair a playground, I believe it
19 was on the South Side, where there was pipes protruding
20 from the ground and the little kids were getting cut,
21 okay, now, Market Street is a state highway, am I
22 right, John, because I live on Market Street, and
23 you're talking about the 500 block.
24 You know where I live up above the
25 ramp, and I'll tell you what, some of them guys that
01 come up there, you think they're going North on 81,
02 because, boy, they barrel.
03 I live on the busiest deadend
04 street in this county. Oh, I thought that was it.
05 Ut-oh, somebody wants to dance. Not now, I'm married.
06 There we go. I'm done, right?
07 One minute. Oh, what can I say? Okay. I won't be
08 back for a while, aren't you guys lucky? Enjoy your
09 summer.
10 And you know what, I was over in
11 your neighborhood, as you know, Janet, and your dog is
12 still there. I would be deathly afraid to even holler
13 at your dog. You'd put the curse on me.
14 But seriously that tree business
15 with Marywood, I mean, that's kind of a tickly
16 situation, but in reality like John said before, it is
17 Marywood's land.
18 And, you know, if I was that
19 smart, I would be working for Mark Walsh, you know what
20 I mean? Okay. See ya.
21 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
22 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
23 Thank you, Mr. Laske. Francis Tyson.
24 MS. TYSON: Good evening,
25 Mr. President and Council members. My name is Francis
01 Tyson, I live in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
02 MR. DIBILEO: Good evening.
03 MS. TYSON: I'm here this evening
04 to encourage the Council and also your attendees
05 tonight and any of your viewing audience to be with us
06 up at Nay Aug Park on Monday, the Fourth of July on
07 Independence Day.
08 Every year we get a group of
09 veterans to go up there, about 50, and they put on a
10 demonstration that is really great for our area. These
11 veterans are all World War II veterans, Korean
12 veterans, Vietnam, and also we have some from the
13 Desert Storm.
14 They put this program on to show
15 their patriotism. You know, the Lackawanna Valley
16 always was a very patriotic area, our area of
17 Pennsylvania, and we encourage people to come to these
18 events to make it even better every year.
19 These people that put this on do
20 it from their heart. They take time out of a very
21 special day for themselves just to come up there early
22 in the morning and put this on for Scranton and for our
23 citizens, and basically for our younger people, because
24 our young people learn their citizenship from us, their
25 parents, grandparents and great grandparents.
01 So, I really encourage everybody
02 to attend this. The ceremony starts at 10:30 in the
03 morning. It's started off by the Ring Gold Band, we
04 have a concert.
05 After the concert, we start our
06 ceremony. We have a flag raising, we have a parade of
07 flags which is very inspiring. There's about 20 sets
08 of veterans flags that fly there, and it's very
09 respectable.
10 After that, we have our guest
11 speaker, and our guest speaker this year is
12 Commander Allen, who is a commanding officer of the
13 naval reserve center here in Avoca.
14 Later on after that particular
15 event takes place, we pass out free American made
16 American flags to all the children, plus a free
17 refreshing beverage.
18 We encourage everybody to come.
19 The weatherman said it's going to be great. Bring a
20 chair. There's not a lot of seating. Bring a
21 comfortable chair or blanket, and wear yourself a nice
22 broad straw hat. Thank you.
23 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you very much.
24 MS. EVANS: Mr. Tyson, I just
25 wanted to add, I attended your festivities last year on
01 the 4th of July, and it was a resounding success. I
02 commend all of you involved in the planning and the
03 organization of such an event.
04 And, yes, that parade of flags was
05 so moving, so inspirational, and I, too, got a free
06 flag last year. I didn't know who was actually giving
07 that to me, but thank you for that. That was very,
08 very nice.
09 MR. TYSON: We'll do it again this
10 year.
11 MS. EVANS: And good luck to you.
12 I'm sure you're going to have an even bigger crowd this
13 year than you had last summer.
14 MR. TYSON: I certainly hope so.
15 It starts at 10:30 in the morning, and the band concert
16 is for about a half hour. Immediately after the band
17 concert, we start our ceremony.
18 MR. DIBILEO: What section of Nay
19 Aug is it at?
20 MR. TYSON: I'm sorry. It's at
21 the swim complex.
22 MR. DIBILEO: At the swim complex.
23 MR. TYSON: At the swim complex.
24 Any other questions?
25 MS. EVANS: And you had a very
01 good singer last year, too. I think Ms. Stucker.
02 MR. TYSON: Mary Rita will be there
03 again this year.
04 MS. EVANS: Mary Rita Stucker.
05 She was excellent.
06 MR. TYSON: Sure. Okay? Thank
07 you. And may God Bless America.
08 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you very
09 much. Mike Dudek.
10 MR. DUDEK: My name is Mike Dudek,
11 608 Depot Street, Scranton. And I'm going to start
12 with a piece of wonderful news, really wonderful news,
13 finally at last the newspaper is penetrating the
14 City of Scranton and is beginning to cover major
15 stories of Lackawanna County and the City of Scranton
16 on its front pages.
17 It is the Wilkes-Barre Times
18 Leader and the most recent story that it ran on its
19 front page Tuesday, Southern Union Cuts Local Staff.
20 When you read the account in the
21 Time Leader on Tuesday and you compare it to the
22 account of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Censorship
23 Alliance on Thursday, and that's the Scranton
24 Times-Tribune, you will see some major differences in
25 interpretation.
01 But the bottom line is that when
02 you read both items, you will not be able to determine
03 whether or not Southern Union intends to locate its
04 headquarters here.
05 And the one really disturbing
06 statement that comes across is something that the
07 Censorship Alliance didn't censor out, it was the
08 statement of the chief operating officer of
09 Southern Union in his description of the people that
10 are going to be here.
11 He called them the corporate
12 people, but he never said that they were going to be
13 the headquarters people. He didn't say that it was
14 going to be the upper management, he just referred to
15 them almost as if this was going to be a back office
16 operation.
17 I'm asking City Council to please
18 investigate this company to see what its intentions
19 are. We were led to believe that the company would be
20 headquartered in Scranton. This is the basis of its
21 KOZ.
22 If this is not going to be
23 headquartered in the City of Scranton and all it's
24 going to be is a place for some corporate executives to
25 do some work, then I think some heads ought to roll in
01 the administration, because I don't think it's very
02 nice for us to be snookered by a bunch of Texans in
03 order to get themselves a big tax break. And from
04 where I'm sitting, it looks like we're being snookered
05 big time.
06 The second thing I'd like to bring
07 across, may I please approach? I have one for each.
08 MR. DIBILEO: Certainly.
09 MR. DUDEK: Thank you. These are
10 copies of tomorrow's edition of the Union News. Please
11 open to Page 5, pardon, Page 6, Page 6,
12 Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty denies being anti-union.
13 Mayor Doherty requested an
14 interview with the Union News, and the publisher of the
15 paper granted him a one-hour opportunity to make his
16 case.
17 June 22, Scranton Mayor Chris
18 Doherty said he is not anti-union. Mr. Doherty's
19 currently serving his fourth year as mayor of Scranton
20 and is being challenged in the November Election by
21 Scranton City Council President Gary DiBileo for a
22 second term.
23 Quote, I am not anti-union at all. I
24 know it has been said about me, but it's just not true.
25 I'm just trying to head the city forward.
01 During a hour-long interview at
02 the newspaper office, Mr. Doherty said he understands
03 why many unions will not publicly support him during
04 the campaign, quote, It's union brotherhood, I
05 understand that.
06 Mr. Doherty failed to return phone
07 messages left by the newspaper during the primary
08 elections, but requested the newspaper interview.
09 The union that represents the
10 Scranton Police, Fraternal Order of Police lodge local
11 No. 2, and the International Association of
12 Firefighters, Union Local 60, that represents city
13 firefighters, are without contracts and have called
14 Mr. Doherty and his negotiating tactics anti-union.
15 Mr. Doherty said he's a former
16 member of local iron workers local 521. For two
17 summers while I was in college, I was a member of the
18 union at MacGregor, said Mr. Doherty.
19 MacGregor Ironworks, is located in Dunmore.
20 He stated during his first term in
21 office, $250 million has been spent on projects in the
22 city that has put hundreds of union tradesmen to work.
23 I have union construction leaders
24 telling me how they have no -- have no on the bench --
25 no one on the bench because of all the work downtown,
01 and in the second term, I have plans to increase that
02 to $600 million.
03 The mayor said contracts could not
04 be negotiated before the end of the year for the police
05 and firefighters unions. This is where the crux of it
06 comes to.
07 The mayor says he can't negotiate
08 with the police and the firefighters. He stated he is
09 willing to negotiate with the unions, and the Scranton
10 Recovery Plan is only a starting point, however, his
11 proposal of management rights is the main sticking
12 point.
13 Now, let me explain to you
14 something a little bit about management rights, when
15 you have management rights, if you're trying to
16 negotiate, you have to negotiate that.
17 What the mayor wants is for the
18 unions to unilaterally give the mayor the right to do
19 whatever he wants, whenever he wants to do it, and only
20 then negotiate.
21 I mean, that is pretty much the
22 same thing as going to a car dealer and giving the car
23 dealer $500 for the right to negotiate the purchase of
24 a car, and you forfeit the $500 if you don't buy it.
25 It's really it's quite the same thing.
01 I would ask Mr. Gervasi, and I
02 would ask Nancy Krake, in their, you know, whatever
03 time they have, either during this week or during
04 subsequent weeks to explain more fully this concept of
05 management rights and why it is so crucial that people
06 understand what is being done here, because this is a
07 back breaker to any union, and I don't care what union
08 you talk about. Thank you very much.
09 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
10 Mr. Dudek. Les Spindler.
11 MR. SPINDLER: Good evening,
12 Council. Les Spinder, Bullwer Street.
13 MR. DIBILEO: Good evening.
14 MR. SPINDLER: The first thing I
15 have to say, I'm sure everybody knows what happened on
16 Luzerne Street again this week, someone else was hit by
17 a train again.
18 A coworker of mine came up to me
19 yesterday and asked if I could say something, she comes
20 into work every day that way, and she said the one time
21 it was nighttime, she was almost hit by a train going
22 the direction towards Keyser Avenue.
23 She said on the right-hand-side
24 there's a tree and bushes there, she said you can't see
25 the train coming. So, maybe if we can get that all cut
01 down or trimmed back, that might help the situation a
02 little bit.
03 MR. DIBILEO: Okay.
04 MR. SPINDLER: She said the night
05 the train was coming, the headlight wasn't even on.
06 She heard the horn, and that's the only reason she
07 stopped her car. But she couldn't see the train coming
08 with the tree and all the brush there.
09 MR. DIBILEO: Yeah, that should be
10 something that hopefully the city could help with as
11 far as the visualization at that intersection.
12 Mr. Saunders, would you ask DPW if they can cut back
13 some of the brushes at least in the meantime until this
14 issue can be resolved?
15 MR. SPINDLER: It's on the
16 right-hand-side going towards Keyser Avenue.
17 MR. SAUNDERS: Yes, I will.
18 MR. DIBILEO: Try to get an answer
19 back or have them do it as soon as they can, please.
20 MR. SPINDLER: Okay. The next
21 thing, there's a letter to the editor today that I
22 thought was very disturbing.
23 I wasn't going to read the whole
24 thing, but I'm going to read it now. Maybe everybody
25 didn't see it.
01 Televised Meeting A Horror Show.
02 My best understanding of City Council's function is to
03 consider and act on legislation and to hear the
04 concerns of citizens so they could clearly understand
05 views of the people they serve.
06 What I am watching on
07 Channel 61 seems to be anything but that. I recently
08 heard Gary DiBileo to tell a city department head to
09 immediately tender his resignation because Mr. DiBileo
10 disagreed with what he had to say.
11 It was said with hatred and
12 disdain, backed by the ugly sneer of Janet Evans, and
13 it was horrifying to watch.
14 It seems that no matter what any
15 citizen says, it's only applauded if it is against our
16 mayor, for whom there seems to be a hate campaign in
17 the works televised for all those to see, and also
18 seemingly a conflict of interest, considering
19 Mr. DiBileo is running for mayor.
20 It seems that council meetings
21 have become a free commercial for Mr. DiBileo, where he
22 uses it regularly as such.
23 I would hope that Council would
24 present a professional, respectful level-headed lady or
25 gentleman whose first duty is to office and serve the
01 people they serve.
02 Even if they disagree with the
03 mayor, isn't there a respect for the office of mayor
04 that should be upheld?
05 I have lived and voted in other
06 cities and I've watched many televised Council
07 meetings. I've always found them to be respectful and
08 enjoyed a great deal of integrity, and their intent
09 seemed to be about moving a city forward, not a yelling
10 match towards citizens who disagree with Council
11 officials' agenda.
12 If I would consider moving to this
13 area and happen upon viewing such a horror of local
14 government, I would certainly reconsider. Nevermind if
15 I had a large business to relocate.
16 This City Council seems to be
17 anti-citizen and pro themselves. They seem to have
18 their own agenda which has nothing to do with how the
19 people feel, since remarkably only a few attend, and
20 those same few do so regularly to engage in a diatribe
21 of what is wrong with our city, and a unique and
22 singular vision, instead of focusing on moving a city
23 into the future with intelligence and independent
24 thinking.
25 Frankly, can't this be stopped?
01 Whose responsibility is it to keep Council meetings
02 unbiased? It's difficult to watch. It's
03 inappropriate, and it even seems beyond childlike.
04 Like school children who decide to
05 hang up on an undesirable child. I needn't go into the
06 lack of humanity in that.
07 Is there anything we can do to
08 force City Council to stick to the jobs they were
09 elected to do, set aside personal and political motives
10 and lose the unnecessary drama? I would go there
11 myself, but not to subject myself to that.
12 Kathleen Kearn, Scranton.
13 I have a couple comments on this.
14 First thing it says backed by the ugly sneer of
15 Janet Evans. I come to these meetings or watch them on
16 television since Mrs. Evans is on Council, I've never
17 seen her make an ugly sneer, and I don't think anyone
18 else has either.
19 MS. EVANS: Thank you, Les.
20 MR. SPINDLER: Another thing it
21 says, City Council seems to be anti-citizen and pro
22 themselves.
23 I think that Kathleen Kearn is a
24 little confused. Council on numerous occasions has
25 tried to get the mayor to hire more policemen to
01 protect the citizens of this city, and also tried to
02 hire firemen and make sure firehouses aren't closed.
03 Last Saturday's paper,
04 Mayor Doherty won't seek to add firefighters. Doherty
05 will not apply for grant.
06 As I said, Council would like to
07 hire more policemen. Mayor Doherty won't apply for
08 grants or firefighters. His recovery plan doesn't
09 allow for grants for policemen, yet we can get a grant
10 for $175,000 to renovate a zoo that is on hard times
11 now.
12 And they said they're only going
13 to do a study, how do you do a study, or, I'm sorry,
14 there's an artist's picture of the zoo already, how do
15 you have an artist's picture of what it's going to look
16 like if you didn't do the study yet?
17 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
18 Mr. Spindler.
19 MR. SPINDLER: Can I --
20 Mr. Fiorini had a lot more time than I did.
21 MR. DIBILEO: You know, I'm going
22 to have to ask you if you can come back next week with
23 that, Mr. Spindler. Appreciate that.
