SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL
5 IN RE: FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 155, 2005 - AUTHORIZING THE
MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS OF THE
6 CITY OF SCRANTON TO TAKE ALL NECESSARY ACTIONS
TO IMPLEMENT THE CONSOLIDATED SUBMISSION FOR
7 COMMUNITY PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS TO
BE FUNDED UNDER THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
8 BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) PROGRAM, HOME INVESTMENT
PARTNERSHIP (HOME) PROGRAM AND EMERGENCY
9 SHELTER GRANT (ESG) PROGRAM.
12 Thursday, October 20, 2005
19 Council Chambers
Scranton City Hall
20 340 North Washington Avenue
24 Lisa M. Graff, RPR
1 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:
3 MR. GARY DIBILEO, COUNCIL PRESIDENT
5 MS. JANET E. EVANS, VICE-PRESIDENT
7 MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT
9 MR. JOHN POCIUS
11 MR. ROBERT McTIERNAN
13 MR. JAY SAUNDERS, CITY CLERK
15 MS. KAY GARVEY, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
19 FRANK BLASI, ESQUIRE
1 MR. DIBILEO: We have a public hearing
2 to hold. Let's have a roll call, please, Kay.
3 MS. GARVEY: Mr. McTiernan.
4 MR. McTIERNAN: Here.
5 MS. GARVEY: Mrs. Evans.
6 Mr. Pocius.
7 MR. POCIUS: Here.
8 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Courtright.
9 MR. COURTRIGHT: Here.
10 MS. GARVEY: Mr. DiBileo.
11 MR. DIBILEO: Here. To the best of my
12 knowledge, we're going to be joined by Mrs. Evans
13 sometime this evening, probably shortly, and we're also
14 joined by Frank Blasi, who is Mark Walsh's law partner
15 in the Blasi & Walsh law firm.
16 Mark is in the hospital, and we are
17 hoping for a full and speedy recovery for Mark. And
18 here's Mrs. Evans. Welcome, Mrs. Evans.
19 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
20 MR. DIBILEO: Do you want to do another
21 quick roll call, Kay?
22 MS. GARVEY: Mr. McTiernan.
23 MR. McTIERNAN: Here.
24 MS. GARVEY: Mrs. Evans.
25 MS. EVANS: Here.
1 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Pocius.
2 MR. POCIUS: Here.
3 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Courtright.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: Here.
5 MS. GARVEY: Mr. DiBileo.
6 MR. DIBILEO: Here. The purpose of the
7 hearing is to hear testimony and discuss the following:
9 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 155, 2005 - AUTHORIZING THE
10 MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS OF THE
11 CITY OF SCRANTON TO TAKE ALL NECESSARY ACTIONS
12 TO IMPLEMENT THE CONSOLIDATED SUBMISSION FOR
13 COMMUNITY PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS TO
14 BE FUNDED UNDER THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
15 BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) PROGRAM, HOME INVESTMENT
16 PARTNERSHIP (HOME) PROGRAM AND EMERGENCY
17 SHELTER GRANT (ESG) PROGRAM.
19 And we do have a sign-in sheet.
20 Now, some of the people on the sign-in sheet may
21 actually signed in for the regular meeting, which will
22 take place hopefully by seven o'clock this evening.
23 The first person on the sign-in sheet is Terry Osborne.
24 Terry may have signed the wrong sheet, so we'll pass
25 him by and go to Reverend Andrew K. Newberry.
1 MR. NEWBERRY: Good evening, members of
2 the Council. First let me just tell you how privileged
3 I am to come and have the opportunity to speak before
4 you. I've observed you in your capacity over the last
5 several months, and I want to say that the
6 proliferation of work much of a detail is circumscribed
7 and conception leads to so much hard work on your part,
8 and certainly I appreciate each and every one of you
9 and the wonderful way in which you serve our community.
10 You're very special to all of us. I'm here --
11 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Reverend
12 Newberry, and you're welcome.
13 MR. NEWBERRY: I'm here tonight to
14 just, I guess, speak on the Bethel Outreach Initiative
15 in which we have requested assistance from the
16 Community Development Block Fund.
17 Let me first tell you just in a few
18 minutes that our church, Bethel, has served this
19 community for over 125 years. It is the oldest and the
20 first Afro-American built congregation in this
22 For the past 13 years, we have served
23 the community through a number of ways, one of which is
24 our Emergency Outreach Shelter Ministry, in which we
25 have housed homeless persons who have lost their jobs
1 or their way and had no place to stay, no food to eat,
2 and we would take them in and we would feed them and do
3 whatever we could to held assist.
4 I came here a little over eight, nine
5 months ago with a charge and a commission from our
6 Bishop, this is a part of the Third Episcopal District,
7 the Pittsburgh Annual Conference, to develop an
8 outreach ministry that would go a little further than
9 just a handout, but a hand-up, and, so, what we have
10 done is we have put together three programs that are
11 all encompassing that will allow us to focus, first of
12 all, on the at-risk youth of our community.
13 For definition of at-risk, I will call
14 that those who are poverty ridden at the poverty
15 scales. What we are seeking to do is to allow those
16 students who might be falling through the cracks to
17 receive the assistance of college tutors, of business
18 mentors, as well as a community on -- an online
19 community that will allow them to privately 24/7
20 assistance tutoring program.
21 I have -- the site is in the process of
22 being built. We have already met with the
23 universities, three of the universities here in the
24 community, we're developing partnerships,
25 relationships, with the businesses, with the Chamber of
1 Commerce and all around.
2 Our goal through this program is to
3 make the Scranton public school system the very best in
4 northeastern or really all over Pennsylvania. I think
5 we have absolutely wonderful teachers. They need the
6 help, we have a good principal, and they need the help
7 of families, and we are providing an atmosphere through
8 this program to raise the standards of education.
9 The second part of our program seeks to
10 deal with a problem of those persons who are coming in
11 to our emergency homeless shelter, what we are planning
12 to do with that particular group is rather than let
13 them just come in and go to sleep at night, we're going
14 to put them in classes, we're going to work with them
15 on the areas in which they are deficient, we are going
16 to help them to do resumes, to be trained, to be
17 properly motivated to become once again
18 self-determined; in other words, they're going to go to
19 school at night, they will receive counseling at night,
20 they will receive mentors, who will -- oh, I'm sorry.
21 MR. DIBILEO: No, you have -- go right
22 ahead. You have another minute.
23 MR. NEWBERRY: They will receive
24 mentors. Our goal is to help them become
25 self-determined again through the kind of love and
1 value system throughout the faith-based community.
2 We're partnering with churches and synagogues, The
3 Central City ministerium, we're going to embrace this
4 area and try to reduce the recidivism, make our
5 communities safer.
6 I've heard a lot over the last few
7 weeks about people not will feeling safe, I think that
8 as we, the faith-based communities, begin to embrace
9 these kinds of programs, we'll see a difference.
10 And then lastly, our program addresses
11 not just the adults within the program, the youth in
12 the program, but we also are planning to have a
13 mentoring program for the parents. We're bringing in a
14 stork's nest program for those young mothers, and we're
15 going to provide incentives for them, and they'll get
16 the proper, what we would call, nurturing and
17 development so that they can be good parents to their
18 children, as well as we're going to be working with
19 them and all of the existing agencies so that we're not
20 really replicating or we're not really re-inventing the
21 wheel, but we're partnering to make sure that we do a
22 sufficient job in this particular program.
23 Now, one last thing I wanted to say
24 about this online community, one of the special
25 features that is being built into this community, it
1 will be private, and the college professors will be
2 able to monitor those future teachers in how they
3 conduct their tutoring of these families or these
4 children, and the school, the teachers, will also be
5 able to monitor how their students are performing, and
6 also even submit, if they would like, lesson plans.
7 And we're very excited about this
8 opportunity to serve, and we're thankful to you for the
9 consideration and we appreciate your continued service.
10 Thank you very much.
11 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. Thank you,
12 Reverend Newberry. It sounds like a wonderful program
13 and certainly sounds like one that deserves our
15 MR. DIBILEO: Andy Sbaraglia.
16 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia, citizen
17 of Scranton . Fellow Scrantonians, could anybody tell
18 me how many -- all these block grants, how much is
19 actually going to be used to put sidewalks in this city
20 or for paving? You don't have to look, there's not a
21 penny in these grants for paving or for sidewalks.
22 What is for the grants is a lot of
23 money for, I don't know where they're coming from. I
24 mean, we got a lot of projects going on for people that
25 are homeless and need shelter and the whole gamut of
2 Has Scranton fallen so far down that we
3 have to spend so much money on the homeless and people
4 who are coming into this city? There's something wrong
5 somewhere, not that I fault any of these projects, but
6 I'm for Scrantonians.
7 I do believe our money should go for
8 Scrantonians. I don't care how much of it goes for
9 Scrantonians, but let it just go for Scrantonians.
10 You cant' tell me that we have this
11 many people in Scranton that are so bad off that we
12 need all these millions being spent for all these
13 shelter programs and so forth. Where are they coming
15 I know we have to do something when
16 they're here, but a lot of money that should go for the
17 inner structure of this city is being spent on a lot of
18 different projects that has nothing to do with
20 Now, I wanted to mention this loan to
21 Boscov's, or what you call Scranton Mall Association,
22 for $170,000. Tell me, how much was this loan for, and
23 is this a one-shot deal or is this going to be a
24 continual deal? That's a lot of money to be spent.
25 MR. DIBILEO: Which program is that,
1 Mr. Sbaraglia?
2 MR. SBARAGLIA: City of Scranton OECD
3 planned repayment of Section 108 Loan, Scranton Mall
4 Association, to pay 20 percent of debt service
5 associated with this loan as required by the loan
6 agreement with the borrower who pays the balance
8 Now, tell me, why are we spending money
9 in the mall? The mall only brings us $24,000 into the
10 taxes as far as the land and the property goes. We're
11 spending $170,000. We'll never get the money out of
12 this mall.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: I think, Mr.
14 Sbaraglia, we're required to do this, are we not?
15 MR. SBARAGLIA: You are required to do
16 it because somebody made a bad deal, didn't they?
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: Well, be that as it
18 may, if they made a bad deal, they made a bad deal, but
20 MR. SBARAGLIA: Well, people have to
21 know that these deals are being made and they're not
22 for the benefit of the taxpayers.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right. We have to
24 live up to the obligation now, though, because the deal
25 was made. Whether it was a good deal or a bad deal, I
1 wasn't here at the time, and Mr. Pocius was here, but
3 MR. POCIUS: I was. It was a good --
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: But we're obligated to
5 pay it now, because we made the deal.
6 MR. SBARAGLIA: You are stuck, you are
8 MR. POCIUS: That's your opinion.
9 MR. COURTRIGHT: We've been stuck with
10 a lot of bad deals --
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay.
12 MR. SBARAGLIA: -- that came through
13 from this administration or from the Council.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Well, what I'm saying
15 is we have no choice right now.
16 MR. SBARAGLIA: Now you're stuck.
17 Right, the same with this $300,000 you have to pay for
18 the hotel, you're stuck with that, too. We're stuck,
19 stuck, stuck, but the taxpayer is stuck. None of this
20 money is coming -- well, it is coming from your
21 pockets, too, as well as mine.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah.
23 MR. SBARAGLIA: Okay. Does anybody
24 know -- well, the garage, you're stuck with, too,
25 there's no sense evening mentioning the garage, you're
1 stuck with it, it should've never been built, but we're
2 stuck with it.
3 But there is some -- most of these
4 other projects you see here are going for -- well, the
5 center down in Bellvue, of course it's probably
6 Scrantonians, but some of these like United
7 neighborhood Centers who reside in the surrounding
8 neighborhood, and I wish they do reside in the
9 surrounding neighborhood and not out of towners.
10 Do you know how many of these projects
11 that are getting out money deals mainly with out of
12 towners, people coming in under federal programs?
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: I think the United
14 Neighborhood one is local, isn't it, for local people?
15 I mean, there could be some people that moved in from
16 out of town, but I think they're trying to help the
17 local --
18 MR. SBARAGLIA: Well, let's take the
19 Salvation Army on the heat, because that's going to
20 come up now.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay.
22 MR. SBARAGLIA: Well, I guess I ran out
23 of time, but I wish that money is dedicated to
24 Scrantonians and not anybody that goes to the Salvation
25 Army looking for heat, like Taylor, Dunmore or what
1 have you. I thank you.
2 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mr. Sbaraglia.
3 Ozzie Quinn.
4 MR. QUINN: Good evening.
5 MR. DIBILEO: Good evening.
6 MR. QUINN: Tonight I'd like to speak
7 about one of the elements of the action plan, an that's
8 the CDBG Program, and I want to speak to it in regards
9 to housing rehabilitation.
10 According to the 2000 census, and
11 that's the only statistics we have present where we can
12 really look at it, there was or there were 35,336
13 housing units in the City of Scranton, 62.9 or 22,226
14 were built in 1939 or prior. Subsequently, the city
15 has an old housing stock, 54 percent of the housing
16 stock are owner occupied.
17 When I speak of housing rehabilitation,
18 I want to speak to the layperson out there, I'm talking
19 about home improvements, fixing up, maintenance.
20 Take a ride around the city
21 neighborhoods and you will see parts of city
22 neighborhoods that are blighted and run down and in
23 dire need of housing rehabilitation. We all know that
24 blight breeds crime.
25 The infrastructure, that is curbing and
1 sidewalks in the neighborhood, are in disrepair. The
2 problem with these homes is financial. Most of these
3 homeowners are proud Scrantonians.
4 18,287 or 48 percent of the occupied
5 household earnings was $35,000 or less. These people
6 would qualify under the CDBG Program, however, there
7 isn't any housing rehabilitation program under the CDBG
8 Program, that was eliminated four years ago when
9 Mayor Doherty took office.
10 He left -- he took the housing
11 rehabilitation that had a waiting list as long as your
12 arm and contracted it out.
13 Now, many are senior citizens on fixed
14 Social Security, retirement and/or retirement with home
15 heating fuels, gasoline, high taxation, medications
16 that precludes them from putting money into their
18 This the fourth straight year that the
19 Doherty Administration has failed to fund the Housing
20 Rehabilitation Program with CDBG funds, and I'm talking
21 only CDBG funds.
22 As I mentioned, there's $3,850,000 in
23 the CDBG account, so that's approximately $14 million
24 or more in the last four years. He hasn't addressed
25 housing, he hasn't addressed the back porch, he only
1 addresses the front porch, downtown.
2 As a matter of fact, the Doherty
3 Administration, when they moved the Housing
4 Rehabilitation out of the program, in the nation, and
5 this is given by the center of community changes in
6 Washington, D.C., the average community that was
7 receiving entitlement to Community Development Block
8 Grant was spending 20 percent on of their entitlement
9 funds, Community Development Block Grant funds, for
10 housing. Scranton in the last four years is zero
12 Now, I don't want you to get confused
13 with the Home Program, the Home Program is separate
14 altogether. The Home Program is mandatory. The city
15 requires they have the Home Program, and most of the
16 funds for the Home Program are going for affordable
17 housing in regards to helping people purchase new
18 homes, which is great, and to put some money into the
19 homes and fix them up, that's great.
20 They have $150,000 in there, which
21 they're contracting out, which is for code enforcement.
22 That's great, but the fact is, they don't understand
23 what a rehabilitation program is. Our neighborhoods
24 are getting run down.
25 I'm very concerned about it, because,
1 you know, the last thing that we want to do is what --
2 we're going to run into a reassessment next year by the
3 county commissioners, and I'm afraid that our tax base
4 in many situations is going to get lesser because of
5 the fact that a lot of the properties in these
6 neighborhoods are really run down.
7 So, what I want to say tonight, if it's
8 possible, if you could put $1 million, $1 million, into
9 housing rehabilitation where you can rehabilitate
10 between 700 and 1,000 homes a year through the grant
11 program or through very low interest loan programs,
12 which would be one percent for ten years, 15 years or
13 20 years. And this isn't unique.
14 I could -- I would bet you right now
15 that you can go to any community our size or any size
16 in the nation and you will find out that they have a
17 housing rehabilitation program. The City of Scranton
18 does not.
19 I ask you and I urge you, Council, to
20 look at our neighborhoods and give some money for the
21 neighborhood people out there for housing
22 rehabilitation. Thank you.
23 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mr. Quinn.
24 Leah Doherty.
25 MS. DOHERTY: Good evening. I'm Lea
1 Doherty, and I'm here on behalf of the United
2 Neighborhood Centers. I have a handout that I'd like
3 to share.
4 This year United Neighborhood Centers
5 has submitted an application to the CDBG funding for
6 the purpose of building a new building on our
7 Olive Street location, and I'd like to give a little
8 context to that application.
9 United Neighborhood Centers has been in
10 the community since 1923, and one of our first
11 locations was the Progressive Center, which many of you
12 are familiar with on Olive Street, at 410 Olive Street
13 or 414 Olive Street.
14 About seven years ago, we needed to
15 expand beyond the parameter of that building for
16 community services programs, and so we purchased what
17 we affectionately call The Little Tan House next door
18 at 410 Olive Street, and we moved our community service
19 programs into that building, and in the last seven
20 years we've seen a dramatic growth of that department
21 to meet a variety of needs within the city, and so I
22 just want to touch on a few of them so you can have a
23 context in which to understand why we are asking this
24 application, and then also just to highlight some of
25 the other things in our applications.
1 For example, you'll see that primarily,
2 you know, community services is there to help people
3 meet basis needs. We've been doing this in the
4 community for over 80 years.
5 People walk in our door for emergency
6 services, and we had 374 visits last year, they are
7 unduplicated visits, people seeking things, basic human
9 The second is Angel's Attic. Some of
10 you have visited us over the course of your time n
11 Council, this is our food pantry and clothing room,
12 this is where we've seen some of the most dramatic
13 increase in the last seven years.
14 In 1998, we had 1500 visits for food to
15 that program. Last year we had over 4,000. So, when
16 you see that number there of 7,050, that's for food and
18 And so, we're seeing people come in and
19 say to us, I have to come and ask you for food because
20 I don't have any money because I'm paying for things
21 like my gas, you know, my home heating costs, clothing
22 for my children, et cetera.
23 Right now in our food pantry we're
24 expecting a delivery on Monday, but right now I'm
25 handing out pudding, walnuts, cranberry juice and a few
1 assorted canned items, and I have had people come in
2 today and say, I'll take anything. I am desperate for
3 food. So, that is a great need that we are -- we've
4 blown the doors off of our building, you know, in
5 serving those families.
6 The next thing that we've added over
7 this time is the back to school program. This year,
8 this meaning this September, we served 579 children
9 with recycled uniforms. We have a wonderful
10 partnership with a local vendor who gives us recycled
12 Of those 579 children that we serve,
13 over 500 of them were City of Scranton kids. So, yes,
14 we are larger than just the City of Scranton, but they
15 were primarily the population that we serve at United
16 Neighborhood Centers.
17 We had a call today from a local
18 principal from one of the elementary schools here in
19 the City of Scranton that had a little girl not coming
20 to school every day this week without uniforms. They
21 didn't want to penalize the child, they knew there was
22 a special need in the family, they called us, we had
23 cloths out to the school today. I mean, so we're there
24 to meet those basic human needs.
25 We also do recycled bread program. We
1 have wonderful relationships with several of the
2 grocery stores in our community to give people
3 yesterday's bread.
4 Thanksgiving, last year we did almost
5 1500 Thanksgiving food baskets, 828 of which were for
6 residents of the City of Scranton. I expect that
7 number to increase this year.
8 We are seeing, you know, families
9 telling us with the increase in heating costs, with the
10 increased gas costs, with the flat wages, they're not
11 making it, and so they're coming for things like
12 Thanksgiving food baskets. Same thing with the toy
14 On the back of that paper we talk a lot
15 about our housing and homeless programs, and I
16 appreciate the gentleman's comments earlier about, you
17 know, what does this funding do for the homeless, many
18 of the homeless in our community are local folks, they
19 are folks that are born and raised in
20 Northeastern Pennsylvania, born and raised in the City
21 of Scranton, but as the rents are increasing and the
22 access to affordable housing, families are not making
24 So, we've seen, you know, one stop shop
25 is the place where people can come and just get any
1 kind of housing information. We had over 1100 visits.
2 Homeless families, we've served 31 last
3 year in transitional housing. I had 67 homeless
4 families from June 1 to August 31st of this year. I
5 knew of three families that were Scranton families who
6 were sleeping in tents this summer, so the need is
8 The Condemnation Program is another
9 program that we do with the partnership with the
10 City of Scranton is also one of our applications. We
11 hit 100 families last year.
12 Just before I left to come down here to
13 this hearing this evening, there was a call from the
14 city, there were five families displaced this afternoon
15 because of a heating and pluming issue.
16 We are on-call tonight, as those
17 families come home from work this evening and see the
18 orange sign on their door, one of my staff is out there
19 to respond, so that is part of not only the need for
20 the building, but also the condemnation application.
21 So, as you can see, you know, I know my
22 time is up, the need for a building, you know, may seem
23 why us, why now, but we have such a central part of
24 this community, of this city, in meeting people's basic
25 needs and also doing self-sufficiency. We're not just
1 about handing out things, we're about helping people to
2 step up.
3 The last part I'd like to say is we
4 have an application in, as well, for The Bellvue
5 Center, which the gentleman mentioned. That is the
6 City of Scranton, it's in the West Side.
7 Unfortunately when the Boys and Girls
8 Club needed to close last year, there was an unmet need
9 in our West Side area, and so we've now opened on
10 Saturday mornings, we have the indoor adventure course
11 that was built with a grant in there and we're making
12 use of those facilities for the kids of West Side on
14 So, I appreciate your time. To
15 clarify, you know, why now, why this application and
16 explain some of our services. So, thank you very much.
17 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. Mark Taferra.
18 MR. TAFERRA: My name is
19 Mark Taferra, I'm the director of the Rose Mediation in
20 Downtown Scranton. We provide mediation services for
21 anyone in a dispute, it could be adults, it could be
22 school related students who are referred either by the
23 schools or if kids have moved along further by the
24 juvenile justice system, if they have charges pending
25 against them.
1 I'm here tonight to endorse the program
2 of Reverend Newberry. I got to meet him a month after
3 he arrived here in September, March, to work on a
4 common project together, it's a project actually
5 totally separate from the one he was speaking of
6 tonight, but I will also be a part of that project that
7 he spoke of tonight, that program, and I believe his
8 idea is for us to focus on the school children, the
9 school students, even though we do adult issues,
10 tenant/landlord, small claims, neighborhood disputes.
11 We focus also on students, mutual
12 combatants, ongoing feuds in schools. It gives
13 principals, vice principals an alternative to
14 suspension, repeated detentions, if they want to use
16 We have been getting referrals from the
17 intermediate and high schools over the past six years
18 that we have been in existence in Downtown Scranton.
19 We also do with 15 years of background
20 personally as a licensed professional counselor in the
21 State of Pennsylvania, we also focus on a category of
22 parent/teen mediation.
23 When there's a problem of low grades in
24 the school and ongoing feuds, disruption in the
25 classroom, sometimes we take a session or two to focus
1 on the tensions within the household which fuel the
2 acting out behaviors and the at-risk behaviors that
3 cause problems in the school, the neighborhood and in
4 the family.
5 And so, I just want to say that I've
6 known Reverend Newberry just in the eight or nine
7 months he's been here, but I'm convinced of two things,
8 his commitment to improve the lives of not just his
9 congregation, but the community of Scranton at large,
10 and number two, that he's an insistent collaborator
11 wanting to work other agencies, social service
12 agencies, school institutions, businesses and the Rose
13 Center. So, thank you.
14 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, very much.
15 Thank you very much, Mr. Taferra. Larry McAndrew.
16 MR. McANDREW: Good evening, Council,
17 Larry McAndrew. Thank you for giving us the
18 opportunity to have this public meeting here tonight.
19 You know, the people of this city are
20 long overdue, and they should come first. This money,
21 this federal money, this taxpayers' money belongs to
22 the people.
23 As Mr. Quinn said, a city this size, we
24 should have a program to help those who are struggling
25 to fix up their properties, to have decent sidewalks to
1 make our neighborhoods look presentable, to make it an
2 asset for our city.
3 You know, this mayor says that our
4 parks come first, when people come into this city, they
5 want to see our parks, well, I disagree with him.
6 I believe that we should be seeing our
7 neighborhoods to see how the people live and what kind
8 of neighborhoods we have.
9 As Mr. Quinn said, most of our homes
10 are dated back from the 1930s to early '20s. This is a
11 much needed program. This money is our money. Again,
12 this is for the people. I thank you.
13 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. Okay.
14 Lee Morgan.
15 MR. MORGAN: Hi. I've come here for
16 three reasons, Scranton-Lackawanna Taxpayer Group,
17 which Ozzie Quinn is the president of, applied for OECD
18 grants for a summer youth program and -- well, really a
19 year-round program for youth in the city, we also were
20 seeking funding to fix condemned properties, I think
21 the lady from the United Neighborhood Centers touched
22 on some of that, and, you know, I'd just like to have
23 some real consideration.
24 The other thing we ask for funding for
25 was a furnace repair and replacement program in the
2 But the one question I have before we
3 really start here is, how much money does each
4 individual councilman have at his discretion, because
5 from my general understanding is, usually the mayor
6 decides how much each councilman's going to get to move
7 around, isn't that what goes on?
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: I got zero.
9 MR. POCIUS: Zero.
10 MS. EVANS: And I've never even heard
11 of that particular proposal.
12 MR. MORGAN: Well, I remember
13 discussing this with a prior Council, and the mayor had
14 basically divvied up most of the community development
15 money and decided that he'd allow the remaining
16 councilmen to split whatever he hadn't used, and that's
17 the reason I'm asking this question, because if we're
18 coming here asking for money and the mayor has already
19 appropriated almost all the money and then you have no
20 discretion at all over how much funds that are
21 available to you, then we'd be basically wasting our
22 time to come here and ask for anything.
23 MS. EVANS: Well, I believe that
24 Council does have a certain degree of discretion, in
25 that, we review carefully what the administration has
1 sent down to us for our consideration, and I believe we
2 have the opportunity to delete or add as we see fit and
3 as is affordable, and, you know, again, certainly those
4 organizations who have also met the required criteria.
5 MR. MORGAN: Okay. Well, then with
6 that said, what I'm asking this Council to do is
7 reinsert the three grant requests that the
8 Scranton-Lackawanna Taxpayers Association has made back
9 into this community development money, that's what I'm
10 here to ask for.
11 And what I'd like to hear Council at
12 least say is whether they agree or disagree, okay,
13 because I think we do need a full-time youth program in
14 the city, I do think we need to help people whose homes
15 have been condemned and don't have the money in order
16 to restore them so they can move back into them, and
17 I'm also absolutely positive that we need a program to
18 help people fix their furnaces in the wintertime or
19 replace them.
20 And for the life of me, I can't
21 understand why our request was removed from this
22 Community Development Block Grant money, because when
23 you look at what goes on here, you know what I mean,
24 what I'm saying to you is this group is newly formed,
25 okay, and we've never come forward and asked for money
1 before, but I think that what we're asking for is
2 legitimate. I mean, it's not political, there's a need
3 for it, and it will serve a need in the community.
4 And my theory is this, that evidently,
5 in my own opinion, our request never should have been
6 removed, and if it was, I feel that it's truly for only
7 political reasons, and I'm saying that honestly,
8 because when people -- when I went to Community
9 Development and asked them, they told us that our
10 grants were sent to the mayor.
11 Well, I can't understand why they
12 weren't -- why aren't they printed here? I don't
13 understand why all three of them have been removed.
14 Maybe one of the councilmen here can share their
15 thought on why they think they were removed, because I
16 think that they should have been included with
17 everybody else's and Council should have had the
18 opportunity see that we were here and that we requested
19 these funds.
20 MS. EVANS: Well, actually we do have
21 an accounting of all of those organizations who have
22 applied for funding, and as I said, we do also have a
23 copy of what the administration has decided in terms of
24 all of the grants.
25 MR. MORGAN: Okay. Well, then can you
1 tell me why our name was remove, why our three grants
2 were removed?
3 MS. EVANS: I cannot, because that was
4 not a decision made by City Council, that was a
5 decision made, I would assume, by the administration in
6 cooperation with OECD.
7 MR. MORGAN: Okay. So, who decided
8 that these people's grants were going to be processed
9 and that ours were going to be removed?
10 MS. EVANS: Again, I would assume the
11 mayor in cooperation with OECD.
12 MR. MORGAN: But you just stated
13 recently in this discussion that Council has a lot of
14 discretion in what's being done here, and now what
15 you're saying to me is you have no discretion at all
16 and the mayor sent this up to you.
17 MS. EVANS: Well, the mayor sends the
19 MR. MORGAN: Absolutely.
20 MS. EVANS: We review the list and then
21 we make a decision as to those allocations with which
22 we agree and perhaps other allocations we may not find
23 agreeable, we may delete or we may adjust in terms of
24 the allocation, and we even have the opportunity to
25 include those projects or organizations that we find
2 MR. MORGAN: Well, the thing that I
3 find troubling here is that the Council and mayor
4 didn't decide together jointly who should be funded and
5 who should be considered, and what basically has
6 happened here is the mayor decided who he's going to
7 allow to have their name sent up, and you may have a
8 copy of the grants that our organization has submitted,
9 but the troubling thing is is that you're making a
10 discussion after the fact, and what I'm saying to this
11 Council is that the three items that this organization
12 has asked for have merit and value and they should be
13 reinserted, and that in my opinion it's political, they
14 never should have been removed.
