1


1
SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL
2
PUBLIC HEARING
3

4

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.

10

11 Held:

12 Thursday, October 20, 2005

13

14
Time:
15
6:00 p.m.
16

17

18 Location:

19 Council Chambers
Scranton City Hall
20 340 North Washington Avenue
Scranton, Pennsylvania
21

22

23

24 Lisa M. Graff, RPR
Court Reporter
25
.

2


1 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:

2

3 MR. GARY DIBILEO, COUNCIL PRESIDENT

4

5 MS. JANET E. EVANS, VICE-PRESIDENT

6

7 MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT

8

9 MR. JOHN POCIUS

10

11 MR. ROBERT McTIERNAN

12

13 MR. JAY SAUNDERS, CITY CLERK

14

15 MS. KAY GARVEY, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK

16

17
ALSO PRESENT:
18

19 FRANK BLASI, ESQUIRE

20

21

22

23

24

25
.

3


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.
.

4


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:

8

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.

18

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.
.

5


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

21 community.

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
.

6


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
.

7


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
.

8


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
.

9


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

14 support.

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
.

10


1 this.

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

14 from?

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

19 Scrantonians.

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,
.

11


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

7 $170,000.

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

19 --

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
.

12


1 wasn't here at the time, and Mr. Pocius was here, but

2 --

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

7 stuck.

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
.

13


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
.

14


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
.

15


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

17 properties.

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
.

16


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

11 percent.

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,
.

17


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
.

18


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.
.

19


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

8 needs.

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

17 clothing.

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
.

20


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

11 uniforms.

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
.

21


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

13 program.

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

23 it.

24 So, we've seen, you know, one stop shop

25 is the place where people can come and just get any
.

22


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

7 there.

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
.

23


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

13 weekends.

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.
.

24


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

15 that.

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
.

25


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
.

26


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
.

27


1 city.

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
.

28


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
.

29


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
.

30


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

18 list.

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
.

31


1 worthy.

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
.

32


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

7 around.

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
.

33


1 accessibility.

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

9 locked.

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

22 accessible.

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
.

34


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

18 Program.

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
.

35


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.
.

36


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

7 non-Scrantonians.

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
.

37


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

4 you.

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

9 close.

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.

14

15 (HEARING WAS CONCLUDED.)

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25
.

38


1 C E R T I F I C A T E

2

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.

8

9

10
LISA M. GRAFF, RPR
11 Official Court Reporter

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25
.

1


1 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING

2

3

4

5 Held:

6 Thursday, October 20, 2005

7

8

9 Time:

10 7:00 p.m.

11

12

13 Location:

14 Council Chambers

15 Scranton City Hall

16 340 North Washington Avenue

17 Scranton, Pennsylvania

18

19

20

21

22

23

24 Lisa M. Graff, RPR

25 Court Reporter
.

2


1 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:

2

3 MR. GARY DIBILEO, COUNCIL PRESIDENT

4 (Arrived where noted)

5

6 MS. JANET E. EVANS, VICE-PRESIDENT

7

8 MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT

9

10 MR. JOHN POCIUS

11

12 MR. ROBERT McTIERNAN

13 (Arrived where noted)

14

15 MR. JAY SAUNDERS, CITY CLERK

16

17 MS. KAY GARVEY, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK

18

19 ALSO PRESENT:

20 FRANK BLASI, ESQUIRE

21

22

23

24

25
.

3


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

13 possible.

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
.

4


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

9 here.

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.
.

5


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.
.

6


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
.

7


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

4 Scranton.

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.
.

8


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

16 fundraiser.

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
.

9


1 everything else that we had going on that day and

2 present them a trophy on behalf of this person that's

3 ill.

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

24 Osborne.

25 MR. OSBORNE: Good evening, Council.
.

10


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.
.

11


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

8 proposals.

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.
.

12


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

14 years.

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

25 $65,511,782.
.

13


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
.

14


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

22 intended.

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
.

15


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

5 --

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

19 prematurely.

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
.

16


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

5 recommendation.

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
.

17


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

7 everyone.

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

13 here.

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

24 well?

25 And the last thing, to end on a
.

18


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

5 tonight.

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

20 here.

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
.

19


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

7 Council.

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
.

20


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

4 everybody.

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

24 Republicans.

25 Given all of the above, don't take his
.

21


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

23 advertisements.

24 You know, if you live in the city, you

25 have an investment in the city, that's fine, but
.

22


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

21 Sbaraglia.

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
.

23


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.
.

24


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

21 protected.

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.
.

25


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.
.

26


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,

4 okay?

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
.

27


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
.

28


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

15 you.

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
.

29


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

9 cetera.

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

20 enormous.

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
.

30


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
.

31


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

24 difference.

25 Too often we keep our heads down, do
.

32


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

4 commitment.

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
.

33


1 podium.

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.
.

34


1 I thought I would share some of the

2 reasons we chose Scranton over many other cities in

3 Pennsylvania.

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

21 renaissance.

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
.

35


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

23 disposal.

24 So, what are they -- we looking for? A

25 city that has an exciting downtown, one with lots of
.

36


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

7 stay.

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.
.

37


1 MS. EVANS: Thank you. Michael Ferke.

2 Oh, I'm sorry.

3

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.
.

38


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
.

39


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

22 administrator.

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
.

40


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.
.

41


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
.

42


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
.

43


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

18 happening.

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
.

44


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
.

45


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

7 that.

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
.

46


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.
.

47


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
.

48


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.
.

49


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.
.

50


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

14 incident.

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
.

51


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 --
.

52


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'
.