24 MR. SPINDLER: Okay. Thank you.
25 MR. DIBILEO: I'll have to disagree
01 with Ms. Kearn in her assessment of our City Council
02 meetings. I actually think that things are handled
03 very respectfully. I think this Council is completely
04 pro-citizen, not anti-citizen, and I think everybody
05 gets applauded, no matter what they say.
06 I think there were some people
07 here this evening that were in favor of the
08 administration, and we welcome everyone, and they were
09 applauded, and I think that the real horror would be if
10 there were no television cameras at these meetings.
11 So, I think Ms. Kearn has it
12 backwards. But That's only my opinion.
13 Larry McAndrew.
14 MR. MCANDREW: Good evening,
15 Council. Larry McAndrew, Scranton resident, Scranton
16 taxpayer. First off, I want to remind the residents
17 and taxpayers of Scranton and Lackawanna County about
18 an important meeting that's going to take place this
19 Tuesday evening right here at 7 p.m. in our
20 Scranton City Council chambers, and what I'm talking
21 about is the Scranton Taxpayers Association.
22 Our special guest speaker will be
23 Mrs. Nancy Kemp from the Luzerne County Taxpayers
24 Association. My understanding is that she is president
25 of this association and she has been with this
01 association the last 20 years. Please make all effort
02 possible to attend this meeting. It is very
03 important.
04 Second of all, I want to address
05 something that happened this last week, and I want to
06 thank individually Kay, Jay Saunders, Mrs. Janet Evans,
07 Mr. Bill Courtright and Mr. Gary DiBileo for your input
08 and understanding the problem.
09 What I'm going to speak about is
10 about a permit that this company was issued. They were
11 given a contract, from my understanding is the
12 Pennsylvania Gas Company, what I'm talking about is the
13 Lynn Enterprise, and what they did to one of our
14 streets up in North Scranton. What these people did
15 was complemental, for what they did, their efforts.
16 This company was given this permit
17 to do work, and their work was shabby, and there was no
18 excuse for what they did, although we requested city
19 sweepers from the DPW to come up and clear up their
20 mess Monday morning, this was finally accomplished by
21 Wednesday.
22 Although they did clean up the
23 street, there is still somewhat there, but the water
24 has washed it away. Again, I thank everybody that was
25 involved in this problem, and I hope that the city
01 residents when this company comes into your street, if
02 you have a problem, to address it, to get a hold of
03 your city officials, to get a hold of your gas company
04 and put in your complaint against this company. They
05 can't get away with this, this isn't right. Thank you
06 on that.
07 Another thing I want to address is
08 also is Ms. Kearn's letter that was in the
09 Tribune-Times today. Although this country is a great
10 country and we have freedom of speech to address
11 different issues, but the bottom line here is that we
12 have problems in this city, and thank God we have
13 people that stand up and address these problems, that
14 come up to this forum, that get on this television
15 network and address what's going on.
16 If we don't do this, we cannot get
17 headed in the right direction. We must solve the
18 problems first in order to do this.
19 Ms. Kearn, you're correct in your
20 assessment of this City Council of what is being
21 accomplished here.
22 Again, one more thing, the July
23 4th holiday is coming up, leave the fireworks for the
24 experts, and everybody have a nice holiday. Thank you
25 very much.
01 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
02 Mr. McAndrew. Andrew Porter.
03 MR. PORTER: Good evening, City
04 Council and fellow residents of Scranton. My name is
05 Andrew Porter and I reside in Downtown Scranton. I've
06 been a resident of Scranton Housing Authority for over
07 few years and have lived in Scranton for over seven.
08 Last week I got up and I spoke
09 briefly about ascertaining employment with Scranton
10 Housing Authority. I still haven't gotten any response
11 from them. I'm a security professional with a wealth
12 of experience in maintenance, so I just wanted to
13 update you on that.
14 Last week there was a heated
15 debate about the fees at Nay Aug Park, so I decided to
16 take a walk up there, and then going up there I
17 observed a few things during the course of the week,
18 especially this morning.
19 One of the things I observed is
20 during the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 8 a.m., approximately
21 25 to 30 people walk and job throughout the park. The
22 parking where the patrons are, there was approximately
23 18 cars there.
24 From 6:30 to 8 a.m., approximately
25 85 cars were parked in a designated area where mostly
01 employees of CMC Hospital and/or other businesses in
02 the area use Nay Aug Park for parking.
03 The CMC van was constantly
04 rotating from the parking one block away to the
05 entrance of the hospital where other employees chose to
06 walk.
07 I propose this as a resolution
08 maybe to the fee problem that you have at Nay Aug Park,
09 if you install a booth at the entrance of the park
10 where an attendant would be, the attendant could, A,
11 collect a small fee of $2.50 to $3.00 a day for parking
12 at Nay Aug Park only during the course of the summer
13 when the pool is open; B, serve as the -- the booth
14 could also serve and the attendant could also serve as
15 a source of information for activities scheduled at the
16 park and give direction where required; C, the
17 attendant would also provide a security presence at the
18 entrance of Nay Aug Park; two, the revenue from the
19 parking fees should at least accommodate 100 children
20 under 17, allow them to swim free, pay the salary of
21 the attendant, and what's left could be used to improve
22 the parking grounds and/or the booth where required.
23 I'm sure that with the knowledge
24 of these parking fees being utilized for the purpose of
25 improvements, the quality of life for our children
01 allowing them to swim free, the employees of whom I'm
02 sure make a decent salary, would be more than willing
03 to contribute to this.
04 If the city is presently receiving
05 monies from the hospital for parking, we may want to
06 consider looking at some of it to be utilized to offset
07 the cost of the swimming fee.
08 The idea of the booth and the
09 attendant would create another job for the city. I
10 also observed the fact that there was no diversity as
11 far as the people that were coming in to go to work at
12 CMC Hospital. They all were white.
13 I really feel that there's a
14 diversity issue in this city, and it affects the
15 quality of life in Scranton. Blacks and minorities
16 need to know that they're a part, they need to know
17 that they can contribute, they need to actually come to
18 these meetings, they need to address these issues with
19 the candidates in the election that's coming up.
20 I don't know if there's a real
21 diversity issue at CMC, but if what I observe is
22 correct, there would appear to be one there. There
23 could possibly be one at the other two hospitals that I
24 know of, Moses Taylor and Mercy Hospital. I'm not real
25 sure about that. You may want to look into that.
01 For those of you that have no idea
02 what I'm talking about, I just have a little scenario
03 for you, suppose you -- let's say you were a white
04 citizen of Scranton and you woke up one morning and God
05 decided to make you black, and I would wonder, what
06 would you do, would you, A, kill yourself, would you,
07 two, sell drugs, would you, three, do drugs, or would
08 you, four, go out and try to ascertain decent
09 employment for you and your family to try to make a
10 decent living?
11 The people at home need to come
12 here, they need to know that there's a forum to speak
13 out and let the City Council know what it is that they
14 want, as well as the mayor or the mayor candidates for
15 this year. That's all I have for now. Thank you.
16 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
17 Mr. Porter. Appreciate your comments. William
18 Gallagher.
19 MR. GALLAGHER: Good evening,
20 Council members. My name is William Gallagher of Brook
21 Street on East Mountain. I'm here tonight quite
22 frankly because I have a problem outside my house that
23 is an eyesore and a safety hazard that I've tried by
24 all other means to get taken care of, and I've had no
25 luck whatsoever, so that's why I'm here.
01 The problem is there's a drainage
02 ditch that runs down alongside Brook Street in front of
03 my home, it's clogged with crumbling road rubble,
04 rocks, stones, mud, dirt, and when we got the heavy
05 rains in April, the flow of the water was diverted in
06 such a way that it actually started eroding the
07 underside of my sidewalks, and there was a paved access
08 walkway that goes over the ditch, that has crumbled,
09 and there's a hole there now. I actually have to cover
10 the hole with a piece of plywood so that my mailman or
11 anybody visiting or whatever does not go through it.
12 I contacted the DPW in April,
13 I Emailed them twice, I called them about four times, I
14 spoke to a Mike Luciani. He told me, We've got you on
15 a list, Mr. Gallagher, and we'll get to it when we
16 can.
17 I said, Well, how long is this
18 list, Mike? I mean, Is this something that's going to
19 be a week, a month, six months, you tell me. He was
20 vague and very evasive. He wouldn't give me a straight
21 answer.
22 My next step was to go to the
23 mayor's office. I Emailed them, as well, and I called
24 them about at least a half dozen times.
25 I spoke to Bernice, the mayor's
01 secretary, explained to her the situation, told her
02 about me contacting the DPW.
03 She said, Okay, Mr. Gallagher.
04 She took down my details, she said she would make, you
05 know, the appropriate contacts. I would wait. No
06 answer. I called back up, she said, Well, I don't
07 understand it. I contacted the DPW and told them. So,
08 that was another deadend.
09 A couple weeks ago I Emailed the
10 Council and I spoke to Mr. Jay Saunders and Neil. They
11 seemed to be the only people that were the slightest
12 bit interested in my plight.
13 I told them about the situation.
14 Jay called me back and said, Look. I've spoke to
15 Mike Luciani, they're going to try to get somebody up
16 there to look it over and see what they can do.
17 Waited, never heard anything.
18 Contacted him back, he said that
19 he had spoke to Luciani and he had mentioned the same
20 thing, he's on a list, very vague, wouldn't say or give
21 a time frame as to when the work would be done. He
22 said he spoke to George Parker, as well.
23 So, you know, I'm just kind of fed
24 up. I don't know who else to turn to, that's why I'm
25 here tonight, and I'm seeking your help.
01 MR. DIBILEO: What's your address
02 again?
03 MR. GALLAGHER: It's 1419 Brook
04 Street in Scranton, on East Mountain. I've also got
05 photographs of the damage and made a detail list and I
06 have a cover letter to go with it, which I'd like to
07 present to Council.
08 MR. DIBILEO: Sure. And,
09 Mr. Saunders, you talked to Mr. Gallagher about the
10 situation?
11 MR. SAUNDERS: Yeah, I've talked
12 to him a couple times about the situation. I told him
13 that I would call down to DPW and discuss the
14 situation.
15 I did talk to Mike Luciani, and he
16 is correct, he was vague about the answer that he gave
17 to me. He said -- I asked him if it was today,
18 tomorrow, next week. He said he's on a list.
19 At that point there's nothing more
20 I can do about it. I mean --
21 MR. DIBILEO: Well, why don't you
22 try to stay in touch with Mr. Luciani and possibly, you
23 know, we can go out there ourselves and take a look at
24 it --
25 MR. GALLAGHER: I'd appreciate it.
01 MR. DIBILEO: -- and then when we
02 speak to them, we will be able to speak intelligently
03 about it now.
04 MR. GALLAGHER: Yeah, that's why I
05 brought the photos and everything.
06 MR. DIBILEO: Yeah, we'll try to
07 get right out there, Mr. Gallagher.
08 MR. GALLAGHER: I've got my
09 address and phone number and everything on the cover
10 letter. MR. DIBILEO: Good.
11 And we'll stay in touch with the administration for
12 you, try to get you some help. Thank you.
13 MR. DIBILEO: You're welcome.
14 Helen Cook. No? Okay. Ann Marie Rosato.
15 MS. ROSATO: Hello. My name is
16 Ann Marie Rosato, and I reside at 602 Delaware Street
17 in Scranton.
18 I'm coming before you tonight to
19 update you on the situation with the block plant on
20 Dickson Avenue. The Daron people have just completed
21 the paving project, which I feel goes a long way in
22 alleviating the dust that follows the trucks out of the
23 plant.
24 If our cars are a gauge for this,
25 I have noticed considerably less dust since they
01 started the paving project. They are also wetting down
02 the property and the dust piles.
03 The early morning and late night
04 traffic has lessened. There are still some trucks that
05 come early, but it has improved greatly.
06 We would still like to see the
07 aggregate piles covered in some way and the truck
08 traffic lessened during the day. To this end, I would
09 like you to see a copy of a letter that I'm going to
10 send to the county commissioners next week.
11 It basically asks the county to
12 look into an agreement with Daron to utilize the tract
13 of land which runs behind the property. I am going to
14 attach a petition with as many signatures from my
15 neighbors as I can get over this past weekend, this
16 next weekend.
17 Just the other day my son was
18 playing basketball with a friend in our driveway, as
19 sometimes happens, the ball rolled out into the
20 street.
21 You can warn kids a thousand
22 times, and I can guarantee you that on the 1001th time,
23 they'll just run out after the ball. That's exactly
24 what happened.
25 And it just so happened that at
01 that particular moment, I was looking out my window to
02 check on them, to make sure that they were okay and
03 didn't need anything.
04 Thank goodness that the
05 tractor-trailer driver was going slow, because he
06 didn't see him, quite frankly.
07 I truly believe that for the
08 safety of the children in our neighborhood, we must
09 explore an alternate route for the trucks to take.
10 And that's what I'm hoping that they'll look at with
11 this letter.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Ms. Rosato, I was
13 there the other day when the police department was down
14 there, and I went with Lieutenant Thomas over to where
15 the railroad tracks were, because I wasn't quite sure
16 where it was, and, yeah, it would be ideal for them to
17 exit that way.
18 I think the only problem that
19 lies, they're going to have to get permission from who
20 owns that shopping mall there to come on, because
21 they're going to have to exit onto their property.
22 So, yeah, it would be nice if the
23 commissioners would allow this to happen, but then I
24 think there will be another hurdle.
25 I know. I realize it's not going
01 to be an easy task, but I think it might be able to be
02 done if everyone kind of works together with this. And
03 I know it's not going to be done in the near future,
04 but I think it's something that, you know, I'd like to
05 bring to their attention, I'd like to keep, you know,
06 tell the neighbors and let them know how we feel about
07 it.
08 MR. COURTRIGHT: Right. Maybe
09 they can come up with something themselves if they took
10 a look at it.
11 We also went to another street,
12 and it was on the side more or less to see about
13 exiting there, but if they exited there, that would
14 really cause a hardship for the neighbors.
15 MS. ROSATO: They're going to go
16 past somebody else's house, that's exactly correct.
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: So, your solution
18 seems to be the best one, if in fact the people that
19 own that shopping mall would be willing to go along
20 with it.
21 MS. ROSATO: And the Daron people
22 have said that they have the money to build, they have
23 a grant of some sort, that the have the money to
24 actually make the crossing, so, you know --
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: So, no one has
01 talked to the commissioners as of yet?
02 MS. ROSATO: I don't know. I know
03 Mr. Fiorini said that he was going to try to contact
04 them, but he did suggest that maybe the neighbors could
05 get together and also make their voices known, and
06 that's why I decided to draft a letter myself and see
07 if I can attach a petition for my neighbors, you know,
08 to see if the commissioners will look into it.
09 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right.
10 MS. ROSATO: And just, you know,
11 hopefully that will go on. But I do want to say that I
12 am pleased with the efforts that the Daron plant has
13 made so far, I do, after several years.
14 MS. EVANS: Ms. Rosato, I'd be
15 happy to sign your petition, as well.
16 MS. ROSATO: Thank you. Thank
17 you. I'd also like to just comment for a moment on
18 something that I saw on Channel 61 last week, it was
19 during the mayor's weekly broadcast.
20 He informed the public that he has
21 taken care of the situation down on Dickson Avenue.
22 This is news to me.
23 Once again I would like to set the
24 record straight. It was not until we came before this
25 City Council that anything was even attempted to
01 rectify the situation on Dickson Avenue.