15 Because you know something, what I'm
16 talking about is a program for city youth, okay,
17 restoration of condemned properties and helping low
18 income people fix their furnaces so they can stay warm
19 in the wintertime, and I really would appreciate it
20 that this Council would reinsert them, all right, and
21 fund us. Thank you.
22 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mr. Morgan.
23 Marie Schumacher.
24 MS. SCHUMACHER: As you stated, my name
25 is Marie Schumacher. I'm here for two items, one in
1 particular that I feel are missing from this request.
2 The current situation at Nay Aug is
3 that there is -- there are porta-potties, and for the
4 entire park on a normal basis there are two handicapped
5 porta-potties, but the markings at the park are such
6 that you don't know where they are and they get moved
8 There has been money spent out of
9 previous OECD funds for a comfort station.
10 Ms. Hailstone was kind enough to give me a detailing of
11 the work that's already been done.
12 In 2002, $9,700 was paid for gutting
13 the necessary interior walls and ceiling of the
14 building, completion of rough-end pluming and
15 completion of rough-end wiring.
16 Two years later in 2004, $10,250 was
17 paid for frame, sheet rock, spackle and paint all walls
18 and ceilings, finish concrete unexisting floor, install
19 all necessary toilets and sink for mens, ladies and
20 handicapped bathrooms, finish all electrical work,
21 install all necessary doors, trim and hardware.
22 Now, the report for 2004, when it lists
23 the Nay Aug Park comfort station, and this was under
24 the parks and recreational facilities, says one
25 complete renovation of restrooms for handicapped
2 The problem is that the building
3 apparently has been completed on the inside. I did run
4 -- I went up to take some pictures one day, and I ran
5 into a man who said, Oh, have you been inside? And I
6 said, No, I haven't. And he said, Oh, it's gorgeous,
7 it's state of the art. And I said, Well, that's
8 wonderful, except that every time I'm up here, it's
10 And it is currently not handicapped
11 accessible. I did bring the pictures with me, and this
12 one in particular is telling.
13 Now, as you can see from those
14 pictures, the doors -- there's a picture of a women's
15 door, restroom door, but it's got a key lock on it,
16 there is no way it's going to open, there is a step
17 going into it.
18 On the other side, which I'm assuming
19 will be the men's room entrance, there's seven stairs.
20 Now, that's not really very handicapped -- either of
21 them as they currently exist are not very handicapped
23 And, so, what I'm here asking, I don't
24 know what the cost would be to complete that job and
25 make it accessible to the public, but I would ask that
1 the funds be included so that that project can be
2 complete, and in fact, there is a handicapped
3 accessible comfort station at Nay Aug.
4 And then the other item, and this is
5 more maybe in the current budget situation, it's not
6 feasible, but I guess I saw the mayor's ad that said he
7 wants to continue all the good work or complete the
8 good work that's been started, and in the mayor's or
9 the OECD, the current OECD five-year plan, one of the
10 items under parks recreational facilities and community
11 facilities it says, The major rehabilitation of the
12 field house at Weston Field is ongoing, much progress
13 has already been made at Nay Aug Park since the plan
14 was issued.
15 Some examples are, and then I'll just
16 cite one, a restored greenhouse that plays a key
17 educational role in the Scranton School District's BEST
19 Now, I'm familiar with the hot house,
20 we support the kids there and buy their products, and I
21 told the woman at OECD who was very helpful, that I
22 couldn't believe that any money has been spent, because
23 it definitely isn't restored, and she did call me back
24 and say, spent, Yeah, you're right, but since we've
25 already reported in the five-year plan that it's been
1 done, I think we should go ahead and do something to
2 restore that greenhouse, because it is in disrepair.
3 Thank you.
4 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, very much.
5 That is it for the sign-in sheet, as far as the public
6 hearing goes. Any other speakers?
7 MS. SIMMONS: Good evening. Reverend
8 Cathryn Simmons, lifelong Scranton resident. I did not
9 sign the sheet this evening, because it was not my
10 intention to speak, but unfortunately when I heard the
11 words persons not from Scranton, you know I had to come
12 up out of my seat and say something.
13 First of all, let me tell you that for
14 the first week that Bethel has been opened and has had
15 her shelter open, we have been running at almost full
16 capacity every night. This is the first time since our
17 shelter has been opened, in the 13 years that we have
18 opened our doors, that we have had a full night the
19 first week.
20 We are running with 19 --between 19 to
21 24 persons each night. We feed them, we make sure they
22 have a shower, we try to encourage them. These people
23 are not from out of town.
24 If there's five of them that are from
25 out of town, we're lucky. Most of them are from here.
1 They've lost their jobs, there is domestic problems.
2 Where everyone gets the idea that we go out and gather
3 people from out of town and bring them into Scranton, I
4 don't know, okay, but that is not the way it is.
5 These are, quote, our people, but we
6 don't close the door to people who some would consider
8 If you look back in the history of
9 Scranton, it was non-Scrantonians who came and built
10 this city. There was no one here in the beginning.
11 My God said in the Book of Romans,
12 Those who are not my people, I will now call my people,
13 and I will love those whom I did not love before. I
14 think our residents in the city better start to read
15 the Book of Romans and understand what the Lord is
16 trying to say.
17 We wonder why we're getting hit over
18 and over again with hurricanes, we're getting hit on
19 the West Coast with fires, homes are being destroyed
20 and people are being run out.
21 Thank God for places like Bethel's
22 shelter, because these are where people come to when
23 disasters hit. Scranton, we are just waiting. Our day
24 will come, and those people who are up here now saying
25 to you that we shouldn't even be in existence because
1 we take in out of towners will be coming to Bethel to
2 look for a slice of bread and a cot to lay their head
3 on. They better hope that we're still open. Thank
5 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Reverend, and
6 thank you for all the great work that you do. Are
7 there any other speakers on the CDBG Program? Okay.
8 If not, we're going to call this public hearing to a
10 We're going to take a few minutes. I
11 know we will be starting our regular meeting late
12 because of the length of the public hearing, so we
13 should be back here in just a few minutes. Thank you.
15 (HEARING WAS CONCLUDED.)
1 C E R T I F I C A T E
3 I hereby certify that the proceedings and
4 evidence are contained fully and accurately in the
5 notes taken by me on the hearing of the above cause and
6 that this copy is a correct transcript of the same
7 to the best of my ability.
LISA M. GRAFF, RPR
11 Official Court Reporter
1 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
6 Thursday, October 20, 2005
10 7:00 p.m.
14 Council Chambers
15 Scranton City Hall
16 340 North Washington Avenue
17 Scranton, Pennsylvania
24 Lisa M. Graff, RPR
25 Court Reporter
1 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:
3 MR. GARY DIBILEO, COUNCIL PRESIDENT
4 (Arrived where noted)
6 MS. JANET E. EVANS, VICE-PRESIDENT
8 MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT
10 MR. JOHN POCIUS
12 MR. ROBERT McTIERNAN
13 (Arrived where noted)
15 MR. JAY SAUNDERS, CITY CLERK
17 MS. KAY GARVEY, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
19 ALSO PRESENT:
20 FRANK BLASI, ESQUIRE
1 MS. EVANS: Roll call, please, Kay.
2 MS. GARVEY: Mr. McTiernan.
3 Mrs. Evans.
4 MS. EVANS: Here.
5 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Pocius.
6 MR. POCIUS: Here.
7 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Courtright.
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: Here.
9 MS. GARVEY: Mr. DiBileo.
10 MS. EVANS: I would again like to
11 announce that President DiBileo had a personal matter
12 to attend to and will return to our meeting as soon as
14 Also, I would like to welcome to
15 City Council Attorney Frank Blasi, he is a partner in
16 the practice of law with Attorney Walsh and will be
17 standing in for attorney Walsh during his illness. We
18 are very grateful to him in helping us out in this
19 emergency, and, again, I welcome you to Council.
20 MR. BLASI: Thank you.
21 MS. EVANS: Lastly, I would request
22 that all speakers strictly adhere to the five-minute
23 time limit. Also, I require speakers to respect the
24 members of Council and their fellow speakers.
25 Further, I require that the audience
1 remain silent during all speakers' remarks. Thank you.
2 MR. POCIUS: Mrs. Evans, can we please
3 note, too, that Mr. McTiernan was here for the public
4 hearing and he too had to leave briefly for something
5 important down at the school. He said he would be back
6 in a half hour or so.
7 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
8 MR. POCIUS: He's not AWOL, he will be
10 MS. EVANS: Thank you, Mr. Pocius. I'm
11 sorry I overlooked that.
12 MR. POCIUS: I think you did ask me,
13 but I might not have told you or you didn't hear me.
14 Thank you.
15 MS. EVANS: Thank you. And if we may
16 dispense with the reading of the minutes, please.
17 MR. SAUNDERS: Third order. 3-A,
18 APPLICATIONS AND DECISIONS RENDERED BY THE ZONING
19 HEARING BOARD ON WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2005.
20 MS. EVANS: Are there any comments? If
21 not, received and filed.
22 MR. SAUNDERS: 3-B, CONTROLLER'S REPORT
23 FOR THE MONTH ENDING SEPTEMBER 30, 2005.
24 MS. EVANS: Are there any comments? If
25 not received and filed.
1 MR. SAUNDERS: 3-C, PETITION TO BAN
2 TRUCK TRAFFIC ON THE 800 BLOCK OF WHEELER AVENUE.
3 MS. EVANS: Are there any comments? If
4 not, received and filed.
5 MR. POCIUS: Mrs. President, at this
6 time I'd like to make a motion that we send this
7 petition to the city engineer, Department of Public
8 Works and to the Department of Public Safety for their
9 review and reporting back to Council, because anything
10 such as this has to be backed up by a report, so I make
11 my motion is to study it and report back to Council
12 with a decision.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
14 MS. EVANS: On the question? All those
15 in favor, signify by saying aye.
16 MS. EVANS: Aye.
17 MR. POCIUS: Aye.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
19 MS. EVANS: And motion carries. If we
20 could please now have our city clerk's notes.
21 MR. SAUNDERS: Councilwoman Evans, we
22 sent a letter out on October 14 to the mayor regarding
23 Sara Hailstone and -- coming to a caucus, and you had
24 asked me to give a report on Thursday night, tonight,
25 and as of yet, I have no response back from them.
1 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
2 MR. SAUNDERS: Cooper Street, Council
3 President DiBileo had asked about Cooper Street, and
4 we've received many e-mails about the situation to make
5 that a one way street. That was done on October 7.
6 Capital budget, last week Councilwoman
7 Evans discussed if that was sent to the Planning
8 Commission and what was the results of that, it has not
9 been sent to the Planning Commission yet.
10 And the last thing I have is last week
11 our meeting was four hours, and Lisa Graff, our court
12 reporter, had sat here, and we can all leave and do
13 what we have to do, but Lisa had four straight hours of
14 sitting there and staying focused the whole time.
15 And her job does not end there,
16 throughout the week we bother her on her real job and
17 call her and ask for minutes from certain speakers that
18 we have questions that we have to answer, and I have to
19 take the time out to thank her for all the things she
20 does for us.
21 MS. EVANS: Indeed.
22 MR. SAUNDERS: That's all I have,
23 Councilwoman Evans, and we will go to fourth order,
24 citizens' participation.
25 MS. EVANS: And the first speaker I
1 would like to call to the podium is Linda Rogers.
2 MS. ROGERS: Good evening, Council. My
3 name is Linda Rogers, and I'm a resident of the City of
5 Last, and I hope you don't mind me
6 reading my notes, because I can't keep things straight,
7 this past weekend I ran a fundraiser for the daughter
8 of a very good friend of mine, she's become the victim
9 of Scleroderma and Raynaud's disease.
10 For anyone with the disease it is a
11 very long and painful death sentence. There is no cure
12 for this disease. With only two weeks to prepare, we
13 had a wonderful turnout.
14 The reason I am here tonight is because
15 we all would like to take this opportunity to publicly
16 thank Mr. DiBileo and Janet Evans for taking their time
17 from their most busy schedule to help support us.
18 And I need to say this, there was
19 absolutely no discussion on politics whatsoever. Their
20 only concern was what was going on there that day, and
21 it was to help my friend's daughter. That was very,
22 very appreciated.
23 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
24 MS. ROGERS: Okay. As I said, their
25 total focus was on the illness and not on themselves.
1 I would also like to thank everyone who took part in
2 and donated most generously to this fundraiser. There
3 are many people who've never heard of this disease, let
4 alone know what it does to the human body or the toll
5 it takes on you and the family who cares for the
6 victims of the disease.
7 There's no cure, but many needs;
8 therefore, starting this year I have set up a
9 foundation called the Scleroderma Raynaud's Foundation
10 in hope to help continue with fundraisers to help other
11 in need when all else is exhausted.
12 We are already on our way to the 2006
13 campaign. I also would like to take this time to thank
14 our Scranton firefighters and our police department who
15 helped support me, and they also added to our
17 But it's with regret that the Scranton
18 Times and Tribune did not feel the need to help me with
19 my support. I have made two or three phone calls and
20 talked to them on the phone, I also took a picture of
21 this individual, along with all the information, to
22 what I presumed they have in the paper what's call the
23 Yes Desk, I wanted to get the information out because I
24 was trying to get some softball players together to
25 maybe have a trophy and a fundraiser, along with
1 everything else that we had going on that day and
2 present them a trophy on behalf of this person that's
4 But even the Yes Desk, I got no
5 response from The Times whatsoever. I mean, they
6 didn't even show up. They had not only the paperwork,
7 they had all the information on the disease, and they
8 had her picture.
9 She's from North Scranton, and she's a
10 very -- I've watched this girl come up from a baby,
11 and it saddens me.
12 But, again, I want to thank you and
13 Gary for your support and for stopping over, and God
14 Bless and thank you for your time.
15 And my last report right now as of
16 coming to this meeting is she's going downhill fast
17 right now. She just -- her mom wanted to be here, but
18 she's so sick today and the pain is unbearable for her
19 right now, so she called me and said I can't come over,
20 but she also would like to, you know, give her thanks
21 for all the help. Thank you.
22 MS. EVANS: Thank you, Mrs. Rogers.
23 And she will be in all our prayers. Next, Terry
25 MR. OSBORNE: Good evening, Council.
1 My name is Terry Osborne. I reside at 2644 Birney
2 Avenue, and I've been here the last couple of weeks
3 concerning the city pension fund. I serve as a fire
4 representative on the pension fund.
5 First off, I'd like to thank everybody
6 on Council. I see our ordinance is on your agenda for
7 this evening, and we are hoping that it will pass in
8 three readings and we're hoping it will be a 5-0 vote.
9 I think we've pled our case to most of you people on an
10 individual basis, and we're hoping that we will get
11 your support.
12 With that done, I think we will again
13 remove all the politics from the pension board, go back
14 to where we were several years ago and go back to the
15 intent of Act 205, that being that the pension fund be
16 made up of employee representatives, along with some
17 elected officials, and actually that compliance is
18 mandated under Act 205.
19 I met with Attorney Walsh, and we
20 reviewed that law, and I think the reason you have the
21 ordinance is he's in agreement.
22 There's been some discussion here the
23 last couple of weeks about our current RFP process, and
24 just to keep you updated on that, we have had 12 offers
25 as to the new investment company for the pension fund.
1 While we originally thought about
2 cutting that it down based on the written proposals,
3 kind of on the suggestion of Roseanne Novembrino at our
4 last meeting, we are going to have oral presentations
5 from each of those companies, so everybody's going to
6 get an equal opportunity to present to the pension
7 board, you know, the pros and cons of all the
9 The only other thing I guess I wanted
10 to touch on tonight was this past Sunday there was an
11 editorial The Scranton Times, it seems that all of a
12 sudden there's a lot of attention being paid to the
13 pension fund, interesting enough the title of the
14 editorial was city debt not being explained correctly,
15 well, they are correct in saying it's not being
16 explained correctly, because in their editorial they
17 incorrectly state 25 percent of that bond issue that
18 was done has been used to cover municipal pension
19 payments that had not been made by a series of previous
20 administrations. That is 100 percent false.
21 You had a representative of our
22 investment company here two weeks ago, I believe it
23 was, report to you absolutely accurately at the end of
24 2000 all past due MMOs were paid, and since 2000, all
25 MMOs up to date.
1 Where The Times gets off making this
2 type of a statement, is crazy. There was money
3 borrowed. The money borrowed was to buy out the
4 contract that Mayor Chris Doherty had put in in the
5 year 2000. That cost approximately $9.2 million to buy
6 that contract out, but in the end, we weren't able to
7 cancel that contract out because the company stepped
8 forward and asserted, and we believe correctly, they
9 had a five-year contract.
10 When they pointed it out in the
11 contract, they were accurate and there are still here,
12 so despite the fact that the money was paid to them, we
13 did continue to have them for the remaining three
15 Secondly, the editorial says, and I'm
16 not sure what they're trying to infer here, but it says
17 when Mayor Chris Doherty took office, the pensions were
18 seriously underfunded. They seem to infer that now
19 they're not since we've had Mayor Chris Doherty.
20 I think I reported to you last week,
21 and I confirmed it with our administrator today, the
22 pension funds as of our last actuarial study done
23 earlier this year remain unfunded, despite what The
24 Scranton Times wants to tell you, we're unfunded
1 Again, the second part of that money
2 that was borrowed was borrowed to buy out that contract
3 that the mayor as the finance chair of Council had
4 given to us, and the reason that was done was we had as
5 a pension board at the end of 2002, had a monitor to
6 come back who had previously worked for our pension
7 fund, and in an article done by Lynn Shedlock back
8 then, it was accurately reported that the estimation
9 was that the plan had lost over the first two years of
10 that contract, the plan has lost over $6 million more
11 than it could have.
12 So, in a measurement against other
13 pension funds in the first two years of that contract,
14 we were down $6 million.
15 As I reported I think last week and the
16 week before, we continued to under perform, and as of
17 about two weeks ago, our current administrator, Tom
18 Anderson, has sent to the city this year's MMO and the
19 effect of that under performance is that the taxpayers
20 this year will pay over an additional $100,000.
21 The city's MMO from last year to this
22 year has increased over $100,000, and, again, in a
23 discussion with Tom Anderson our administrator, that is
24 due to the underperformance of the pension fund.
25 MS. EVANS: Mr. Osborne, may I pose a
1 question quickly?
2 MR. OSBORNE: Sure.
3 MS. EVANS: Since we -- or rather you
4 are discussing impacts on our MMO, could you tell me,
5 please, what is the effect on the pension fund of the
6 93 forced retirements that occurred in December 2002?
7 MR. OSBORNE: When people retire sooner
8 than they were going to, obviously the pension fund
9 immediately has to start paying out a pension.
10 I can tell you from our department, I
11 know that total is 90. I would say on an average a
12 pension in the City of Scranton may be from somewhere
13 below or somewhere above $20,000, but on average some
14 were around 20, so, that year, and you're right, I know
15 we had at least 30 or more ran to the door under the
16 fear of losing retiree health care benefits, but if you
17 average a $20,000 pension by 90 people, it's
18 $1.8 million that we're paying out, and, you know, I
19 didn't discuss it personally with all those people, but
20 I know at least as far as our department, they are
21 people who retired earlier than what they had really
23 We used to have 35, 40 guys who were
24 pension eligible, yet remained working. At the end of
25 2002, we at that time did not have a pension eligible
1 man, so, again, while guys sometimes would stay 30, 35,
2 jeez, I think Ex-Chief Applegate stayed until 40 years,
3 nobody did that anymore, so instead of having people
4 pay into the fund for an extra five, ten, fifteen years
6 MS. EVANS: They're drawing down on it.
7 MR. OSBORNE: They immediately went and
8 starting drawing, and I'm sure the MMO will increase
9 over the years just based on that little hit that we
10 took because of that.
11 MS. EVANS: And for how long will this
12 impact continue?
13 MR. OSBORNE: Forever, for as long as
14 they live.
15 MS. EVANS: Okay. And, again, we could
16 have had these same 90 individuals gainfully employed
17 doing their jobs, and at the same time paying into a
18 pension fund, rather than drawing out of it
20 MR. OSBORNE: Absolutely. And, again,
21 that's why our hope is that through our current RFP
22 process that we're going through, that we truly are
23 going to get the best offering.
24 Again, that was the intent of Act 205.
25 Since it came into existence in 1984, we never before
1 had done to our pension fund what Mayor Chris Doherty
2 did as the finance chairman at that time to disregard
3 all the work that we had done as a pension board, set
4 it aside and hire somebody different than that
6 So, again, in a few weeks we will be
7 making that recommendation to you people. Our hope is
8 that it will be with the pension board as it was set up
9 under Act 205.
10 The nine original people on that board,
11 not the 15 that are there now, and, again, we hope to
12 make a good recommendation to you guys and start
13 getting back to where we should be with our employee
14 pension fund.
15 MS. EVANS: Thank you, Mr. Osborne.
16 MR. OSBORNE: Thank you.
17 MS. EVANS: Bob Bolus. Oh, I'm sorry.
18 Doug Miller.
19 MR. DOUG MILLER: Good evening,
20 Council. Doug Miller, Scranton. Regarding last week's
21 audience behavior, I thought it was a disgrace back
22 there, and it's turning into -- it's starting to turn
23 into a war when we come here, and this is supposed to
24 be an opportunity for all of us to come here and work
25 together and make this city a better place, but all
1 some people do here in insult each other, and it
2 happened to me last week.
3 When I was returning from the men's
4 room last week, Mrs. Joanne Williams started to
5 verbally attack and insult me, but then Mr. Bolus and
6 others got involved and she left yelling threats to
8 Mrs. Williams, when she was screaming
9 at me, called me a Bob Bolus Prototype. Well, I'm
10 proud to be a prototype of Mr. Bolus and Mr. DiBileo,
11 Mrs. Evans, Mr. Courtright, Mr. Pocius, and
12 Mr. McTiernan and Mr. Saunders and Mr. Walsh, who's not
14 As a young adult in this city, this has
15 been a learning ground for me and other kids as to who
16 we want to be like when we get older and who we don't,
17 and after last week, I certainly don't want to be like
18 Mrs. Williams, because my parents taught me to respect
19 and not to insult people.
20 Also, Mr. Tony Marinucci made the
21 public comment that all youth in the city were riff
22 raff, well, I have one question for Mr. Marinucci, does
23 he consider Mayor Doherty's children riff raff, as
25 And the last thing, to end on a
1 positive note, Council and Mr. Pocius, my parents
2 wanted me to thank you for the kind compliments that
3 you gave them last week. And I would like to thank
4 you, as well. Thank you. That's all I have for
6 MS. EVANS: Thank you, Mr. Miller.
7 Now, Mr. Miller is a young speaker, and I admire the
8 fact that he is stepping forward and becoming involved
9 in his government and his community, however, I would
10 ask that the adult members of this audience please
11 refrain when you come to the podium from mentioning the
12 names of any individuals or from any type of
13 name-calling. Thank you. And thank you again, Mr.
14 Miller. And now to be followed by Mr. Bob Bolus.
15 MR. BOLUS: Thank you, Council. Bob
16 Bolus, Scranton. What we heard tonight is from a young
17 man who has idolized this Council and the workings of
18 this city, and I'm proud of Doug and the opportunities
19 that I've had to bring him here and see what goes on
21 And what happened here last week was
22 totally wrong. This isn't the forum for people to come
23 and scream and insult, this is a forum to educate and
24 lead our youth as we move forward.
25 I think Doug was a prime example of
1 that. What Mrs. Williams did last week was wrong.
2 MS. EVANS: Mr. Bolus, please.
3 MR. BOLUS: I understand that, Mrs.
4 Evans, but it was city business last week, and my name
5 was brought up by her, by Mr. Marinucci about my time
6 and stuff here, because I've supported members of this
8 I've gone over, I've tried to watch my
9 time right to the tee, if I can. They go over minutes
10 and minutes, and yet they come in and insult everybody
11 here, yet I've not heard anything constructive out of
12 them yet.
13 Mr. Marinucci came here and called the
14 "ouths", whatever that is in Scranton, riff raff, and
15 that was wrong. All the kids are equal in this city,
16 and that was wrong, and he said it at this lectern.
17 MS. EVANS: Mr. Bolus, just one
18 correction, I don't believe that I actually heard
19 Mr. Marinucci make that statement, I believe that
20 statement was made by President DiBileo, who was
21 attributing that statement to Mr. Marinucci, who
22 apparently made it at another point in time, but it was
23 not made at last week's meeting.
24 MR. BOLUS: I understand that,
25 Mrs. Evans, and that was made at a meeting that he's
1 one of the members of, but, you know, that's a heck of
2 a way to treat and think of what the kids are in this
3 city, and then ask him to come here and respect
5 But, you know, after watching some of
6 Mayor Doherty's recent political ads and reflecting
7 back on all of the broken promises made during his
8 prior election campaign, such as I will be the sixth
9 councilman, I'm against selling city assets, I will
10 reduce your personal income tax, I will place the
11 proceeds from the golf course sale in a trust fund, and
12 listening to his self-proclaimed accolades regarding
13 3,000 new jobs, which were actually comprised of
14 already existing jobs, relocated jobs, jobs outside the
15 city, and jobs from businesses that are supposedly only
16 coming to Scranton sometime in the future, and
17 listening to his statement that crime is only perceived
18 or gangs just don't exist in the city, ask the trooper
19 that got beat up at the ball game about gangs.
20 I would like to say this to our voting
21 taxpayers, using the mayor's own words, Don't Take the
22 Bait, he didn't get out into the neighborhoods until he
23 was practically beaten in the primary election by the
25 Given all of the above, don't take his
1 bait again or we will be taken hook, line and sinker
2 come November.
3 What I would like to ask Council,
4 because Mr. DiBileo asked last week, and I've asked The
5 Scranton Times if they would ask or find to the
6 question about Mr. Doherty's campaign finances in his
7 last election if he took money from a campaign or from
8 his corporation, and tonight I would like to ask
9 Council to ask The Times to do that on our behalf,
10 because we can't direct it to them, and if Council
11 would do that, I would respectfully request that that
12 be done, please.
13 And I hope all of those who have
14 attended these meetings and criticized will come back
15 later on with something productive.
16 You know, the Republicans that voted
17 for Mr. DiBileo and not Doherty in the primary made
18 their statement, you know, all the ads Republicans are
19 for this one or that one, that's not the case.
20 I'm a Republican, I stand as a
21 Republican where I'm at. I'm not part of the 29 that
22 live outside of the city that were all part of the
24 You know, if you live in the city, you
25 have an investment in the city, that's fine, but
1 political cronyism or your professional service and
2 fees that you get without bids, Mr .DiBileo answered a
3 question last week that I directed to him, A, he
4 doesn't lie; B. he was very straightforward that he
5 would put professional services out for bid, and to me,
6 that's an individual that's concerned about the seniors
7 and the taxpayers of this city about keeping money in
8 our pocket, not giving guys like Carl Greco and others
9 hundreds of thousands of dollars in no bid deals and
10 take it from these taxpayers and then coming in here
11 with CRF and saying we need to give you more money for
12 this, that and the other.
13 And one question if Council would ask
14 Mr. Keeler who comes here, what business the city does,
15 do we have a Christmas club there, do we have a
16 vacation club, and if you would ask him if Fidelity
17 Bank, what other business does his bank do with the
18 city, and maybe we'll have an understanding why
19 everybody is here. Thank you.
20 MS. EVANS: Thank you, Mr. Bolus. Andy
22 MR. BOLUS: Okay. Ms. Evans, if you
23 would ask that question to The Times, I would
24 appreciate it.
25 MS. EVANS: I can ask. It doesn't
1 necessarily mean that it will be done.
2 MR. BOLUS: I understand, but it's the
3 only way we can request it, if Council will do that.
4 Thank you.
5 MS. EVANS: Mr. Sbaraglia.
6 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia, citizen
7 of Scranton. Fellow Scrantonians, on your 7-C for
8 consideration of adoption, we have another subordinate
9 agreement coming before us. You know what that first
10 loan was secured on?
11 MR. POCIUS: Mrs. Evans, I don't have
12 the backup, but I remember looking at this last week, I
13 think the original note was $250,000. I think it was
14 going to be increased to $275, like, to allow for more.
15 I don't really know much about the business, but I
16 think it was a $25,000 increase in the note. I think
17 that's it.
18 MR. SBARAGLIA: You know what the loan
19 was secured on? Because now they want to borrow
20 another $275,000 and move our loan behind that.
21 Now, we have to know if that business
22 is worth $250,000, plus $275,000 for us to know if
23 we're going to get burnt, because this is another 108
24 Loan, and we just got burnt on one, and God knows how
25 many more we're going to get burnt on.
1 That's the best I can ask on it, but
2 unfortunately you're going to vote on it tonight. I
3 wish you had known everything about it, you could have
4 given me an answer, but that's part of it.
