1 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL SINE DIE MEETING
7 Monday, January 7, 2008
10 Council Chambers
11 Scranton City Hall
12 340 North Washington Avenue
13 Scranton, Pennsylvania
CATHENE S. NARDOZZI- COURT REPORTER
2 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:
MR. ROBERT MCGOFF
6 MS. JUDY GATELLI, PRESIDENT
MS. JANET E. EVANS
9 MS. SHERRY FANUCCI
MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT
12 MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK
MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
15 MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR
1 (Pledge of Allegiance and moment of silence observed.)
2 MS. GATELLI: Roll call.
3 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
4 MS. EVANS: Yes.
5 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Fanucci.
6 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
7 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
8 MR. MCGOFF: Yes.
9 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
11 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
12 MS. GATELLI: Yes. Dispense with
13 the reading of the minutes.
14 MS. GARVEY: THIRD ORDER. NO
15 BUSINESS AT THIS TIME. FOURTH ORDER,
16 citizens participation for agenda items, but
17 being there are no agenda items we may move
18 forward to 5-A motions.
19 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Mrs. Evans.
20 MS. EVANS: Yes. Good morning. We
21 enter this new term of council with heavy
22 hearts. Yesterday morning a great and
23 honorable man died in the line of duty,
24 captain Jim Robeson, 25-year veteran of the
25 Scranton Fire Department lost his life while
1 battling a fire on Ash Street. Equally
2 heartbreaking, the residents of the home,
3 Marie and Richard Fenstermacher, perished in
4 the fire. In addition, three firefighters,
5 Jennifer Hawker, Tom Owens and Rick Czyzyk
6 were injured.
7 Our thoughts and prayers are with
8 those who died, their families and those who
9 were injured. No one knows what tragedy
10 will strike, but we are never alone. God
11 helps us by giving us families and friends
12 who sustain us in our losses and by granting
13 select beings the ability to face death
14 whenever they are a called to protect others
15 in their communities. These truly special
16 people are firefighters, and police
17 officers. We are grateful for their
18 courageous work, we mourn their loss. We
19 mourn the loss of Maria and Richard
20 Fenstermacher and we pray for the injured.
21 At the same time, we must proceed with
22 proscribed governmental rule and so I wish
23 to congratulate all who are sworn into
24 office this day to uphold the constitution
25 and to serve and protect people. Elected
1 office is not only an honor and a privilege,
2 but also a weighty responsibility for which
3 we will all be judged. The future of our
4 great city rests on what we have learned
5 from the past and what decisions we render
6 on behalf of the people today.
7 As pleased as I am to see all of you
8 here today, I am also disappointed to have
9 been absent from work and my students at
10 Scranton High School. I take my
11 responsibilities seriously and I apologize
12 that you are paying for a day's work while I
13 am absent in order to attend council
14 meetings which could have been scheduled
15 later in the day as in January 2004 when all
16 council members were able to fulfill the
17 responsibilities of both their jobs in one
18 day. Council majority decided on today's
19 12:00 schedule.
20 Further, they alone decided the new
21 officers and Rules of Council and this is
22 why I believe it is imperative that I attend
23 today's meetings, cast my votes, and allow
24 my voice to be heard.
25 MS. GATELLI: Mrs. Fanucci?
1 MS. FANUCCI: I myself want to issue
2 condolences to not only the families of the
3 tragedy, but also the firemen who have
4 worked closely. It is very difficult to
5 imagine such a loss and I just wanted to say
6 I'm very sorry, and I have nothing else at
7 this time.
8 MS. GATELLI: Mr. McGoff.
9 MR. MCGOFF: I would echo those
10 sentiments, my condolences to the families
11 of those who died and speedy recovery to
12 those injured and I have no other comments.
13 Thank you.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: I, too, would like
15 to say my condolences to the family of Jimmy
16 Robeson, we graduated West Scranton High
17 School together. I knew the family of the
18 Fenstermachers and hope for a speedy
19 recovery both physically and mentally for
20 firefighters who were affected in this
21 tragedy. That's all I have.