02 We have seen just about every one
03 of you City Council members down in our neighborhood to
04 assess the situation. Mr. Fiorini himself has said
05 that Janet Evans calls him on an almost daily basis and
06 asks how things are being handled in our neighborhood,
07 and to that end I do want to thank Mr. Fiorini
08 publicly, too, because he really has worked hard on
09 this.
10 MS. EVANS: Yes, he has.
11 MS. ROSATO: He really has. It's
12 not just one person that's responsible for this, that's
13 the point I'm trying to make. There was other people
14 involved, and I just feel that they should get the
15 recognition that they deserve.
16 I'm very disappointed in the way
17 this administration has turned our plight into a
18 political campaign issue. It seems as though there's
19 so much bickering and back fighting going on that there
20 are no winners here, only the residents left to wonder
21 if their concerns really matter.
22 Someone told me that when they
23 watch Channel 61, all they ever hear is rhetoric and
24 how bad the city is.
25 Well, I'm here to say that
01 Scranton is a great city. The public school system is
02 wonderful with many hardworking and conscientious
03 teachers and administrators. The city workers are
04 diligent and really try to do a good job to help the
05 residents when need be.
06 There are many wonderful things to
07 do with your family in our city and great many shopping
08 areas. I think Nay Aug is a wonderful park, but it is
09 not the only park in the city.
10 There are many neighborhood parks
11 that need looking into, missing swings, sliding boards
12 in need of repair. The young woman who spoke last week
13 about concerns at the park near her home in
14 West Side was just looking for help.
15 It can be very frustrating to keep
16 calling different departments in the city to speak to
17 those people who can effect change.
18 Oftentimes you are routed to
19 several different offices being told it is not my
20 department and what do you want me to do. It can be
21 very frustrating.
22 So, if it seems as though all you
23 hear are complaints, please know that we are just
24 taxpaying citizens trying to improve our city.
25 This open forum is sometimes all we have left to
01 accomplish this.
02 And for what I have experienced in
03 the last few weeks, change can be effected if you go to
04 the right people. For that, I commend this Council and
05 Channel 61. Thank you.
06 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
07 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
08 Ms. Rosato. That's it for the sign-in sheet. Are
09 there any other speakers?
10 MR. DAVIS: I spent an afternoon
11 yesterday trying to reach him, and I ran into
12 Mr. Courtright this morning about the street signs on
13 Olive Street. Now, the kids are getting ready to go to
14 camp. You've got about 60 kids that come to the
15 Progressive Center every evening.
16 People are coming off
17 Wyoming Avenue heading up towards the Hill Section on
18 Olive Street or coming off Washington Avenue heading
19 down towards the Sandy Banks or whatever you want to
20 call it or the Plot a little faster than they should,
21 and there should be some sort of pedestrian crossing
22 there.
23 We finally got after several
24 months of trying signs in front of the
25 Progressive Center saying pedestrian crossing, but
01 that's for the court, because people will run down --
02 kids from Lackawanna Junior College run through that
03 court like it's a highway sometimes, but we don't want
04 any kids hurt, we really don't, because we will become
05 hostile, I know that.
06 If somebody hits one of our kids,
07 the whole community will come up in arms. So, what I'm
08 do is I'm preventing -- I'm hoping I'm trying to
09 prevent something like that from occurring.
10 I've talked to Mr. Courtright,
11 Dr. Courtright and Dr. Saunders, I'm giving everybody
12 titles now, Dr. Saunders, and the reason why I'm doing
13 this is because we want to know are we going to have to
14 wait three months before we get a sign again that says
15 pedestrian crossing? That's what it took me last time,
16 three months.
17 Mr. Reap, who was a councilman at
18 that time, he finally put his foot down and said, Wait
19 a minute. This is enough. Let's do it.
20 The kids go to camp next week.
21 That bus will be out there in the alley loading kids
22 up. People will be bringing their kids there are in a
23 hurry, they're not going to be cross the corner,
24 they're going to try and get them there before the bus
25 leaves. They're not going to be really cognizant of
01 what they should be doing as far as crossing the
02 streets.
03 There are no lines on the street.
04 That still hasn't been done. Jay, please tell me, or
05 Mr. Saunders, excuse me, please tell me when are we
06 going to get some lines on the streets? Have they
07 given you a schedule of any kind?
08 MR. DIBILEO Mr. Davis, I'll just
09 answer real quickly before Mr. Saunders, but we've been
10 asking for street lines, crossing lines to be pained
11 for many weeks, and it was my understanding that it has
12 begun to be done.
13 Actually there was an intersection
14 that was being worked on, and it was my understanding
15 that the DPW workers were pulled off the intersection
16 before it was complete to hang some of the banners that
17 are hanging around town.
18 Now, I assume they got back to the
19 intersection once the banners were hung, but I can't
20 even recall what intersection it was that I heard was
21 being worked on.
22 MR. DAVIS: I beg of you.
23 MR. DIBILEO: But, Jay, go ahead
24 and respond, if you would.
25 MR. SAUNDERS: That's the same
01 answer I got. You took the words out of my mouth.
02 MR. DIBILEO: Okay.
03 MR. DAVIS: Well, the words are
04 good, your words are good, and I thank you for what
05 you've done, I thank you for your efforts that you've
06 made to comply with what I've asked for.
07 Just take a ride through
08 yourself. It's not that far away. Adams Avenue is a
09 block and a half away up this way, and you see what I'm
10 saying to you. See how fast the cars leave Vine Street
11 and that light, and before they hit Cooper's they're
12 already doing 50.
13 There's no way in the world an
14 elderly person can get across that street. There's no
15 way in the world a kid can get across that street,
16 unless if he runs track at Scranton High, then he can
17 do it.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: Now, Mr. Davis, I
19 think the problem is, and I asked last week for
20 Mr. Saunders to see if he could get a list of when they
21 were going to start lining these streets, because I
22 think it's overdue now.
23 We've been waiting quite a while.
24 I think what the problem is is that the people that are
25 doing the job, there's only so many of them, and then
01 when a stop sign goes down or they've got to hang these
02 banners or whatever they were hanging there, they pull
03 those people.
04 So, I think what they need to do
05 is maybe hire some summertime help to get this stuff
06 done, you know?
07 MR. DAVIS: Please.
08 MR. COURTRIGHT: That might be a
09 solution, because you got two or three guys doing a job
10 and they get pulled for one reason, then the other jobs
11 don't get done. So, maybe we're short-handed, I don't
12 know, maybe we need to ask Mr. Parker that.
13 MS. EVANS: I think that could be
14 the case in that, you know, summer is vacation time and
15 such, so probably we're missing part of our work force.
16 But I agree with you, Mr. Davis,
17 in that this issue, and Mr. Courtright, this issue of
18 painting lines and, you know, traffic lines and
19 crosswalks has been brought up since -- I remember what
20 you said about Saint Patrick's Day and the parade, all
21 of --
22 MR. DAVIS: That didn't make me
23 very popular either.
24 MS. EVANS: I know. But I agree
25 with you, that should be the priority, but we cannot
01 blame any of the workers involved here, because they're
02 just taking their orders from their supervisors.
03 And if the administration thinks
04 it's more important to hang banners advertising
05 upcoming events than it is to paint lines or
06 crosswalks, then we have to put the blame where it
07 belongs and hope that they will hear what the people's
08 priorities are and address those.
09 MR. DAVIS: If the problem is
10 manpower, I know ten kids that would love to learn how
11 to paint streets that are old enough, over 16 years
12 old. They have their working papers.
13 Hey, it's easy. It's easily done.
14 Let's put them to work. We don't have a CETA program,
15 we have nothing, so let's do that.
16 I have one last point, and I'm
17 sorry about this, SHA, Scranton Housing Authority, I
18 sat here and I listened to you tell us about the jobs,
19 the 20 jobs or more that were coming down the pike, and
20 last week this young man came up and he spoke to you,
21 he gave you exact evidence, I thought, I don't need a
22 job, I'm not looking for a job, he did, he is, he came
23 and he showed you what he has done to try and find a
24 job, and they have still refused him. Now --
25 MS. EVANS: Well, those are jobs
01 for high school students, Mr. Davis, that particular
02 program. It's like a six or ten week program, and one
03 of the requirements, I believe, is that you are of high
04 school age, so obviously he wouldn't have qualified for
05 that particular program.
06 MR. DAVIS: For that particular
07 program, but for any program, for any job that within
08 that framework that you're telling me that because he's
09 of a certain age he's not -- but they hire people every
10 day that are not of that age.
11 MS. EVANS: Well, for other jobs,
12 not that particular program.
13 MR. DAVIS: In security, they have
14 other people that they've hired. Maybe it's a security
15 problem, maybe it's a security program, I don't know,
16 but I'm saying, he's willing to take 120 test, he's
17 willing to take everything you're asking him to do to
18 just become a working member of your society.
19 And I say it's your society, it's
20 your world. All we do is live here. All we want to do
21 is live here, but we want to do it safely and we want
22 to be economically feasible for all people.
23 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
24 Mr. Davis. Appreciate it.
25 MR. DAVIS: Thank you.
01 MR. DIBILEO: By the way, let me
02 stop you for one quick second, Mr. Saunders, Mr. Davis
03 and Mr. Porter earlier both brought up the Scranton
04 Housing Authority job situation, did we get a response
05 back from the Housing Authority on Mrs. Evans' request
06 about the qualifications of those summer jobs and, you
07 know, who is getting them? Is the underprivileged
08 getting them who need them the most?
09 MR. SAUNDERS: No, I didn't get
10 anything back on that.
11 MS. EVANS: Can you maybe make a
12 call tomorrow about that, please, Jay, because I
13 understood that, you know, this program, this
14 particular program, begins after the 4th of July, so
15 just like the public it seems has no access to those
16 applications, now Council doesn't even have access to
17 the job requirements or any of the information we've
18 requested. So, like the public, we seem to be getting
19 information after the fact when it's too late.
20 MR. SAUNDERS: I'll make that call
21 tomorrow.
22 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. Go right
23 ahead, sir.
24 MR. NARSAVICH: Stan Narsavitch,
25 citizen of Scranton. I am one of four that met with
01 Marge Miller, director of Genesis Wildlife Center on
02 June 17, 2005. I was there because of my concern for
03 open honest government.
04 MR. DIBILEO: Mr. Narsavitch,
05 would you pull the mic down a little bit? There you
06 go.
07 MR. NARSAVICH: I listened for
08 approximately two hours and understood every statement
09 Mrs. Miller freely offered.
10 After reading the Times'
11 rendition, I am of the opinion now that I was listening
12 to a well-prepared script. On June the 23, 2005,
13 Charlie Newcomb, Jr. presented an accurate account of
14 the meeting.
15 I concur with Charlie's statements
16 of June the 23; however, there is one thing that I
17 cannot verify, and that is Ms. Shedlock's article about
18 the center not closing down.
19 When I Emailed Ms. Shedlock about
20 a complaint the way articles were changed or censored,
21 she told me that occasionally the metro editor will
22 make changes. So, I do not know if Mrs. Miller is
23 being quoted accurately.
24 Does the metro editor change every
25 story in the paper or only the ones that are
01 anti-administration? Thank you.
02 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
03 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
04 Mr. Narsavitch.
05 MS. FIDATI-ADSIT: Good evening,
06 Council. Annabelle Fidati-Adsit, I live in
07 South Scranton. I'm here to confirm, once again, that
08 everything Charlie Newcomb said here on Thursday night
09 was true.
10 The four witnesses are here again
11 tonight. Marge escorted all of us into her back room
12 and she freely spoke of monies, being treated like
13 dirt, etc.
14 We all listened in horror. From
15 the time Charlie Newcomb spoke and through Friday,
16 obviously something happened, most certainly something
17 happened for Marge Miller to change her original
18 statement that she made to all of us.
19 Also, it's very possible and
20 probable the reporter fashioned her story to satisfy
21 the editors of our local paper. I do not hold any ill
22 will toward Marge Miller. Quite frankly, I still
23 believe her original story. She was quite impressive
24 and detailed in her remarks.
25 The same story was told two days
01 prior to us being there, the four of us, she told it to
02 another person, which is what brought us there as
03 concerned citizens.
04 We were concerned for her, her
05 livelihood there, the animals, how to feed the animals.
06 One of the woman in the group, Regina, was already
07 checking out T-shirts to raise money to try to go to
08 grocery stores to get the produce for the animals,
09 because we spent so much time there, and she told us so
10 much that we were concerned.
11 And everything we -- that was said
12 is correct. The Times wrote a terrible story. It
13 isn't correct. Why she changed it, her original story,
14 I don't know.
15 One sample on the copies that you
16 all have, I believe Charlie gave them to you, there
17 were three pages here, I also have three pages, she
18 handed them to me, these are mine, on the top is her
19 cell phone number, which I have never called.
20 On the bottom it says she paid
21 $300 for a permit, $600 for veterinary care, and cost
22 $80 to $90,000 per year to run the zoo, and her name on
23 the bottom, Mrs. Miller, closing June 30, Thursday.
24 She has no contract.
25 Now, these are her words and these
01 are her papers from her books that she gave us with
02 detailed description of everything that pertains to the
03 zoo, the names of all the employees, are the full-time
04 and part-time employees, Worker's Comp, accountants,
05 all the names of the full-time employees here, what it
06 cost her per year, part-time cash employees, there are
07 three of them, average weekly donations. She has an
08 estimate of $720 a month.
09 So, everything is written down
10 here for every one of us to see. We could have never
11 gotten this anywhere except from Mrs. Miller. They're
12 her books. So, everything we said is truthful, honest,
13 and I hope that some of you take the time maybe to
14 really get the whole story of why she changed her
15 story. Something happened, and we don't know why, but
16 God knows. Thank you.
17 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
18 MR. NEWCOMB, JR.: Good evening,
19 Council. First I'd like to thank Mr. Narsavitch and
20 Ms. Fidati for, I don't want to use the word defend,
21 because that's not the right word, but for the kind
22 statements that they did.
23 And I don't buy the paper, because
24 I'd rather spend 50 cents elsewhere, but somebody was
25 kind enough to give me this copy, and coincidentally I
01 was down in Washington for the weekend on the Saturday
02 when this article appeared and a zoo in
03 Washington, D.C., the Smithsonian Zoo, and I'm really
04 getting sick and tired of this newspaper, not because
05 of me, but because every time I open it up, there's
06 garbage in here.
07 The headline that was above the
08 one that I was in was the headline, Mayor won't seek to
09 add firefighters. Doherty will not apply for grant,
10 but they had to get something about this Council in
11 there.
12 And it said, Councilwoman critical
13 of decision. And I'll tell you a funny story, and I
14 think it's funny, when they had their pow-wow down in
15 front of their building this week, I was driving up the
16 street and a young girl came to give me a newspaper
17 when I was stopped at the light, and I told her I
18 wouldn't take one for free, that they need to get their
19 stories right.
20 Before I go into what I came here
21 to say, I just want to advise Council and the residents
22 of Dickson Avenue that I was able to attend a county
23 commissioners meeting yesterday in between my schedule,
24 and I wasn't able to contact any of the residents,
25 because I haven't had time, but I advised them of the
01 situation of Daron Northeast, and they asked that if
02 Council would notify them of the situation, that
03 they're willing to work with you and work with the
04 railroad to look at an alternate route for there.
05 It was talked about here before
06 about the letter to the editor. It's just amazes me
07 that I write letters to the editor, probably about two
08 a week, and they never get in there. But whatever. We
09 have this forum, and I firmly believe more people watch
10 this than buy the newspaper; hence, they only have
11 one.