5 Okay. Gentlemen, we've been warned by
6 state, by the federal and everybody that our heating
7 costs are going to go sky high.
8 I came before you months ago and asked
9 you to notify all the utilities that the city be
10 notified when anything is shut off; meaning, gas,
11 electric, or -- well, you can't do much on the oil, but
12 gas and electric, because that covers -- well, even
13 that, even if you can on the oil, so we're better
14 knowing what's going on in this city and why we're
15 still under this block grants.
16 I suggest that we maybe increase the
17 money for heating from the $20,000 up to about $70,000,
18 and if we don't use it in the spring, you can reallot
19 it to someone else, which we did many times before, but
20 in the meantime, the people of Scranton will be
22 I told you once before, I love
23 Scranton, I believe in Scranton, I've lived here all my
24 life. The only time I was ever away from here is when
25 I served my country, and that was it.
1 Scranton was my home, it gave me -- I
2 worked here all my life, I had a good job, so my love
3 for this city is very, very in my heart.
4 And when I speak to this Council, I
5 speak with my heart, because unfortunately I was one of
6 the few, I couldn't say I was bad, I was lucky, but I
7 grew up in poverty, I know what poverty is, I know what
8 come with not being able to have this or that, but I
9 grew up and I got through it, but what's happening now
10 is something they can't do anything about.
11 Unfortunately a lot of the people in
12 Scranton retired when the retirements were very low.
13 Their Social Security is low, and this heating increase
14 that's going to happen is going to really affect them
15 in a very negative way.
16 So, I wish you would spend time, find
17 out what could be done to protect the citizens of
18 Scranton from utilities, being that the state
19 legislature gave that up. They used to protect us, but
20 they don't protect us anymore. That's all I can ask.
21 Thank you.
22 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
23 MS. EVANS: Ozzie Quinn.
24 MR. QUINN: Good evening, Council.
25 MS. EVANS: Your name and address.
1 MR. QUINN: Ozzie Quinn, Scranton,
2 homeowner. I may appear to be a regular here, but I'm
3 going to be a regular until the budget is adopted,
5 And I want to ask a question tonight,
6 Mrs. Evans, as acting president, when do you expect to
7 receive the mayor's 2006 budget?
8 MS. EVANS: I would anticipate in
9 November, late November.
10 MR. QUINN: Will that budget be
11 available to the Taxpayers' Association or could it be
12 made part of -- be given to us?
13 MS. EVANS: I would think that our
14 office could provide you with a copy.
15 MR. QUINN: Mr. Saunders, would you
16 please remind us when you get a copy, would you notify
17 me so I can pick it up?
18 MR. SAUNDERS: Yes.
19 MR. QUINN: The reason I'm asking that
20 is because we all know we have a huge debt in the City
21 of Scranton, and no matter how you try to twist it and
22 turn it, it's there.
23 Mrs. Evans, I think you gave a good
24 comparison last week of a comparison made in The Times
25 where they said that an accountant said, and also the
1 BA said it prior, that if you bought a home for
2 $50,000, and it's at 6 percent for 30 years, the
3 long-term debtness is going to be $109,000; however, if
4 you pay for a check right away, it's only $50,000.
5 When you said that -- when you
6 recounted the fact that the City of Scranton cannot pay
7 a half of a check for $121 million, I think you're
8 correct. We are in debt, we're in serious debt here,
9 and that's why we want this budget because of the fact
10 that we're anticipating a tax increase.
11 And as previous speakers and myself
12 have spoken about in the past about the rise in fuel
13 and gasoline medicines, we're very much concerned.
14 Now, the county was good enough to give
15 us a tax break this year, okay, it's no longer 48, it's
16 43, so -- but we also have to deal with the school
17 district yet, okay?
18 So, we are very much concerned about if
19 there's going to be a tax in the revenue side of the
20 mayor's budget, and so we can address that at the
21 Council meetings, because we're very much concerned.
22 Thank you very much. Okay.
23 MS. EVANS: Thank you. And I do agree
24 with you, Mr. Quinn, that the long-term debt is
25 certainly astronomical, and that it forbodes a future
1 tax increase of sizeable proportion, and I see the
2 impact that has been caused by the county increase, and
3 that's why it is imperative that no additional
4 borrowing be permitted and that costs be cut and that
5 belts be tightened and a debt begins to be paid down so
6 that the people are no -- well, will no longer be
7 saddled in the future with such outrageous increases as
8 have been levied by the county, we simply can't afford
9 that. And I do realize that I believe that every
10 member of this Council realizes that, as well. Thank
11 you. Matt Barrett.
12 MR. BARRETT: I would like to let Dr.
13 Bannon go before me, please.
14 MS. EVANS: If he is agreeable. Thank
16 MR. BANNON: Good evening, Council
17 members. My name is Jay Bannon, I'm a surgeon, I
18 practice here in Scranton. I live in Waverly. I'm a
19 founding partner in the surgical group Delta Medix, and
20 as such, I'm a property and business owner and taxpayer
21 here in the city of Scranton.
22 I've served as President of the
23 Lackawanna County Medical Society and also the Mercy
24 Hospital Medical staff, and currently I am the
25 chancellor for Northeast Pennsylvania for the American
1 College of Surgeons Keystone Chapter. Today I speak as
2 an individual.
3 I'd like to discuss the relationship
4 with medical community and health care in the City of
5 Scranton. Our emphasis of course will always be on
6 providing state of the art quality care for the people
7 of Scranton. This includes your family doctors who
8 will be pedestrian, specialty care, trauma service, et
10 Beyond this is the impact, the economic
11 impact, of health care delivery system on our city.
12 People come from all over Northeast Pennsylvania for
13 health care in Scranton. Our hospitals, nursing homes,
14 surgery centers, labs, rehab facilities, outpatient
15 services, diagnostic Centers, doctor's offices, are
16 major employers here in Scranton.
17 Our group, Delta Medix, employs over
18 100 people, not including physicians with good-paying
19 jobs. The economic impact of health care here is
21 The medical liability crisis is off
22 the front pages, yet problems relating to access to
23 care have never been more acute.
24 Meaningful legislation has resulted in
25 a lower number of lawsuits across the state. This is
1 not translated into lower liability insurance rates or
2 retention of physicians.
3 In the decade or greater than decade
4 that I've been in practice here in Scranton, the number
5 of general surgeons practicing locally has gone from
6 more than 35 to 11 or 12.
7 Recent statistics show that only three
8 percent of physicians practicing in Pennsylvania are
9 35 years or younger.
10 Residency training programs in
11 Pennsylvania, which were some of the nation's best,
12 traditionally yielded greater than 50 percent of the
13 graduates staying in Pennsylvania to practice. Recent
14 data shows that number is down to eight percent and is
15 less in high-risk specialties. This does not bode well
16 for the future, but our efforts are ongoing.
17 While I was President of the County
18 Medical Society, Mayor Doherty came to me recognizing
19 the magnitude of the problem, the significance to
20 Scranton and offered to help.
21 He recognized the big picture, not the
22 doctors versus lawyers, as depicted, but the problem of
23 access to care.
24 I asked him what was his dog in the
25 fight? His response was eye opening. He said he was
1 concerned about acces to quality care for seniors and
2 for the people of Scranton.
3 He said, I'm concerned about the
4 ability to attract business to Scranton. What I need
5 is safe streets, affordable cost of living, good
6 schools, and importantly good health care to attract
7 business to Scranton.
8 He recognized the important
9 inner-dependence of the medical community and the
10 business community. We in turn need a thriving
11 business community to continue to provide state of the
12 art care and new technology.
13 Mayor Doherty wrote letters to our
14 legislatures and supported rallies downtown, which
15 eventually resulted in meaningful legislation statewide
16 in Act 13 and also in CAT Fund abatement.
17 Although we have a long way to go, his
18 efforts had an enormous impact on the medical community
19 and morale in general.
20 It was never stated or recognized, and
21 in part, that is why you I am here. Mayor Doherty
22 stood up for his constituents, the people of Scranton,
23 at a time when it was not easy and indeed made a
25 Too often we keep our heads down, do
1 our work and get on with our day. He couldn't do that
2 then, and I couldn't do that today. I was obligated to
3 acknowledge his accomplishments, dedication and
5 Mayor Doherty's Recovery Plan for
6 Scranton is working. Our streets are safe, the police
7 force does a great job, and F.B.I. statistics would
8 support that.
9 The business community downtown is
10 growing. I need to look no further than my block, the
11 200 block of Penn Avenue to see the progress. This is
12 reflective of what's happening throughout the downtown
13 and in our neighborhoods and parks.
14 Are we in a better place now than
15 before Mayor Doherty took office? You bet. Mayor
16 Doherty's holing up his end of the bargain, and the
17 medical community will continue its efforts to provide
18 quality health care in Scranton, despite odds that are
19 work against us.
20 Together we can make Scranton a great
21 place to live and work. To use a Steamtown analogy,
22 Mayor Doherty has us on the right track. No one is
23 more committed to see Scranton thrive. I hope he has
24 the opportunity to continue, and I'm most grateful for
25 his efforts. Thank you for the privilege of the
2 MS. EVANS: Thank you, Dr. Bannon.
3 MR. BANNON: And the moment that I have
4 in closing, I would like to thank Mr. Pocius for his
5 contributions to the city.
6 I've known his family for a long time.
7 His father's one of my favorite people, and he was a
8 great man, one of Scranton's finest, and he embodied
9 all that's good about Scranton. The apple hasn't
10 fallen far from the tree, and I'd like to thank him for
11 his contribution to the city and this Council.
12 MR. POCIUS: Thank you.
13 MS. EVANS: Allison Duffy and -- I
14 can't actually read the printing here.
15 MS. DUFFY: It's Gerard Butella, that's
16 my husband.
17 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
18 MS. DUFFY: No problem.
19 MS. EVANS: And your address.
20 MS. DUFFY: My name is Allison Duffy,
21 and I'm a city resident of Scranton, and good evening.
22 My husband and I decided to move to Scranton over a
23 year ago. There's much talk in every small city that
24 is struggling to hold onto a population, as well as
25 gain a new one.
1 I thought I would share some of the
2 reasons we chose Scranton over many other cities in
4 So, backing up 18 months ago when my
5 husband and I were moving out of the northeast, much
6 was being said amongst our friends and even the media
7 that Scranton was experiencing a renaissance.
8 It seems like every time we turned on
9 the news, there was a story about a building being
10 renovated, a park being returned to life, a restaurant
11 opening, et cetera. It seemed like the whole city was
12 turning around.
13 So, my husband and I actually changed
14 our course of action and decided to move to Scranton.
15 The downtown offered attractive loft housing, which is
16 basically unheard of in the Northeast, so we decided to
17 rent one of these units, making sure that before we
18 thoroughly invested in the city, that we knew that all
19 the hype about Scranton was true, and I'm here tonight
20 to testify that the city is truly experiencing a
22 We both frequent local art shows,
23 performances, restaurants, Nay Aug Park, and even
24 neighborhood parties that are filled with individuals
25 just as enthusiastic about the turnaround of the city
1 as we are, and now we have decided to fully invest and
2 buy a home in the Hill Section of Scranton.
3 My husband and I also travel a great
4 deal, which I think helps one's idea of what urban and
5 residential neighborhoods should be at their best.
6 I have found a book that ties in so
7 much with our vision of what a great city is and how
8 that is achieved in this day and age.
9 The book is called The Rise of the
10 Creative Class. It's by Richard Florida, and it's a
11 great read, I recommend it for everyone.
12 Basically Mr. Florida has done an
13 inordinate amount of research on what makes a city
14 survive. He taps into a large culture of young
15 professionals that now reverse the trend of moving to
16 the suburbs and instead decide to live and work in
17 vibrant cities, even including small ones like
18 Scranton. And by the way, Mr. Florida is from
19 Pittsburgh, so he understands Pennsylvania.
20 This class is called the creative
21 class. They are named this due to their desire for a
22 vibrant city, one with many amenities at their
24 So, what are they -- we looking for? A
25 city that has an exciting downtown, one with lots of
1 specialty boutiques, a city with a great park system, a
2 great river, and a city that taps into local artists.
3 These are just a few of those things.
4 And statistics show that as this young
5 population grows, their desires really don't change at
6 all, so as long as the city provides, these people will
8 So, in closing my point is that I feel
9 that Scranton has moved in the right direction
10 dramatically under this administration. It has
11 provided me with a great work environment and a home
12 environment; in fact, I opened a business in the City
13 of Scranton, I want to raise my children here, but I
14 feel this current trend of negativity is really
15 hampering our further progress.
16 People are truly watching, they're
17 talking, and they are discouraged by the attacks and no
18 plan of action and they are afraid that we are going
19 backwards again.
20 Scranton cannot afford to focus so much
21 energy on what roads have not been paved, how much a
22 fee is for a pool and that our wage tax is high. It is
23 much more elaborate than that to attract, keep and
24 nurture the next generation. Thank you very much.
25 Thanks for your time.
1 MS. EVANS: Thank you. Michael Ferke.
2 Oh, I'm sorry.
4 MR. BUTELLA: My name is Gerard
5 Butella, city resident. As my wife had just spoke, we
6 had moved to Scranton over 18 months ago because of the
7 positive direction the city was moving in.
8 We were interested in living downtown
9 due to a project involved in the city and also a
10 private investment. The project involved turning a
11 vacant rundown building into both an art gallery and
12 loft apartments.
13 This development displayed a vision and
14 a commitment by the current administration. Both my
15 wife and I were thrilled that such a project would even
16 be taking place in Northeastern Pennsylvania, it
17 reignited a passion in us for our area, and we actually
18 decided against a move to Harrisburg.
19 We rented one of the lofts which
20 allowed us to live in the downtown and for my wife to
21 be able to start her business out of this mixed
22 residential and commercial space.
23 We enjoyed taking advantage of the
24 downtown, patronizing all the local businesses and
25 taking advantage of the refurbished park system.
1 I'd also like to comment on the KOZ
2 program that exists in the city and other cities. Some
3 feel that KOZ does not work and is nothing but a burden
4 to the city, we have participated in this program for
5 over 18 months, and now we're in the process of buying
6 a home in the Hill Section of Scranton.
7 My wife began her business utilizing
8 the small benefits, now she has grown to open a full
9 store front in a non-KOZ building.
10 We will contribute fully to the city's
11 property, wage, school and mercantile tax. The city
12 invested in us for 18 months, now we are investing in
13 the city for years to come.
14 I would like to close with the fact
15 that we came here to live and work because of Scranton
16 was moving in a positive direction. Progress is
17 finally happening.
18 Now I feel that the positive direction
19 is being threatened, and I encourage the negativity to
20 stop and keep the city moving forward. Thank you for
21 your time.
22 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
23 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. I want to
24 apologize for being late. I had a personal matter to
25 attend to. I want to thank Mrs. Evans for presiding
1 over the meeting in my absence, and the next speaker
2 is, I believe, Michael Ferke.
3 MR. FERKE: Good evening, Council.
4 MR. DIBILEO: Good evening.
5 MR. FERKE: My name is Michael Ferke,
6 I'm an employee representative to the City of Scranton
7 Firemen's Pension Commission.
8 Last week I was here happy to speak
9 before Council regarding File of Council 113 and 114 of
10 2003. As we're aware of that, that was the stacking of
11 the former rubber stamp Council and the administration
12 of the City of Scranton Firemen's Pension Commission
13 and the City of Scranton Composite Pension Board. And
14 as I repeated that it was very peculiar that the police
15 pension board and the ununiformed pension boards were
16 left out of that stacking system.
17 And, again, the reason was for that was
18 that the both composite board and the Firemen's Pension
19 Commission had questioned the previous deal that was
20 put together by then City Council Finance Chairman
21 Chris Doherty with the previous pension fund
23 What we're very concerned about and our
24 membership is concerned about is that the selection of
25 a new pension management consultant for the composite
1 pension board be done in a most professional, ethical
2 and moral manner.
3 There's many people that collect
4 pensions and future individuals that work for the city
5 that will collect a pension that have to make sure that
6 their money is secure and managed properly.
7 Some people may say, Well, why do we
8 worry? We worry that the fund does well. For one
9 instance, there's two tiers in the firemen's pension
10 system, and as well as the police, one being pre-'87
11 and the other being post-'87. One has an annual cost
12 -- or a cost of living adjustment when raises are
13 given, and the other one does not.
14 Also, the reason we're worried is that
15 City of Scranton firemen and policemen are not covered
16 under Social Security, we're non-Social Security
17 employees, so meaning, that when we retire, even if we
18 have our quarters in from previous employment, we can
19 only collect a maximum of 40 percent of what every
20 other individual in this room would collect under
21 normal Social Security guidelines.
22 So, the pension system is very dear to
23 our hearts, it's very important, and we have to insure
24 that it's invested properly, politics stays clear of
25 this whole pension investment system.
1 The City of Scranton in the past
2 administration, as well as this administration, should
3 have learned of the political involvement with
4 pensions. In the mid-1980s, the Commonwealth of
5 Pennsylvania came in, and part of the reason Act 205
6 was enacted was because of the City of Scranton, and
7 the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is the one that
8 recommended how these boards be established and gave
9 the reasons why and made sure they're run ethically,
10 morally in a businesslike manner.
11 And I do see this evening in the
12 agenda, like, Item, let's take a look here, 5-B under
13 motions, you will be introducing Council No. 113 of
14 2003 to amend it. I do not see File of Council 114 of
15 2003 for amendment, but I have been through
16 conversation assured by the City Clerk, Mr. Saunders,
17 that that is forthcoming.
18 So, again, I don't want to beat a dead
19 horse here, but I would ask that any decisions
20 regarding the investment of our pension money be done
21 in an ethical and morale and businesslike way.
22 There's a big fiduciary responsibility
23 with pension funds, and when politics gets involved and
24 there's losses, the citizens and the members pay, not
25 the elected official that runs out the door four years
1 later, it's the people and the pensioneers and the
2 people that put the money into that pension system.
3 So, again, I would look forward to
4 seeing both Files of Council on the agenda and seek all
5 five members of Council's support in this matter, since
6 it's a very, very important issue to many, many people
7 here in the city. Thank you.
8 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
9 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mr. Ferke.
10 Lee Morgan.
11 MR. MORGAN: Good evening, Council.
12 MR. DIBILEO: Good evening.
13 MR. MORGAN: You know, I was sitting up
14 here listening to a gentleman here who was addressing
15 Council, and, you know, I was going to talk about a
16 couple other things, but I want to address something
17 here, and I think it's pretty important, we're talking
18 -- we have a physician who comes here who's talking
19 about health care and access to health care, and, you
20 know, the gentleman's probably an excellent doctor,
21 there's no doubt about that, but you know what,
22 politics doesn't belong in health care.
23 I think what it comes down to is
24 quality of care. I think the problem that America is
25 experiencing is that we have a lot of physicians who
1 are practicing medicine in this country who are not
2 competent, and when we start talking about the amount
3 of people leaving a practice, you know, I would say to
4 this physician and any physician who's watching this
5 and whoever has lost a loved one to malpractice that
6 they need to open their eyes and see what's actually
7 going on here.
8 And I, you know, I didn't want to come
9 to the podium and talk about it, but, you know, when I,
10 and I don't have to, but when I'm sitting here and I'm
11 listening to someone speak about certain things, I
12 think we need to go back to quality of care and people
13 who are responsible for their actions.
14 Now, I'm aware of multiple cases of
15 malpractice, and we're not discussing that, what we're
16 discussing here is Mr. Doherty's agenda supposedly for
17 access to quality health care, and that just is not
19 I have no axe to grind with the
20 hospitals, and in general many physicians, but I would
21 say to doctors, Go back into your practice and clean it
22 up and let's not talk about lawyers versus doctors,
23 because lawyers are only there to help people whose
24 only compensation that they can receive after they have
25 suffered a grievous loss is financial, and people don't
1 want money, they want quality health care.
2 One other thing, and I want to move
3 from that agenda or that -- and move on. You know, I
4 hope that after this election everybody who comes here
5 who is either a Doherty or a DiBileo supporter, whoever
6 you support, like I said here numerous times before,
7 don't abandon this forum, because the only change that
8 can come here is when multiple ideas come here and they
9 are presented to this Council.
10 Nobody has the corner marketed on
11 what's right or wrong, but everyone has to enter into
12 the arena of ideas here, and it's time for the people
13 in this city to realize that the reason this city is
14 the way it is is because they all sat home and they're
15 wondering what sitcom is on T.V. tonight and they're
16 not involved.
17 Get involved on some level with
18 something and move something forward that's good,
19 because other people can't pull your bacon out of the
20 fire, you have to get involved. And that's all I have.
21 Thank you.
22 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mr. Morgan.
23 Marie Schumacher.
24 MS. SCHUMACHER: Marie Schumacher,
25 temporary resident of Scranton, but a taxpayer. I'm
1 here for two issues, the main one is because I was hear
2 for the other one, but also the positioning of these
3 two articles in a recent issue of the local paper, on
4 the bottom is, New City Assisted Homes Must Be
5 Accessible to Disabled, and on top is a $1.2 Million
6 Project Set on Elm Street. I have two issues with
8 If you look at the picture, there are
9 no sidewalks along that road, and the article talks
10 about it being only a one and a half lane road as it
11 is. I would ask both for handicapped persons and
12 pedestrians in general that when the city invests in a
13 road and closing up these open sewers, which are storm
14 drains, which definitely needs to be done, that they
15 also consider putting in sidewalks at that time.
16 At the last month's East Mountain
17 Residents Association, the mayor presented this, said
18 this would happen next year, but he said sidewalks are
19 not included, and I think that's unfortunate, and I
20 would hope that you would add the sidewalks,
21 particularly as a previous East Mountain Residents
22 Association meeting announced that there's a property
23 at the top of the hill that was going to be a golf
24 course, and I understand that was shot down, and it's
25 now going to be a home investment, although they have
1 not been to the planning commission, but there's going
2 to be many houses built up there and there's going to
3 be even more traffic, and I think it's not right that
4 pedestrians in general and people in wheelchairs and
5 the personal mobility vehicles be forced out into the
6 street where they're in jeopardy.
7 And the second item on here is because
8 I incurred tonight something that happens a lot when I
9 come downtown to run an errand, and that is it seems to
10 me when I was here in the past that when you had a
11 double headed parking meter, there was something that
12 showed you that you were supposed to park with your
13 bumper at that parking meter, either your front or your
14 rear, depending on where it was, and I think something
15 -- if you can having something like that enacted again
16 or go back and find out how that was, because now
17 people park -- I passed several spots tonight that I,
18 and I'm a good parallel parker, thank you very much,
19 but they just aren't big enough because people park 4,
20 5 feet away from the parking meter, and it just makes
21 it impossible for that space to be utilized and the
22 city, I might add, is then losing revenue. So, those
23 are my two items. I thank you for your consideration.
24 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
25 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, very much.
1 Jimmy Stucker.
2 MR. STUCKER: Hi, Mr. DiBileo.
3 MR. DIBILEO: How are you, Jim?
4 MR. STUCKER: Good. Over in South Side
5 the other day, two weeks ago or three weeks ago, I
6 think, they had a big fire in South Side on Pittston
7 Avenue -- Capouse Avenue, a big house burnt down and
8 people got caught into it and some of the people got
9 out, some went to the hospital. We seen it on T.V., it
10 was in the paper.
11 MR. DIBILEO: Yeah, are you saying that
12 the fire department did a good job there, Jim?
13 MR. STUCKER: Yeah, yeah.
14 MR. DIBILEO: They certainly did.
15 MR. STUCKER: Yeah.
16 MR. DIBILEO: That's a good point that
17 you bring up.
18 MR. STUCKER: There's another place.
19 We have over, Mr. Courtright, over on Parrott Avenue by
20 the school there, there's a lot of holes in the road
21 there. I'm afraid somebody's going to bust a tire
22 there or a wheel. My buddy Pat has to go around it, my
23 buddy Pat from Parrott Avenue, he has to go around it
24 to miss the holes.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay, Jim. We'll see
1 if we can get those fixed for you.
2 MR. STUCKER: We didn't get the sign
3 put up, Jay, for the school.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: Come on.
5 MR. DIBILEO: Jay was dosing off there,
6 Jimmy, hold on.
7 MR. SAUNDERS: No. I sent that out,
8 Jim, two weeks ago. I am waiting on a response from
9 that. I will keep you posted on it.
10 MR. STUCKER: Okay.
11 MR. DIBILEO: We'll look into that for
12 you again.
13 MR. STUCKER: We just hired a -- my
14 buddy Tom, he works where I live at, he said right next
15 door there's a lady has a pipe busted in the cellar, I
16 think there's going to be some water in the cellar, can
17 you get somebody over there and look at it?
18 MR. DIBILEO: Okay. Next to where
19 you're at, okay. I know where you're at on Main
20 Avenue, right?
21 MR. STUCKER: Yeah.
22 MR. DIBILEO: Okay, Jimmy. Thank you
23 very much. Appreciate it, Jim. Thanks a lot.
24 MR. STUCKER: Thank you.
25 MR. DIBILEO: Les Spindler.
1 MR. SPINDLER: Good evening, Council,
2 Les Spindler. The Gibbons Firm must have been busy
3 writing speeches this week. Last week Mr. DiBileo was
4 accused of on two speakers of being biased towards his
5 supporters, well, I don't think that's true, because a
6 few months ago I wasn't allowed to come back to the
7 podium after I was done speaking, and last week there
8 were two different speakers that came back to the
9 podium. The first one came back two different times
10 and he spoke for a total of 20 minutes, I timed him
11 myself, now, that's ridiculous. This meeting wasn't
12 over until 11:30.
13 The next speaker came back one time, he
14 was allowed to speak for about ten minutes, and they
15 were both Doherty supporters. Well, I don't think he's
16 biased towards his own supporters.
17 And one of those speaker kept saying
18 that if we keep saying there's crime in the city,
19 people are going to be scared, well, I guess he didn't
20 listen last week when I read a letter from a Scranton
21 High student that was scared because crime -- he wasn't
22 scared because crime -- because we keep saying crime is
23 up in the city, he was scared because he was threatened
24 an harassed by several gangs, which Chief Elliott and
25 Mayor Doherty don't believe we have.
1 Another speaker keeps saying if the
2 city wasn't in good shape, we wouldn't get a Triple A
3 bond rating, well, the only reason we have a Triple A
4 bond rating is because we spent a million dollars on
5 insurance. If we didn't spend that million dollars, we
6 wouldn't have a Triple bond rating.
7 Back to the crime issue, the other
8 night the West Side Middle School was broken into,
9 there was a shooting near Walgreen's, and yet Chris
10 Doherty and his supporters in his commercial say our
11 city is safe.
12 MR. DIBILEO: Less, I don't believe
13 there was a shooting at Walgreen's, but there was a gun
15 MR. SPINDLER: That's what the news
16 reported. Okay. It must have been the news is wrong.
17 Next thing, Mrs. Evans, last week you
18 asked a speaker if he would be in favor of a loan, I
19 think it was approximately $4 million --
20 MS. EVANS: Yes.
21 MR. SPINDLER: -- and the speaker said
22 he wouldn't be in favor of the loan unless he knew what
23 the money was going to be spent for, yet that same
24 speaker was in favor of CRF and he didn't care what the
25 money was being spent for. Well, that seems a little
1 hypocritical to me.
2 Today I opened up the paper and see
3 this ad for Chris Doherty by Carol Oleski, she's
4 talking about how Scranton's improved her children's
5 future in the city, it says The Riverfront Sports
6 Complex, The Icebox, both KOZs; DPW Complex, the Sewer
7 Authority owns that; new police headquarters, it's
8 funny, we have new police headquarters, but two
9 departments can't fit in it; and over 3,000 new jobs.
10 I'm sick of The Scranton Times printing
11 3,000 new jobs, when it's a lie. I've come here once
12 from Chris Doherty's own website, I have the printout,
13 and proved that it's not 3,000 new jobs, Mr. Newcomb
14 also did it, and we defy anybody to come in and prove
15 that there was 3,000 new jobs, because it's just a lie,
16 it's not true.
17 Another thing, in the paper the other
18 day, Dispute Centers on City Debt, and it has something
19 with Mrs. Evans saying something, it says, Stick to
20 those principles, and City Councilwoman Janet Evans'
21 portrayal of Scranton's long-term debt is incorrect,
22 well, it's not Mrs. Evans' portrayal, all she's doing
23 is reading what the of Evans Group, what the Rossi
24 Group printed. It's the Rossi Group that made the
25 audit --
1 MS. EVANS: Indeed.
2 MR. SPINDLER: -- not Mrs. Evans'
3 portrayal. She's just reading what the audit said.
4 MR. SPINDLER: Something else that was
5 in Sunday's paper, Moreover while biting their nails
6 over the total amount of debt, critics failed to note
7 that some of the debt is incorrect, the
8 administration's shambles that the administration
9 inherited from its predecessor, well, what it inherited
10 from its predecessor was a $3 million surplus. That's
11 all I have to say. Sorry if you don't like my
12 speaking, Mr. Pocius, I saw you shaking your head.