53


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

8 corrected.

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
.

54


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 --
.

55


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

25 quickly.
.

56


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

16 employers.

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
.

57


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
.

58


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
.

59


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.
.

60


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

9 reported.

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
.

61


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

16 away.

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

24 rise.

25 With all of these facts, how could the
.

62


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

16 people.

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
.

63


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
.

64


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.
.

65


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

23 cannot.

24 That's another need that the city has

25 to address, because I can start speaking, just as well
.

66


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

18 Alliance.

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
.

67


1 one candidate or another, I am simply here to support

2 my people, the Latin people, and to create Latin

3 awareness.

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
.

68


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

9 mortgage.

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
.

69


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

8 interest.

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
.

70


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

4 breathe.

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
.

71


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.
.

72


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

16 that.

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
.

73


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
.

74


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

23 parks.

24 Additionally we've heard comments from

25 people that the City of Scranton is not safe, and I
.

75


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

25 you.
.

76


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
.

77


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

25 himself.
.

78


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

6 School.

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

19 running.

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.
.

79


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

8 headquarters.

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

24 up.

25 MR. IAN MILLER: Can you give me your
.

80


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
.

81


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
.

82


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
.

83


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
.

84


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

14 rumor.

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
.

85


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
.

86


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

12 that.

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
.

87


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?
.

88


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
.

89


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
.

90


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,

10 right?

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.
.

91


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

6 year.

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,
.

92


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

8 learn.

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
.

93


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

24 her.

25 MR. DIBILEO: That's exactly what I
.

94


1 said. Mr. Vitris, would you refrain from speaking back

2 there?

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
.

95


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.
.

96


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

14 either.

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

21 Scranton.

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
.

97


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
.

98


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

16 Scranton.

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
.

99


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

5 work.

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

15 confused.

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,
.

100


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
.

101


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
.

102


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

12 arrangement.

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
.

103


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,
.

104


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
.

105


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

10 employees.

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.
.

106


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

5 office.

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
.

107


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

14 school.

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
.

108


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

22 moment.

23 MS. JENNINGS: Yes.

24 MS. EVANS: Dear, Mrs. Moran, at

25 Scranton City Council's meeting held on Thursday,
.

109


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.
.

110


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

7 28.

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,
.

111


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

5 here.

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

21 months.

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
.

112


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
.

113


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

8 action.

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

22 consideration.

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,
.

114


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

13 there?

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

18 destroyed.

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,

25 correct?
.

115


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

6 accepted.

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
.

116


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

21 that.

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.
.

117


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.
.

118


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.
.

119


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,

11 Gary?

12 MR. DAVIS: Go ahead, please.

13 MR. DIBILEO: Sure.

14 MR. DAVIS: It's a good picture of him,

15 too.

16 MR. POCIUS: That's Mayor Doherty's

17 father.

18 MR. DAVIS: Excuse me.

19 MR. POCIUS: He was a city

20 Councilperson.

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
.

120


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,

18 Charlie.

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
.

121


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

14 service.

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
.

122


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.
.

123


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
.

124


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

11 Scranton.

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

21 city?

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,
.

125


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.
.

126


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
.

127


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

5 means.

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
.

128


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
.

129


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

18 Department.

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
.

130


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
.

131


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
.

132


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,
.

133


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

21 negotiations.

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
.

134


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

12 $7,255.

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

22 before.

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
.

135


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

19 beeped.

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
.

136


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

19 down.

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
.

137


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

9 you.

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
.

138


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
.

139


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

16 goodness.

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

22 part.

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
.

140


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

22 that.

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.
.

141


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
.

142


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
.

143


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
.

144


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

5 taxpayers.

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
.

145


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

4 Jennings.

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

15 costs.

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

24 month.

25 MR. DIBILEO: Where have you been,
.

146


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,

12 Gary.

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
.

147


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
.

148


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
.

149


1 City Council looking for approval to borrow $4 million

2 more.

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
.

150


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
.

151


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,

20 sir.

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,
.

152


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
.

153


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

18 probably.

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 --
.

154


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
.

155


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
.

156


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

19 are.

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
.

157


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

19 well.

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
.

158


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

25 paving.
.

159


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

4 house.

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
.

160


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

12 paper.

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
.

161


1 led to believe that the people who use the complex

2 would still be able to use the complex, and that wasn't

3 true.

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
.

162


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,

4 Lynn.

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,

10 Motions.

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
.

163


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
.

164


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.
.

165


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
.

166


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.
.

167


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

4 one.

5 So, why did OECD waste $266,098 before

6 it condemned the garage? I don't know. But watch what

7 happened.

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,
.

168


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

15 questions.

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.
.

169


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
.

170


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
.

171


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
.

172


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
.

173


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.
.

174


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,
.

175


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

21 important.

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
.

176


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
.

177


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
.

178


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

17 government.

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.
.

179


1 This is the only forum people have to let off some

2 steam.

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

20 Council.

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.
.

180


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

14 donation.

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

19 it.

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

25 have.
.

181


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

15 aye.

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
.

182


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

7 HEADQUARTERS.

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
.

183


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
.

184


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.
.

185


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.
.

186


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.
.

187


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

16 7-B.

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.
.

188


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
.

189


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
.

190


1 passes.

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

6 adjourn.

7 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.

8 MS. EVANS: Second.

9 MR. DIBILEO: We're adjourned.

10

11 (MEETING WAS ADJOURNED.)

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25
.

191


1 C E R T I F I C A T E

2

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.

8

9

10
LISA M. GRAFF, RPR
11 Official Court Reporter

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25