12 But I tell this woman, like I've
13 said it before, if I turn on Channel 61, and I see the
14 mayor on there, I switch the channel.
15 If you turn on Channel 61 and you
16 see the City Council meeting and you don't like what we
17 have to say, you don't like the people that come here,
18 shut us off.
19 Last week -- the last statement
20 that I said before I left this podium was, I'll never
21 come to a City Council meeting if what I said isn't
22 true.
23 Well, regarding Mrs. Miller, if
24 what I said wasn't true, it is because she lied to me.
25 I didn't do the lying.
01 The last thing Mrs. Miller told me
02 before I left her building was that she wanted to get
03 back at the mayor to close the zoo right in time for
04 the weekend's 4th of July festivities.
05 Did you ever hear of the term sold
06 down the river? I believe that is what we were. She,
07 in my opinion, like the mayor, talks out both sides of
08 her mouth. I am just an ordinary citizen and taxpayer
09 who looks for accountability from elected officials
10 that I pay.
11 I met with this woman for over two
12 hours because I wanted to help save an asset to the
13 community -- to the children of this community. I met
14 with her for that reason.
15 And because I was being taken
16 advantage of, one of two things happened, either it was
17 a good research and planned setup or Mrs. Miller
18 fabricated some things to get what she wanted.
19 If you read the slanted article by
20 Mrs. Shedlock, all it is is a thick smoke screen and
21 nothing more. The only thing Mrs. Miller denies in the
22 article is being verbally abused by Mr. Scopelliti and
23 the mayor.
24 Would you come forward if you were
25 afraid of someone? She is paying money out of her own
01 pocket monthly, as it said in the article, and she
02 never received the money from Allied Services or
03 Lackawanna Leadership.
04 The last sentence in the article
05 is, Mr. Scopelliti denied to comment. What does that
06 tell you? I heard from some credible sources this week
07 that Mrs. Miller isn't all she's cracked up to be, but,
08 again, of course these are only rumors, but I wish I
09 heard them sooner.
10 I contacted Ms. Shedlock and the
11 paper, and they told me that they will not print
12 anything more because it is a he said, she said
13 argument.
14 I firmly believe if I was the
15 mayor, I could get anything that I wanted printed.
16 They suggested that I write a letter to the editor.
17 I've written many letters to the editor, which none of
18 them have gotten printed.
19 So, let's see if this one does. I
20 hope that come January 2006, a new mayor and
21 administration will be here and we will have
22 respectable people to approach people that need help.
23 I will continue to come to this
24 podium for my own personal questions, but if anybody in
25 the future has a problem that they need to address, I
01 say to them, you have few minutes to address it.
02 I will say what I want at this
03 podium as far as city business, because I have broad
04 shoulders and I know the repercussions and I can take
05 them all with a grain of salt.
06 Mr. Pocius, I understood your
07 philosophy lesson last week, but as far as philosophy
08 goes, you should research the physiological meaning
09 behind Section 302 of the Home Rule Charter that
10 involves a pension.
11 I say to the people of Scranton,
12 if you like what is being done here at these meetings,
13 and what I mean by that is that you are being informed,
14 please do me a favor, go to the Wildlife Center and
15 tell Mrs. Miller that she should be ashamed of herself
16 for taking advantage of citizens who are trying to help
17 her.
18 I will make sure from this day
19 forward that I do everything possible to make sure that
20 this center is above board from inspections and for
21 maintenance.
22 One last question, did we find out
23 where the pothole machine was? And how many times do I
24 have to come to this podium to ask for help about
25 Cameron Avenue?
01 MR. COURTRIGHT: Charlie, I think
02 the pothole machine is down in the Sewer Authority
03 holding area, I think, I'm not sure. My understanding
04 is, and I don't want to put anybody on the spot, so I
05 won't say their names, that it's broke, and they're
06 waiting for parts. So, I don't know how long it's been
07 broke or what the situation is, but I think that's
08 where it is.
09 MR. NEWCOMB, JR.: And did
10 anything come back yet about the water problem on
11 Cameron Avenue that I've addressed for five weeks? I
12 can't get a hold of anybody to get any help, so that's
13 why I've come here.
14 MR. DIBILEO: No, not that we're
15 aware of.
16 MR. NEWCOMB, JR.: And one last
17 question, how much are we paying for the Summer In The
18 City advertising, those signs that are all over? They
19 were in the Weekender, they're in -- I just want to
20 find out if we're paying for them, if OECD is paying
21 for them, how that is working.
22 And also, When are the computers
23 going to be in the new police cars? It's to my
24 understanding that they have yet to be put into the new
25 police cars. Thank you.
01 MR. DIBILEO: We'll try to find
02 out. Thank you.
03 MR. SLEDZINSKI: Billy, I got a
04 question for you, Bill, it's only for you.
05 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right.
06 MR. SLEDZINSKI: That bridge on
07 Lackawanna Avenue, those lights on the bridge down
08 there. They're out, Billy, so --
09 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah, absolutely.
10 MR. SLEDZINSKI: First thing in
11 the morning?
12 MR. SLEDZINSKI: Hey, Chief Kelly,
13 keep up the good work there, will you?
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Jay, he's right,
15 when I was driving him home last week, all the lights
16 on the left-hand side if you were heading into
17 West Side on the Linden Street bridge were out. So,
18 thanks for reminding me, Chris. Okay.
19 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Chris.
20 Go right ahead.
22 Yetkowskas, Scranton resident and taxpayer. Now that
23 much of the dust, but not all, from the recent primary
24 election has almost settled, I would like to make some
25 observations on the primary campaign itself.
01 My first observation is that the
02 people of Scranton, the common man and woman taxpayer,
03 has much more intelligence than the politicians give
04 them credit.
05 The people recognize that our
06 political leaders must do what they can to improve the
07 economic climate here, bring in good jobs and better
08 the quality of life for the residents.
09 The people stand ready to pay for
10 all these things, but I believe they know their
11 political leaders must also work for the people.
12 The next observation I make is to
13 say that by televising City Council meetings,
14 Channel 61 has brought more information and knowledge
15 to the people of Scranton who pay the bills.
16 Channel 61 brought more democracy
17 to Scranton itself than any other print or broadcast
18 form of communication.
19 It is my opinion that the recent
20 primary campaign and election shows Channel 61 replaced
21 the Scranton Times as our primary news source for the
22 operation of Scranton's government and Scranton news,
23 because I believe the Scranton Times has lost much of
24 its relevance and credibility with the people.
25 I recall watching Channel 61 many
01 months ago, even before I appeared at this podium. At
02 that time a member of Council made the remark that the
03 people who appear here and speak in the citizen
04 participation part of City Council meetings are
05 virtually the same persons all the time and do not
06 represent other citizens.
07 That member of Council knew or
08 should have known some of the reasons other people do
09 not come to the Council meetings are because many of
10 the taxpayers are elderly, others do not have cars,
11 they cannot drive at night, there are very few parking
12 spots in the immediate vicinity of City Hall, and most
13 important, they do not need to come to Council meetings
14 when they agree with the speeches and views stated by
15 those of us who do appear at this podium.
16 If we speakers do not represent
17 other citizens through organizations or churches or
18 civic bodies, we do know one thing, and it is that the
19 operation of Channel 61 in these meetings allow us to
20 represent the people in thought, ideas, what is best
21 for the taxpayers and their ultimate voting conduct.
22 Proof of all I just said is shown
23 in the recent primary election results, and I hope it
24 will be seen again in the general election results this
25 November.
01 For myself and any viewer who
02 agrees with me, I cannot thank Channel 61 enough for
03 enabling we, the people, we, the average taxpayer, to
04 expose the politicians shenanigans, their giveaways of
05 city assets to political cronies, their attempts to
06 hide their conduct behind a curtain of secrecy and
07 through the municipal authorities their borrow and
08 spend policies and other things they do, all of which
09 are not, and I repeat, not for the good and welfare of
10 Scranton's citizens.
11 I do have one very specific
12 request to make of Channel 61, it is, please do not
13 stop what you are doing weekly for the people of
14 Scranton.
15 I only hope Channel 61 does not in
16 the future bow to any demand or even request from any
17 tyrannical politician who would try to stop our freedom
18 of speech and communications to Channel 61's increasing
19 audience.
20 Is it any wonder that all people
21 who are personally and financially harmed by
22 Mr. Doherty's conduct come before City Council and
23 Channel 61 to voice their opposition?
24 Is it any wonder that people from
25 all sections of Scranton come before Council for help
01 when they are ignored by Mr. Doherty and his
02 administration?
03 Anyone who watches Channel 61 can
04 easily see that the people who come to this podium are
05 not part of a put-up or a vast conspiracy to rid the
06 city of Mr. Doherty.
07 On the contrary, they come here
08 because of Mr. Doherty's arrogance and refusal to talk
09 to the people and forces the same people to complain as
10 they do in these meetings.
11 Mr. Doherty and his administration
12 would display intelligence and empathy if they
13 seriously consider what is said at this podium. I
14 think I can say -- may I finish?
15 MR. DIBILEO: Finish your thought.
16 MS. YETKOWSKAS: I think I can say
17 Mr. Doherty and all who work for him just hear what the
18 people say, but they do not listen to what they say.
19 Thank you.
20 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
21 MS. KRAKE: Good evening, Council.
22 My name is Nancy Krake. This administration and the
23 persons who benefit from the policies are trying to
24 belittle televised Council meetings.
25 They especially do not like the
01 public speakers and the councilpersons who offer points
02 of view different from their own.
03 I would also like to say that I
04 know they try to say that what we are saying is not
05 factual or true, when in fact it's just we have a
06 totally different viewpoint and priority for the
07 citizens.
08 And I know Dave Gervasi,
09 Ann Marie Stulgis and myself do a lot of research,
10 intense research, I should say, before we bring
11 anything to this podium, and they're based on city
12 records, past arbitrations and mediations.
13 So, if they have anything to say,
14 I would hope that they would come to us before they
15 make accusations, as they so often say to you sitting
16 at the dais.
17 How very sad that they don't like
18 us. They need to control the one outlet left that the
19 average citizen may use to view their government in
20 action.
21 This is not a show, as one
22 councilperson referred to it last week; in fact, I
23 believe he said it four times. The mayor, however, has
24 several shows on Channel 61.
25 This is the televised City Council
01 meeting as it unfolds in Council chambers each week.
02 This is not scripted, and the speakers are not perfect,
03 especially myself.
04 This process respects all the
05 people of this city, and in return, the process of an
06 open forum should be respected.
07 Councilman Pocius told us last
08 week that he feels some speakers use this podium as a
09 whipping post. This same councilman made it known that
10 when it comes to eliminating clerical jobs, we have to
11 tighten our belts. That was in the mayor's first
12 budget; however, when it involved his employer,
13 Ceco Associates receiving no-bid contracts, he told me
14 he has 28 mouths to feed. I guess he thought this
15 justified his actions.
16 The second comment was made to me
17 in the city clerk's office, not in public, which was
18 probably a good idea on his part; in other words, it is
19 okay for the people in power to make comments they wish
20 to make, but it is not okay for the regular person to
21 make their views known.
22 Many times I felt this podium was
23 a whipping post for the speakers, and that was
24 especially when the last Council majority ruled the
25 room.
01 Elected officials set the policies
02 which affect the lives of all city residents. Since
03 this administration came into power, I believe many of
04 their decisions have adversely affected this city and
05 its citizens.
06 There are many sides to the issues
07 that come before Council. Frequently they are exposed
08 at the Council meetings and sometimes a conflict
09 results; for example, I would like to talk a little bit
10 about what is prudent, as Mr. Hayes said last week.
11 Is it prudent to give raises and
12 create jobs, all administrative, and hire consultants
13 when you are a city claiming to be distressed?
14 Was it responsible to give huge
15 unfunded pensions? If it wasn't funded today, how can
16 we expect to pay down the road, to use Mr. Hayes'
17 words, That bill will keep coming.
18 Lastly, I hope everyone is able to
19 have a healthy, happy summer. I do feel, however, that
20 the money the city or OECD spent on the banners telling
21 us to enjoy summer could have been spent in a better
22 way, perhaps to offset swimming fees.
23 There are approximately ten
24 banners now, and more will be on the way. The
25 taxpayers foot the bill for the consultants that
01 orchestrate the mayor's show on Channel 61, and we are
02 also paying for his campaign slogans on these city
03 banners. Thank you.
04 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
05 MS. STULGIS: I'm Ann Marie
06 Stulgis, I live in the city and I am president of the
07 Fraternal Order of Police.
08 I'd like to start with a question,
09 I don't know if any of you know, but the city recently
10 in conjunction with the county and surrounding police
11 departments became a part of what is known as central
12 booking.
13 The problem is, I don't know
14 enough about what central booking is, and I've asked
15 several questions, and it doesn't seem like the union
16 should know what central booking is, and I'm wondering
17 if it would be at all possible if any of you could find
18 out how we got involved in central booking, is it a
19 formal agreement between the city and the county, and
20 also are we getting any money out of it because it is
21 potentially a rather large money maker?
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: We're not booking
23 our people anymore, is that what you're saying?
24 MS. STULGIS: Right now it's only
25 on weekends that the booking is all done at the county
01 building. There are several problems involved in it,
02 but before we can actually address them, I need to know
03 how we got into it and is it a formal agreement between
04 the city and the county, is it an informal agreement
05 between -- I can't find anything out, and no one seems
06 to know the answers to my questions.
07 And it's -- well, things aren't
08 being done the way that our officers are trained to do
09 them, which is enough to say that we're trained to
10 handle things extraordinarily safely, and there's a lot
11 of questions involved, and before we can address it, we
12 need to know more about it.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: I don't know the
14 answer to that question, but I'm sure, Jay, we can ask,
15 and I'm sure if there's a formal contract between the
16 city and the county, we will be allowed to take a look
17 at it, so we'll ask for that. I don't think there's
18 any harm in asking for that.
19 MS. STULGIS: I'd appreciate that.
20 Jay, if you do get it before next week, could you
21 just -- you have my number, you can just get a hold of
22 me, please. Thank you.
23 Also, there was a lovely comment
24 in this morning's paper about how I'm not exactly
25 considered the most respectable person by our
01 illustrious police chief, of course, the police chief,
02 who while he was party to a DUI checkpoint recently put
03 in a brand new police car on the Expressway to stop
04 drunk traffic.
05 Needless to say, the police car
06 stopped a drunk all right, the brand new car got
07 smashed. It would have been much smarter to use an old
08 car.
09 Also, just a couple of comments on
10 his statements that, for instance, the lieutenant of
11 training can take calls because he has a gun and he
12 wears a uniform, he doesn't have a car, so perhaps he
13 should run to a call. I don't know. I don't know what
14 he expected.
15 And he also said how we're so
16 overmanned that we had 18 officers working a midnight
17 shift recently. Perhaps if we are so overmanned, he
18 can tell us why the city eliminated the gang
19 investigative unit and put them back to patrol because
20 there aren't enough manpower.
21 MS. COURTRIGHT: Ms. Stulgis, can
22 I stop you for one second?
23 MS. STULGIS: Sure.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: I heard that
25 rumor, too, and I just heard it today, so I don't know
01 that for a fact.
02 Because Mr. Saunders and myself
03 took a tour of the police station with Ray Hayes the
04 other day, and he had just gotten on telling us how
05 important those positions were.