13 MS. EVANS: Mr. Spindler, just one
14 addition there you sparked a memory on when you were
15 making your presentation this evening, I was corrected
16 by someone I ran into on the street who said, it's in
17 fact not $204 million, and of course I was readying
18 myself to explain that, yes, indeed it is, but the
19 correction was made to my figures, and I thought you
20 might be interested in this, that we could very well
21 have within maybe six weeks' time, an additional $4
22 million, which translates with interest into
23 approximately $6 million, so now we're up to $210, and
24 this person had watched last week's Council meeting and
25 was very interested in one of the speakers'
1 presentations concerning the pension fund, and so he
2 added to that the $65 million that is underfunded and
3 said to me, That's $275 million. Mrs. Evans, do you
4 realize, that's a quarter of a billion dollars? Where
5 are we going?
6 MR. SPINDLER: We're going backwards.
7 MS. EVANS: So, maybe I should stand
9 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mrs. Evans.
10 Thank you, Mrs. Spindler. Martin Lynott.
11 MR. LYNOTT: Good evening, Council.
12 MR. DIBILEO: Good evening.
13 MR. LYNOTT: I'd like to start out by
14 saying, I'm in no way affiliated with the paper.
15 MR. DIBILEO: Can you give your name?
16 MR. LYNOTT: Yes, Martin Lynott, 414
17 Adams Avenue. Let me think. I'm all little nervous
18 here, so let me start from scratch.
19 MR. DIBILEO: Take your time.
20 MR. LYNOTT: Yesterday I had a visit
21 from an attorney from -- representing the Scranton
22 Housing Authority, and I had a very difficult time with
23 the attorney in question. His attitude and his
24 treatment towards me was very disrespectful.
25 The night before I had an incident in
1 my apartment where I was -- I made the mistake of
2 making noise at about ten after nine or something like
3 that, and the security was called out, and when the
4 security came out, I had a problem, I made the mistake
5 of saying that I was my brother instead of Martin
6 Lynott, and that was wrong on my part.
7 And I went down to -- can I approach
8 the Council?
9 MS. EVANS: Yes.
10 MR. LYNOTT: Well, I'll just bypass
11 this. I had a problem with one of the tenants in the
12 building, she came to my door screaming and yelling
13 like a maniac, and the next thing I know, security came
14 to my door and they started knocking, and they knocked,
15 and they didn't identify themselves at first.
16 On the second time they identified
17 themselves, and I didn't -- I refused to open the door
18 because I didn't know who they were, you know what I
19 mean? They didn't --
20 MR. DIBILEO: Mr. Lynott, I'm going to
21 have to ask you, will this be pertaining to city
22 business? So far it doesn't seem like it is. Housing
23 authority --
24 MR. LYNOTT: Doesn't Scranton Housing
25 Authority, aren't they governed by --
1 MR. DIBILEO: Not City Council.
2 MR. LYNOTT: Oh, they're not?
3 MR. DIBILEO: No.
4 MR. LYNOTT: Oh, I thought they were.
5 MR. DIBILEO: Yeah, the Scranton
6 Housing Authority board meets, I believe, on a monthly
7 basis, but they would have everything to do with what
8 you're discussing right now.
9 MR. LYNOTT: Oh, I understand. I must
10 be at the wrong floor, but I just wanted to point out
11 the disrespect that I encountered from security and the
12 attorney for Scranton Council -- or Scranton Housing
13 Authority was very unsettling, to say the least.
14 MR. DIBILEO: Okay.
15 MR. LYNOTT: And I'll address it next
16 time at the appropriate time.
17 MR. DIBILEO: We appreciate that,
18 Mr. Lynott. Thank you, and sorry for your troubles.
19 MR. LYNOTT: Thank you for your time.
20 MR. DIBILEO: Erik Johnson.
21 MR. JOHNSON: Good evening, City
22 Council, Lisa and staff. Erik Johnson, taxpayer. Our
23 prayers and thoughts go out for a speedy recovery of
24 Mark Walsh who is ill, and I hope he returns pretty
1 Retired police and firemen receive only
2 40 percent of Social Security. I agree 100 percent
3 that their retirement pension fund should be protected
4 by an iron fist. It's a matter of life support after
5 retiring. After all, they served our city with their
6 lives on the line and they are deserving.
7 All employees health care benefits,
8 General Motors can't afford its 100 percent paid health
9 care premium costs, how can our school districts afford
10 it, also when they are striking to keep their health
11 care benefits 100 percent paid by -- and along with the
12 raises by their employers and the taxpayers.
13 Local government employees, such as
14 police, firemen and other city employees no longer
15 receive a 100 percent health care benefit paid by their
17 This means especially since this area
18 is in such distress like General Motors, the schools,
19 state and federal governments finally have to come to
20 grips with the fact that private employees no longer
21 can carry the health care burden for their workers and
22 local schools.
23 Officials have to realize they cannot
24 do so either. When school teachers strike, it's our
25 kids and our parents -- and their parents that share
1 the hardest burden.
2 Speaking of City Council meetings,
3 people who complain about the meetings being televised
4 on Channel 61 must be reminded that we live in the
5 United States and have the right to speak out against
6 our four government elected officials and also be a
7 part in electing them.
8 We should applaud them for standing up
9 and speaking, even if it is not what we want to hear.
10 If you do not like what's being said on
11 Channel 61, you as a US citizen has the right to turn
12 to the History Channel 32, where you can hear all about
13 China, Iran and Cuba, all those totalitarian
14 governments or what happened in the past of Nazi
15 Germany that goes on and on. Germany is a free country
16 as of today, not Nazi.
17 Channel 61 is part of the free voice of
18 Scrantonians who are part of the free U.S.A. It's a
19 nice and positive -- it is also nice and positive to
20 know our governor is lobbying for extra funds for
21 winter fuel bills for the low income and elderly
22 citizens of Pennsylvania, as natural gas bills are
23 expected to increase by near 50 percent and area
24 agencies face crunch time in their budgets.
25 It seems that the younger citizens are
1 the priority of certain politicians over the elderly
2 citizens when funds are distributed to certain agencies
3 of black grants. The Scranton downtown senior citizen
4 had to pay $3,000 for four months of their winter gas
5 heating bill equal to $12,000 total. This winter bill
6 will be an unfavorable $18,000 to $19,000 winter fuel
7 bill or the elderly voters being taken for granted.
8 Believe me, they are excellent voters, as the time of
9 election for mayor is near and the race is at a close
10 stretch to the finish.
11 I can tell you, somebody is gathering
12 momentum. Voters are coming to me in large numbers
13 from the mall, the Walmart and Target and on the
14 streets of whom they are in favor of.
15 Last, I want to mention I've seen
16 several police cars in poor shape witnessed by others
17 from the senior citizen downtown center. One even had
18 bald tires.
19 Located in North Scranton Bulls Head
20 Area, the street located directly across the little
21 league Central City ballpark, off Wood Street entering
22 North Rebecca Avenue near Walter's Locksmith, the
23 portion of the street is in deplorable condition to the
24 point that it's an accident waiting to happen.
25 On this two-way street, the upgrade and
1 downgrade side of the street is decaying to the point
2 where you can't even have two way traffic from the
3 sides of the street, where now only one car instead of
4 two cars entering or leaving can proceed. This winter
5 could be tough for that road area. Could something be
6 done with that?
7 MR. DIBILEO: Jay, can you make a note
8 of that, please?
9 MR. SAUNDERS: Yeah.
10 MR. JOHNSON: It's really decaying,
11 it's getting worse, and nothing's been done with it
12 since I've been there since 1985.
13 MR. SAUNDERS: We'll send that on.
14 MR. DIBILEO: Okay, Erik.
15 MR. JOHNSON: That's between Wood and
16 Rebecca. Thank you very much.
17 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mr. Johnson.
18 Regina Yetkowskas.
19 MS. YETKOWSKAS: Regina Yetkowskas,
20 Scranton resident and taxpayer. Like all other
21 Scrantonians who must pay Mr. Doherty's long-term debt,
22 I listened to the persons who spoke for and against the
23 debt on Channel 61 and read the newspaper's many
24 slanted news articles and editorials against Mrs. Evans
25 and the debt's accuracy.
1 It has now come to the point that the
2 newspaper assigned two staff reporters to cover this
3 debate. The debate should continue until Election Day
4 when the people will make their decision in the voting
5 booth, however, it was good to read The Times'
6 editorial of October 16, because the newspaper finally
7 admitted Mr. Doherty created a long-term debt of
8 $204 million, rather than the $198 million Mrs. Evans
10 The editorial did state one fact when
11 it said, quote, The city government's annual debt
12 payments are about $7 million a year, end of quote.
13 In the entire remainder of the
14 editorial, it's author tried to justify the creation of
15 such a debt by telling the people how the money was
16 spent, and, therefore, to consider the value the
17 $204 million debt brought to the city. Did it?
18 The editorial argued that the money the
19 municipal authorities borrowed should not be included
20 in Mr. Doherty's $204 million long-term debt because in
21 the past they paid their debts out of their own
22 operating revenues.
23 Then the editorial said, quote,
24 Suggesting that city taxpayers suddenly are going to
25 have to cover that portion of the debt is little more
1 than a politically inspired scare tactic. It is --
2 MR. DIBILEO: Excuse me, Regina.
3 MS. YETKOWSKAS: All right.
4 MR. DIBILEO: I'd like to ask all
5 audience members to please refrain from speaking or
6 making any noise while someone is at the podium. Thank
7 you. Go right ahead.
8 MS. YETKOWSKAS: -- it is disingenuous
9 and shameful, end of quote. The editorial did not say
10 that in the past the Sewer Authority had a small debt
11 compared to its now $10.6 million debt.
12 The editorial did not say the parking
13 authority always had a small debt compared to its now
14 $17.8 million debt. The editorial knows Mr. Doherty's
15 long-term debt runs to the year 2033. That's 27 years
17 Scranton's population and its tax base
18 are steadily decreasing. If Council approves an
19 increase, the amount of his long-term debt will
20 increase each person's liability.
21 Many elderly citizens live only on
22 Social Security and fixed incomes. The cost of
23 heating, eating, medicines and health care continually
25 With all of these facts, how could the
1 editorial even imply that the authorities will be able
2 to pay their debts out of their revenues for the next
3 27 years and still be profitable?
4 I believe the editorial writer may not
5 have read the independent auditor's report, because if
6 he did, he would see that if the sewer and park
7 authorities' revenues and operating expenses in 2005
8 are like they were in 2004, and then figure in the cost
9 of each of their now large debt services, they may
10 probably end with losses and 2005 with losses.
11 If The Times is so sure the taxpayers
12 will never have to help pay for the sewer and parking
13 authority's losses in the next 20 to 27 years, then
14 perhaps acting as a good public citizen,
15 The Times will offer to make up any losses to help the
17 Now to the $7 million a year debt
18 service the people must pay on the Doherty $204 million
19 long-term debt, Scranton's population is now about
20 70,000 soles. If we divide the yearly debt service of
21 $7 million by 70,000 people, it means each and every
22 man, woman and child must pay an extra tax of $100 per
23 year or $2,700 for the next 27 years.
24 For an average family of four, the cost
25 will be $10,800, that is if they remain in Scranton. I
1 can see The Times is like Mr. Doherty, because both of
2 them are only concerned with appearances and ignore the
3 people who must pay the bills.
4 But the extra $100 a year each of us
5 must pay on Mr. Doherty's $204 million long-term debt
6 will hurt. Thank you.
7 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. Thank you.
8 When you asked if the Scranton Times would pick up the
9 difference, Lynn was shaking her head yes. Thanks,
10 Lynn. Pedro Gonzalez. I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Pedro.
11 I skipped over Mike Dudek. Mike. Okay. Go right
12 ahead, Pedro.
13 MR. GONZALEZ: Good evening, Council,
14 speakers, fellow members in the room, I was here last
15 week for the first time, first time speaker.
16 MR. DIBILEO: Just for the record,
17 Pedro, your name and address, please.
18 MR. GONZALEZ: Oh, okay. My name is
19 Pedro Gonzalez, South Side, taxpayer, registered voter.
20 And, again, I was here last week for the first time,
21 and although I spoke, this is a very scary place.
22 I often watch the show at home, you
23 know, Channel 61 so forth and so on, and I see a lot of
24 familiar faces in this room, and them to come here and
25 actually see you guys, you know, I was kind of star
1 struck, and I want to verbally applaud you all for
2 taking the initiative and coming here and speaking
3 every week the way you do and voicing your opinions,
4 you should be very proud of yourselves, each and every
5 one of you, and verbally I applaud you, and if you want
6 to applaud yourselves, go right ahead.
7 Next on the agenda, I want to speak
8 about the Lupus Foundation. I am a coordinator for the
9 Lupus Foundation. We had a couple of runs and walks
10 this past year, and October the 2nd, we had a run and
11 walk and we raised between all three runs and walks, we
12 raised about $65,000 that has been recorded so far.
13 The final number will come in December sometime, and I
14 want to verbally applaud them for the sacrifices and to
15 all the volunteers that we had out there, each and
16 every one of them, it's a great and tremendous,
17 tremendous event. I lost my mother from the Lupus
18 disease, that's why I'm involved the way I am.
19 And also, the Uno Fitness team wants to
20 thank you, Mr. DiBileo, for taking a picture with them.
21 They have the picture up in the gym. They're waiting
22 for you to come back and take another one with them, so
23 whenever you're ready, come on down.
24 MR. DIBILEO: As soon as the election
25 is over, I'm going to join right up.
1 MR. GONZALEZ: All right, all right.
2 Sounds good, sounds good.
3 And next on the agenda I want to
4 verbally applaud -- excuse me verbally applaud a man
5 who has helped me with Scranton Latin Alliance, which,
6 yes, I did -- I am one of the leaders and the founder
7 of it, but this gentleman is the co-founder of it, and
8 he has been in the shadows way too long.
9 He has sacrificed of himself, his time,
10 his business, so much, an his name is Josue Rojas, he's
11 the owner of the store down on the South Side, I should
12 say the West Side, that's 319 South Main.
13 This man is a pillar in the community,
14 tremendous leader for his people, and I want to
15 verbally applaud him, also. Without him, I would not
16 be standing here today, and without the support of him
17 and some of the other Latino people in this city that
18 gives me the strength to wear this shirt, you know, in
19 front of everybody, I am proud, I am proud, and one day
20 again someone will come up at this podium and will
21 speak Latin or will speak Spanish and Lisa here will
22 have to decipher that. Can you do that, Lisa? No, she
24 That's another need that the city has
25 to address, because I can start speaking, just as well
1 as I can speak English, and yet no one will be able to
2 record that.
3 And last but not least, the next
4 meeting of the Scranton Latin Alliance will be held
5 October 27 at 7 p.m. at the Renaissance Center on the
6 South Side, 705 Pittston Avenue. We invite all of the
7 people in this room, we invite all of the viewers at
8 home, the whole city is invited, please come out and
9 support the Latin Alliance. It is a brand new
10 organization of course to raise Latin awareness for
11 different programs, of course jobs in the city, Latin
12 awareness for English programs, computer programs, so
13 forth and so on, there's so many programs since the
14 last time I've come on this show, I guess I'm going to
15 call it a show, these proceedings, these proceedings,
16 I've gotten a lot of calls from different
17 organizations, different people in support of the Latin
19 I've also gotten calls from employers
20 looking for employees, another program that we will be
21 implementing into the alliance, job placements.
22 There is so much yet to happen and so
23 much yet to come to this city, and it is growing in a
24 positive and forward motion, I think, and I'm so proud
25 to be a part of it, because I am not here to support
1 one candidate or another, I am simply here to support
2 my people, the Latin people, and to create Latin
4 And once again, my name is Pedro
5 Gonzalez, Scranton Latin Alliance, and I appreciate
6 your time, and I'm so glad I'm able to express myself.
7 Thank you so much.
8 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mr. Gonzalez.
9 That was gracious of you to recognize Mr. Rojas,
10 Josue Rojas, he certainly is a great advocate of the
11 Latino community and he sacrifices a lot of his time to
12 help the community. Thanks. He should be recognized.
13 And Mike Dudek.
14 MR. DUDEK: Good evening, Council. My
15 name is Mike Dudek, 608 Depot Street, Scranton. I live
16 in the Plot.
17 I'm here tonight because of a statement
18 made by Mayor Chris Doherty, and I can't make this one
19 up, Mayor Doherty said that our long-term debt is
20 comparable to a home mortgage that our city municipal
21 bond debt is comparable to a home mortgage. Well, he
22 better not say that in my economics class, because that
23 item gets an F.
24 I would like to demonstrate the
25 difference between a municipal bond debt and a home
1 mortgage. It's very, very easy to do with the
2 schematic that I have here. I'll explain it to
3 Council, and when I'm done explaining it to Council,
4 then I'll turn it so the audience can see this.
5 On the left-hand side I have a
6 representation for government or municipal bond, okay,
7 with this rectangle here, and on this side a home
8 mortgage both attenuated for years with the home
10 You notice the line, the diagonal line
11 that I have going through the rectangle, that line is
12 not really corner to corner, because when you buy a
13 home mortgage, in the first year -- or, I'm sorry, in
14 the first month you make your mortgage payment, if it's
15 $100,000 mortgage taken out for 30 years at five
16 percent, your monthly payments will be $416.
17 With most financial institutions, that
18 first $416 you pay, something like $.86 goes to the
19 principal of the loan, the remaining $415 and change
20 goes to interest.
21 And as you make payments, every so
22 slowly more of your money goes into principal and less
23 of your money goes into interest, so the smart
24 homeowner will pay his $416. He will then take the
25 second coupon, the one that will be for the second
1 payment, for a principal payment it will say on the
2 coupon probably about $.94 and will write a check for
3 $0.94, and send both payments in at the same time,
4 because what that does is eliminates one layer of
5 interest. The next month he makes his $416 payment,
6 then the principal payment would be probably about
7 $1.08, but in doing that, the homeowner can eliminate
9 Also, a homeowner, for instance, say a
10 teacher starting out the first year, a second year,
11 third year, starts his mortgage at the salary rate he
12 is at when he starts his job, but ten years into his
13 job, he's probably making more money, so it's easier at
14 that point to double up so that the average couple pays
15 off their mortgage in about 22 or 23 years. That's
16 what happens with a home mortgage.
17 It doesn't work that way with a
18 municipal bond, you get nailed with the whole 30-year
19 stretch of it if it's a 30-year bond. There is no
20 relationship whatsoever between a home mortgage and a
21 government bond. There is a close relationship between
22 a government bond and a corporate bond. A government
23 agency and a corporate agency can adjust one line here
24 with the bank by negotiation to make principal payments
25 throughout the course of the year so that principal
1 payments will start early, and that if the city gets a
2 break, 15 or 20 or 25 years down the road later,
3 perhaps it could then pay it off, but don't hold your
5 This city has a debt of $275 million.
6 We're never going to be able to pay off any of these
7 bonds on time no matter what we do, so please don't let
8 the mayor confuse you on that.
9 And believe me, when I hear that kind
10 of confusion coming from a mayor, it scares the
11 bajambers out of me. Thank you.
12 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Professor
13 Dudek. That was good. You can leave it right there.
14 Maybe we'll ask Jay if he could move it. Thank you,
15 Mr. Dudek. Matt Barrett.
16 MR. BARRETT: Mr. President, members of
17 Council, my name is Matt Barrett, resident of the Hill
18 Section in Scranton.
19 Mr. DiBileo, you were away for the
20 first part of the meeting, but as is customary, we
21 started with instructions from Mrs. Evans tonight
22 regarding the procedure procedures, etiquette, protocol
23 when speaking from the podium, and some speakers have
24 come up and violated some rules, but on other occasions
25 -- and we've heard people complain about the tenure of
1 the meetings, and I submit to you that part of the
2 problem with the tenure of the meetings, I think, comes
3 from Council itself, and the reason why I say that is
4 because on numerous occasions during the last months
5 speakers have come to the podium and they've spoken
6 their mind, and some members of Council may not agree
7 with them, and that's fine, and you can express when
8 you don't agree with somebody, but to refer to speakers
9 as the mayor's apologists or to have an individual, a
10 resident taxpayer speak from this podium last week,
11 have that person return to their seat and have a
12 comment made that it's wonderful that people can speak
13 no matter how misguided they are, I submit to you is
14 inappropriate, and I submit to you creates a tenure of
15 hostility and results in the meeting really
16 degenerating into an area that should not degenerate.
17 I think also what happens and what's
18 happened several times, and we hear it over and over
19 again, is we here speakers refer to as the prior
20 Council, people that served in the same capacity of
21 each of you who came in here week in and week out,
22 tried to do their best, and that Council is referred to
23 as the rubber stamp Council, and you, Mr. DiBileo, do
24 not correct members of the city that come up here and
25 speak and make such comments.
1 And the strange thing about it is, you
2 were part of that Council, you served with those
3 people. When you became the president of this Council
4 in January 2004, you proudly announced that you had
5 been for progress during that tenure, and not only
6 that, that you had said that you had proudly voted in
7 96 percent in favor of the legislation that had been
8 voted on by that Council and as proposed by that mayor.
9 So, back when the rubber stamp Council,
10 a derogatory gratuitous comment, that goes by the
11 wayside, when in fact you were in the majority on many,
12 many votes in that situation.
13 MR. DIBILEO: That's right, that would
14 mean that that person is referring to me as a rubber
15 stamp Council, and you know, I'm perfectly okay with
17 MR. BARRETT: Well, it's not okay.
18 MR. DIBILEO: They have a right to be
19 able to say that. Go ahead.
20 MR. BARRETT: But there's three people
21 that served on Council that aren't here to protect
22 themselves, and it's the job of President of Council to
23 run the meeting as it should be run, and people should
24 not be coming up here with derogatory comments.
25 This Council had an opportunity to be
1 for progress on August 1 of 2005. On that night you
2 voted for progress, you voted for the CRF loan, two of
3 your colleagues did not.
4 Now, I can hear some comments from the
5 back tonight, the CRF loan was important legislation.
6 Since people have come here and spoken in favor of it,
7 we've heard residents, we've heard taxpayers, we've
8 heard union representatives speak in favor of it, and
9 Mrs. Evans has challenged them time and time again, and
10 during all those discussions, I have not heard you come
11 to the defense of any taxpayers to defend your vote on
12 the legislation.
13 You obviously were for it, you
14 obviously believed it in, I would like to see you
15 defend that position and explain why it is you voted
16 for it, and when Mrs. Evans challenged people, explain
17 to her your rationale.
18 I've heard it said that if the mayor
19 were to come here and explain his position, that you
20 would deliver the two votes for him. Well, you're
21 here, you voted in favor of it, I submit that if you
22 can't convince Mr. Courtright and you can't convince
23 Mrs. Evans, the mayor certainly will not be able to.
24 Additionally, back in January of 2004,
25 when this Council was seated, Mrs. Evans had an
1 opportunity to speak, as all of you did, and on that
2 night she had said the following, and I quote, We're on
3 the cusp of great things in the City of Scranton, we've
4 witnessed tremendous revitalization of our downtown and
5 our parks, we've refinanced our debt, we've worked hard
6 to restore the pride in Scranton.
7 I agree with those comments, she's
8 right, we have revitalized our downtown, we have
9 revitalized our parks, we have, in fact, refinanced our
10 debt, and I think she was referencing the bond issue
11 that occurred in 2003 at the time of her comments, and
12 additionally, we have restored the pride in Scranton.
13 I think that those who come here and
14 speak in favor of progress, that those who come and
15 speak in a positive way agree with Mrs. Evans and echo
16 her comments that, in fact, we have done just that, and
17 I encourage anytime somebody comes here and says we
18 haven't revitalized the downtown, I ask Mrs. Evans to
19 say, no, that's not true, I've campaigned in this city,
20 I walked the streets, I was all over the city, and I
21 made those comments in 2004, and I stand by them, we
22 have revitalized the downtown, we have revitalized our
24 Additionally we've heard comments from
25 people that the City of Scranton is not safe, and I
1 commend you, Mr. DiBileo, last week you acknowledged,
2 no, the City of Scranton is safe.
3 And there may be differences of opinion
4 as to how you deal with the crime within the city,
5 that's legitimate discussion, but day in and day out,
6 as has been the history in the City of Scranton,
7 residents today went about their business in a safe
8 city, children walked the neighborhoods to school, they
9 walked the neighborhoods home, they played in front
10 yards, they played in backyards and they played in
11 parks throughout the city and it was safe for them, and
12 they enjoyed themselves.
13 So, for those who step up and say
14 Scranton is not safe, they just are not being accurate.
15 After I sit down, others may come up and challenge my
16 comments, if they do on the CRF loan, I hope you take
17 that opportunity to stand up for me and say,
18 Mr. Barrett, he made these comments, but you voted for
19 the legislation, explain why it is that my position is
20 right. You and I are in agreement on that.
21 If others come up and say that the city
22 is not revitalized and we're not revitalizing our
23 parks, Mrs. Evans, stand up for me and explain that in
24 fact we are. And I appreciate you doing that. Thank
1 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mr. Barrett.
2 MS. EVANS: Mr. DiBileo, may I just
3 inject two comments?
4 MR. DIBILEO: Certainly.
5 MS. EVANS: First, in response to a
6 statement made early on during you presentation,
7 Mr. DiBileo cannot convince me on the worth of the CRF
8 agreement, because there is no response as to what the
9 money will be used for, Mr. DiBileo has absolutely no
10 idea, and without that information, I submit to you I
11 would not by acting responsibly on behalf of the
12 taxpayers of this city if I want to lose such a
13 significant amount of money and do so without having
14 any idea whatsoever of what this $5 million would be
15 put toward.
16 Now, you also made a statement about, I
17 think, some of my comments during my swearing in
18 ceremony, and I remember them well, I chose my words
19 very carefully, because first of all, I wanted to offer
20 this mayor an olive branch after what had been a
21 somewhat heated election, unfortunately, though, his
22 response was to cut off the line of communication.
23 And you are right, in that, I do stand
24 by the comments I made, but what I don't support, and
25 this is a major priority for myself and for the people
1 of this city, what I do not support is excessive
2 borrowing and spending, and I never will. That's all.
3 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. Just to
4 quickly respond, a couple comments you made, you said
5 that I said last week we live in a safe city, what I
6 actually said was that we don't live in the most
7 crime-ridden city in the state. If you want to call
8 that us living in a safe city, go right ahead, but
9 that's not what I said.
10 Also, you talked about criticism and
11 the tone of the meetings, I actually am going to
12 address that when it's our turn to speak.
13 We operate by EOC, equal opportunity
14 criticism around here, and I'll take your criticism,
15 other elected officials get criticized, and that's
16 okay, I actually expect it, you know, since you're in
17 Doherty commercials, that's okay.
18 And lastly, I have spoken to Mrs. Evans
19 and Mr. Courtright on several occasions, not here at
20 this podium, but we have, and we could possibly be
21 getting closer to a resolution on CRF, and you've
22 talked about all the people that have come here, and
23 the one person that hasn't is probably the person that
24 can answer the most questions, and that's Mayor Doherty
1 But that's all. I appreciate your
2 being here, Mr. Barrett. Thank you. Ian Miller.
3 MR. IAN MILLER: Good evening, Council.
4 My name is Ian Miller, and I live in the Plot Section
5 of Green Ridge. I'm a sophomore at Bishop Hannon High
7 I came to Council tonight not to speak
8 of the election or to criticize anyone, but to talk
9 about the city and the progress we've made in the last
10 four years.
11 Working together, we can make the next
12 four years just as good as the last, regardless who's
13 elected mayor.
14 From my point of view, Scranton is at
15 its best since I've been alive. The pools at the local
16 parks are worth going to because they're clean and
17 well-kept. Nay Aug Park is a wonderful place to visit,
18 especially in the summer when the two water slides are
20 Parks are being restored and streets
21 are being paved. Even you said yourself, Mr. DiBileo,
22 that Mayor Doherty is going a great job with Nay Aug
23 Park. I believe you said that during the West Scranton
24 High School debate.
25 MR. DIBILEO: I did.
1 MR. IAN MILLER: People come to this
2 podium and criticize the mayor for things he failed to
3 do, but it seems that no one really mentions the good
4 things he has done for this city; for example, paved
5 500 city blocks, brought in $250 million in new
6 development, two new downtown parking garages, new
7 police headquarters, new Department of Public Works
9 A lot of people that come here and tell
10 their problems expect them done the next day, but there
11 is close to 75,000 people living in Scranton, and
12 things don't happen overnight.
13 Teenagers in Scranton really need to
14 get more involved in Scranton government. I know ever
15 since the presidential election I've been very
16 interested and also involved.
17 Crime is an issue I don't agree with.
18 People talk about crime being up, but it's just my
19 opinion, and also it may be fact, but I truly think
20 crime did not go up. I'm not saying it went that much
21 down either. Mr. DiBileo, you feel crime is up; is
22 that correct?
23 MR. DIBILEO: I actually know crime is
25 MR. IAN MILLER: Can you give me your
1 source for information?
2 MR. DIBILEO: Well, I don't want to,
3 you know, get into a whole lot with you, Mr. Miller,
4 because I appreciate you being here, Ian, it's the
5 Pennsylvania State Police.
6 MR. IAN MILLER: And one last thing,
7 Mr. Pocius, you do not deserve to take any attacking or
8 cruel comments that anyone says to you during these
9 meetings. This isn't the time or place for any such --
10 for such childish remarks. Thank you.