06 So, I find it hard to believe that
07 they're taking those guys out of there, because he had
08 just told us, correct, Jay? So, maybe we'll call down
09 to Mr. Hayes tomorrow and ask him if in fact they're
10 eliminating those positions.
11 MS. STULGIS: They're gone.
12 They're both back in patrol. In fact, the one officer
13 has been back in patrol at least a week now, I believe,
14 and I think today, if not tomorrow, the clerk in the
15 chief's office, the corporal that's the police officer
16 that's been working up there, he, too, reports to day
17 shift. Either he reported today or he'll report
18 tomorrow, and they're also looking at pulling at least
19 one member out of the drug unit to put them back into
20 patrol.
21 But mind you, this is being done
22 by the same man who said we have too many police
23 officers, so I don't know which side of his mouth he's
24 talking out of either.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right. I
01 don't want to accuse anybody of anything. I will
02 just -- Jay will ask him tomorrow, and we'll ask him
03 face to face if that's in fact the truth.
04 I'm not saying that you don't know
05 what you're talking about, but I just -- when were we
06 there, Tuesday?
07 MR. SAUNDERS: Tuesday.
08 MR. COURTRIGHT: We were there
09 Tuesday, you know, and he was kind of telling us why we
10 have to have this for the future; am I correct, Jay?
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: I wasn't
13 misunderstanding, him, right? All right. We'll ask
14 him tomorrow and we'll --
15 MS. STULGIS: Maybe the chief
16 didn't tell the director, because the guy on midnight
17 shift has been back, like I said, over a week.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right. I
19 don't know about their communication with each other,
20 but we'll ask tomorrow.
21 MS. STULGIS: Also a little
22 comment on the statement by the public safety director
23 last week about the costing out of getting grants for
24 the fire department, and he said that when you cost it
25 out, it costs the city about $100,000, and you get
01 $100,000, which is, as I said, half price.
02 And he said it wasn't cost
03 effective to do that; however, I then find out that the
04 city is applying for grants to hire 20 people to work
05 at the zoo.
06 Now, my question is, what happens
07 when that grant runs out? Is it cost-effective to keep
08 them or do we lay them off, and we still have to pay
09 the unemployment compensation if we lay them off. So,
10 is that cost-effective?
11 Personally I think for the
12 betterment of the residents of Scranton and the use of
13 tax dollars, if you have to decide which is more cost
14 effective, hiring people at the zoo or hiring more
15 public safety people at a 50 percent discount, I think
16 the question answers itself.
17 And lastly, recently, as you all
18 know, there was an arbitration appeal that came down
19 from Judge Mazzoni, and I think it's pretty important
20 to note that Judge Mazzoni made a very big point of
21 stating that the police chief of the city was the
22 recipient of this arbitration award the first time it
23 was fought. He got money for them not hiring SIT
24 clerks, and before we filed a grievance, I talked with
25 him and asked him, you know, come on, Dave, face facts,
01 you got the money, you know you have to have SIT
02 clerks. And instead this city completely ignored that,
03 and now the Judge ruled against the city.
04 And this, I'm speaking as a
05 taxpayer, because I think we have to look out at the
06 totally outrageous cost that all these arbitrations and
07 appeals are costing taxpayers.
08 We're nearing, if we haven't
09 topped, the $1 million figure for fighting against the
10 fire and the police. That is a flagrant waste of
11 taxpayer dollars, when all it takes is to sit down and
12 talk with the fire and police, and you can do that for
13 free.
14 At what point do we say, Enough is
15 enough? First the mayor says the unions are wrong,
16 then the mayor says the arbitrators are wrong, now the
17 mayor says the judge is wrong.
18 Such behavior reminds me of that
19 of a little child, if the child doesn't get his own way
20 from mommy, he goes to daddy, and if he still doesn't
21 get his own way, he goes to grandma and grandpa. That,
22 my friends, is the best analogy I can come up with for
23 what the mayor is doing with little or no regard for
24 the taxpayers of this city.
25 MR. GERVASI: Good evening, ladies
01 and gentlemen. My name is Dave Gervasi. I am a
02 firefighter with the City of Scranton, and I am the
03 spokesman for the firefighters union, not the police
04 union, as Director Hayes stated last week.
05 At least Mrs. Stulgis was accused
06 of being deceitful, last week the director right in the
07 back there called me a liar. And I asked him what am I
08 lying about, and he really didn't want to argue with
09 me. He said, you'll see when I get to the podium. And
10 when he came to the podium what he said was, I didn't
11 see anything different than what I said. So, you know,
12 we'll get to that later.
13 So, at the risk of being a liar
14 and at the risk of sounding like the police spokesman,
15 I just want to add to what Ms. Stulgis said, that the
16 city again lost in arbitration to the police on the SIT
17 clerks.
18 And I don't want to lie, like the
19 director seems to think I do, and I just want to say
20 that I will read excerpts from the judge's decision so
21 everyone knows it's actual.
22 The strategic implementation team
23 or the SIT clerks was developed in an effort to
24 professionalize and restructure the city's police
25 department.
01 The foremost concern was to get
02 more police on the street and fighting crime, instead
03 of having their time consumed doing paperwork.
04 The SIT clerks were hired at a
05 much lower cost than police salaries to do this work.
06 What we normally don't hear in the paper is that the
07 police officers gave up 16 positions in those
08 negotiations to enable the city to utilize these
09 clerks.
10 There was a huge cost savings to
11 the city and increased the efficiency of the
12 department, and this proposal made a lot of sense to
13 all the parties involved, the State, the Pennsylvania
14 Economy League, the city and the police union.
15 During 1995 and 1996, the city
16 failed to hire a full complement of clerks and violated
17 the agreement. The city lost the arbitration and bad
18 faith was found on the city's part.
19 The arbitrator ruled that future
20 refusal by the city to comply with this ruling may be
21 grounds for another finding of bad faith, and added, I
22 quote, all attorney fees will be paid for by the city.
23 In 1999, once again, with the
24 Pennsylvania Economy League and the city and the police
25 union, the staffing language was again agreed to in
01 between the city and the police officers.
02 In November 2026, Mayor Doherty
03 was elected. One year later, he directed the
04 elimination of seven SIT clerks. Once again, he
05 violated the agreement.
06 Arbitrator White concluded in that
07 arbitration award, and I quote, the incumbent mayor
08 decided to simply ignore the language of the SIT
09 agreement, and he went on to say, and I quote, the city
10 breached the agreement and it was a blatant and willful
11 and in total disregard of its responsibilities.
12 And the agreement, and I quote,
13 does not violate the city's obligation under
14 Act 47.
15 In the city's appeal hearing in
16 Common Pleas Court recently, the city admitted, the
17 city lawyers admitted, that they admitted to making a
18 unilateral modification of the existing contract.
19 The city argued that the contract
20 expired in 2002, and as such does not come under the
21 protected limitations of Section 225 of Act 47.
22 The judge said he, and I quote,
23 Disagrees with that proposition both a legal and
24 factual position. Contracts based on numerous case law
25 stay in effect until a new contract takes its place.
01 That's the law, that you have to negotiate a new
02 contract. This administration refuses to do it.
03 If the city was correct in its
04 argument, the Judge contended, and I quote, Employers
05 will be allowed to resort to radical measures to revert
06 complying with unfavorable contractual obligations.
07 And I quote, This is a result of
08 the State Legislature when enacting Act 47 did not
09 intend.
10 The judge also stated, and I
11 quote, The city was aware of the contract language and
12 the existence of the prior arbitration award.
13 And I quote, The city eliminated
14 the SIT positions with full awareness of the potential
15 of the consequences. The second arbitration by the
16 Doherty administration was the product of the city's
17 breach of virtually the same agreement in the 1996 to
18 2002 contract.
19 The judge concluded based upon
20 these court's narrow scope of review, this Court
21 concludes that there was an adequate foundation for an
22 award for attorney's fees based upon the arbitrator's
23 finding of willful and blatant conduct on the city's
24 part. The judge hereby ordered and decreed that the
25 said position by the city is hereby denied.
01 And as Ms. Stulgis said before,
02 the city is appealing this decision again, and we'll
03 spend more of our tax dollars trying to defend the
04 mayor's opinion.
05 Apparently the mayor thinks we're
06 all wrong. He thinks the arbitrators are wrong, and
07 now he thinks the Judge is wrong. I guess the mayor
08 only believes his opinion is right.
09 And getting back to
10 Director Hayes, much to, this is not my style, but I
11 don't like being called a liar, because when I come up
12 here, I try to give the most factual information I
13 could, I research what I say, and all I can say to the
14 director is, Sometimes it takes a liar to know a liar,
15 and he doesn't know me at all.
16 MS. EVANS: Mr. Gervasi, I know
17 time is very, you know, we're running very late
18 tonight, but just ever so quickly.
19 MR. GERVASI: Sure.
20 MS. EVANS: In the stage you find
21 yourself in terms of the firefighters contract and even
22 the police contract, is it still possible for both
23 parties to sit down with the mayor and negotiate a
24 contract?
25 MR. GERVASI: I was asked this
01 question -- I was asked a similar question by my
02 attorney last month when he says, Well, it looks like
03 we're going all the way with this. I said, Well, yeah,
04 the city apparently is not talking to us.
05 We're hearing that there's
06 something coming down the pipeline, we don't know what
07 it is, we're waiting to hear from our lawyer, but, yes,
08 under the rules, we can -- even during this
09 arbitration, we can negotiate starting tomorrow
10 morning.
11 If we win or lose the decision and
12 it goes to Common Pleas Court, we can negotiate during
13 the break, during that court hearing, if we appeal or
14 the city appeals to the Commonwealth Court, we can walk
15 up the steps -- as we're walking up the steps, we can
16 negotiate a contract and stop all of this right now,
17 and we are willing to do it. The city hasn't been.
18 MS. EVANS: Well, according to the
19 Union News, I believe it was that, Mr. Dudek quoted
20 this evening, Mr. Doherty is quoted as saying he will
21 negotiate with you.
22 MR. GERVASI: Oh, sure.
23 MS. EVANS: So, I would expect
24 that either you'll be getting a phone call from him or
25 else maybe you should make a phone call to his office
01 and say, I'd like to take you up on your public
02 statement. Let's sit down and work this out.
03 MR. GERVASI I did that last tie.
04 When that was in the paper last time, I actually
05 stopped in the office and I talked to the
06 administrative assistant and I said, I heard in the
07 paper that the mayor wants to negotiate, have him give
08 me a call. He's got my number. I'll come down at his
09 convenience and we'll work it out.
10 You know, I don't want to take any
11 more time, because I know we have time constraints, but
12 I want people to realize something, that there's been,
13 I believe, over 21 Act 47 municipalities, distressed
14 municipalities throughout the State of Pennsylvania
15 since 1987, since the Act was enacted, and out of all
16 those 21, 22 municipalities, each one of them, certain
17 ones stood in distressed status for a few years, and,
18 of course, we're the leaders, we've been in longer than
19 anyone, and Johnstown is six months behind us, each one
20 of those municipalities either had one, two or three
21 recovery plans.
22 Not one of those recovery plans
23 has ever gone to arbitration, negotiations between
24 municipal workers. We are not the rule. We are
25 completely the exception.
01 This the first time in the history
02 of the -- since 1987, since the distressed act went
03 into effect that we're taking the entire contract
04 negotiations, all the Act 111 laws and the entire
05 recovery plan into arbitration and into court.
06 It's never gone this far. We
07 worked it out twice within the parameters of the
08 recovery plan -- the last two recovery plans. We
09 worked it out twice with the state and with the city.
10 This is the first time this has
11 ever happened statewide. Is it our fault? There's a
12 common denominator to all this trouble. It's this
13 administration.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mr. President, if
15 I may, if you can give me a little leeway here, just
16 because we're on the subject and it's fresh.
17 Several months ago I sat here and
18 said that these SIT clerks, we're going to end up
19 paying for them and we didn't get the work they should
20 have done, so we're paying for not having people here.
21 And I'm not a lawyer, and I
22 figured, Well, this administration's lawyer must know
23 something I don't know, so I brought it up and then I
24 kept my mouth shut, and then later on at a
25 Green Ridge neighborhood meeting when I brought up
01 about you'd be able to put more police officers back on
02 the street if we had the SIT clerks, and we're going to
03 end up paying for them anyway and we might as well have
04 then, I was told it was political.
05 Again I kept my mouth shut,
06 because I'm not a lawyer, but obviously Judge Mazzoni
07 knows a lot more than I do, and he agrees.
08 So, in all the time I've sat here,
09 which hasn't been that long, almost two years, I think
10 this is the most irresponsible thing I've seen so far,
11 because now we've got hundreds and thousands of dollars
12 that we're going to pay for people that did not come to
13 work, and I just hope that this would never ever happen
14 again. Thank you for letting me speak.
15 Well, yeah, the SIT clerk
16 basically, real quick, Mr. DiBileo, because maybe
17 people don't know, they were clerks that were used to
18 police officers, they would do the police officers'
19 reports for them so the police officers could go back
20 out on the street so we would have more officers on the
21 street, and I believe that it was the Connors
22 administration possible made to bring those clerks in,
23 right, so that we could be more efficient.
24 But once again, the fact that we
25 are going to pay hundreds and thousands of dollars now
01 for people that never came to work because we violated
02 a contract, and I kind of -- I have faith in
03 Mr. Mazzoni's judgment, I think it's going to hold up,
04 and that's sad for this city. Thank you.
05 MR. ANCHERANI: Good evening,
06 Council. I am Nelson Ancherani, citizen, resident,
07 taxpayer and financial secretary of the FOP.
08 I would like to clear something
09 up, last Thursday after a member of the present city
10 administration, Public Safety Director Hayes, spoke at
11 the podium, I wanted to instantly rebut what he said,
12 but I wanted to watch Channel 61 and get the reruns
13 first.
14 The administration official spoke
15 about Fire Union Spokesman Dave Gervasi now speaking on
16 behalf of the police union. Dave mentioned about the
17 city being able to put a D shift on during high crime
18 times, and that is in the present police contract, and
19 I will add, as it has been since January 1996.
20 Let it be perfectly clear, and I
21 repeat, perfectly clear, that I spoke to Dave prior to
22 his presentation at Council and told him it was okay
23 for him to address the D shift being in the police
24 contract. He had my blessing. He asked me as a
25 courtesy.
01 Furthermore, Dave is a city
02 resident and a taxpayer in the City of Scranton. He
03 can speak on any subject concerning taxpayers and city
04 business that he wishes.
05 Incidentally, the D shift is
06 structured to operate between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.
07 D shift is in the section 9-P, patrol work shift,
08 subsection G-3 reads, D shift shall be staffed with a
09 minimum of seven officers and a maximum of ten. That
10 is in the police contract.
11 One of the arguments that the city
12 keeps using and bringing up against the police union is
13 that the city is unable under the contract to shift men
14 where they are needed. They say they are hamstrung by
15 staffing requirements, and once the recovery plan is in
16 place, they will be able to do that.
17 They can do that now. Utilize D
18 shift. I've been saying for years that if the mayor
19 was willing to sit down across the table and negotiate,
20 this would have been settled years ago.
21 Both sides would have saved tons
22 of money, approximately $750,000 and counting. The
23 unions have always been willing to sit down and
24 negotiate.
25 Getting back to the D shift, the
01 city can shift personnel to the D shift if they want
02 to. Let me give you an example: The city in its
03 infinite wisdom led by the mayor eliminated the
04 strategic implementation team or SIT clerks from the
05 2003 budget, thereby violating the budget.
06 A grievance was file. And let it
07 be known that in the recovery plan, grievances are not
08 allowed if they're against the city, which mean the
09 city can violate any contract that they sign.
10 A grievance was filed and later
11 went to arbitration, and according to an arbitrator's
12 finding, eliminating the SIT clerks was, quote, willful
13 and blatant conduct, end quote, on the part of the
14 city.
15 If the city did not eliminate the
16 SIT clerks' positions, the clerks would be doing the
17 paperwork for the patrol officers, eliminating the time
18 spent writing reports, and etc.
19 The officers would be free to go
20 to their next assignment without losing any time. We
21 would not be short on shifts. We could take men from
22 the three shifts to fill the D shift.
23 If that could have been done back
24 in 1996, it could be done now. Being short on shifts
25 is the fault of the city, not the union, as the mayor
01 and his administration say.
02 The amount of police officers
03 required on the road per shift is nine minimum. That
04 is for the safety of the police officers and the public
05 alike. That would be two in Northend, two in
06 South Side, two in Central City and Lower Hill, and two
07 in West Side, and one in Green Ridge and the
08 Upper Hill. Nine, that's it.
09 Put the clerks back to work and
10 you will get that manpower. It is there waiting to be
11 properly utilized. The clerks were eliminated and new
12 positions created.
13 The present structure of the
14 police department was developed by a group of concerned
15 individuals and agreed to by them. The police
16 department was reduced by 17 men in that agreement, and
17 the safety of the remaining police personnel and public
18 was addressed by implementing the SIT clerk agreement.
19 This SIT agreement was written and
20 agreed to by duly authorized representatives of the
21 city, the Pennsylvania Economy League and the FOP.
22 They all agreed to this.
23 I have a ask to question, If the
24 city is hamstrung by staffing requirements and we are
25 unable to put a D shift on now, how are we going to be
01 able to do that when the city cuts police officers down
02 to what they testified to during the arbitration
03 hearings? Fifty.
04 We recently have been saying that
05 we have 157 police officers. That is 140 regular
06 officers and 17 neighborhood and CommD officers. This
07 is the 2005 budget, and that's the Department of Public
08 Safety No. 11, Bureau of Police No. 71, Page 19.
09 It should be noted that when the
10 mayor took office in 2002, we had 169 police officers,
11 not counting neighborhood or CommD officers, and now we
12 have 147, plus ten neighborhood or CommD police
13 officers.
14 If you look at the trend over the
15 last three and a half years, the among of police
16 officers is decreasing, but crime is increasing.
17 This administration is out to
18 break the unions. When Dave Gervasi and Nancy Krake
19 speak out for our union, as well as theirs, they have
20 my blessings.
21 At this point in time the city is
22 attacking the unions whatever way they can. Back us
23 into a corner, and we will fight the legal battle to
24 the end. We have no choice.
25 This administration has shown who
01 it favors in City Hall. The favorites got raises. The
02 police and fire got nothing. That is our punishment
03 for not buckling under this administration.
04 Again I say, the employees of this
05 city are proud people and dedicated to our jobs. We
06 will give 100 percent, even under the toughest
07 conditions. Thank you.
08 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
09 Mr. Ancherani. If there's no further speakers.
10 MR. WALSH: 5-A, Motions.
11 MR. DIBILEO: Mr. McTiernan, do
12 you have any motions or comments?
13 MR. McTIERNAN: Nothing at this
14 time, Mr. President.
15 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
16 Mrs. Evans, motions or comments?
17 MS. EVANS: Thank you First a
18 quick motion that's going to follow up on something you
19 mentioned very early on this evening, I'd like to move
20 that Council send a letter to the state legislature
21 supporting Mr. Cawley's legislation.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
23 MR. DIBILEO: Okay. We have a
24 motion on the floor and a second. On the question?
25 MR. POCIUS: Mr. President, I
01 don't really know much about the legislation. I mean,
02 that's the first I heard of it tonight, so I'm not
03 going to vote in favor of it, because I really don't
04 know what's going on with it, so just because I don't
05 know.
06 MR. DIBILEO: Okay.
07 MR. McTIERNAN: I haven't heard
08 about it prior to tonight either. I would be in favor
09 of listening to it. If you have information on it,
10 I'll read it.
11 MR. DIBILEO: Actually if I might
12 add, very, very simply, I never saw a House Bill with
13 so little too it, other than the fact that it reads
14 that elected state officials shall contribute
15 two percent towards the cost of the health care
16 premium, which the Commonwealth provides. That's it.
17 MR. McTIERNAN: So, elected
18 officials at the state level are being asked to
19 contribute to their health plan?
20 MR. DIBILEO: Right.
21 MR. McTIERNAN: Thank you.
22 MR. DIBILEO: If there's no
23 further questions, all those in favor, signify by
24 saying aye.
25 MR. McTIERNAN: Aye.
01 MS. EVANS: Aye.
03 MR. DIBILEO: Aye. Opposed?
04 MR. POCIUS: No.
05 By a 4-1 vote, motion carries.
06 MS. EVANS: Next, I received a
07 letter just today dated June 27 from Mr. Kresefski in
08 response to the information I had requested from him,
09 and part of his response is, as you know, Jay, is that
10 he cannot provide that information, rather I should
11 seek my responses from Mrs. Moran in the human
12 resources department, so I ask you to refer to that
13 letter, please.
14 His response, attach it to new
15 letter to Mrs. Moran so that I can have those answers,
16 please, in two weeks.
17 Also, I want to commend
18 Mr. Courtright, because I see as part of tonight's
19 agenda we are going to be passing legislation
20 concerning that particular project in North Scranton
21 that has occupied your personal interest for a very
22 long time, that's very commendable.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you.
24 MS. EVANS: And now I'm going to
25 ask once again, where is the $30,000 in CDBG monies for
01 the Hill Neighborhood Association?
02 Jay is not here at this time, oh,
03 there he is, well, you bugger, you were hiding behind
04 the attorney. Do you have an answer?
05 MR. SAUNDERS: I did talk to
06 Sara Hailstone about the situation, she said that none
07 of the money has been released yet to CDBG. They are
08 going through the paperwork, but they haven't
09 physically sent the money out yet.
10 MS. EVANS: Uh-huh.
11 MR. SAUNDERS: So, the Hill is
12 not -- but they've also met with the Hill Neighborhood
13 Association on three different occasions, and it said
14 they didn't seem like they were too worried about it,
15 but obviously they are, but --
16 MS. EVANS: Yes. And I might add
17 that I do know that for a number of the projects, for
18 example, the monies for the Downtown Senior Center, the
19 project for their new sidewalks, for example, have been
20 put out to bid, and the lowest bidder was accepted,
21 and, you know, it's moving along, so I really don't
22 think that, you know, they're at a standstill with this
23 money.
24 It was my understanding that
25 decisions are made in October and then in the spring of
01 the following year, the money begins to be released, at
02 least that was Ms. Hailstone's previous explanation.
03 So, I'd like a date, please, from
04 Ms. Hailstone as to when the Hill will see their
05 $30,000. Also, while you're speaking with her, could
06 you please determine a date when CDBG applications will
07 be available this summer?
08 And then, Jay, I'd like you to
09 send someone, please, to pick up 35 applications for me
10 the very first day that they become available.
11 Also, I want to compliment
12 Mr. John Hazzouri, pave cut inspector, for his
13 professionalism and courtesy and cooperation. I spoke
14 to him just today about the road cuts on Hampton
15 Street.
16 He explained there were major
17 water leaks over the winter and the water main had to
18 be addressed, and in the case of an emergency such as
19 this, both the gas and water companies can cut the
20 roads; however, the water company, and this is the good
21 news, will redo the street, the entire street, from
22 curb to curb from Meridian to Main Avenue.
23 As was mentioned just a few
24 moments ago, the city has once again has lost an
25 arbitration concerning the SIT clerks within the police
01 department.
02 As a councilman, Mr. Doherty
03 blasted Mayor Connors for arbitration awards. As
04 mayor, Mr. Doherty is repeating the same mistakes.
05 When will he learn from the mistakes of the past and
06 the present? When will he stop flushing taxpayers'
07 dollars down the toilet bowel?
08 I feverently hope this puts an end
09 to any appeals and any future arbitrations, because the
10 people can't afford these awards and the phenomenal
11 attorneys fees on top of it just because the mayor
12 mistakenly believes he has the power to violate
13 contracts.
14 And on a related topic, as of
15 today the City of Scranton has four CommD officers,
16 that would be specifically neighborhood police patrols,
17 four CommD officers for the entire City of Scranton,
18 which includes 27 square miles.
19 And I'm told in six sum months we
20 will have three more for a total of seven CommD
21 officers, and I frankly don't know how we can address
22 neighborhood crime satisfactorily with these numbers.
23 Jay, would you please send a
24 letter to Mr. Hayes? I would like to know if it's true
25 that CommD officers are assigned to public events, such
01 as La Festa Italiana, you know, any type of car shows
02 that have been conducted downtown, First Night Out,
03 Tripp Park, etc., and if so, how does he intend to
04 provide adequate neighborhood protection citywide
05 during those hours and days?
06 Also, I've received numerous
07 complaints from residents of Cayuga Street and
08 McDonough Avenue, which was mentioned earlier, about a
09 construction company who is cutting the streets in that
10 are for a utility project.
11 Over the weekend they left
12 Cayuga Street and residents' cars covered in mud, and
13 although the construction company did reimburse
14 residents for a car wash, homeowners now worry about
15 possible driveway and property damage, and they're not
16 pleased with this contractor's job performance.
17 And they additionally told me the
18 contractor never even apologized for what had
19 occurred. Now, thereafter the city sent street
20 sweepers to clean up the area.
21 So, I would like a letter,
22 Mr. Saunders, sent to Linde Construction inquiring
23 about reimbursement to the city for the use of city
24 street sweepers.
25 Also, Southern Union, a topic that
01 was touched upon as well earlier this even, I, too, saw
02 the Times Leader's article, which was published
03 Tuesday, June 28, and it does differ in some aspects
04 from today's Scranton Times, but it reports some very
05 interesting facts and statistics, and so I just want to
06 read excerpts.
07 As many as 25 positions in
08 Southern Union's corporate office are being cut,
09 leaving only about a dozen people for the move to the
10 company's new $16 million building in Scranton.
11 Last month the company notified
12 employees at its East Northampton Street offices it
13 would be terminating jobs in the corporate
14 communications, human services, payroll, finance and
15 IT departments.
16 When it announced the construction
17 of the new corporate building nearly two years ago, the
18 company said it would relocate approximately 30
19 corporate employees and bring in between 50 and 75 new
20 jobs to the 40,000 square foot building.
21 The building is located in a KOZ
22 area, which provides tax breaks until 2010 to
23 businesses in return for relocating to the designated
24 sites and creating jobs.
25 At the time of the company's
01 announcement on August 5, 2003, Mayor Chris Doherty
02 said the city provided an economic development package
03 worth an estimated $1 million to Southern Union.
04 Now, first I would like to thank
05 Mr. Karam and Ms. Cawley for responding so quickly to
06 both newspapers, because this is how we were able to
07 obtain our information, and I also wanted to indicate I
08 would still love to take a tour of the building as soon
09 as Mr. Karam can make those arrangements for Council.
10 Well, the city has spent a million
11 dollars, but it appears there are no new jobs, so to
12 clarify that, I would like a letter sent to Mr. Karam
13 and Ms. Cawley asking exactly how many new jobs have
14 been created and what are those jobs, are they in the
15 maintenance department, clerical, what might they be,
16 the number and type, and then I think we're going to
17 have to take a look at KOZ requirements and make sure
18 that these are being met, because as I quoted from the
19 Times Leader, part of that designation includes the
20 creation of jobs, and it doesn't appear at least from
21 the two newspaper articles that really any jobs are
22 being created.
23 So, I think we're going to have to
24 take a much closer look at that situation now because
25 of these new developments.
01 And I do have a number of requests
02 that came up in the last week, and just a very few here
03 for 212 Oak Street, an abandoned lot.
04 What I did want to say about
05 Fellows Park, which I neglected to comment on last week
06 when that young woman was here with her concerns, I
07 would suggest that that area apply for CDBG funds. I
08 think they can certainly apply that if indeed this is
09 in a low to moderate income area --
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mrs. Evans, I
11 think they did apply last year, if I'm not mistaken.
12 MS. EVANS: Well, they need to
13 apply again. If at first you don't succeed, try, try
14 again.
15 And I, you know, I think very
16 possibly they can finance a fence and maybe some new
17 playground equipment in that manner, because I think
18 City Council is very amenable to neighborhood
19 projects.
20 Also, this was interesting, in the
21 Bulls Head area behind the Dunkin Donuts on Main Avenue
22 there is an overgrown area that once was, and I never
23 knew this, a mini park, and there had been a swing set,
24 a jungle gym, various playground equipment, and the
25 residents are wondering if that could -- if that area
01 couldn't be cleared once again so that it could become
02 a play area for the children of that neighborhood.
03 Also, at 317 North Decker, we had
04 a house ruined by fire and the neighbors want to know
05 when that will be condemned and demolished.
06 At O'Hara plumbing in the
07 Plot section, it appears that is -- that building is
08 now vacant. The company has relocated to another area
09 in the region, leaving behind an area that is overgrown
10 with weeds and overrun by, what would we call them,
11 ferments, small animals, and the neighbors are asking
12 that an inspector go out there and perhaps contact the
13 company to see what they will do to clear up that
14 situation.
15 Also, if we could ask Mr. Parker
16 if he could take a look at the 500 block of
17 West Locust or send a surveyor, because it appears that
18 the coal company there has taken over a portion of the
19 street for their business and the residents are
20 concerned and they'd like to know if their street is
21 still within proper, acceptable legal standards.
22 And finally on Parker Street, back
23 to Parker Street, 74 in fact, right next to the home
24 there is a huge wooded lot, and the residents claim
25 this is city owned, I don't know, so I'd like to check
01 into that, but the problem is there are trees leaning.
02 It looks like a jungle, honestly,
03 huge trees, wild growth of every nature, and the tree
04 is leaning toward this homeowner's home, and if it is
05 city owned, can we get that trimmed or cut down, and if
06 not, we'll determine the property owner and try to get
07 that taken care of please. And that's all I have.
08 Thank you.
09 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
10 Mrs. Evans. Mr. Pocius, any motions or comments?
11 MR. POCIUS: A few brief comments,
12 Mr. President, thank you. First of all, I'm going to
13 try to just give some facts here.
14 In Mr. Morgan's speech tonight he
15 said that the water company was trying to use
16 condemnation and judicial powers in this property
17 situation, I was the one who brought up the
18 condemnation powers in the caucus.
19 Utilities by right have
20 condemnation powers. I think they were trying to take
21 the soft approach, purchase the property outright.
22 Also what I think the lawyer was
23 referring to, and I know he was, was the
24 Pittsburgh Plan, which he said objections to any sale
25 such as this, which is a sale of a tax delinquent, the
01 objection should be -- and the proper place is in the
02 Court of Common Pleas.
03 On any tax delinquent property,
04 anyone could go. The hearing is published in the
05 Jurist, the Lackawanna Jurist, and anyone can go and
06 try to outbid for that property or they can file
07 objections to why this sale shouldn't take place. So,
08 that's the legal remedy there.