11 MR. DIBILEO: Ian, thank you very much
12 for being here, we greatly appreciate your interest and
13 your involvement in the city government. Thank you.
14 Sam Vitris.
15 MR. VITRIS: Hi. My name is Sam
16 Vitris, I'm the president of the Department of Public
17 Works in Scranton, I'm also a Scranton resident. I
18 guess why I came here tonight is to -- the difficulty
19 it is of having -- I guess being the president of a
20 local labor union, especially public works, especially
21 in a political season when it would seem that
22 individuals, and naturally we're not going to say
23 names, like to spread rumors that the refuse collection
24 is going to be privatized if Mayor Doherty is
25 re-elected, and that is the most untrue statement, and
1 it's a rotten statement to make and it's making our
2 jobs as union officials difficult to control the morale
3 at public works.
4 We don't need it, we don't want it,
5 that's what contract negotiations are for. And I'll
6 give you a little history lesson, back in 2002, when we
7 settled our contract, we settled our contract for one
8 reason and one reason only, because we felt it was the
9 best deal we could get at the time. That was our --
10 that was after the recovery vote, and the will of the
11 people spoke on that day.
12 During those contract negotiations,
13 Mayor Doherty never, ever brought up the word
14 privatization to us once, not once.
15 So, I don't know where this is coming
16 from, who's behind it. I think I know why they're
17 behind it, it's probably to, you know, the more votes
18 you get for one person or the other person, let's start
19 some trouble, this way we can get all the votes and
20 scare the employees and -- but I will say this, that
21 it's untrue and it's unfair and it really lowers the
22 morale of the employees at a time when our morale
23 should be up because of our complex and our equipment
24 and some other things.
25 And, you know, it just seems to me that
1 it's spiraling out of control, and today was the end of
2 it. I mean, I tried to stay away from this as much as
3 I possibly could, because I don't want to be involved
4 in the infighting with police and firefighters, I
5 respect them, they're great people, and have their
6 problems, and I hope they settle their contract, I know
7 they will settle their contract.
8 Eventually the police and fire in this
9 city will have a contract, there's no doubt about it.
10 How they get there, well, that's their business. How
11 we get to our resolution, well, that's our business.
12 And there was never -- and the next
13 person that comes up here and says that Mayor Doherty
14 is going to privatize the garbage, I'm just going to
15 say, is lying. It's not true, and it's being done for
16 political reasons.
17 And our contract negotiations are
18 coming up again, and, you know, we look forward to
19 negotiating a new labor agreement like we always did.
20 And, you know, you hear a lot of stuff
21 about the debt, the debt is very important to us as
22 public employees, believe me. Nobody wants their
23 employer hurting financially. You'd have to be nuts to
24 want your employer to hurt financially.
25 And, you know, I hear about the debt
1 and I hear, Oh, we're $204 million in debt, and then I
2 say, Well, you know, the parking garage, I don't -- who
3 pays for the parking garage? I mean, do the rate -- do
4 the people who -- each car that goes into that garage
5 pays a fee, will that fee be put towards whatever they
6 owe on the parking garage?
7 Will one -- I'm not sure. Will $1 of
8 our tax dollars -- my property tax dollars go towards
9 the mortgage on that parking garage? I don't know. I
10 don't think so.
11 The same thing with the DPW complex,
12 they said, Oh, well, we didn't have a choice, the City
13 of Scranton condemned our property under Jimmy Connors,
14 condemned it. Your own employer condemned their own
15 building and says you can't work there.
16 So, the city went out, built us a new
17 complex, and somehow, someway the city needed more
18 money after they -- four extra million dollars or
19 whatever it was. Hey, that's not my problem, how we
20 got there, the building isn't going to be taken off of
21 us. I mean, there's all kinds of rumors, oh, you know,
22 the mayor is going to sell off the bulling.
23 I mean, I don't know why people persist
24 in saying things like that. I mean, I don't think
25 anybody would want to see, and I talked to Gene Barrett
1 himself, they have no interest in the DPW complex. I
2 mean, it doesn't even fit into their scheme of things.
3 I mean, I'm not here to -- the only
4 reason I came here is to just kill the rumors that
5 related to DPW, because it just isn't fair to us as
6 union officials or to use as elected officials the way
7 things are going. Thank you.
8 MR. DIBILEO: Sam, you know, you know
9 probably as well as anybody, because you've been
10 involved, you know, with the city for many years that
11 rumors get started all the time, and who knows how they
12 get started, my concern is that, you know, you're not
13 insinuating that anybody up here is starting that
15 MR. VITRIS: No, absolutely I am not
16 insinuating that Janet Evans, Gary DiBileo, John
17 Pocius, Bill Courtright or Bobby McTiernan, it's down
18 and public works, and where it's coming from, well,
19 wherever it's coming from, it's a lie.
20 That's the only reason I came here,
21 because people want to bash me, right, and they want to
22 bash the union because we settled the contract. So
23 what, it's our contract. We settled it because we felt
24 it was good enough to settle.
25 We didn't settle it because
1 Mayor Doherty says, If you don't settle this contract,
2 you guys are privatized.
3 I never said Chris Doherty was easy to
4 bargain with, I never said it was going in there and
5 we're going to get everything handed to us on a silver
6 platter. We never thought that, but that's the way
7 negotiations go.
8 MR. DIBILEO: Thanks. And, again, you
9 know, you hear rumors and everything, but -- and
10 chances are that will not happen, as you're saying,
11 you're calling it a lie, can you guarantee that's not
12 going to happen?
13 MR. VITRIS: Can I -- well, let's put
14 it this way, let's put it this way, can I guarantee
15 anything, can I guarantee that I'm going to walk out of
16 this building and not get hit with a car? No. Can I
17 guarantee anything? No. But can I take the person's
18 word on it? Yes.
19 MR. DIBILEO: Yeah. And I'm not saying
20 it's going to happen.
21 MR. VITRIS: And do I have to call --
22 am I going -- and am I going to call the person that
23 tells me right to my face that that's not the case,
24 that he's a liar? No, I'm not like that.
25 I look at it as man to man, and I'm
1 telling you how contract negotiations went in 2002,
2 that it was never brought up, and I have no idea to lie
3 about it, because he never brought it up.
4 And, also, he's never brought it up,
5 and he's stated to us in front of the entire union body
6 to their faces that that's not the case.
7 And the only reason I'm saying that
8 here is because it rips the employees apart at public
9 works. It's not right, and it's just not fair to have
10 to go to work and have one side saying one thing and
11 another side saying another thing, it shouldn't be like
13 MR. DIBILEO: You're right.
14 MR. VITRIS: I mean, you don't want to
15 go to work and have to listen to that, it's just
16 baloney, that's all it is.
17 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. And just, I
18 know we're not supposed to talk politics, but you and I
19 actually had that conversation, did I basically say the
20 same thing to you?
21 MR. VITRIS: Yes.
22 MR. DIBILEO: All right. Thank you
23 very much. Dick Laske.
24 MR. LASKE: I got a new book. I want
25 you to notice, I got a new book. I stole this off a
1 little school kid today.
2 MR. DIBILEO: Mr. Laske, just for the
3 record, not that anyone doesn't know you.
4 MR. LASKE: Know me? There's three
5 people that have a contract on me in North Scranton.
6 John, (UNTRANSCRIBABLE). How's your mother?
7 MR. POCIUS: Very good.
8 MR. LASKE: The reason I'm talking to
9 you first is this, I was accused of being angry with
10 you, and you know me, now, wait a minute now
11 (UNTRANSCRIBABLE), you know me well enough and long
12 enough to know that if I had something to say to John
13 Pocius, I wouldn't do it up here, we'd be eyeball to
14 eyeball, because it's in our blood, you know what I
15 mean? Fair enough. (UNTRANSCRIBABLE.) That's your
16 lesson for tonight, so there'll be no more.
17 MR. LASKE: Okay.
18 MR. POCIUS: I wish I paid more
19 attention when my grandmother and the sisters would
20 speak and talk Lithuanian.
21 MR. LASKE: Well, hey, come over. We
22 had halupkie today and all the good stuff. Okay. I
23 come to you tonight, and Mrs. Evans said I couldn't use
24 the name, so I'll use DPW director, and I guess we can
25 figure out who that is, right?
1 Okay. I feel as though the man was
2 totally out of line with his comments from this podium
3 concerning Hollow Avenue. I am very, very familiar
4 with Hollow Avenue, I only live a few blocks from
5 there; in fact, I walked up there today because they're
6 putting in a new sewer line for this house, and
7 Mr. Parker is definitely out of line, where he got his
8 information from, but I have photos right here, and
9 they're absolutely correct.
10 And I feel there should either be an
11 investigation or Mr. Parker should come back to this
12 podium, apologize to the people of Scranton that he
13 made a mistake. When you made a mistake, Janet, you
14 apologized, right?
15 Now, I understand that he was clearing
16 right of way. Like I said, I know exactly where this
17 is, I walked down this road today, he did clear right
18 of way going down the hill on Hollow Avenue, but he
19 also cleaned up on private property. And if anyone
20 doubts my word, feel free to come up anytime, I'll be
21 glad to go up with you.
22 MR. DIBILEO: Mr. Laske, I just want to
23 stop you there, because, you know, we've basically
24 chosen not to get involved in that, and I know that
25 some people wanted us to and it was -- it could have
1 been very easily done. You know, I chose not to go out
2 there, not to ask Mr. Parker to meet me out there. You
3 know, we're close to an election and emotions are
4 running very high, and I really don't know what
5 happened out there, and I think we're just going to let
6 it be, whatever it was, it was, and, you know, you hear
7 it from both sides, so --
8 MR. LASKE: I'll accept that, but I'm
9 not running for any office, because I ran once and I
10 got you know what kicked, so I learned my lesson, you
11 know what I mean? There's no way I'm throwing this hat
12 in the ring, not me, baby, ut-uh.
13 Now, this is why I'm annoyed with this.
14 It's bad enough what he did up on Hollow Avenue, but
15 the part that really annoys me, people come here and
16 they speak about parks, how great our park system is,
17 now, up at Weston Park Tony Santolli marked several
18 trees, some of them are ready to fall over, block the
19 road, people won't be able to get into their garages
20 and so on and so forth, other trees down the other end
21 of the park at the tennis court are going to fall on
22 people's properties.
23 I have been doing everything but
24 begging to get them to come up and to knock them trees
25 down. This is why I'm really, really mad, because I
1 don't see why this man can go up there and do someone a
2 favor and not take care of city parks. Maybe I'm out
3 of line, but that's just the way I feel.
4 Okay. Now we get to the good part.
5 Janet, you definitely are not a liar. I've known you a
6 long, long time, you have never lied to me, and I don't
7 know how many years it's been, but it's been a few --
8 MS. EVANS: Yes, a couple.
9 MR. LASKE: -- since I've known you,
11 MS. EVANS: Uh-huh.
12 MR. LASKE: And as far as this and that
13 and the other thing, like, I don't come here to
14 badmouth the administration, they don't need any help,
15 they can do it by themselves, you know what I mean?
16 Okay. Now, the golf course, I know
17 this is water over the dam, Mr. Pocius has the
18 knowledge and the expertise, when Mr. Gilhooley sat
19 where Janet Evans is now, I went to his office, that's
20 when he worked up the road here before something
21 happened, how do you like that one, Bill, stopped in
22 time, didn't I, no, but seriously, there could have
23 been a sprinkler system put in there, I know it could
24 have been better managed, but if they had put it in, it
25 was a real asset.
1 And another thing that really annoyed
2 me was the South Side Complex, and, as you know,
3 Northeast Credit is one of my prime -- prime ones that
4 I don't really care too much for, and I mean, I don't
5 think I'll get a Christmas card from that outfit this
7 But I mean, seriously, and not to beat
8 it to death, but this loan, what part of no don't some
9 people understand? Now, when Mr. Walsh is over there
10 he says he couldn't it, I'm satisfied. I won't bring
11 it up that you have to change your mind, because I
12 think it's a dead issue. It's like whipping a dead
13 horse. Thank you and good night.
14 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mr. Laske.
15 Thank you, Mr. Laske. That's it for the sign-in sheet.
16 Are there any other speakers?
17 MS. WILLIAMS: Good evening, Council.
18 MR. DIBILEO: Good evening.
19 MS. WILLIAMS: Joanne Williams,
20 Scranton resident and taxpayer, homeowner and proud to
21 be living in a progressive, proud and safe city.
22 Before I continue, I wanted to clear up
23 something, young Doug Miller stepped to this podium
24 this evening, and I didn't hear what he had to say, but
25 a few people said he was criticizing me, when I left,
1 just so there's two side to the story, and I know he's
2 a young student, he needs to learn yet, when I left
3 here last week, Mr. Bolus went running out after me
4 screaming at me, and as I was walking down the steps,
5 Mr. Young Miller continued that scream. I just kept
6 walking down. But once again, I don't take offense to
7 Mr. Miller, I know he's young and he has a lot to
9 MR. DIBILEO: Mrs. Williams, you know,
10 pretty much every week you talk about the fact that we
11 shouldn't be bringing other names up, because I get
12 criticized when we do it, but, you know, we don't know
13 what happened outside these doors and --
14 MS. WILLIAMS: Well, Mr. DiBileo, you
15 let other --
16 MR. DIBILEO: -- and please refrain from
17 bringing other names up.
18 MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. DiBileo, you know,
19 we have this conflict week after week, you let other
20 people come up here and be personal, but when I come up
21 here because I'm a Doherty supporter, you hammer me
22 down. How unfair that is. But let me continue,
23 Mr. DiBileo.
24 MR. DIBILEO: Go right ahead.
25 MS. WILLIAMS: Mr. DiBileo, a few weeks
1 ago you stated to me, and I quote, What will you do if
2 I become mayor? Several residents I have approached --
3 have approached me on your statement and felt that it
4 was inappropriate for a Council president to threaten
5 me. See --
6 MR. DIBILEO: Excuse me. Please stop
7 it, and don't take time off of Mrs. Williams' time. I
8 have to remind everyone in the audience to please
9 refrain from speaking or making any noise whatsoever
10 when someone is at the podium, please. Go right ahead.
11 MS. WILLIAMS: Thank you, Mr. DiBileo.
12 Mr. DiBileo, I ask you when you said that, are you
13 threatening my job? Are you threatening my family when
14 you say a statement like that?
15 Mr. DiBileo, remember that I'm a long
16 life resident of Scranton and taxpayer, and you say you
17 are for all the people? I wonder. See, this is what
18 happens when --
19 MR. DIBILEO: That was somebody
20 talking, not to you.
21 MS. WILLIAMS: Well, Mr. DiBileo, they
22 are -- Mrs. Evans said they are to remain quiet when
23 someone is up here speaking, and they seem to respect
25 MR. DIBILEO: That's exactly what I
1 said. Mr. Vitris, would you refrain from speaking back
3 MR. VITRIS: They were talking to me.
4 MS. WILLIAMS: Mrs. Krake stated last
5 week that Mayor Doherty is sending people here to
6 speak, I have spoken at Council meetings long before
7 they were televised during the Connors Administration
8 when things were bleak, and I still spoke positive
9 about this city.
10 Mayor Doherty is committed to keeping
11 our city safe. Listen to just a portion of the
12 accomplishments within the Scranton Police Department,
13 thanks to Chris Doherty's leadership.
14 Chris Doherty did the following: He
15 implemented the DARE Program in Catholic schools, he
16 implemented the GREAT Program in the Scranton School
17 District, including its summer program, acquired eight
18 new vehicles, five patrol and three detectives,
19 purchased new bomb van for the department, reduced
20 overtime spending about by $336,598 in the first year,
21 purchased and trained selected officers in night vision
22 equipment, expanded our bond unit to certified
23 technicians and support staff, started a National Night
24 Out Program for community involvement, developed
25 disaster plans for areas schools and businesses in
1 accordance with the Home Land Security, replaced 120
2 weapons through glock for less than $3,000, officers
3 traded their weapons in for these new ones, hired ten
4 new federally funded officers, purchased a sniper rifle
5 for a SWAT team, received a $10,000 grant from
6 Representative Belardi for crime prevention, agreement
7 with Scranton School District to keep cops in school
8 and share the payment for 50 percent.
9 I could go on and on about it. It's
10 time for all the negative and scare tactics to stop.
11 Remember, crime does happen in cities unfortunately.
12 Here in Scranton our children still walk to school,
13 neighbors still gather on their front porches, children
14 still roller blade, ride their bicycles in their
15 neighborhoods and families gather in parks because of
16 Chris Doherty, more so than ever. Let our city stay
17 focused and positive.
18 We live in a great city with great
19 people in a great time. Let's keep Scranton moving
20 forward. Scranton needs four more years of Chris
21 Doherty in the mayor's office.
22 If you're impressed with what you have
23 seen in these last four years, just wait, the best is
24 yet to come. Thank you.
25 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mrs. Williams.
1 MR. VITRIS: Gary, just for the record,
2 I wasn't speaking, somebody was speaking to me, and I
3 was kind of, like, you know, listening.
4 MR. DIBILEO: Responding? Okay. Sorry
5 about that.
6 MR. JACKOWITZ: Good evening.
7 Bill Jackowitz, Scranton resident and taxpayer,
8 registered independent voter.
9 I would like to start off this evening
10 again by stating that I have no affiliation with anyone
11 in Scranton city government, this includes the mayor's
12 office, City Council, any of the appointed boards,
13 school board or anybody associated with the county
15 No one in my family has an association
16 either. I'm very thankful for this. I am not
17 beholding to anyone associated with government.
18 I do not work for or support any
19 politician. I am only trying to ask questions that I
20 feel that are important to the survival of the City of
22 So far I have yet to receive any
23 answers. My first appearance I asked the politicians
24 to work together to run a fair and honest campaign and
25 to address the serious issues confronting the City of
1 Scranton. Apparently those requests fell on deaf ears.
2 This does not come as a surprise to me. I guess I was
3 asking for the impossible.
4 Speaking for myself, I do not feel that
5 any election or any public office is worth destroying
6 friendships or families. There are so many numbers
7 being thrown around the city that every accounting firm
8 in the world cannot come up with the truthful numbers.
9 I really believe that the politicians do not want
10 accurate numbers revealed.
11 It really does not matter if this city
12 is $210 million in debt or if we are only $121 million
13 in debt like the paper states. The city is not in a
14 position to pay back either one of those debts.
15 Speaking for myself, I am proud to live
16 in a city that has been distressed for approximately
17 14 years and still in distressed.
18 I'm also proud to know that I live in
19 the safest city in Pennsylvania. Those remarks came
20 from a mayoral candidate at the West Scranton High
21 School debate. I guess the crime reports back that
22 statement up.
23 I would like to see an official report
24 that reflects that statement. Can someone please get
25 me an official report that reflects that Scranton is
1 the safest city in the State of Pennsylvania? And,
2 also, The Scranton Times, if you could help me out on
3 that, I would greatly appreciate it, because I'm having
4 a hard time believing that.
5 I spent 28 years in law enforcement
6 career field, security career field in private
7 investigation, so I'm very interested in crime. So, if
8 somebody can help me out with that, I would greatly
9 appreciate it.
10 I am also proud to live in a city where
11 City Council has to subpoena the administration and
12 threaten legal action in order to get answers to
13 questions asked by the taxpayers.
14 This is a democracy at work. Third
15 world countries run their government better than
17 I can only hope that the people who do
18 vote will do so for the betterment and the improvement
19 of the entire city, not just for themselves.
20 Changing the subject, looking around at
21 the surrounding communities, Dickson City, Taylor,
22 Pittston, West Pittston, Moosic, Old Forge,
23 Wilkes-Barre Township, not city, Hanover Township,
24 $180,000 year jobs, Scranton, the Hilton, the Radisson,
25 the two parking garage, Southern Union, ten jobs, The
1 Icebox, coffee shops, good work politicians.
2 The average citizen should not have a
3 problem finding a $20,000 to $25,000 a year job.
4 That's half of what City Council makes for part time
6 If the unions are 100 percent employed
7 by the city, what is their complaint? Again, that
8 statement was a closing remark by one of the mayoral
9 candidates at the West Scranton High School debate.
10 Can someone explain that to me, If they're 100 percent
11 employed, what's their problem, can somebody please
12 explain that?
13 I would greatly appreciate a truthful
14 and straight forward answer. Please, no spin. I'm
16 January 2006, a new year, two new
17 Council members, let's try to work together also with
18 the mayor.
19 Last week a speaker made, in my,
20 opinion a ridiculous statement, the speaker asked a
21 City Councilperson to reveal their personal finance
22 records, well, I would like to counter that ridiculous
23 statement with another ridiculous statement, I would
24 like to ask every elected official and also every
25 politically-appointed official of the city government,
1 including the school board, to release their private
2 financial statements.
3 What is good for one is good for all.
4 Maybe we all can become more ridiculous and request
5 that every speaker show their financial statement
6 before they're allowed to speak at City Council. Thank
7 you for your time.
8 MR. KEELER: John Keeler, Orchard
9 Street, Scranton, Pennsylvania. I'm sorry I'm late,
10 but my son is on his way to Louisiana, so my wife and I
11 are babysitting tonight, and as much as I enjoy coming
12 here, there's no substitute for my four grandchildren,
13 so here we go.
14 There has been a couple of comments
15 made regarding the pension and how it's performed, so I
16 just thought I'd correspond that to the market
17 conditions that existed in those same years.
18 2001, we all know what happened, there
19 was a 14.26 decline in the DOW Industrial Average;
20 whereas, the city's pension was 6.7 percent; 2002, the
21 DOW was down almost 17 percent, compared to a 10.9
22 percent loss or decline in the value of the investments
23 in the pension fund; 2003, the market established a
24 recovery, there was a 25 percent gain year to date,
25 which the pension here had at 22.2, which is just about
1 the same; 2004, experienced a little glitch because of
2 oil prices, things like that, and only had a 3 percent
3 gain; whereas, the union pension funds had had a gain
4 of 9.8 percent, so I think that I'm really glad that
5 that chart was brought out, and the point was made that
6 the mayor's appointments to that committee have done an
7 excellent job in managing those funds.
8 As far as last week, the comment was
9 made to me about the tax, or I'm sorry, the transfer of
10 through the lease back between the Scranton Sewer
11 Authority and the City of Scranton on the DPW property,
12 and lease back is an extremely useful tool for a
13 municipality in the context that one governmental
14 agency, there's been a lot of comment about
15 governmental agency cooperation or intergovernmental
16 agency cooperation, the Scranton Sewer Authority had a
17 little bit of excess cash, the City of Scranton did
18 not, so the Sewer Authority pays the city --buys that
19 building for the cash, $2 million, I think it was, then
20 the city turns around and leases that back, the same
21 property back to the Sewer Authority, and somebody
22 would say, Well, what the heck -- why would the Sewer
23 Authority do that?
24 Well, the Sewer Authority has $2 or $
25 million invested and they may not be getting as much of
1 a return as they would on the lease back payment, and
2 the city has the use of the cash, plus the amortization
3 of those payments is a heck of a lot less than would
4 have been had they had to borrow at markets rates
5 because of the TEFRA (phonetic) laws that I mentioned
6 last week.
7 So, I think it's important to point
8 out, I'm glad that that we was posed, because I really
9 didn't know that much about it, and I looked it up and
10 got the information from the CPA Journal as to the
11 advantages and the disadvantages of a lease back
13 One of the shortcomings of the
14 professor's diagram over there, he failed to mention
15 that the interest most homeowners pay, depending upon
16 their tax status, is tax deductible, which is another
17 reason why municipalities can borrow tax free.
18 Mr. Doherty, because he refinanced the
19 bonds in 2003, because of, by the way, not all of that
20 $130 million is Mayor Doherty's debt, only around $40
21 million is his, because he refinanced that issue in
22 2003, the city is probably going to save up in the
23 neighborhood of $8 million just on the portion that was
24 refinanced alone.
25 By taking it from the rate that it was
1 at in 1999, which was a junk bond rate, down to the
2 average of 4.41 tax exempt over the life of that bond
3 issue -- by the way, they do have call provisions in
4 them, they'll never reach maturity, but besides that,
5 that situation created by Mayor Doherty's financial
6 team ended up in a saving, a capital savings, of almost
7 $8 million, which if you remember correctly, the
8 contribution to the pension plan was $10 million, so
9 basically that savings paid the lion's share of the
10 contribution to the pension plan.
11 So, although everybody's coming up here
12 talking about Mayor Doherty's debt, it isn't Mayor
13 Doherty's debt, he didn't have anything to do with the
14 Sewer Authority's debt.
15 And by the way, without the Sewer
16 Authority's debt, you wouldn't have a sewage treatment
17 plant; without the Parking Authority's debt, you would
18 not have parking garages. They are self-liquidating.
19 Without the debt that he added to the
20 refinance in '03, you wouldn't have the new police
21 department headquarters, you wouldn't have the DPW
22 garage, you would not have those pension payments or
23 Workman's Comp. Payments that had to be made, and you
24 would not have the streets that have been paved.
25 So, I think there is value in the debt,
1 as he was alluding to when he mentioned about the home,
2 because there's another aspect of what he's talking
3 about here that has wasn't mentioned, usually in the
4 normal course of economic development, which has taken
5 place here in the city over the last few years, the
6 homes have increased in value at such a rate that the
7 capital market appreciation of the house purchased by
8 those individuals buying that property in a 30-year
9 mortgage is going to compensate for any interest
10 expense. They're going to have a capital gain at the
11 end if they're not careful.
12 So, I think it's important to point out
13 all sides of every issue, and this has been a great
14 experience for me, a lot of friends on both sides, and
15 I hope that stays, but I'd just like to say it's been a
16 great experience for me, but the discussion on the debt
17 is completely misleading.
18 Most -- 90 percent, not 90, but
19 70-some percent of that debt is not Mayor Doherty's
20 debt, let's be honest, only somewhere around
21 $40 million is his.
22 Now, $40 million is a lot of money, but
23 that $40 million, you can visibly see the results in
24 that $40 million, and the $36 or so that he refinanced
25 from '99, saves upwards of $8 million over the life of
1 that bond issue. It's $40,000-some difference in
2 payment. So, thank you very much.
3 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mr. Keeler.
4 MS. JENNINGS: Good evening, Council.
5 MR. DIBILEO: Good evening.
6 MS. JENNINGS: My name is Kayla
7 Jennings, and I'm here tonight to speak about an issue
8 that many college students are dealing with, in
9 particular college students of City of Scranton
11 I am the daughter of Patricia Jennings
12 Fowler, the health inspector for the City of Scranton,
13 and because of my status as a full-time student, I am
14 still insured under her insurance which is provided by
15 the City of Scranton.
16 Unfortunately I have been discriminated
17 against by the human resources department, and in
18 particular it's department head, Lisa Moran.
19 I never -- I have bills that date back
20 to June of 2005, that have yet to be paid by my
21 insurance and I never received any notification from
22 the insurance clerk.
23 By law I was supposed to receive a;
24 letter stating that my insurance would run out within
25 30 days. I never received such a letter.
1 Now as a result of this, none of my
2 providers will see me, and because of this problem, I
3 put in four phone calls to Lisa Moran, to which I left
4 messages on her voice mail because she was not in her
6 I stated on the voice mail that this
7 was an emergency and I would appreciate a phone call
8 back as soon as possible.
9 The following week she called me back,
10 and in that conversation I explained to her the
11 situation. She told me she contacted my mother and
12 left her a detailed voice mail.
13 The problem I see with this is that
14 it's against the law. According to the HIPA Act or the
15 Health Informations Portability and Accountability Act
16 of 1996, this contains a privacy rule which governs all
17 health care providers and health care plans that
18 transmit health care information in electronic form.
19 After I brought this to Ms. Moran's
20 attention and I'm adult and would appreciate to be
21 treated as such, she laughed on the phone at me.
22 I then went to ask her why it took so
23 long to get back in touch with me. To that she said
24 she did not have to justify her schedule to me. I told
25 her -- I told her, no, you don't; in fact, I don't even
1 care what you do in your spare time, but said that I do
2 expect her to reach me at some point during the day in
3 a span of three days I had been calling.
4 She then proceeded to accuse me of
5 degrading, belittling and demeaning her. I guess that
6 was because I questioned her work ethic or lack
7 thereof. She then went on to tell me I should not
8 think of myself has a top priority at Aetna.
9 I ended the conversation with
10 requesting a document faxes stating when the fax was
11 sent to Aetna from the human resources department.
12 This fax was documentation of my schedule and bill
13 stating that I was still in fact a full-time student in
15 I had dropped this documentation off in
16 August. Aetna said that they did not receive this
17 until September 27, and also sent me documentation
18 showing this.
19 My intention of telling you this story
20 is not to get anyone in trouble, but it is to bring an
21 ongoing problem to your attention, because I'm not the
22 only college student suffering from this.
23 I'm also telling you this because I
24 don't know where to go with this. This isn't just
25 health care, it's also ruining my credit. They're are
1 bills that are piling up and there's nothing I can do
2 about them.
3 She's unfortunately the head of the
4 department, and we all know I can't call the mayor.
5 Once he would ask me what my last name was, he'd
6 probably laugh and hang up the phone.
7 I'm here because I need your help.
8 You're all respected officials in the community and I
9 need your guidance as to where to go with this problem.
10 If I do not get anywhere with this
11 situation soon, I do plan to hire an attorney, and I
12 think the last thing this administration needs is
13 another lawsuit on its hands. Thank you very much.
14 MS. EVANS: I did speak with you about
15 this issue prior to this evening and I asked that a
16 letter be sent to Mrs. Moran, because I was concerned
17 not only about your issues and the precarious state of
18 your debt at this point, but for all of the children --
19 well, adult children, of city workers who could very
20 well be experiencing the same problems, and I do have a
21 copy of that letter, I'll read it to you, if you have a
23 MS. JENNINGS: Yes.
24 MS. EVANS: Dear, Mrs. Moran, at
25 Scranton City Council's meeting held on Thursday,
1 October 13, Councilwoman Evans requested that a letter
2 be sent to you regarding positions -- oh, I'm sorry,
3 I'm sorry. Oh, my goodness, this is the wrong one.
4 This is about parks and recreation. Jay, did we get
5 that one?
6 MR. SAUNDERS: Did we get a response
7 back on that one?
8 MS. EVANS: Uh-huh.
9 MR. SAUNDERS: No, not yet.
10 MS. EVANS: Nothing.
11 MS. JENNINGS: I'm not surprised.
12 MS. EVANS: Well, no. Well, no,
13 actually a lack of response is not often a surprising
14 development, but it doesn't mean that we'll accept
15 that, it simply means that we'll continue to pursue
16 that until we do receive a satisfactory response.
17 So, please rest assured, we'll continue to look into
18 this for you.
19 MS. JENNINGS: Thank you very much. I
20 appreciate it.
21 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, and thanks,
22 Mrs. Evans, for helping Ms. Jennings with her
23 situation. Thank you.
24 MR. McANDREW: Good evening, Council.
25 Larry McAndrew, Scranton resident, Scranton taxpayer.
1 Good evening, fellow citizens and people watching on
2 Channel 61 this evening.
3 First off, Mr. Pocius, how are we doing
4 at the podium tonight, are we taking a count?
5 MR. POCIUS: Am I taking a count? Yes.
6 I always write down all the speakers. You are number
8 MR. McANDREW: Well, we're getting up
9 there, aren't we? And it's great. I think it's
10 outstanding that we have public people come to this
11 podium. I wish that 28 would be 280 people come here
12 each week, sir.
13 MR. POCIUS: We'd have to split it up.
14 MR. McANDREW: Yes. All right. Let's
15 get down to business. On the agenda tonight on 7-A,
16 transferring of funds, what I see hear is $10,000 going
17 into one account to another account for pool chemicals,
18 this, I assume, is for Parks and Recreation Authority,
19 do we have a follow-up of where these chemicals are
20 going and October 20 of 2005? I mean, where are we
21 going with these chemicals right now?
22 MR. DIBILEO: That's something --
23 MR. POCIUS: Do you know?
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: I'm guessing possibly
25 John said winterization or maybe previous, you know,
1 chemicals that they use in --
2 MR. McANDREW: For the summer, sir?
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: I'm guessing that. We
4 certainly can ask. I don't know if it's in the backup
6 MR. McANDREW: You know, this is where
7 we run into a problem. We don't know where this money
8 is going to, this authority. I mean, it's saying
9 $10,000 here for chemicals, but is it actually going
10 for chemicals?
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: Well, I would hope so.
12 MR. POCIUS: Yes, Mr. McAndrew, because
13 Mrs. Novembrino won't honor a voucher if the account is
14 not current, and that's why the bills may be there and
15 the money has to be transferred to make the account
16 compatible to handle the bills.
17 I mean, chemicals pay for chemicals.
18 There's no other way around it.
19 MR. McANDREW: I thought maybe there
20 was an inside pool that they needed chemical for winter
22 MR. POCIUS: It could be, too. It
23 could be to increase the chemical load.
24 MR. McANDREW: But see, sir, we don't
25 know that. That's the problem with this authority, we
1 don't know.
2 MR. POCIUS: What authority are you
3 talking about, Mr. McAndrew? This is the city
4 transfer. It's probably parks and recreation.
5 MR. MCANDREW: Yeah, parks and
6 recreation is going to use this money, but we don't
7 know exactly what chemicals and for what pools and
8 exactly a breakdown of this $10,000.
9 MR. POCIUS: We don't need a breakdown
10 on a transfer such as this. If it goes into the line
11 item account, if you take a look at, which they're
12 available every week, we just got Mrs. Novembrino's
13 report, she lists every bill in there as to who it's
14 paid for on a monthly basis, and I'm sure when these
15 get paid, you'll see X chemical company, chlorine,
16 whatever it is. There is a tracking method, sir, if
17 you just take the time to look at it.
18 MR. McANDREW: I don't want to waste
19 any of my five-minutes' time.
20 MR. POCIUS: You can give him whatever
21 he needs.
22 MR. SAUNDERS: Okay.
23 MR. McANDREW: Mr. Bolus brought up an
24 interesting thing tonight, and I think The Scranton
25 Times should do an investigation on this, and I think a
1 motion should be set tonight from one of the
2 Councilpersons, Mr. Bolus brought up about our mayor,
3 Chris Doherty and his company, his corporation, I
4 believe it's called the J.P. Doherty Company, and
5 there's accusations here that in the primary election
6 that there was money funded from this corporation, and
7 my understanding that this possibly could be illegal
9 I think that somebody on Council should
10 take a motion here and that The Scranton Times should
11 do an investigation on this as a follow-up. This is
12 important now.
13 Another thing that was brought up
14 tonight, Jimmy Stucker, Paris Court, this gentleman
15 comes to this podium to speak, he asks for a question
16 to have potholes filled in, because he lives on
17 South Side of Scranton and because he doesn't live on
18 Wyoming Avenue or Main Avenue where an election is
19 coming up three weeks where a pavement project is being
20 done to impress the people of Scranton, maybe that's
21 why his potholes are not being filled. Take that under
23 Another thing I would like to bring up
24 is Providence Square, the beautification, I notice in
25 front of the post office there's two park benches,
1 well, one of those benches in the last two weeks had
2 damage done to it, the bench is turned over and it's
3 bent, whose responsibility is it to correct that
4 problem, to fix it, is that the city's?
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: I don't know. I would
6 assume if the city put them there, it would be the
7 city's responsibility.
8 MR. McANDREW: Well, Mr. Courtright,
9 that has been two weeks there and nothing has been done
10 with it.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right. That's the
12 first I heard about it. Did the city put the benches
14 MR. MCANDREW: This revitalization of
15 the Providence Square, benches were installed to the --
16 on the sidewalks. By the Castle Restaurant and the
17 post office there's two benches, one bench is
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right. We'll
20 Mr. Parker possibly whose responsibility that is, and
21 if --
22 MR. SAUNDERS: It depends if it's on
23 private property, it would be the --
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: It's on the sidewalk,
1 MR. McANDREW: It's on the sidewalk.
2 MR. POCIUS: If the benches were
3 installed as a contract item in the contract, okay, and
4 if they were installed correctly at the time and
5 accepted, then it's basically ours once the job is
7 If there was a fault in the
8 manufacturing, that doesn't appear to be the case here,
9 it appears to be a vandalism act, I mean, a bench just
10 doesn't turn over and collapse on itself, so what I'm
11 saying is if it's a vandalism effort, then possibly, I
12 mean, we're probably self-insured for that, so, again,
13 it's our cost.
14 MR. McANDREW: Sir, this looks like it
15 was a vehicle that hit this bench and knocked it over.
16 MR. POCIUS: Well, hopefully there's a
17 police report on it, which the person that hit the
18 bench could possibly -- he would be responsible through
19 the insurance process to pay for the damage. Attorney
20 Blasi, correct me if I'm wrong, but you're responsible,
21 that's property damage with a motor vehicle, right?
22 MR. BLASI: Yes, that would be correct
23 under his policy.
24 MR. POCIUS: But if there's a report,
25 the city could follow up and then go after that
1 insurance company to get the money.
2 MR. McANDREW: And finally as a
3 follow-up tonight, we have people coming up here that
4 support Mayor Doherty, I don't quite understand where
5 they're coming from when they're saying that there's no
6 problem here with a deficit.
7 You know, I spoke to Mayor Doherty and
8 I brought up about his borrowing, and he told me at the
9 North Scranton Neighborhood Association, that under his
10 administration there was an $80 million borrowed, this
11 gentleman says there's only $40 million. Well, there's
12 al difference of $40 million there, but what I want to
13 get down to is the audit of 2004 where it's stated
14 $121 million is the deficit here.
15 What don't these people understand
16 here? We have major problems in this city. With this
17 election coming up very shortly, let's not be, how
18 should I say it, take the bait, as a political
19 advertisement says, that this city is doing great, that
20 this city is coming back. It's not, it's far from
22 When we're $121 million in debt, our
23 current taxpayers and our future generation taxpayers
24 have an awesome burden to take care of. I thank you.
25 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mr. McAndrew.
1 MR. DAVIS: Asssalaam Alaikum, peace
2 and blessings of Allah be with you.
3 MR. DIBILEO: Good evening.
4 MR. DAVIS: I had a fantastic week, I
5 went down to Washington with 31 people, 18 of them were
6 under the 18, and 18 were above the age of 18, I was
7 the oldest at 69, enjoyed myself immensely.
8 I think it's time for we as adults to
9 start getting back in touch with our kids. The
10 children enjoyed themselves. They went to a place
11 where they had never seen this many black people before
12 in their whole life. Louis Ferrakhan was giving
13 speeches and his whole entourage and his people.
14 We heard political speeches, we heard
15 all sort of speeches, and the main theme of it was for
16 us to get back in touch with our kids, become more
17 responsible to our children and thereby demand,
18 request, ask for that your voted officials are also
19 responsible for your children, and the only way you can
20 do that is to vote, that I know of. That's the only
21 way you can control who sits up on that stand or any
22 other stand in the State of Pennsylvania.
23 And I've said to you before, you
24 minorities, go out and vote because eventually we might
25 have someone there that you can vote for.
1 I'm not being racist now, but I'm
2 saying that al representative of our race is running
3 for governor, he's number 88, Lynn Swann, and I'm
4 trying to get him to come to Scranton, but that's
5 besides the point, but while there in Washington, I
6 heard many, many things from many different people they
7 came to me and they spoke to me on many different
8 questions that I had asked here about education, about
9 housing, about hospitalization, about treatment in
10 hospitals, and they gave me this -- it's SRA -- it's
11 the annual report of SRA, but it's dated 1970. I've
12 been looking for this for almost ten years, because
13 this tells exactly who is responsible for the
14 Midtown Apartments, and I'm sorry Mr. Pocius left,
15 because his father's picture is in here, because he was
16 on the City Council during this time.
17 MR. DIBILEO: Who's that, Mr. Davis?
18 MR. DAVIS: Mr. Pocius' father was on
19 City Council at the time of this.
20 MR. POCIUS: No. My father was the
21 police chief. I did have an uncle who was on the
22 school board possibly. I did have an uncle that served
23 a couple terms on the school board, but he was -- my
24 father was, no, he retired from the police department
25 and went into private security.
1 MR. DAVIS: SRA acknowledges the
2 assistance and cooperation received from City Council,
3 Council must approve all urban renewal projects, the
4 sale of each parcel of land, and in years past,
5 appropriated the local financial share of these costs.
6 And it's under the picture of the City Council, because
7 this is the -- the fellow became mayor after that, what
8 is his name, his son is now the -- Hickey, Hickey is
9 there, and this is your father.
10 MR. POCIUS: Let me look, do you mind,
12 MR. DAVIS: Go ahead, please.
13 MR. DIBILEO: Sure.
14 MR. DAVIS: It's a good picture of him,
16 MR. POCIUS: That's Mayor Doherty's
18 MR. DAVIS: Excuse me.
19 MR. POCIUS: He was a city
21 MR. DAVIS: Yes, he was, yes, he was.
22 So, excuse me, Mr. Pocius.
23 MR. POCIUS: No, that's okay.
24 MR. DAVIS: But at any rate, I'm saying
25 that now I have facts and figures that I can deal with
1 and I have a family that I'm really trying to work
2 towards, because my aunt and my parents lost property
3 within that Midtown -- that urban revitalization, and
4 we lost a lot of money, but more than anything else we
5 lost a home.
6 And I was listening to someone on black
7 forum, and he said what we have to do is we have to
8 return to our homes, we have to make our community our
9 homes again, and that was very, very true, because the
10 security that we have in our homes means everything to
11 our kids, and your kids, and all of our kids. And
12 don't be afraid of violence.
13 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mr. Davis.
14 MR. NEWCOMB, JR.: Good evening,
15 Council. Charlie Newcomb, Scranton. Do I get a prize
16 for being number 30?
17 MR. POCIUS: You did good math,
19 MR. NEWCOMB, JR.: Last week I came to
20 this podium and I asked again how I can get assistance
21 with the ponding problem in front of my house, and
22 before I was leaving I made the statement that maybe I
23 should put a sign in my front yard, well, I guess a lot
24 of people watch these meetings, and somebody that works
25 for the city I ran into over the week and they said you
1 indeed should have a green and blue sign in front of
2 your house and maybe you would get a quicker response,
3 so I guess my statement was pretty valuable.
4 I ran into a situation where I was at a
5 place where a situation occurred today that could
6 possibly have required the use of an AED, and when
7 asked why the police department didn't respond with an
8 AED, I was told that they're currently not in service.
9 I hope this isn't true.
10 And I'm asking you, Mr. Courtright, if
11 you can look into this. I mean, the ambulance was
12 there within a decent amount of time, but that just
13 stuck with me that the AEDs aren't currently in
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right. I asked a
16 couple weeks back and there was one broken and two in
17 service, and I just assumed they were still in service,
18 but if not, we'll find out and we'll find out why.
19 Jay, can we ask that tomorrow, because they are
20 important. We need to have them.
21 MR. NEWCOMB, JR.: Very well. I also
22 got very strong reliable information yesterday that
23 tells me that the newspaper, the Scranton Plain
24 Speaker, will no longer be produced, and I'm going to
25 use the word rumor, I firmly don't believe it's a
1 rumor, but I'm going to use the word rumor so it can't
2 come back to get me, but I was told by this individual
3 that rumor has it that the advertisers of this paper
4 were called and threatened as far as advertising in
5 this newspaper.
6 I was one of the happiest people to
7 know that we had a second newspaper coming to town,
8 whether it was only published bi-weekly, monthly,
9 whatever it was, we were getting the other side of the
10 story, and if politics is involved here, I just hope
11 the people can see that.
12 MR. DIBILEO: I'm sorry, Mr. Newcomb.
13 We don't know if that actually is occurring. You know,
14 that could be a rumor.
15 MR. NEWCOMB, JR.: I hope it is.
16 That's why I'm saying, if it is, I hope it is a rumor.
17 Did we find out where the pothole
18 machine is yet?
19 MS. EVANS: No.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: You know, somebody was
21 being wise with me, I asked where the motorcycle was,
22 they said it was parked next to the pothole machine,
23 but I think --
24 MR. POCIUS: Please don't go back to
25 the motorcycle because we fought that battle for years.
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: I think it's down at
2 DPW, that's the last I heard and they were supposedly
3 waiting for a part.
4 I spoke to a man, if I can just have a
5 second, I spoke to a man that sells that type of
6 equipment, and I asked him would it be difficult to get
7 parts for that, and he checked into it, and he said no.
8 At first he thought there was, and then he checked into
9 it, he said no, and then I spoke to another individual
10 that said that it might have possibly been a mistake to
11 buy that, that might have been something to be better
12 used in a parking lot.
13 So, I don't know why. We asked, we got
14 no answers. Can we ask again where it is and why we're
15 not using it?
16 MR. SAUNDERS: I'll sent that down.
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: And then maybe we can
18 put that to rest.
19 MR. NEWCOMB, JR.: I saw the garbage
20 trucks have that Restoring the Pride logo on the side,
21 that would be a perfect opportunity for the mayor's
22 campaign to go with that pothole machine and put the
23 restoring the pride logo on it. I mean, that's just my
24 personal feelings, but he should have moved up on that.
25 Also on this campaign it just blows my
1 mind that we hear on the ads and the TV at this podium
2 how safe the city is, so maybe some people do believe
3 the city is safe, but I came here last week and I told
4 you of things that I remembered as a citizen that stuck
5 out in my mind what happened in the city.
6 If you're involved in the news at all,
7 whether you read the paper or you watch TV, you see
8 that the last two nights or two nights this week there
9 was incidents involving taxi cab drivers that were held
10 up, there was a situation at Walgreen's in West
12 Do these people live in, like, a
13 bubble? I just don't understand. I don't care if it's
14 violent crime. The bottom line is, that's a very
15 intimidating crime when stuff like that happens.
16 If I can just have a second, I know I
17 have a minute left. Mr. DiBileo, I know it was asked
18 here before, but I heard it again today, did you ever
19 send an e-mail out stating that you're going to give
20 any work to Boot's and Hank's, a contract with the
22 MR. DIBILEO: No, absolutely not. I
23 actually saw that e-mail, and it was not mine, and it's
24 being looked at. Apparently it's -- I'm an AOL user,
25 and I think MSN is listed on the bottom fine print,
1 which would basically prove that it was not me, no.
2 MR. NEWCOMB, JR.: I also confirmed
3 with Boot's and Hank's, I know them personally, and I
4 asked them, no promises were ever made to them, they
5 told me that they have enough work to do as it is and
6 they say that it's dirty politics being played, and
7 it's a shame that it is.
8 And with my minute I just want to
9 state, last week we heard at this podium of Mary Ann
10 Wardell tell us of how she was intimidated while she
11 worked with her last employer, first let me say that I
12 commend her for coming here, next, those flags that sit
13 behind you are here because of people that fought for
14 them, past and present.
15 We can stand here an we can voice our
16 opinion because of the veterans that fought for those
17 flags. Because this is America, we can stand before
18 the legislative body and voice our concerns .
19 Mrs. Wardell was a victim, in my
20 opinion, of strong-arm politics. Other people very,
21 very, very close to me are being victims of this same
22 tragedy. I just want to make it very clear that it's
23 wrong and that people should be ashamed of themselves
24 and what goes around comes around. Thank you.
25 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
1 MS. KRAKE: Good evening, Council.
2 MR. DIBILEO: Good evening.
3 MS. KRAKE: My name is Nancy Krake, and
4 I am a city resident. This evening I have another one
5 of those pesky fax that they don't seem to believe
6 exist in the Doherty campaign, this is an actual copy
7 of the Northeast Pennsylvania Business Journal that was
8 written on December 30, 2003 by Dave Gardner, and it's
9 -- basically I want to review some of the statements
10 that Mayor Doherty made in this particular piece, and
11 this is now two years later.
12 The first thing that he says, he wants
13 to close the gap between Scranton's spending and
14 revenue. Doherty says that several initiatives must
15 succeed. The most immediate need is for strict
16 budgetary control of costs reducing expenditures for
17 staff and purchasing.
18 Well, two years later he certainly has
19 accomplished that. With $3.3 million in salaries for
20 administrators, that's hardly closing the gap. He's
21 also given millions of dollars to his neighbors,
22 Mr. Greco and Mr. Sallusti.
23 As mayor, he says, I must live off the
24 city's financial balance sheet and run the city by the
25 numbers. When the time comes to make a decision, the
1 numbers indicate that a certain amount of money is all
2 I can spend, because this is not my money, it belongs
3 to the taxpayers. These limitations are the same for
4 all cities who commit to live within their fiscal
6 Well, tonight we found out from Terry
7 Osborne that our $210 million deficit has grown to $275
8 million with $65 million added to that in unfunded
9 pension liability. That's nothing to be proud of.
10 The clerical and department of public
11 works unions, says the mayor, have settled their legal
12 grievances with the plan, he's referring to the
13 recovery plan, while court challenges still exist for
14 police and firefighters.
15 I have not settled anything with the
16 mayor. I was not allowed to negotiate a contract, and
17 I have never signed the clerical contract.
18 Earlier Sam Vitris spoke on behalf of
19 DPW, and he was satisfied with what he got. I was not
20 satisfied, nor was I allowed to negotiate.
21 Further the mayor says, Other
22 Pennsylvania cities with structural imbalances have
23 used layoffs to cut cots. Government is not obligated
24 to provide jobs for employees, explains Doherty.
25 That's almost comical, considering the amount of jobs
1 he's given to his friends.
2 What government must do is to provide
3 service to the taxpayer. That is comical. That's the
4 last thing this mayor wants to do.
5 He cut -- he says, In line with this
6 we've already reduced our cost for clerical employment
7 by more than 30 percent.
8 Well, he gave that money to his pay to
9 play friends, he did not give it back to the taxpayers
10 and he did not increase services.
11 The next line is truly terrifying, a
12 specific target for cost reduction is control overtime
13 for the city's police and fire department employees
14 with the firemen receiving a special emphasis. He does
15 not want us to have public safety, plain and simple.
16 I'm going to speak more on this the
17 next time I come to the podium, but I do want to
18 mention the last paragraph, the mayor says, What I have
19 learned is that when new solutions to problems are
20 available, you have to keep pushing, struggle and in
21 time the resistance diminishes. No, in time he beats
22 us into submission.
23 He does say one interesting comment,
24 though, Our new school is a good example of this, and I
25 believe the existence of such a beautiful educational
1 facility is a big catalyst for economic change.
2 Progress will continue -- well, actually I want to stop
3 there, because I think that's kudos to you,
4 Mr. DiBileo. I'm sure at the time he wasn't thinking
5 that, but I know you had a lot to do with the school.
6 Finally he says, Progress will continue
7 to be a struggle, but I believe Scranton is restoring
8 the pride. Well, pride is the first of the seven
9 deadly sins, and I don't want my pride restored. I
10 want my hope restored and my faith restored, and on
11 November 8, we all have a chance to restore the hope
12 and faith of all citizens by a change in the mayor's
13 office. Thank you.
14 MR. GERVASI: Good evening, ladies and
15 gentlemen. My name is Dave Gervasi, I'm a city
16 resident, homeowner and a member of the Scranton Fire
17 Department, a proud member of the Scranton Fire
19 A few comments I'd like to make, a
20 gentleman was up here before, Mr. Keeler, and he was
21 explaining how the DOW Jones average was down and
22 that's maybe why the pension fund didn't do that well,
23 what he keeps failing to mention is that as Mr. Osborne
24 spoke of, I believe two weeks in a row, is that the
25 pension manager that was handling our pension funds, we
1 were way below the average, not way below the best
2 pension fund manager in the country or in the world, we
3 were way below the average, and if he thinks it was a
4 wonderful thing that we lost $4.5 million in those four
5 years from the pension manager that was brokered by
6 Mr. Doherty, Mr. Hazzouri, Mr. Hickey and Mr. Pocius,
7 well, I don't really understand how losing money is
8 actually a good thing.
9 And he also made a false statement that
10 Mayor Doherty's only responsible for $40 million of the
11 debt, where in fact when Mayor Doherty took office, I'm
12 not going to include interest on the debt, I'm talking
13 just principal, the city was in debt $37 million.
14 Today, it's in debt $121 million.
15 So, I don't know -- I don't understand
16 -- I mean, what is the argument about here? We went
17 from $37 million in debt to $121 million in debt. Did
18 we get some things for it? Sure we did.
19 And as I've said before, are all the
20 things that happened at Nay Aug Park wrong? No. I've
21 been up here numerous times saying what really happened
22 at Nay Aug Park, what really happened was we did the
23 first phase of Nay Aug Park to do some landscaping and
24 plant some trees and make the place look nice, because
25 I think Mayor Doherty -- it was a perfectly clear
1 message to him that the people of the city wanted our
2 parks fixed up because they were falling apart, and
3 that's what he did.
4 My problem with how he did it was why
5 would you waste 92,000 on a high bidder who happens to
6 be your landscaper at your own home and give him the
7 contract over a city landscaper that would have done it
8 for $92,000 cheaper? That's my problem with fixing Nay
9 Aug Park.
10 And over and over and over again we had
11 no bid contracts going because of political favoritism
12 and because of campaign contributions.
13 And now we're $204, $210 -- tonight
14 you're going to find out we're $275 million in debt,
15 because that's the real number with interest and
16 everything else all taken in.
17 My problem is now that we're in this
18 debt, how do we pay for this? Do we raise taxes? Of
19 course not. You can't raise taxes, because he'll lose
20 the election. You don't want to raise taxes because I
21 think we're just about taxed out in this city, so how
22 do we pay for all this frivolous spending and money and
23 no bid contracts and not doing it prudently and not
24 doing it right and doing too much too quick like he did
25 so he can make a big splash so he can move onto this
1 next office that he wants to run for, and everybody
2 knows that's why that was his motivation.
3 How do we pay for it? We're going to
4 knock off cops and firemen and make public safety even
5 less. That's how he's planning on doing it.
6 And if you listen to Mrs. Krake's
7 statements from his own statement in the newspaper it
8 said, We're going to cut some more costs, especially in
9 the fire department.
10 So, we're going to pay for flower pots
11 and no bid contracts, everybody is making a fortune who
12 donated to this campaign, and who's going to pay for
13 it? The citizens aren't going to get tax relief, as he
14 promised, because he said he can't do that, because
15 where are you going to find the money, he spent all the
16 money on no bid contracts, and what is he going to do?
17 He's going to knock down your public safety some more.
18 It's not right.
19 And let's talk about Mr. Fiscal
20 Conservative. Everybody is here talking about how
21 wonderful everything is. Well, if you remember
22 correctly when he said in his recovery plan when he
23 lied to you and said there was going to be a tax
24 increase, when we actually had a surplus, and to me it
25 was a political lie, and I'll say it was a lie, please,
1 Mr. Doherty, sue me if you think I'm lying about it,
2 but that's what I think you did, it's my opinion, and I
3 have a right to my opinion, he said he was going to
4 reduce overtime in all the departments because that's
5 what the state wants under Act 47, the Distressed
6 Municipalities Act, and I went and I sat down with him
7 for three or four meetings and we negotiated how to not
8 reduce overtime in the fire department, how to
9 practically eliminate it, and I gave him the means and
10 showed him how it can be done.
11 Well, he decided a little later he
12 didn't want to negotiate anymore, and now we're in
13 arbitration and he spent over $800,000 in legal fees
14 fighting what I've been saying right along is an
15 illegal and ill-conceived recovery plan, and he had the
16 rubber stamp Council complete buffaloed up there saying
17 it was just boiler-plate language, I remember Mr.
18 Gilhooley saying, it's just the start of negotiations.
19 And like I said two years ago, it
20 wasn't the start of negotiations, it was the end of
22 But let me just go back to the point
23 I'm trying to make, in 2004, when Mr. Doherty, the
24 fiscal conservative, said he needed the recovery plan
25 and he needed to implement it because he needed to
1 reduce overtime, let me show you a couple figures right
2 from the city's offices, these are facts, and I'll
3 present them to anybody who wants to see them to show
4 you where his priorities are, 2004 overtime, the
5 police, the Cops Ahead Program, was budgeted for
6 $108,000 and change. If you want the exact figures, I
7 will, $51,57, and I'm just going to round them off, you
8 know what they used, $15,000 in overtime.
9 Police other, there was $54,000 in
10 there, he used under $168. This is for policemen now.
11 Police overtime, there was $75,851 budgeted, he used
13 Police court appearance time, $58,000
14 was budgeted, he used $4,600. Fire overtime was
15 underfunded, number one, illegally, according to the
16 Recovery Plan and to our contract, he underfunded that
17 by $242,000. We were way under the $500,000 last year,
18 and the only reason why we were above it the year
19 before is because he chased 36 guys out and we had to
20 send guys to the academy to fill those spots, and
21 that's the only reason why overtime was higher the year
23 Now, let's turn to DPW, where Mr.
24 Fiscal Conservative was going to cut overtime costs
25 because he wanted to build a tent and he wanted to fix
1 this at Nay Aug and keep dumping money into Nay Aug
2 Park, traffic was $2,098.38 over budget, engineering
3 was $1,965 over budget, the buildings department was
4 $2,200 over budget, the Highway Department was $62,831
5 over budget overtime, the refuse department was $88,377
6 over budget, the garages, they actually ended up with a
7 little extra money, they didn't go over budget, they
8 were $393 under budget, the parks department was
9 $105,018 over budget, so Mr. Fiscal conservative that
10 wanted to cut overtime with all the DPW combined in the
11 year 2004 went over budget on overtime by $262,099.48.
12 That's the truth, that's the fact, and
13 when they say, Don't take the bait, don't take the bait
14 again, because it's lies you're hearing in this
15 campaign. Thank you for the opportunity to speak.
16 Did I get double beeped yet? Thank
17 you. I was listening to a radio program yesterday --
18 MR. POCIUS: There you are. You're
20 MR. GERVASI: You're all heart. I just
21 want to finish my thought, if I could.
22 I was listening to a radio program
23 yesterday and I actually called into it because I
24 couldn't believe what I heard, I saw an ad in the
25 newspaper that Scranton is safe and don't take the bait
1 and crime is wonderful, and correct me if I'm wrong,
2 did the FBI -- new FBI statistics come out yesterday
3 that crime is up substantially in most categories?