09 Also, there was a statement made
10 that should we have 20 more people working at the zoo
11 or hire 20 police officers, well, it's a grant for a
12 feasibility study, it's not a grant to hire people.
13 Basically a consultant would be
14 hired, from the best of my knowledge, the study would
15 be made to see whether the zoo could be expanded, and I
16 think what was said was if everything in a perfect
17 world came to fruition, then it could be up to 20
18 people in a new modern zoo hired up there, not that
19 this grant is to hire 20 people with the grant.
20 On another issue, I've said this
21 in the past, last week I was philosophical, I'm just
22 going to speak to some strictly facts tonight, as to --
23 as far as my dealings with the unions in the City of
24 Scranton in the past.
25 Check the record and see if I ever
01 voted against any union contracts, whether they be
02 clerical, DPW, fire or police. And the answer is no.
03 Check the record to see that I was
04 not always in favor of -- my vote was always positive
05 in the purchase of any equipment which would be for
06 public safety.
07 Ms. Stulgis came before this
08 previous Council that I served on, we had a matching
09 grant, we had a grant for vests, and we were
10 criticized, not this administration, but the previous
11 administration, that we could not make the match.
12 Well, I made that a personal,
13 personal vendetta of mine, we begged, borrowed and
14 stealed and found the money to match the grant so 140
15 vests could be purchased for the officers.
16 Mrs. Krake seems to think that I
17 have this thing for the clerical union. Well, when I
18 first got back to Council here, I was presented with a
19 budget that was going to eliminate I think 15 or 16
20 positions in the clerical union.
21 I did my best and I couldn't safe
22 all of them, but I was able to save 11 or 12 positions
23 in that budget, 11 or 12 clerical positions.
24 Also back in a previous
25 administration there was a very ill-conceived recovery
01 plan that was thrown at the council at the time.
02 The same union members back in
03 1997 or '98 when this was presented, there was closing
04 of fire stations, there was elimination of many, many,
05 many, many jobs throughout City Hall, and I was cheered
06 by the same people, including Mrs. Krake, when we voted
07 that recovery plan down.
08 So, I guess -- these are facts,
09 check the record. And this is something on a personal
10 note tonight that I'm going to say this, because she
11 can't say it, her job does not allow her to say it.
12 The attacks that Ms. Shedlock has
13 taken here at this council are uncalled for, they're
14 cowardly, and she can't speak back.
15 I've known Ms. Shedlock for the
16 last seven or eight years that she's covered this
17 Council. She's always presented two sides of the
18 story, never one, she's always searched any Council
19 member out or any politician, mayor, controller,
20 whatever, to get their side of the story.
21 She will always give you a chance
22 to comment on anything she's going to write about. If
23 you chose not to take that, she has to write it the way
24 it's given to her.
25 She does not personally slant any
01 story in the years that I've been here for or against
02 one issue. She's a fact reporter. She can't say this,
03 I will.
04 So, I really think it's -- you can
05 have your opinion with the editors and so on and so
06 forth, the paper has a right, because it's a private
07 enterprise, they have a right to pick whatever slant
08 they want on an issue, that's why they have an
09 editorial page, and that's why they have a board of
10 editors, but to pick on a person here who can't really
11 speak back, and she won't write back an article because
12 she can't, because she's too professional, because it
13 wouldn't be allowed anyway, to defend herself.
14 And I'm not defending -- basically
15 I don't know anything about journalism, but I know
16 she's always been fair to not only me, but previous
17 Councils.
18 I've worked with a lot of
19 reporters in this building throughout the course of
20 time. Starting back when I first started here, people
21 -- the late Ray Flannigan, one of the best reporters
22 that ever worked here, Tom Staff, John Murphy, a whole
23 bunch of other people, and they were always fair, they
24 always gave you a chance to respond to any accusation
25 or opinion or issue or whatever.
01 We cannot control -- no one can
02 control what the editorial page wants to say or what
03 letters they put in or out of the box, but it must have
04 hit a nerve, because, I mean, I said something last
05 week and I had a few people take kind of contradiction
06 from the podium today as to what I said.
07 But to stand at the podium and
08 say, No, we think everything is fine, we won't take
09 somebody's opinion, it's fine.
10 Well, that's fine, like I said. I
11 chose to be here, and I'll be outspoken until the day I
12 leave her come January 1 or 2nd or whenever the
13 swearing is of the new Council.
14 But like I said, always check the
15 facts before you speak, because last week I kind of
16 went off on a little bit of a philosophical theme, but
17 tonight everything I told you is facts. Thank you.
18 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
19 Mr. Pocius. Appreciate those comments. I share your
20 feelings about our Scranton Times reporter,
21 Lynn Shedlock. I think she does a good job.
22 She doesn't always have the final
23 say in exactly what's said in some of the stories, but
24 I want to apologize if anyone personally attacked her
25 tonight, I didn't hear that, if that happened.
01 MR. POCIUS: It was in previous
02 weeks, Mr. DiBileo, that a person who said that she
03 reported falsehoods and so on and so forth that was not
04 true.
05 MR. DIBILEO: Well, I just wanted
06 to make it clear that I did not hear that this evening,
07 but I think she's very professional in what she does.
08 And, you know, we've had
09 conversation where she has told me personally that, you
10 know, her editor will add or delete certain things at
11 times, so, you know, I never blame her for anything
12 that's written. But, thank you, Mr. Pocius.
13 Mr. Courtright, any motions or
16 Mr. President. Jay, just one thing here, if you could
17 for me, 1915 Prospect Avenue, several calls today on
18 this property. I guess it's in really bad shape and
19 maybe Mr. Fiorini can send somebody out there to take a
20 look at that tomorrow, 1915 Prospect.
21 I had a letter put in my mail, and
22 I'm not quite sure who gave it to me, but it's a letter
23 to the police department, the chief of police.
24 And this gentleman who wrote the
25 letter did not send it to me, so I'm not going to say
01 his name, but I want to read the body of the letter.
02 It says, I just returned home from
03 what could have been the worse night of my life, but
04 because of fine work of your officers, it wasn't.
05 I had left my seven-year-old son,
06 I'm not going to say the child's name, my
07 seven-year-old son with my parents in Scranton, this
08 individual obviously doesn't live in Scranton, while I
09 was out to dinner with friends, when I returned to pick
10 him around 9 p.m., they told me they had just call 911
11 because he was missing.
12 I was less than a block away from
13 searching for him, what I flagged down a police car to
14 tell the officer my son was missing. The officer,
15 whose name I regretfully did not get, told me they had
16 already found him a few blocks away. This is only
17 minutes after the 911 call.
18 You can imagine the nightmare
19 scenarios that were going through my mind as I looked
20 for him. He is autistic, does not speak, does not know
21 the neighborhood and does not understand basic street
22 or stranger safety. It was dark and raining.
23 You can't imagine my relief when
24 we pulled up to find him surrounded by police officers
25 talking to him kindly and keeping him safe and calm
01 until a familiar face arrived.
02 I can't thank your officers
03 enough. I wish I had gotten their names. They were
04 incredibly fast, professional and compassionate.
05 You should be proud to have such
06 fine officers working for you in the city. They are a
07 credit to their badges. So, that was a nice letter I
08 just felt needed to be read there.
09 Last week Ms. Williams, and she
10 said she watches, so I'm sure she's watching now, she
11 said that I said she didn't like unions or she was
12 against unions, I believe she said, and I told her I
13 don't believe I said that. And she said, Check the
14 tape.
15 Well, I did. The very next day I
16 did come and check the tapes. I never said you were
17 against unions, Ms. Williams, and if you don't believe
18 me, you can come in and I'll let you listen to the
19 tape. So, you were wrong.
20 The Scranton Fire Department has a
21 website, and it's www.scrantonfire.com, and there's a
22 real lot of information on it about the fire
23 department, but there's a section on there for kids,
24 and it's an area where they -- with activities based on
25 fire safety, and there's pictures of the police
01 department in action and things of that nature, so
02 anybody interested, it's www.scrantonfire.com.
03 Jay, I said one thing, and I have
04 one other thing, if I could, out in front of
05 City Hall there's two signs, two big signs that say 15
06 minute parking, official use only, and my understanding
07 is that's for the citizens, the taxpayers and whatever
08 of this city, if they need to run into City Hall and,
09 you know, do their business with City Council and
10 treasurer's office, whatever the case may be, but I see
11 one particular individual's car there several days
12 during the week for several hours, but never a ticket
13 on it.
14 So, if you could for me, I'd like
15 to know who it is I need to call, does the police
16 department ticket out in front of City Hall here or is
17 that the parking authority?
18 So, when I spot this car there for
19 several hours, I can call them and I know they get up
20 here expeditiously and ticket that vehicle.
21 So, if you could find out for me
22 who it is I need to call there, as Kay or people in
23 City Hall might tell you, I spend quite a bit of time
24 here during the day, so I see this happening on a
25 frequent basis.
01 One other thing, a gentleman
02 stopped me today, there was a fire at his home in
03 West Scranton, they believe possibly somebody set his
04 car on fire, and in turn it caught his house on fire
05 and his neighbor's on fire.
06 These people that did it cut the
07 hose, the garden hose, for his neighbors, so when they
08 went out to try to put out the fire themselves, they
09 couldn't.
10 His fortunately was under his
11 porch, and he wet down his house and -- but anyway, a
12 lot of damage sustained, and he knows that I'm on
13 Council and he said to me, you know, I never give much
14 thought to the police department and the fire
15 department, you know, nothing at all, but he just said
16 until it touches you personally, he was amazed at how
17 courteous and professional.
18 He could not believe the degree of
19 professionalism of the police and fire department, and
20 I only remember two of the names, so I to the other
21 guys or women whoever were there, but he mentioned
22 Marty Monahan, who's a police officer attached to the
23 fire department and he mentioned Sean Flynn, and he was
24 very grateful for the job you guys did, and I just
25 wanted to mention that. And I believe that's all I
01 have, Mr. President. Thank you.
02 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
03 Mr. Courtright. Speaking of fast responses, it just
04 came to my mind that this afternoon just before I came
05 over here to this meeting, just outside the window of
06 my office, the gas station next door, there was -- it
07 turned out to be a baby locked in a vehicle, and there
08 were three or four police officers, well, let's say
09 maybe three, and three or four firemen there, and they
10 got in that car in a snap.
11 The baby might have been in there
12 a couple of minutes after they had gotten there, but
13 they responded real quickly, and the parent just
14 happened to close the door and it locked behind the
15 dad, and the baby was in there, you know, crying and
16 crying away, but they got in there real quickly.
17 So, I want to commend them on a great job at rescuing
18 this baby in this heat that we have.
19 I also would like to recognize a
20 couple of individuals, his name came up a couple of
21 times this evening, State Representative Gaynor Cawley
22 on House Bill 1545, which would have each of the state
23 elected officials pay 2 percent towards their health
24 care, and I just think it takes a lot of guts on behalf
25 of Representative Cawley to put that legislation
01 forward, and I want to just acknowledge that.
02 And while we're acknowledging
03 people, it was mentioned tonight, I'd like to recognize
04 the staff of our City Council office, Jay Saunders, our
05 city clerk, Kay Garvey, who is here every meeting,
06 Neil Coolican, who you don't see too much, unless
07 Kay is not working one of the meetings, and our Council
08 Solicitor Mark Walsh. They just do an excellent job,
09 they really care deeply about the people that they
10 serve in this city, and for just having a small staff
11 that we do these days, much smaller than used to be the
12 case in previous years, they get an awful lot of work
13 done, and I just want to thank them and acknowledge
14 them and recognize them for a great job that they do
15 and for helping the people out, as was mentioned at the
16 podium tonight. So, keep up the good work. Thank you.
17 I attended the South Side
18 Neighborhood Association meeting Tuesday evening, and
19 Judy Gatelli, the president of the association is here
20 at the meeting tonight, and we talked about something
21 that I could have asked Bill Fiorini, the director of
22 licensing and inspection, we wanted to ask Bill if he
23 could attend their next meeting, which is the last
24 Tuesday in July.
25 And before I might forget, Jay, if
01 you could ask him, just drop him a short little line,
02 if you can ask Bill if he could attend the South Side
03 Neighborhood Association meeting at Smith's Restaurant
04 the last Tuesday in July. I think it's the 26th of
05 July. Appreciate that.
06 And if the South Side Neighborhood
07 Association could be given applications for Community
08 Development Block Grant funds, they talked a little bit
09 about wanting to apply for something that they might
10 feel would benefit their neighborhood the most, and
11 they're not sure of what that might be, and for that
12 matter, possibly we can offer applications for CDBG
13 applications to every neighborhood association, so that
14 they might be able to determine what might benefit
15 their neighborhood the most.
16 MS. EVANS: That was why earlier
17 under motions I ask that we would receive 35, and that
18 way as you are traveling and I am traveling to
19 neighborhood meetings and any other Councilperson, we
20 have them available immediately.
21 And, you know, for any of the
22 teener leagues or senior citizens centers, etc., I
23 think it's helpful if we have our own stack and we can
24 also have them available in our office, as well, for
25 those who'd like to stop in maybe before a Council
01 meeting.
02 But I think we have to get them
03 out there as efficiently and quickly as possible, since
04 as of last summer, at least, OECD was not sending them
05 as once they had. So, just to make sure that everyone
06 has that opportunity, I think we are best served to do
07 that.
08 MR. DIBILEO: Yeah, great idea.
09 And if OECD isn't doing it, automatically sending them
10 out, Jay, possibly we can do that to the neighbor
11 associations, and then have some on hand so that we
12 could -- and this isn't to say that anyone is going to
13 automatically be approved for what they apply for.
14 Unfortunately that cannot be the case.
15 But to give people an opportunity
16 in the neighborhoods to apply for what they feel is
17 needed the most for consideration, we ask that they be
18 given out.
19 I'd like to announce, I was asked
20 to announce by the Scranton Public Theater, that
21 beginning Thursday, July the 7, that they will be
22 presenting a show called Dracula, and that's going to
23 open in its new facility at Hanlon's Grove in Nay Aug
24 Park.
25 All performances are on Thursday,
01 Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in July, Thursdays,
02 Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in July.
03 For ticket information and seating
04 or directions, please call 344-3656, 344-3656. And
05 this is one of the largest undertakings done by the
06 Scranton Public Theater that they do over the course of
07 the year.
08 Our Scranton Times this week
09 unveiled a new newspaper, and it's going to be a
10 morning only newspaper, but it's going to be a larger
11 and more expanded version of the Times, it will now be
12 the Times-Tribune, and we wish them well with that
13 undertaking.
14 But there was an ad in the first
15 edition of the Times-Tribune on Monday that was by the
16 mayor praising the Scranton Times and the newspaper,
17 which is fine, I have no problem with that, but what
18 concerns me is who is paying for the ad, because that
19 ad, and I'd like us to find out as soon as we can, who
20 is going to pay for that ad, because there was no
21 political disclaimer on the bottom of the ad, which
22 would have identified the ad as coming from the mayor's
23 campaign, which I think would be appropriate in this
24 case.
25 But no disclaimer on there tells
01 me that the city is paying for the ad, which means that
02 the average taxpayer is paying for the mayor to tell
03 everyone how great the Scranton Times is.
04 Now, I realize that Chris Doherty
05 and the Lynetts have a mutual admiration society going
06 on, and I don't want the taxpayers to have to subsidize
07 that.