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: I was called and told
5 that. I did not see that for myself. I said last
6 week, and I'm going to speak on it later on, but I said
7 last week, you know, you can jog any numbers around you
8 want and say what you want, but go to the Comm center
9 and take a look at the calls.
10 Each year for the last several years
11 calls have gone up, and they're on track to go up again
12 this year. But, you know, you can do whatever you want
13 with numbers, there's so many different ways, but to
14 the best of my knowledge, they did come out yesterday
15 and crime is up, and especially in some areas.
16 MR. DAVIS: I find it hard to believe
17 that some of the mayor's cheerleaders aren't here
18 talking about how wonderful the crime rate and how it's
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: And keep in mind --
21 MR. GERVASI: When the stats came out
22 yesterday showing that crime is up, which everybody
23 already knew it to begin with.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: Could we keep this in
25 mind, and I know he has to sit down, but I'd just like
1 to say, I do not believe, and if I'm wrong, I'll stand
2 corrected, that the state -- or the F.B.I. does any
3 statistics that are specific to Scranton, they do
4 areas, to the best of my knowledge, so I don't think
5 they have any specific statistics to support any of
6 that. So, if I'm wrong, I'll stand corrected, but I
7 don't believe I am. Thank you.
8 MR. GERVASI: You're welcome. Thank
10 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you. Now, state
11 police is specific to Scranton, as far as I know.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: We supply the state
13 police with numbers, I'm sure Mrs. Stulgis will be able
14 to -- we supply them with numbers and I -- again, I
15 have a whole bunch of things, I get a lot of calls from
16 retired policemen, and I'm going to read off something
17 later on that I think you'll find interesting from the
18 retired police officers.
19 MR. DIBILEO: Okay.
20 MS. STULGIS: My name is Ann Marie
21 Stulgis, and I live in the City of Scranton, and I'm
22 the President of the Fraternal Order of Police.
23 Just -- I just made a few notes, I want
24 to clarify a few statements that were made earlier,
25 first of all, these are things that the mayor is taking
1 credit for that we heard earlier this evening, the
2 first was that the DARE Program was introduced into
3 Catholic schools, the DARE program was in Catholic
4 schools five years ago, more than five years ago
5 actually, because I spoke with one of the instructors
6 in fact and they weren't doing St. Stanislas School in
7 South Side at the time, and I had spoken to some of the
8 parents over there because it's a very, very small
9 school and that got included that, but prior to that
10 they had been doing other Catholic schools, and that's
11 five years ago. This mayor wasn't the mayor then.
12 He bought eight new cars, well, it was
13 that or police officers were going to walk. The GREAT
14 Program, the GREAT Program was in existence under
15 Chief Klee.
16 Overtime was cut. Great. Overtime was
17 cut, but what happened to the money? Where did it go?
18 It wasn't used to help out the families of our police
19 officers who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, was
20 it? They didn't have any money for that. They didn't
21 have any money for the Veterans that put their lives on
22 the line, they got nothing, but we saved money so we
23 could get raises. Great.
24 National Night Out, National Night Out
25 has been around for years, give me a break. That was
1 under Chief George Murphy.
2 Replaced weapons, that was a deal put
3 together by our training officers, and what happened
4 was Glock, because the original Glocks were made out of
5 a particular material that was more valuable to the
6 Glock company, the Glock company cut a deal with the
7 city through our training officers to get them a good
8 deal for new weapons.
9 Ten police officers were hired, that's
10 exactly right. Of course, 32 were let go, so we have a
11 net loss of 22. I don't think that's something to be
12 proud of.
13 We got a $10,000 grant for crime
14 prevention, $10,000 grant for crime prevention, huh, I
15 think that's in violation of the Recovery Plan. My
17 We have cops in schools, and he made a
18 deal with the school district, that was because the
19 union spoke with the chief and came up with a way that
20 the union would make concessions in order to keep the
21 police officers in school. Guess he forgot about that
23 And it's so safe in Scranton that
24 people can still ride bikes and people can still sit on
25 porches. Folks, if it became the point that we
1 couldn't do that, I don't think there'd be anybody
2 wanting to live in Scranton.
3 And if Scranton is so safe, perhaps we
4 can explain why in this very safe city we had an armed
5 robbery of a taxi cab in South Scranton, this is this
6 week, and we also had a carjacking, and depending on
7 what the charge was, it was either kidnapping or
8 unlawful restraint, again, using a gun at eight o'clock
9 at night. This is our safe city.
10 Also, do we have an answer on the
11 billing for Attorney Greco?
12 MS. EVANS: I did receive some
13 information, and I'm going through that, but I'm not
14 quite sure it's all the information.
15 MS. STULGIS: I had understood that
16 they said it was for the lawsuit with the auditor.
17 MS. EVANS: Uh-huh.
18 MS. STULGIS: Well, it's interesting
19 that he's still billing and that lawsuit's long over,
20 long over, but we're still getting those monthly bills.
21 I believe it's in excess of $95,000 or something like
23 It's amazing to be on a health care
24 committee and not know what the lawyer is doing for
25 that amount of money, beautiful.
1 Also, we heard a little discussion
2 about the pension fund, well, here's the bottom line,
3 without getting into all of the statistics and the
4 figures and everything else, and I'm going to use the
5 figure I believe Mr. Sallusti used when he got up here
6 and spoke and he said when this mayor took over, the
7 composite pension unfunded liability was $53 million,
8 since that time, the city dumped in approximately $17.5
9 more million dollars.
10 That should have dropped the debt down
11 substantially down into the $30 million deficit, plus
12 don't forget the state annually puts a lot of money
13 into that fund.
14 So, if we started at $53 million, and
15 the city put in $17.5 and the state put in several
16 million, if this is such a great, great investor we
17 have, maybe you can tell me why instead of going down,
18 the unfunded deficit is now at $65 million; in fact, it
19 went up $12 million. That doesn't make too much sense
20 to me.
21 Again, to go back, when Mr. Pocius had
22 mentioned to Mr. Ancherani where would the money come
23 from to fund the Vets, aside from the fact that we now
24 know there was a lot of money left over, one of the
25 reasons cited for them not being able to do it was
1 because the salaries that were allocated for those
2 police officers were in fact had to be used to pay for
3 overtime for officers who had to come in and work in
4 their place, well, if whomever is in change of handling
5 those things, I guess it's human resources, had kept up
6 on things, they would understand that the Homeland
7 Security Act provides for the city to be compensated
8 for any overtime to replace those police officers, I'm
9 sure the city hasn't gotten it, but it was out there,
10 so they wouldn't have had to spend a dime. Thank you.
11 MS. EVANS: Mrs. Stulgis, if I can just
12 ask you a quick question, do you know if Segal, the
13 health care consultant, has received the revised master
14 census file they requested in August from the city?
15 MS. STULGIS: A file was sent out the
16 other day, but the file in fact -- all they did was
17 actually take a word file that we already had and
18 transposed it into Adobe Format. No. What's been
19 needed has not -- it was just a matter of transposing
20 from a Word file to an Adobe file. No, they don't have
21 what they need.
22 MS. EVANS: Well, I have some
23 interesting e-mails here that peaked my interest, not
24 only because it, again, involves more wasted money, but
25 more so someone else's experiencing problems similar to
1 my own when dealing with the administration.
2 This one is dated September 26, and
3 this is to Mrs. Moran and Mr. Kresefski. We still have
4 not received the final revised master census file
5 requested in electronic format. This was promised to
6 us for the end of August or the first week of
7 September. It's imperative that we receive this file
8 if we are to do any work for the HCCC.
9 On 8/23/05, we provided a status update
10 of what we still needed to receive. Please note, we
11 have not received any of this information listed.
12 Now, then we go onto Friday, October 7,
13 and this apparently is from -- or this is to Attorney
14 Goldberg from Attorney Jennings, Attached to This
15 E-Mail is but the most recent request by Segal, the
16 national health care consultant retained by the city
17 after years of litigation by the union, again, begging
18 for the city's cooperation.
19 This has become tedious. The city is
20 continuing to disregard its obligations to the
21 committee and to the contract, precisely as it has done
22 for years.
23 I am at a complete loss to reconcile
24 this complete lack of cooperation with Doherty's
25 numerous loud and empty proclamations to his public
1 regarding his concern for Scranton tax dollars.
2 Everyone involved in those projects
3 admits that the operation of the health care committee
4 will work to the advantage of the city and to its
6 If the city is incapable of preparing
7 the information, then perhaps it's time to consider
8 getting someone who can get the job done.
9 If it is capable, then I can only
10 attribute its recalcitrants to a complete disregard of
11 its obligations under the contract, under the award and
12 under the law.
13 I any case, I'm sick of waiting and
14 begging for cooperation that is apparently never
15 coming. If this information is not provided to Segal
16 on Monday, I shall file a motion with the court next
17 week detailing the city's complete lack of cooperation
18 and requesting immediate injunctive relief.
19 The city is again needlessly
20 squandering thousands of tax dollars by failing to
21 cooperate on a joint venture. Let's get it done.
22 Well, like I said, I read that, and the
23 first thing that occurred to me was apparently City
24 Council isn't alone in terms of the administration
25 withholding information, and in this case, you know, as
1 in many others, this is vital cost saving information,
2 and just even more money, more taxpayer money, that's
3 being wasted. Oh, this is from Attorney Thomas
5 MS. STULGIS: Attorney Jennings is the
6 attorney that represents all four city unions. Just so
7 you know, you people voted to hire Segal after we --
8 MS. EVANS: I remember.
9 MS. STULGIS: -- went into litigation
10 again and again on it, and they were hired at the
11 beginning of the year. We have yet to be able to have
12 a meeting that we can get anything done, because the
13 city has failed for this entire year to provide the
14 necessary information to do anything about health care
16 MS. EVANS: And incidentally, the first
17 E-mail I read is from Mr. Spanger, CEBSMHP, Corporate
18 Health Care Consultant for Segal. So, pretty much
19 speaks for itself.
20 MS. STULGIS: It's a sad situation, it
21 really is.
22 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you.
23 MR. SLEDZINSKI: I didn't talk for a
25 MR. DIBILEO: Where have you been,
1 Chris Sledzinski?
2 MR. SLEDZINSKI: I don't know, Gary. I
3 got a problem for you, Billy, and I got one for Gary,
4 too. Gary, you know where the bridge is, the bridge
5 that I walk where the bank is, Gary?
6 MR. DIBILEO: Yes.
7 MR. SLEDZINSKI: You better watch, it's
8 cracking. Somebody is going to break their neck on
9 that corner up there.
10 MR. DIBILEO: It's cracking?
11 MR. SLEDZINSKI: Yeah, it's cracking,
13 MR. SAUNDERS: Jay, do you got that?
14 MR. SLEDZINSKI: Thank you, Gary.
15 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Chris.
16 Appreciate that.
17 MR. ANCHERANI: Good evening, Council,
18 or good night, whatever. I'm Nelson Ancherani,
19 resident and taxpayer. I'm also a member of the FOP.
20 Veteran's Day is fast approaching and
21 Mayor Doherty has a couple of weeks to decide if he is
22 going to honor our returning city employee soldiers by
23 giving them a $200 bonus for every month they spent in
24 Iraq. Much more than that, we thank God for their safe
25 return home. Mayor, give them the respect and dignity
1 they deserve.
2 I was told that some trade union
3 members said that I was critical of the new police
4 building, I would like to set the record straight, I
5 think the new police building is a much needed
6 building, I'm not critical of the new building, I'm
7 sure the construction was done to the best of the
8 contractor's ability, it surely looks nice, and the
9 police department has been in the basement of City Hall
10 since 1866, that's 139 years.
11 The new building will give the police
12 department a new sense of pride, although I don't
13 believe the morale of the department will be lifted,
14 not as long as the mayor blames the unions for the
15 fiscal problems of the city and refuses to treat them
16 fairly will morale be lifted, not as long as the
17 contract is violated and the unions are forced into
18 filing grievances and arbitration will morale be
19 lifted, not as long as favored employees get raises,
20 while others do not will morale be lifted, not as long
21 as employees are eliminated and new people are hired at
22 hire wages will morale be lifted, and sorry if I get
23 carried away sometimes.
24 So, when I come here I'm not
25 criticizing the construction of the new police
1 building, I criticize the intent, and I say again, the
2 intent of why it was built.
3 The reason it was built was to
4 consolidate the entire police department under one
5 roof. Because it isn't big enough isn't the fault of
6 the contractors, it is the fault of the people who
7 planned it.
8 Juvenile and training divisions will
9 not be in the new building. There's not enough room
10 for them, so much for the planning.
11 Last week I read off a lot of dollars,
12 I had to get all the numbers, even though it was hard
13 to follow, along with all the figures, the main point
14 that I want to stress as a taxpayer is that we have
15 spent a lot of money in the last four years to end this
16 year with a projected deficit of $4 million.
17 We borrowed $80 million plus dollars in
18 three years. The 2002 through 2005 Scranton city
19 budgets were increased cumulatively $18 million.
20 That's unbelievable.
21 Mayor Doherty started his term in
22 office with a $3 million surplus. He increased the
23 city budgets $18 million cumulatively in the four
24 years, he borrowed $80 million plus, and now we have a
25 $4 million deficit, and he will be coming to
1 City Council looking for approval to borrow $4 million
3 One expenditure out of all the
4 aforementioned finances was for the fish pond at Nay
5 Aug. I heard about the green water in the new fish
6 pond, but I thought it was a lot of bull, so I went up
7 to see for myself. I couldn't believe it, filthy,
8 filthy water. You couldn't see into the water. If
9 wasn't for those little goldfish, you wouldn't even see
10 a couple inches down.
11 How much money was spent on that? I
12 believe maybe $700,000. I am ashamed and embarrassed
13 as a Scrantonian to think that people from out of the
14 area and Scranton go to Nay Aug Park where millions of
15 dollars was spent to see such a filthy fish pond.
16 Also the raw sewage from the zoo that
17 ran over the Davis Trail is disgusting. What a farce.
18 I'm not asking people to believe me, just go to the
19 park and see for yourselves.
20 Two weeks ago I mentioned that there
21 was $3,000 plus spent on electrical work done at the
22 DPW on Diamond Avenue, I didn't know at the time where
23 on Diamond Avenue the DPW was located, I've since been
24 informed that this is in the old Cordaro Building.
25 I was told the masons who are fixing the catch basins
1 are supposedly located there.
2 Can Council find out if we're paying
3 rent there and how it is, and also, why are they
4 located there? Are they DPW employees or employees of
5 a private company?
6 A sign on the fence is of a private
7 company. Also if they are DPW employees, why aren't
8 they located in the new DPW complex? Is that another
9 planning fiasco where there isn't enough room for
10 everyone? Also if they are not city employees, why did
11 the city pay for the electrical work done there?
12 I'm sorry, I just can't get over the
13 fact that we had a surplus from Connors of $3 million,
14 an $18 million budget increase with $80 million thrown
15 in, and we will have a $4 million deficit.
16 How could that much money have been
17 spent in four years? It's amazing. I, as a Scranton
18 taxpayer, along with all the taxpayers this city should
19 be outraged.
20 Just think, I was going to say $204
21 million, but it turns out that it's $275 million in
22 debt for the next 28 years.
23 Wow, and it only took three and three
24 quarter years to get into that amount of debt. Look
25 around the room, there's 27 pictures of mayors. I'll
1 bet all these mayors, plus one whose picture isn't
2 there, put together under amassed as much debt combined
3 as this mayor has.
4 Previous mayors had 135 years to amass
5 such a debt and didn't. This mayor managed to do this
6 in less than four years. This is amazing. Thank you.
7 MR. POCIUS: Nelson, Mr. Ancherani, if
8 I can comment on one thing you said, just one thing,
9 you mentioned that, and it's a true fact, and I just
10 want to say it that you said that the police were in
11 the downstairs since 18 something or the other --
12 MR. ANCHERANI: '66.
13 MR. POCIUS: 66? Okay. That's
14 probably more than likely a true fact, but what you
15 forgot to say was that there were precinct houses all
16 over the city, which you probably never worked out of
17 the other precincts, which you probably don't know
18 where they were, do you?
19 MR. ANCHERANI: I know about them, yes,
21 MR. POCIUS: But I just -- yes, that
22 was just a Central City division that worked out of
23 downstairs in those years.
24 When my farther got on the police force
25 after the war, he worked in the West Side precinct,
1 which is across from Peters' Gas Station, it was torn
2 down, there was a North Scranton precinct, he worked
3 out of the South Side precinct on Cedar Avenue, so you
4 had these men -- and there was only so -- but when he
5 got transferred to downtown and they closed the
6 precincts, they were reporting for roll call in the
7 basement since the -- I think Mayor Hanlon.
8 So, Mayor Doherty didn't put the police
9 department in the basement, they've been in the
10 basement for a long time, but he's going to take them
11 out of the basement and out of the mall at Steamtown
12 and into a $3 million modern facility, so I just wanted
13 to clear that fact up.
14 MR. ANCHERANI: Okay. But just so you
15 remember, too, also that the intent of building the
16 building was to put everybody under one roof, that's
17 the part I'm saying.
18 MR. POCIUS: I don't want to argue.
19 MR. ANCHERANI: No, we're not arguing.
20 MR. POCIUS: There's a big, Billy might
21 know more about this because of his association with
22 that statewide association, but -- and it's been
23 documented to me that basically it's not good business
24 to put your juvenile division right inside where
25 hardened criminals and people are brought in to be
1 interrogated, so on and so forth, so I know that's one
2 of the departments, and I know you work for it, maybe
3 that's why you don't -- you wanted to go into the new
4 building, and I think they built a -- I know they built
5 a building they could afford, and probably there wasn't
6 enough room for a training room, but that could be held
7 off site, I don't think that's much of a problem with
8 the lockers and shower rooms, which they were
9 non-existent forever.
10 I mean, you have to admit that, Nelson,
11 you never had a locker to hang your clothes up in at
12 all, did you?
13 MR. ANCHERANI: Yeah, there were
14 lockers downstairs in the old part where the door went
15 in the other side on Mulberry Street.
16 MR. POCIUS: Would you leave your stuff
17 in there? I don't think you did, it was pretty bad
19 MR. ANCHERANI: I didn't have a locker,
20 because I was CETA. When I came on the job in '76 --
21 MR. POCIUS: It just made it seemed
22 like, you know, there was nothing done to get the
23 police out of the basement.
24 MR. ANCHERANI: Original plans called
25 for a basement, no basement, and that could have --
1 also, but I want to say about the juvenile, when they
2 were constructing the building, and they still are, a
3 door could have been put and an office separately. It
4 didn't have to go into the other part of the building.
5 Also, we bring juveniles into the
6 building now downstairs where adults go, and they'll
7 sit down there, they're not supposed to be with the
8 adults, and they're not, but they also come into this
9 building when we bring people in. This is all we have,
10 we have to work with it.
11 MR. POCIUS: You have to work with what
12 you have right now, I understand that.
13 MR. ANCHERANI: Right. But they could
14 have done it, they could have taken care of that with
15 the original plans just by making a separate entrance,
16 and it could have been done in the little office right
17 off that that would have been separate from everything
18 else. You could have went into the other part of the
19 building by walking outside or by a hallway.
20 And as long as the doors are locked, you got it
21 separated, you've got everything taken care of.
22 MS. EVANS: Mr. Ancherani, did anyone
23 prior to this mayor, though, try to get the police out
24 of the basement? I mean, as I'm listening to this
25 discussion between the two of you, I seem to recall
1 under, it must have been under Mayor Connors, that
2 Councilman Reap --
3 MR. POCIUS: Do you want the story?
4 MS. EVANS: -- yeah, was trying to find
5 a building.
6 MR. POCIUS: We did.
7 MR. ANCHERANI: We did find a building,
8 but through whatever -- it fell through. We could have
9 had that building right on the corner of Mulberry and
10 Mifflin, it would have been perfect. That building
11 would have gone -- you would have been able to get to
12 get to any part of the city. It was centrally located.
13 Where it's at now, and I'm not
14 criticizing, like I said, I'm not criticizing the
15 building, only the intent, but that's going to be a
16 nightmare at different times to get out of that area,
17 and they're saying, Well, we can coordinate the lights,
18 synchronize the lights, that they'll be able to work
19 them from the cars to turn them green as they go, Look
20 it, you know how much money that's going to cost, plus
21 the computers in the cars?
22 No computers. We're going into the
23 building, we have to stop, taking a person off the road
24 to go into the building and do their reports.
25 If they have three reports, one after
1 the other. They're going to go out, back on the road,
2 get a report and go back in and do the report.
3 So, that's going to take a lot of money
4 to synchronize lights. Are they willing to put it in?
5 It's a good question.
6 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mr. Ancherani.
7 MR. PHILLIPS: Good morning, Council.
8 MR. POCIUS: We're not there yet.
9 We're close.
10 MR. PHILLIPS: Christopher Phillips,
11 resident, taxpayer, Willow Street in South Side.
12 I was on my couch this evening and a
13 particular speaker got me off my couch, and here I am,
14 and I want to address some issues with regard to the
15 South Side Complex.
16 Once again, I'm certain that's the last
17 thing you want to hear at this hour, but unfortunately
18 this is the only chance I get to come here, so here we
20 One thing that was discussed earlier
21 was Mr. DiBileo's voting record and the fact that he
22 agreed with the mayor 95 percent of the time, and
23 that's true, and I want to point out some of the times
24 that he didn't agree with the mayor.
25 In 2002 and 2003, for example, one
1 issue was the golf course, the sale of the golf course,
2 another issue was the Complex, which I'll discuss, and
3 the other issue is the tax -- well, the tax increase
4 that was the disguised as a sewer rate increase, okay?
5 I believe those are three things that Mr. DiBileo voted
6 against that the mayor had sent down.
7 Now, when you have a representative
8 government like we have, I think that's a pretty
9 commendable record, and I think that what it shows is
10 that Mr. DiBileo has the fortitude to stand up and ask
11 the questions that needed to be asked at the time, and
12 I think that's a reflection on that, and I just wanted
13 to point that out before I discuss the Complex.
14 Some people may not know what's going
15 on with it right now, where we're at. We're appealing
16 in Commonwealth Court, we're working on the brief, and
17 we're not going to stop there. If we're not successful
18 at that level, we're going to look at other options, as
20 It's not over, it's not going to be
21 over, we're going to continue to fight. We started
22 this fight in 2003, and we're going to continue it.
23 And one thing that I want to say, I
24 watch the meetings most of the time and I see, you
25 know, some things are said about Ms. Shedlock from time
1 to time about her reporting and et cetera, and I want
2 to point something out about her that maybe a lot of
3 people don't know, if it weren't for her, the South
4 Side Complex would be the University of Scranton's
5 property right now, because it was her reporting in the
6 very beginning back in -- actually not in the
7 beginning, but in 2003, after it was already, you know,
8 probably about six to seven months old when she really
9 started digging into the issues and I started talking
10 to her quite a bit, and she wrote those stories, so I
11 wouldn't be standing here if it wasn't for her
12 reporting on that issue. And I can't speak to every
13 issue, but with regard to that issue, I can say that I
14 think she did a very good job.
15 It all began in August of 2002, when
16 the headlines read, U of U to City, Be a Sport, we need
17 athletic fields, and in 2003, when there became some
18 turmoil among the people who didn't want it sold,
19 myself included, then the story became, The
20 University's helping us fix up our park, which
21 necessarily wasn't the truth, because then we had
22 Mr. Doherty's park study, which indicated that the
23 South Side Complex was in fair to good condition and
24 needed such major things as weed removal and some
1 Another issue that we brought up at the
2 time was the fact that they're leaving the lights on to
3 run the bills up. The lights were on when I left my
5 Okay, we're in mid-October, there's
6 nobody playing there tonight, the lights are on. I
7 came home in a torrential rainstorm about ten days ago,
8 the lights were on.
9 So, if ever a time comes when they want
10 to address the costs of what's going on down there,
11 that's certainly something that should be -- they
12 should be made aware of, and they were made aware of
13 it, because the co-plaintiff in the case, Mrs.
14 Vutnosky, wrote a letter to the editor, which was
15 published, I believe, in 2003 or 2004, so, they're very
16 much aware of it and it still continues on to this day,
17 so that's more waste that's going on.
18 Another thing that we didn't hear about
19 was the fact that Mr. Doherty had a business
20 relationship with the University of Scranton, they were
21 his customers essentially. He did admit that, after
22 Mr. DiBileo brought it up, but we didn't hear about it
23 for the entire first six to eight months of the
24 South Side Complex, then he denied that it didn't have
25 a -- it wasn't a conflict of interest because it was
1 only minimal.
2 Quite frankly, it doesn't matter if
3 it's minimal or not, the fact is that he had a business
4 relationship with them. His customers came to him and
5 said, Hey, we want to buy the park, how about it? And
6 that's what happened.
7 With regard to the SRA, an interesting
8 point that needs to be noted is that the only reason
9 that that property was transferred to the SRA was to
10 usurp the bidding requirements. Mr. Doherty admitted
11 that. That was in the Scranton Times, that was in the
13 The only reason it was sent to the SRA
14 was to circumvent bidding requirements. Now, keep i
15 mind if the city wants to sell a dump truck or a
16 tractor, for that matter, they have to solicit bids.
17 In this instance they sold a public
18 park to the mayor's private business customer without
19 so much as a public hearing or bidding requirements.
20 Nothing was done.
21 Another issue is the new field -- well,
22 actually let me -- before I go to the new field, let me
23 say that in the beginning when everybody thought it was
24 going to work out okay from December of 2003 or
25 December of 2002 until May of 2003, everyone was being
1 led to believe that the people who use the complex
2 would still be able to use the complex, and that wasn't
4 Then after we proved that that wasn't
5 true, then they were going to build a new field, and
6 that field will be completed on April 1 of 2005. If
7 anyone knows where it is, please direct me to it.
8 Now, the bottom line is this, this was
9 a process that was undertaken, for whatever reason, I
10 don't know, I can speculate all I want, I can say I
11 have my theories on what was going on, the appraisal
12 was done in June of 2003, the day after it was brought
13 up at a Council meeting that there was no appraisal
14 done on it, and that appraisal was done by the buyer in
15 the situation, as well.
16 So, for the people who want to say that
17 this is a wonderful thing and something that was above
18 board, it certainly wasn't.
19 I don't want someone misconstruing
20 Mr. DiBileo's voting record and saying that he was part
21 of any Council that was, you know, I hate to use the
22 term, but it was The Scranton Times who first pointed a
23 rubber stamp Council, Mr. DiBileo not a part of any
24 Council like that, Mr. DiBileo asked the tough
25 questions when they needed to be asked. And that's all
1 I have. I thank you for our your time.
2 MR. DIBILEO: So, it's Lynn Shedlock's
3 fault, is that what you're saying? You're in trouble,
5 MR. POCIUS: You or Borys want to speak
6 or, Charlie, you want to speak? That's it. Everybody
7 else spoke.
8 MR. DIBILEO: Okay.
9 MR. SAUNDERS: Fifth order. 5-A,
11 MR. DIBILEO: Mr. McTiernan, do you
12 have any motions or comments at this time?
13 MR. MCTIERNAN: Just a request from
14 Matt Kearney, who is part of the Holy Cross Youth
15 Basketball League asked me to announce sign-ups, and
16 the sign-ups will take place October 24 and 25, which
17 is a Sunday and a Monday, and it will also take place
18 at six o'clock until eight o'clock November 6, which is
19 a Sunday from six until eight o'clock, and that is at
20 Holy Cross for the youth basketball leagues. Sign-ups
21 are the 24th and 25th of October, and the 6th of
22 November, and that's all, Mr. President. Thank you.
23 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mr. McTiernan.
24 Mrs. Evans, motions or comments?
25 MS. EVANS: I shall begin with this
1 week's list of citizens' problems, first, clean and
2 trim overgrown lot at 915-917 Clay Avenue 0right up to
3 the next property at 919 Clay Avenue.
4 The residents contacted the city in
5 June 2005, and Mr. Seitzinger promised the work would
6 be done at that time. No action was taken.
7 Wayne Avenue and Oak Street at St.
8 Stanislas Church, clean catch basin. I requested this
9 work first in May 2005, and Mr. Jim Hughes, from
10 North Scranton, made two requests about this problem,
11 no action taken.
12 Linden Street between the Scranton
13 Parking Authority at the post office, a manhole is
14 sinking into the ground. A cone was placed there some
15 months ago and later removed without any work having
16 been done.
17 Residents of East Scranton report that
18 on outbreak of carpenter ants is destroying trees.
19 They request that we develop a treatment program before
20 spring when the ants will once become active.
21 North Main Avenue under the viaduct as
22 you're approaching the entrance to Tripp Park, please
23 clean the sidewalks and grounds of debris.
24 1326 Wayne Avenue, clean abandon lot.
25 606 Bates Street, the city paved this street last year
1 and now water ponds in front of this address for days
2 after a rainfall, as a result, the homeowner cannot
3 exit or enter the house without becoming wet, and as
4 drying occurs, the water turns to mud and you can just
5 envision that, and they also included photographs that
6 I'm going to send along with this request.
7 Residents of the 300 block of
8 15th Avenue wish to know when their street will be
9 paved, because it was included on the paving list.
10 333 15th Avenue, catch basin must be
11 cleaned out. This resident sent registered letters to
12 the mayor, DPW and Mr. Luciani, Mr. Matthews and
13 Luciani inspected the basin in August of 2004, and
14 stated to the homeowner that the problem would be
15 addressed, but no action was taken, and there are
16 photographs of that situation, as well.
17 Pave the 1600 block of Division Street
18 while paving 17th Street. Clean up Leach Creek between
19 West Market Street and Oak Street.
20 And a new police car, S-1, I was told
21 was involved in an accident a few week ago, and as of
22 October 18, I was told it was still parked outside the
23 DPW, so I'd like to know has the vehicle been repaired,
24 and if not, when will the repairs be completed, because
25 the police are short of vehicles.
1 The 900 block of Roundwoods place in
2 West Scranton, repair numerous potholes, and that is a
3 second request.
4 Also, I wanted to say I was very sorry
5 to see that Deemer's Office Supplies, which has been a
6 fixture in Downtown Scranton for many, many years is
7 shutting its doors.
8 You know, it's really disheartening to
9 see existing businesses struggle in Scranton and to
10 count the number of vacant storefronts in our downtown.
11 It also appears that TMG will relocate
12 once again, but this time to Dunmore, and I feel our
13 existing businesses deserve more consideration and
14 assistance from this city, and frankly, if the downtown
15 were experiencing such a great boom, then why are we
16 losing Deemer's, a longtime business?
17 And I did ask Mr. Saunders earlier
18 about a response from Ms. Hailstone, and evidently
19 there is none, and I would like to read a bit of
20 information, it's really nothing new, old information,
21 but just to refresh your memories as to why -- one of
22 the reasons why I'm looking for this session -- public
23 session with OECD, specifically Ms. Hailstone.
24 The facts I shall relate concern a
25 small amount of money compared to millions of dollars
1 the mayor overspent during his first four years in
2 office. To me, and all Scrantonians who get up every
3 day, go to work and pay their taxes $266,098 is one big
4 sum of money, especially when the mayor's appointees
5 waste that amount.
6 Before I talk about the issue, however,
7 please understand that when you speak of the Casey
8 Garage, it's the Medallion Garage on Adams Avenue to
9 which I refer, it appears that in 2003, this mayor's
10 Office of Economic and Community Development entered
11 into a contract with Scartelli General Contractors
12 located in Taylor to rehabilitate the Medallion Garage
13 for use by the public and Hilton Hotel guests. The
14 Scartelli Company is an established and reputable
15 general construction contractor.
16 The original contract price was for
17 OECD to pay Scartelli $254,685 for labor and materials
18 to rehabilitate the Medallion. OECD was spending over
19 one quarter million dollars so that it would not have
20 to tear down the Medallion Garage and build a new one,
21 which would cost millions of dollars.
22 OECD made two change orders to the
23 original Scartelli contract, which brought the total
24 cost to rehabilitate the Medallion to $287,148.
25 The Scartelli Company worked into 2003.
1 OECD paid Scartelli a total of $266,098, then stopped
2 him from continuing and condemned the Medallion Garage,
3 tore it down, and we'll spend millions building a new
5 So, why did OECD waste $266,098 before
6 it condemned the garage? I don't know. But watch what
8 On December 18, 2003, Roseanne
9 Novembrino, the city controller, wrote a letter to Sara
10 Hailstone, OECD Director, in which Mrs. Novembrino
11 said, and I'm going to quote the letter, I received a
12 voucher for payment to a contractor for work done on
13 the Casey Parkway Garage. As the contract amount to
14 rehabilitate the Casey Parkway was $254,685 with two
15 change orders bringing the contract total to $287,148,
16 I would like an explanation of the condemnation.
17 It seems to me that someone should have
18 been aware that this garage was beyond repair before
19 this money was spent. I would appreciate your response
20 as soon as possible.
21 Let me repeat the important parts of
22 Mrs. Novembrino's letter, first, I would like an
23 explanation of the condemnation, second, it seems to me
24 that someone should have been aware that this garage
25 was beyond repair before this money was spent, and,
1 third, I would appreciate your response as soon as
2 possible. Get the picture?
3 Then on December 30, 2003,
4 Ms. Hailstone replied and said, Scartelli General
5 Contractors, Incorporated was hired to perform work on
6 the Casey Parkway up to $287,140. Per my inspection,
7 all work up to $266,098 was performed on the garage
8 before Scartelli General Contractors, Incorporated was
9 asked to stop work, end of letter.
10 There was no explanation of the
11 condemnation. Ms. Hailstone did not state if anyone
12 was aware the garage was beyond repair before the more
13 than quarter million dollars was spent; in other words,
14 Ms. Hailstone did not answer Mrs. Novembrino's
16 One fact we all know is that $266,098
17 were totally wasted. It was as if you took that money
18 and poured it down a sewer drain.
19 As usual, I now await this mayor, his
20 apologists, and the local newspaper to spin it to make
21 it look like it was a good thing for OECD to actually
22 waste $266,000.
23 But just imagine what the neighborhoods
24 could have done with that amount of money. That's it.
25 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mrs. Evans.
1 Mr. Pocius, motions or comments?
2 MR. POCIUS: Yeah. And I'll be very
3 brief, okay? We specified correspondence from the city
4 planning commission on a regional comprehensive plan
5 that they had passed a resolution asking us to kind of
6 pass the resolution formally, the lady was in to talk
7 to us a little while ago, and it seems like it's a
8 pretty decent thing, and I just hope when it comes down
9 we give it some thought, because it could help out the
10 city immensely. That's all there.
11 Jay, any -- the future caucuses with
12 the police chief and Director Hayes and Mr. Rossi, have
13 they been scheduled?
14 MR. SAUNDERS: No. I was working on
15 Jim Wintermantle for this week. I haven't talked to
16 Rossi, Hayes or -- who was the last one?
17 MR. POCIUS: Because we're still
18 throwing numbers all over the place, and, you know, and
19 so on and so forth, so we did ask for this other
20 meeting way back before in July or something, so it
21 it's possible, we did do it by motion, so if it doesn't
22 happen, I guess we will.
23 MR. DIBILEO: Did Mr. Wintermantle say
24 he's coming in next week?
25 MR. SAUNDERS: Yeah. He couldn't come
1 in this week, but --
2 MS. EVANS: But is he coming next week?
3 MR. SAUNDERS: He didn't commit to
4 that, but his response to my --
5 MR. POCIUS: And if not, could we get
6 somebody in?
7 MR. SAUNDERS: Yeah.
8 MS. EVANS: I'm sorry.
9 MR. POCIUS: Do you want my time?
10 MS. EVANS: I'm sorry. I jumped in.
11 I'm apologizing for jumping in.
12 MR. POCIUS: Go ahead, go ahead.
13 MS. EVANS: No, no. I'm finished, but
14 I was just apologizing for having so done.
15 MR. POCIUS: All right. This is just
16 an observation, I was coming home from a meeting in
17 Dickson City on Tuesday evening, and I don't know if
18 you've all had the chance to drive through the
19 Providence Square project at night when it's lit up, it
20 was absolutely amazing.
21 It was really impressive. It was the
22 first time I actually drove through when it was
23 finished with all the traffic signals working and all
24 the pedestrian lights and the sidewalks and the
25 crosswalks and everything, and it was -- it's a fine
1 job, and I know the North Scranton Neighborhood
2 Association had a lot to do with it, and it was
3 started, like people said, Kevin Murphy did look for
4 money for that project years ago, and Kevin should be
5 complimented, because the seed money really kicked into
6 a super project up there. It was just an observation I
7 thought, you know, for a job well done.
8 I don't know if I'm going to do this
9 tonight, but the hour is late, and I'm really not up
10 for a big debate again, but what I wanted to do was
11 Attorney Walsh did provide me with the legal opinion
12 basically saying how to do the proper motion to
13 reintroduce CRF, and believe me, I had no idea
14 Mr. Barrett was going to come and speak on that issue,
15 and I don't want to look like this was some staged
16 thing, so I won't make the motion tonight, I just don't
17 want to go there tonight, okay, because it's late, and
18 I must have put a thousand miles on the car in the last
19 two days traveling for business this week, and I'm
20 really tired, and I just figured it's time to move on,
21 but I'm going to just get into this a little bit next
22 week and put it to bed once and for all. That's it.
23 It will be the last time I'm going to do it, but I just
24 -- I just wanted to say that.
25 And it's just another thought, and give
1 me a chance, I don't ramble that much, but every once
2 in a whole I've got to have a rambling night, but
3 somebody mentioned before about how they remembered
4 Scranton, and it peeked my -- when children could walk
5 the streets, I was coming back from Philadelphia this
6 afternoon around 3:30, and I was coming down
7 Mulberry Street, which is pretty busy at that time, and
8 I was at the light at Jefferson Avenue, and there was
9 the cutest young girl, probably 11 or 12 or 13 years
10 old walking up the street with her book bag on her back
11 and just walking by some landscaping that was along the
12 parking lot there, and like any other child, just
13 stopped and she picked a leaf off one thing and looked
14 at it, but it was -- it was -- that stuff still happens
15 in Scranton. We don't all have bars on our doors and
16 windows, you know, we can still sit on our porches, we
17 don't have to have, you know, the Doberman at the
18 front, door so there's still a lot of good things
19 happening out there, and I just -- that just --
20 somebody mentioned that children can't walk the street,
21 well, that was just an example to show that they could.
22 That's it.
23 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you, Mr. Pocius.
24 Mr. Courtright, motions or comments?
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mr. President, I would
1 imagine this isn't the proper time to bring this up,
2 but I would just like to ask Jay to check two things
3 out -- well, check one thing out, and then I have one
4 comment, I'm looking at the CDBG, and for the CommD
5 officers, for people that don't know, they call them
6 neighborhood patrols, I can't recall the figure that we
7 used last year, but it looks to me that we're maybe
8 $80, $100,000 less, so does that mean we're going to
9 have less officers than we did again? I don't know, so
10 before I say anything, I'd like to have the answer to
11 that, if I could.
12 And just a comment, I was looking
13 through this, and, you know, this is a tough thing to
14 do. I'm sure every one of these projects are
15 worthwhile, but I was up at the South Side Junior
16 Football Field the other day, last Saturday, and they
17 put in for money for a parking lot, and they didn't get
18 it, but they did ask about a -- they needed about
19 $4,000 for some irrigation for watering the field, and
20 I know as the year goes on, some of these projects
21 don't come to be or they can't be funded, so you I'm
22 going to ask if something like that happens, that we
23 see if we can't at least give them that for their
24 water, they didn't get anything at all for their field
25 up there.
1 Now, and, again, John said the hour is
2 late, but out of respect to several retired police
3 officers that are retired for a long time, I don't -- I
4 know -- I know, by the way, Mr. Donohue that comes to
5 the podium there, him and I have a different view on
6 it, but I know Mr. Donohue very well, we're friends,
7 and I don't want to be back and forth every week with
8 him, so hopefully this will be the last, but out of
9 respect to these retired guys, that generated a lot of
10 calls to me from them, and one of them took the time to
11 make up this thing for me, and I'm assuming this is
12 accurate as they could remember, you know, I hope
13 somebody doesn't come in and tell me what website I got
14 this off of, it was given to me by a gentleman.
15 He has written down here, and I don't
16 think any of us here are old enough to remember this,
17 maybe, I don't know, John, maybe you, but 1970s until
18 the mid 1980s it says, and they call them post, we call
19 them beat officers, Lackawanna Avenue and Penn, there
20 was one post officer, that was Post One; Post Two and
21 Three, Lackawanna and Wyoming, two guys; Post Four,
22 Washington and Lackawanna, one person; Post Five,
23 Lackawanna and Adams, one person; Washington and
24 Spruce, Post Six, one person; Washington Avenue and
25 Linden, Post Seven, one person, and Spruce and Penn,
1 Post Eight, so --
2 MR. POCIUS: That was my father's beat,
3 Beat Eight.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: Right, Post Eight.
5 Then we move over to Wyoming and Linden, Post Twelve,
6 there's one officer, and I'm not sure, but I believe
7 this is for all shifts, I -- he doesn't have that
8 specified here, Post Fourteen in Pine Brook, they had a
9 beat officer, Adams and Linden had Post 24; West
10 Scranton had one beat officer, and I remember Mr.
11 Allugruci very, very well; North End had a beat
12 officer, and South Side had a beat officer, and he has
13 written here, there are additional beats, but unknown
14 at this time.
15 And he then went on to tell me that he
16 believes there was 179 police officers back in those
17 days, and we have 154 now.
18 And some people say scare tactics, I
19 don't do anything to scare anybody, and, again, numbers
20 are one thing, but what people feel, to me, is more
22 So, I took a little time, got
23 information from some people, got the other information
24 on my own, and I'm just going to highlight some major
25 thing. These are what I consider major things, and
1 I'm, by no means, going to go through from last week
2 until this week, so I hit a couple days, a couple major
3 thing. There were hundreds of calls between last week
4 and this week, but these are just a couple.
5 Friday, October 14, 1:15 a.m., a female
6 assaulted in a downtown bar; Friday, October 14, 2:30
7 a.m., shots fired in South Side; Friday, October 14,
8 3 a.m., same night, we're all on the same night now,
9 West Side area, shots fired, bullet casings found all
10 over the ground; Friday, October 14, the Hill Section,
11 a cab driver beaten and robbed; Sunday, October 16, and
12 this one we can elaborate on it a little more because
13 the newspaper reported this one, where the woman had a
14 gun put to her head down at Walgreen's and her life was
15 threatened and she was robbed; Wednesday, October 19,
16 strong-arm robbery of a cab driver in South Side, and
17 then Wednesday, October 19, and I do not have an area
18 of the city, a female stabbed, all right?
19 Now, this is just from last week until
20 last night, and, again, I only highlighted a few, I
21 can't monitor the police 24 hours a day, and I don't
22 say this to scare anybody, and, yeah, children could
23 still walk the streets, I would never say that they
24 can't, but I think the question that we should be
25 asking is, Are we safer today than we were four years
1 ago? Are we safer today than we were four years ago?
2 I think not. And that's all I have, Mr. President.
3 Thank you.
4 MR. DIBILEO: Thank you,
5 Mr. Courtright. I know it's late, but I think I want
6 to go over this, there's ben a lot of debate over these
7 City Council meetings, especially recently, you know,
8 people will say the meetings are -- some people will
9 say the meetings are a circus, and I think even in
10 The Scranton Times you see oftentimes a little diagram
11 of a circus tent, and, you know, with things coming out
12 the top of the tent, and that's usually in the letters
13 to the editor area where you see people calling
14 City Council meetings a circus, and I've just been
15 giving it a lot of thought lately, and I put down some
16 notes for myself so that I could express myself the way
17 I'd really want to, so made some notes here, and I just
18 want to address that situation, how people call City
19 Council meetings a circus.
20 The fact that these meetings are
21 remaining televised and the fact that less City Council
22 business than ever is conducted behind closed doors is
23 something that I'm proud of.
24 The tone of these meetings is often
25 questioned, some refer to our meetings as a circus, I'd
1 like to respond to those assertations, number one, I'll
2 fight to keep the cameras here whether I'm here or in
3 another city office.
4 In my opinion, the alternative to
5 televised meetings could be more backroom dealmaking.
6 You don't want the alternative.
7 I think that longer public
8 participation is a small price to pay to allow all
9 citizens an opportunity to see their elected officials
10 do the work they elected them to do.
11 Number two, people have a
12 Constitutional right to question elected officials and
13 express their displeasure, if they so chose.
14 Number three, I'm not perfect, but I'm
15 not going to stop people from airing their displeasure
16 with me or any other elected official in city
18 The negativity goes both ways here,
19 something I said earlier, equal opportunity criticism.
20 Number four, I think that people don't
21 like to be ignored. People want to be able to look
22 their leaders in the eye and get some answers.
23 It seems there's more ignoring than eye
24 to eye contact with some elected officials. Is that
25 going to raise the blood pressure of some? Absolutely.
1 This is the only forum people have to let off some
3 Because of the style of certain elected
4 officials in city government, there's a lot of steam
5 building up and being released right here in this room.
6 I'll give you an example, and I'm going
7 to use a husband and wife example, if your wife was
8 upset about something, is a husband better off ignoring
9 his wife or sitting down and talking?
10 I know that when my wife's upset, the
11 last thing I better do is ignore her. I better sit
12 down and talk to her, or I'm in big trouble.
13 I said I'm not perfect, but I can't
14 tell people not to be frustrated, and I won't stop
15 people from saying their peace about it.
16 If you are one that wants to call that
17 a circus, go right ahead. I say a lot of that
18 frustration can easily be tempered by a little old
19 fashion communication. That's my feelings on City
21 And real quickly, I want to thank
22 Frank Blasi for being here this evening in place of his
23 law partner, Mark Walsh, and we certainly look forward
24 to having Mark getting back with us as soon as
25 possible, and I'm certain that that's going to happen.
1 The Dante Club on Prospect Avenue, I
2 think the 1900 block, is having a spaghetti super this
3 Saturday, October 23. I think it starts four or five
4 o'clock and runs probably until nine, and that's one of
5 my favorites. I'm sorry? Saturday is what, the 22nd?
6 Okay. Saturday, this Saturday, October 22, I
7 calculated that date wrong, thanks, Saturday October 22
8 at the Dante Club.
9 And not this weekend, but next, there's
10 a pasta dinner sponsored by Telespond's Auxiliary
11 catered by DePietro & Sons, Sunday, October 30,
12 Sunday, October 30, from noon to four, and that's on
13 Saginaw Street, 1200 Saginaw Street in Scranton, $7
15 And the last thing, you know, we often
16 take for granted somebody right in front of us, and
17 that's our own Lisa Graff, she is --
18 MR. POCIUS: I don't know how you do
20 MR. DIBILEO: Got to recognize her for
21 her painstaking work, and amazingly, you know, she
22 never complains and always has a smile on her face, I
23 don't know how she does it, and never takes a break.
24 So, thank you, Lisa, appreciate that. And that's all I
1 MR. BLASI: Fifth order. 5-B, FOR
2 INTRODUCTION -- AN ORDINANCE - AMENDING FILE OF THE
3 COUNCIL NO. 113, 2003 TO AMEND THE COMPOSITION OF THE
4 CITY OF SCRANTON COMPOSITE PENSION BOARD RESTORING SAID
5 COMPOSITION OF SAID PENSION BOARD TO THE COMPOSITION AS
6 SET FORTH WITHIN SECTION 6 OF FILE OF THE COUNCIL NO.
7 154 OF 1987.
8 MR. DIBILEO: At this time I'll
9 entertain a motion that Item 5-B be introduced into
10 it's proper committee.
11 MS. EVANS: So moved.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
13 MR. DIBILEO: On the question?
14 All those in favor of introduction, signify by saying
16 MS. EVANS: Aye.
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
18 MR. DIBILEO: Aye. Opposed?
19 MR. MCTIERNAN: No.
20 MR. POCIUS: No.
21 MR. DIBILEO: By a 3-2 vote, the ayes
22 have it and so moved.
23 MR. BLASI: Sixth order. 6-A, READING
24 BY TITLE - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 151, 2005 - AN ORDINANCE
25 - AMENDING FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 82, 2004, AN ORDINANCE
1 ENTITLED GENERAL CITY OPERATING BUDGET 2005 BY
2 TRANSFERRING $11,000.00 FROM ACCOUNT
3 NO. 01.401.13090.4299 (CONTINGENCY) TO ACCOUNT
4 NO. 01.080.00083.4340 (DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
5 BUREAU OF HIGHWAYS CONSTRUCTION/PAVING MATERIALS) TO
6 PROVIDE FUNDING FOR PAVING PARKING LOT AT NEW POLICE
8 MR. DIBILEO: You've heard reading by
9 title of Item 6-A, what is your pleasure?
10 MR. POCIUS: Mr. President, I move that
11 6-A pass reading by title.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
13 MR. DIBILEO: On the question? All
14 those in favor, signify by saying aye.
15 MS. EVANS: Aye.
16 MR. MCTIERNAN: Aye
17 MR. POCIUS: Aye.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
19 MR. DIBILEO: Aye. Opposed? The ayes
20 have it and so moved.
21 MR. BLASI: 6-B, READING BY TITLE -
22 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 152, 2005, AN ORDINANCE - AMENDING
23 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 68, 2004, ENTITLED, AN ORDINANCE
24 AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS
25 OF THE CITY OF SCRANTON TO TAKE ALL NECESSARY ACTIONS
1 TO IMPLEMENT THE CONSOLIDATED SUBMISSION FOR COMMUNITY
2 PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS TO BE FUNDED UNDER
3 THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) PROGRAM,
4 HOME INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP (HOME) PROGRAM AND
5 EMERGENCY SHELTER GRANT (ESG) PROGRAM, BY ADDING
6 PROJECT NO. 05-161, REHABILITATION OF THE FORMER NORTH
7 SCRANTON JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL BUILDING, PROJECT NO.
8 05-152, RECONSTRUCTION OF JACKSON STREET PLAYGROUND -
9 PHASE II, AND PROJECT NO. 05-226, PROVIDENCE SQUARE -
10 PHASE II.
11 MR. DIBILEO: You've heard reading by
12 title of Item 6-B, what is your pleasure?
13 MR. POCIUS: Mr. President, I move that
14 6-B pass reading by title.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
16 MR. DIBILEO: On the question? All
17 those in favor, signify by saying aye.
18 MS. EVANS: Aye.
19 MR. MCTIERNAN: Aye
20 MR. POCIUS: Aye.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
22 MR. DIBILEO: Aye. Opposed? The ayes
23 have it and so moved.
24 MR. BLASI: 6-C, READING BY TITLE -
25 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 153, 2005, AN ORDINANCE - AMENDING
1 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 68, 2004, ENTITLED, AN ORDINANCE
2 AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS
3 OF THE CITY OF SCRANTON TO TAKE ALL NECESSARY ACTIONS
4 TO IMPLEMENT THE CONSOLIDATED SUBMISSION FOR COMMUNITY
5 PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS TO BE FUNDED UNDER
6 THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) PROGRAM,
7 HOME INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP (HOME) PROGRAM AND
8 EMERGENCY SHELTER GRANT (ESG) PROGRAM, BY TRANSFERRING
9 $350,000.00 FROM PROJECT NO. 02-150,
10 COMMERCIAL/INDUSTRIAL REVOLVING LOAN FUND, TO PROJECT
11 NO. 05-161, REHABILITATION OF THE FORMER NORTH SCRANTON
12 JUNIOR HIGH.
13 MR. DIBILEO: You've heard reading by
14 title of Item 6-C, what is your pleasure?
15 MR. POCIUS: Mr. President, I move that
16 6-C pass reading by title.
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
18 MR. DIBILEO: On the question? All
19 those in favor, signify by saying aye.
20 MS. EVANS: Aye.
21 MR. MCTIERNAN: Aye
22 MR. POCIUS: Aye.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
24 MR. DIBILEO: Aye. Opposed? The ayes
25 have it and so moved.
1 MR. BLASI: 6-D, READING BY TITLE -
2 FILE OF COUNCIL 154, 2005 - AN ORDINANCE - AMENDING
3 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 68, 2004, ENTITLED, AN ORDINANCE
4 AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS
5 OF THE CITY OF SCRANTON TO TAKE ALL NECESSARY ACTIONS
6 TO IMPLEMENT THE CONSOLIDATED SUBMISSION FOR COMMUNITY
7 PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS TO BE FUNDED UNDER
8 THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) PROGRAM,
9 HOME INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP (HOME) PROGRAM AND
10 EMERGENCY SHELTER GRANT (ESG) PROGRAM, BY ACKNOWLEDGING
11 THE RECEIPT OF UNANTICIPATED PROGRAM INCOME OF
12 $142,870.16 FROM PROJECT NO. 97-07, ECONOMIC
13 DEVELOPMENT LOANS AND ALLOCATING THESE FUNDS TO
14 ELIGIBLE PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES.
15 MR. DIBILEO: You've heard reading by
16 title of Item 6-D, what is your pleasure?
17 MR. POCIUS: Mr. President, I move 6-D
18 pass reading by title.
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
20 MR. DIBILEO: On the question? All
21 those in favor, signify by saying aye.
22 MS. EVANS: Aye.
23 MR. MCTIERNAN: Aye
24 MR. POCIUS: Aye.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
1 MR. DIBILEO: Aye. Opposed? The ayes
2 have it and so moved.
3 MR. BLASI: Seventh order. 7-A, FOR
4 CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE - FOR
5 ADOPTION - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 150, 2005 - AN ORDINANCE
6 - AMENDING FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 82, 2004, AN ORDINANCE
7 ENTITLED GENERAL CITY OPERATION BUDGET 2005 BY
8 TRANSFERRING $10,000.00 FROM ACCOUNT NO.
9 01.401.13090.4299 (CONTINGENCY) TO ACCOUNT NO.
10 01.100.00000.4330 (CHEMICAL SUPPLIES) TO PROVIDE
11 FUNDING FOR POOL CHEMICALS
12 MR. DIBILEO: What's the recommendation
13 of the chairperson for the committee on finance?
14 MS. EVANS: As chair for the committee
15 on finance, I recommend final passage of Item 7-A.
16 MR. POCIUS: Seconded.
17 MR. DIBILEO: On the question? Roll
18 call, please, Kay.
19 MS. GARVEY: Mr. McTiernan.
20 MR. McTIERNAN: Yes.
21 MS. GARVEY: Mrs. Evans.
22 MS. EVANS: Yes.
23 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Pocius.
24 MR. POCIUS: Yes.
25 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Courtright.
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
2 MS. GARVEY: Mr. DiBileo.
3 MR. DIBILEO: Yes. I hereby declare
4 Item 7-A legally and lawfully adopted.
5 MR. BLASI: 7-B, FOR CONSIDERATION BY
6 THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION - RESOLUTION NO.
7 168, 2005 - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE
8 CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE AND ENTER INTO A GRANT
9 AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF SCRANTON AND THE NATURAL
10 RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE, UNITED STATES
11 DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, PERTAINING TO STREAM BANK
12 STABILIZATION AT END OF CULVERT UNDER NEWTON ROAD ON
13 KUJAWSKI PROPERTY.
14 MR. DIBILEO: As chairperson for the
15 committee on rules, I recommend final passage of Item
17 MR. POCIUS: Seconded.
18 MR. DIBILEO: On the question? Roll
19 call please, Kay.
20 MS. GARVEY: Mr. McTiernan.
21 MR. McTIERNAN: Yes.
22 MS. GARVEY: Mrs. Evans.
23 MS. EVANS: Yes.
24 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Pocius.
25 MR. POCIUS: Yes.
1 MS. GARVEY: Mr. Courtright.
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
3 MS. GARVEY: Mr. DiBileo.
4 MR. DIBILEO: Yes. I hereby declare
5 Item 7-B legally and lawfully adopted.
6 MR. BLASI: 7-C --
7 MS. EVANS: Attorney Blasi, just prior
8 to reading that, I wanted to pose a question, would it
9 be proper to make a motion to table 7-C prior to your
10 reading it?
11 MR. BLASI: Yes.
12 MS. EVANS: I move to table Item 7-C.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Well, I'll second it.
14 MR. DIBILEO: Okay. We have a motion
15 on the floor and a second. On the question?
16 MS. EVANS: Yes. Earlier this evening,
17 much earlier this evening, Mr. Sbaraglia pointed out a
18 number of issues and posed several questions regarding
19 this particular piece of legislation that I found very
20 valid, and I'd like the answers to it, as well before
21 we take that final vote.
22 MR. DIBILEO: Okay.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: May I ask, Mrs. Evans,
24 what specific questions? I can't recall --
25 MR. POCIUS: I couldn't understand what
1 he was saying about it.
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: I couldn't recall what
3 his questions were, so I'm not quite sure what I'm
4 voting on.
5 MS. EVANS: He was asking for example
6 about Astima, Incorporated and refinancing the debt,
7 and I think Kay would have probably in her notes
8 specifically. I took the notes down, too, but I've
9 stored them away at this point.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right. It doesn't
11 appear if we hold it for one week that it will cause
12 any kind of a prolem, would it?
13 MR. BLASI: No.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay. All right.
15 That's all.
16 MR. DIBILEO: Okay. Yeah, I'm not
17 opposed to holding it for one week either. If there's
18 no further questions, all those in favor, signify by
19 saying aye.
20 MS. EVANS: Aye.
21 MR. MCTIERNAN: Aye
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
23 MR. DIBILEO: Aye. Opposed?
24 MR. POCIUS: No.
25 MR. DIBILEO: A 4-1 vote, motion
2 MR. POCIUS: I just don't see a reason
3 to hold it up.
4 MR. DIBILEO: Okay. Seeing no further
5 business on the agenda, I'll entertain a motion we
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
8 MS. EVANS: Second.
9 MR. DIBILEO: We're adjourned.
11 (MEETING WAS ADJOURNED.)
1 C E R T I F I C A T E
3 I hereby certify that the proceedings and
4 evidence are contained fully and accurately in the
5 notes taken by me on the hearing of the above cause and
6 that this copy is a correct transcript of the same
7 to the best of my ability.
LISA M. GRAFF, RPR
11 Official Court Reporter