08 And there's no secret that they
09 financially support each other, as evidenced by the
10 Doherty campaign finance reports, you know, they do
11 support each other, but what I -- how can you find that
12 the newspaper would be objective in its reporting if
13 the taxpayers are paying for, you know, those types of
14 ads?
15 So, if the city paid, I think that
16 what should happen is that the Doherty campaign should
17 immediately reimburse the taxpayers of the city.
18 What I was trying to say earlier
19 is what kind of objective reporting can be expected if
20 the taxpayers are paying and Mr. Doherty is praising
21 the newspaper and they're financially supporting each
22 other? So, we can find that out.
23 Now, it may be the case that there
24 was an omission somewhere and maybe the Doherty
25 campaign is paying for that ad, which would be
01 appropriate, so let's try to find out.
02 Next week's meeting might be held
03 at noontime, next Thursday. The reason I say may be
04 held at noontime, is that we may have a hard time
05 because of scheduling, that we may have a hard time
06 getting three people here next week, so if three
07 Council members are available, it will be held at noon
08 next Thursday, which I think is July the 7th. So, that
09 will be announced through the newspapers, Jay, so let's
10 look for that next Thursday at noon.
11 Also, I would like to wish
12 everyone a happy and safe 4th of July, and enjoy
13 yourself and be safe at the same time. And that's all
14 I have under fifth order.
15 MR. WALSH: Fifth order. 5-B, FOR
21 MR. DIBILEO: At this time I'll
22 entertain a motion that Item 5-B be introduced into its
23 proper committee.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
25 MR. POCIUS: Second.
01 MR. DIBILEO: On the question?
02 All those in favor, signify by saying aye.
03 MR. McTIERNAN: Aye.
04 MS. EVANS: Aye.
05 MR. POCIUS: Aye.
07 MR. DIBILEO: Aye. Opposed? The
08 ayes have it and so moved.
14 $2,500.00.
15 MR. DIBILEO: At this time I'll
16 entertain a motion that Item 5-C be introduced into its
17 proper committee.
18 MR. POCIUS: So moved.
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
20 MR. DIBILEO: On the question?
21 All those in favor, signify by saying aye.
22 MR. McTIERNAN: Aye.
23 MS. EVANS: Aye.
24 MR. POCIUS: Aye.
01 MR. DIBILEO: Aye. Opposed? The
02 ayes have it and so moved.
07 FOR THE SUM OF $5,000,00.
08 MR. DIBILEO: At this time I'll
09 entertain a motion that Item 5-D is introduced into its
10 proper committee.
11 MR. POCIUS: So moved.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
13 MR. DIBILEO: On the question?
14 All those in favor, signify by saying aye.
15 MR. McTIERNAN: Aye.
16 MS. EVANS: Aye.
17 MR. POCIUS: Aye.
19 MR. DIBILEO: Aye. Opposed? The
20 ayes have it and so moved.
02 MR. DIBILEO: At this time I'll
03 entertain a motion that Item 5-E be introduced into its
04 proper committee.
05 MR. POCIUS: So moved.
06 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
07 MR. DIBILEO: On the question?
08 All those in favor, signify by saying aye.
09 MR. McTIERNAN: Aye.
10 MS. EVANS: Aye.
11 MR. POCIUS: Aye.
13 MR. DIBILEO: Aye. Opposed? The
14 ayes have it and so moved.
21 MR. DIBILEO: At this time I'll
22 entertain a motion that Item 5-F be introduced into its
23 proper committee.
24 MR. POCIUS: So moved.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
01 MR. DIBILEO: On the question?
02 All those in favor, signify by saying aye.
03 MR. McTIERNAN: Aye.
04 MS. EVANS: Aye.
05 MR. POCIUS: Aye.
07 MR. DIBILEO: Aye. Opposed? The
08 ayes have it and so moved.
09 MR. WALSH: Sixth order. 6-A,
17 MR. DIBILEO: You've heard reading
18 by title of Item 6-A. What is your pleasure?
19 MS. EVANS: Mr. Chairman, I move
20 that Item 6-A pass reading by title.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
22 MR. DIBILEO: On the question?
23 MR. McTIERNAN: Mr. President, if
24 I could have a moment, please.
25 MR. DIBILEO: Sure.
01 MR. McTIERNAN: There's a, as I've
02 said earlier, I have concerns about this legislation,
03 proposed legislation, and I just want to read the
04 excerpts that I think are pertinent.
05 Outdoor swimming pool sites except
06 Nay Aug residents, fees, daily residents, daily charges
07 for residents shall be as follows, zero, and
08 non-resident, daily charges for non-residents shall be
09 as follows, zero.
10 I'm not in favor of not charging
11 non-residents and as I expressed earlier, I am in favor
12 of fees, but I would be agreeable to language that
13 would promote family or adult and children usage, so
14 that there would be a fee waived, and if there was an
15 agreement to that effect, I would be able to support
16 this. Thank you, Mr. President.
17 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. Anyone
18 else on the question?
19 MR. POCIUS: Yes. I listened to
20 this public hearing and testimony for the last few
21 weeks on City Council on this ordinance, and there's
22 nothing that -- I said I would entertain it. There's
23 nothing I heard that changed my mind.
24 You need a small fee charged for
25 the pool, and I think a dollar is fair, so I will be
01 voting in the negative tonight.
02 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mr. President, if
03 I may, I agree with Mr. McTiernan about charging from
04 the outside, I think possibly we should, but I believe
05 that maybe there might have been some legal problem if
06 we did that, so it's kind of hampering us from doing
07 that, so I would be voting yes, but I do agree with
08 Mr. McTiernan's comment.
09 MS. EVANS: If I might,
10 Mr. DiBileo, you were not at last week's public
11 hearing, so just to update you, all of those who spoke
12 at that hearing, all were opposed to charging pool fees
13 at neighborhood pools, with the exception of one
14 speaker, who was in agreement that a pool fee should be
15 charged.
16 Over, I'd say, a month now, I've
17 been inundated at home with phone calls, Emails from
18 city residents who oppose charging a fee, frankly, not
19 only at our neighborhood pools, but at Nay Aug, as
20 well, but, of course, I explained to them we have no
21 control over what goes on at Nay Aug.
22 But, you know, as I said,
23 overwhelmingly, in my case at least, the people have
24 spoken against pool fees, and I believe personally
25 parents have already paid for those pools through her
01 taxes, so why should the children pay again?
02 And I believe firmly if we post
03 very strict rules so that no one can say, I didn't know
04 the rule, and then we apply very severe consequences
05 for failing to abide by those rules; for example,
06 strong legal consequences.
07 As Mr. McTiernan mentioned a few
08 weeks ago, I think he said something about defiant
09 trespass for lifeguards. In addition to that, children
10 can be banned from all city pools for the remainder of
11 the swim season.
12 I really think the problem comes
13 down to this, lifeguards are children, and children
14 cannot discipline other children. That is where the
15 problem lies.
16 And I think in addition to that,
17 you know, to say that it's keeping out the
18 undesirables, the troublemakers by charging a fee,
19 that's inferring or implying that troublemakers or bad
20 people can't afford the fee.
21 And if we take that logically a
22 step further, then we are saying and implying good
23 people can pay a fee.
24 Well, I have a problem with that,
25 because I know many people who could well afford this
01 fee, middle class and wealthy people, who are not good
02 people, just like there are, you know, I'm sure
03 underprivileged or lower class people who are not good
04 people, but I don't like this assumption that if you
05 can pay a dollar, that makes you morally and ethically
06 of good quality character and behavior.
07 And I think more than anything
08 else, you know, we're saying here, we're using this fee
09 to protect the lifeguards.
10 The lifeguards have indicated the
11 problems that they've experienced, and I'm not denying
12 that, I'm sure there are countless stories that could
13 be told of abuse of lifeguards, but since when have
14 employees dictated policy in this city, and especially
15 employees who are children?
16 If that is so, then I believe all
17 of our employees should have a voice in policy. And
18 when, for example, the fire department offered a quick
19 response service to save lives, well, we should have
20 been listening to them and instituted that
21 immediately.
22 But probably most of all, the
23 saddest message here of all is this, and this is not
24 insincere on my part, because I have four children, and
25 I've been teaching children, as I've said, for 21
01 years, the philosophy we're teaching everyone is, Pay
02 to play.
03 If you want something from this
04 city, learn at a very early age you must pay for it,
05 and as you grow older, that grows.
06 If you pay for it or you have a
07 connection, you'll get those summer jobs, and as you
08 grow even older, if you pay, you may get a very good
09 administrative position or a solicitorship or a
10 contract with the city.
11 So, that type of philosophy is
12 precisely the philosophy I'm against, and I would never
13 teach a child that if you want something, you've got to
14 pay for it in this world, pay for it, because it's who
15 you know, how much you have, not what you know.
16 So, I will be voting in favor of
17 this legislation to eliminate the fees. Thank you.
18 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. I just
19 think that the benefits of free swimming far outweigh
20 the negatives to it, especially as far as the over
21 5,000 students in the Scranton School District who
22 qualify for free lunches, and they deserve a free lunch
23 and they deserve a free swim. In my opinion, a free
24 swim costs a lot less than a free lunch.
25 They're living below the poverty
01 line, and that's the reason for their free lunches,
02 but I agree with Mr. McTiernan in a way, I think that I
03 originally wanted to see non-residents pay a fee, but I
04 think that that would kind of open up a big can of
05 worms, everyone would need to have identification, and
06 people that live in the city without identification,
07 may be prevented from entering the pool as a result of
08 it.
09 And I just think that in that
10 case, the negatives outweigh the positives. So, that's
11 why I suggested that, to keep things simple, let's make
12 it free for everyone, and I don't think the
13 neighborhood pools are where the non-residents are
14 swimming, I think that's where the people that need it
15 the time most are swimming, in the neighborhood pools.
16 I think Nay Aug Park is probably where you see the
17 non-residents attending the most, and there is a fee up
18 there, and they would be paying it up there. That's
19 all I have on it. If there's no further questions,
20 signify by saying aye.
21 MS. EVANS: Aye.
23 MR. DIBILEO: Aye. Opposed?
25 MR. POCIUS: No.
01 MR. DIBILEO: By a 3 to 2 vote,
02 motion carries. And, Mr. Walsh, I'd like to make a
03 motion that we suspend our rules and place 6-A directly
04 into seventh order for final passage.
05 MS. EVANS: Second.
06 MR. DIBILEO: We have a motion on
07 the floor and we have a second. On the question?
08 All those in favor of suspending our rules and placing
09 6-A directly into seventh order, signify by saying aye.
10 MR. McTIERNAN: Aye.
11 MS. EVANS: Aye.
12 MR. POCIUS: Aye.
14 MR. DIBILEO: Aye. Opposed? By a
15 5-0 vote, motion carries.
16 MR. WALSH: Mr. President, I guess
17 we'll list that as 7-C. Which committee would that be
18 in, public works?
19 MR. POCIUS: Let me look, Mark.
20 MR. WALSH: I believe it will be
21 public works.
22 MR. POCIUS: No, it's written on
23 here, Mark. Finance. It's stamped as finance.
24 MR. WALSH: Thank you.
25 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
01 MR. POCIUS: Because it deals with
02 fees.
03 MR. WALSH: Seventh order. 7-A,
13 MR. DIBILEO: As chairperson for
14 the committee on rules, I recommend final passage of
15 Item 7-A.
16 MR. POCIUS: Seconded.
17 MR. DIBILEO: On the question?
18 Roll call, please, Kay.
19 MS. GARVEY: Mr. McTiernan.
20 MR. McTIERNAN: Yes.
21 MS. GARVEY: Ms. Evans.
22 MS. EVANS: Yes.
23 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Pocius.
24 MR. POCIUS: Yes.
25 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Courtright.
02 MS. GARVEY: Mr. DiBileo.
03 MR. DIBILEO: Yes. I hereby
04 declare Item 7-A legally and lawfully adopted.
13 DECEMBER 31, 2008.
14 MR. DIBILEO: As chairperson for
15 the committee on rules, I recommend final passage of
16 Item 7-B.
17 MR. POCIUS: Seconded.
18 MR. DIBILEO: On the question?
19 I would just like to acknowledge the great work that
20 Monsignor Siconolfi has done on the panel for as long
21 as the many years he's been on there, so we thank him
22 for that. If there's no further questions, roll call,
23 please, Kay.
24 MS. GARVEY: Mr. McTiernan.
25 MR. McTIERNAN: Yes.
01 MS. GARVEY: Ms. Evans.
02 MS. EVANS: Yes.
03 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Pocius.
04 MR. POCIUS: Yes.
05 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Courtright.
07 MS. GARVEY: Mr. DiBileo.
08 MR. DIBILEO: Yes. I hereby
09 declare Item 7-B legally and lawfully adopted.
10 MR. WALSH: Mr. President before I
11 read 7-C, I just want to note for the record that
12 public participation should be welcomed and allowed
13 seeing that we've passed it into seventh order,
14 everybody who would like to speak on 7-C, is perfectly
15 welcome to come up and speak again for the requisite
16 time on 7-C.
17 MR. DIBILEO: Is there anyone
18 present that would like to speak on 7-C, formerly 6-A,
19 which is the free swimming legislation?
20 MR. WALSH: Mr. DiBileo, you can
21 ask right again on the question as I read it, as well,
22 if anybody that like to speak can come up.
23 MR. DIBILEO: Okay.
01 2005 - AMENDING FILE OF THE COUNCIL NO. 252, 2003,
07 MR. DIBILEO: What's the
08 recommendation of the chairperson for the committee on
09 finance?
10 MS. EVANS: As chairperson for the
11 committee on finance, I recommend final passage of
12 Item 7-C.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
14 MR. DIBILEO: On the question?
15 MR. WALSH: And also on the
16 question from the audience, again, if anybody wants to
17 speak, they're welcome to.
18 MR. DUDEK: My name is Michael
19 Dudek, 608 Depot Street, Scranton, PA. And I just want
20 to make one observation, a yea vote on this bill will
21 relieve the city of any embarrassment over any possible
22 Civil Rights violations in these pools.
23 Remember what you spoke about, if
24 a person would goes to school in this city cannot
25 afford a free lunch, then he cannot afford a free
01 swim.
02 And if you take a good look at the
03 Civil Rights legislation written in 1965, this is
04 something that is very much at stake. I think a yea
05 vote is very, very essential. Thank you.
06 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. If
07 there's no further speakers, on the question I'd like
08 to say considering the heatwave that we're in the
09 middle of, this legislation is a real bonus to people
10 in the city that need this the most.
11 And if there's no further
12 questions, roll call please, Kay.
13 MS. GARVEY: Mr. McTiernan.
15 MS. GARVEY: Ms. Evans.
16 MS. EVANS: Yes.
17 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Pocius.
18 MR. POCIUS: No.
19 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Courtright.
21 MS. GARVEY: Mr. DiBileo.
22 MR. DIBILEO: Yes. By a 3-2 vote,
23 I hereby declare Item 7-C legally and lawfully adopted.
24 Seeing no further business on the agenda, I'll
25 entertain a motion we adjourn.
01 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
02 MR. POCIUS: Second.
03 MR. DIBILEO: We're adjourned.
01 C E R T I F I C A T E
02 I hereby certify that the proceedings and
03 evidence are contained fully and accurately in the
03 notes taken by me on the hearing of the above cause and
04 that this copy is a correct transcript of the same to
04 the best of my ability.
07 ______________________________