22 MS. GATELLI: Thank you, and I
23 certainly echo the sentiments of all of my
24 colleagues on council, to the family of
25 Mr. Robeson and Mr. and Mrs. Fenstermacher.
1 MS. GARVEY: FIFTH ORDER - NO
2 BUSINESS AT THIS TIME. SIXTH ORDER - NO
3 BUSINESS AT THIS TIME. SEVENTH ORDER - NO
4 BUSINESS AT THIS TIME. EIGHTH ORDER -
5 CITIZENS PARTICIPATION II, GENERAL CITY
7 MS. GATELLI: Fay Franus.
8 MS. FRANUS: Fay Franus, Scranton.
9 First, I'd like to congratulate you,
10 Mr. Courtright and Mr. McGoff, on your
11 council terms. I just wanted to address a
12 question based on an article that was in
13 paper about the council meeting today.
14 Maybe you can answer this, Mr. McGoff, I
15 don't know, I just hope somebody can.
16 When it was brought up about the
17 news of rules of citizens participation and
18 we are going to be allowed to speak five
19 minutes, which is fine, my question is this,
20 suppose I have a question to ask say
21 Mr. Courtright, and I have five minutes and
22 I really don't have that much to say, so if
23 I were to ask Mr. Courtright a question will
24 he be allowed to answer while I'm still
25 standing here? I don't mind him taking my
2 MR. MCGOFF: We are going to have
3 ask that all answers to questions and any
4 comments that council members may have be
5 reserved until their 5-A motions.
6 MS. FRANUS: But if I'm just
7 standing here and I have like four minutes
8 left and I just have a couple of questions
9 would be it be a problem for him to answer
10 while I'm standing here? The only reason I
11 say that is because many times people have
12 come here and asked questions and by the
13 time they walk away nobody has answered them
14 and they've forgot them and there is too
15 many questions for them to answer and it
16 just never gets answered, I'd have to come
17 back next week to ask the same question
18 again and sometimes people have come and
19 said to the council person, "Well, I asked
20 you this last week."
21 He said, "Oh, I forgot what it was,"
22 so then you are right back to zero again, so
23 is there a problem, if I don't mind a
24 council person taking up my time to answer
25 me while I'm standing here, if I don't mind
1 because the reason you say you did that is
2 because you don't want to interrupt the
3 speaker's time. I don't mind a council
4 person's time, taking my time because I come
5 here for answers, and if a council person
6 answers me and I would like to rebut
7 something they said I don't have that
8 opportunity until the following week.
9 So, I can't understand what the
10 problem would be because if I ask a question
11 I don't get it while I'm standing here. I
12 mean, that's not asking too much, is it? I
13 mean, you represent me. I come here asking
14 a question and I would like to get an answer
15 while I'm standing here not later because
16 you may say something that I might want to
17 say something back to what you say to me and
18 I won't have that opportunity until
19 following week. Is that asking too much?
20 It's my five minutes. If I say,
21 "Mr. Courtright, could you please answer me
22 now," he can't?
23 Wouldn't that be at his discretion?
24 MR. MCGOFF: If we adopt the Rules
25 of Council that are in the agenda then we
1 will reserve any comments or questions or
2 answers until 5-A motions.
3 MS. FRANUS: So you are basically
4 saying, no, they will not be allowed to
5 answer me while I'm speaking here then.
6 MR. MCGOFF: That's what I said, yes.
7 MS. FRANUS: Is this constitutional?
8 Is this against the First Amendment?
9 MR. MCGOFF: I don't believe so.
10 MS. FRANUS: But, you don't know.
11 MS. GATELLI: Attorney Minora, is
12 that against the First Amendment?
13 MS. FRANUS: Well, again, Mr. Minora
14 said about the smoking ban, doesn't mean
15 it's true.
16 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else here to
17 speak before council?
18 MS. SCHUMACHER: Marie Schumacher,
19 citizen and member of the Taxpayers'
20 Association. I guess I have two things,
21 I'll keep it brief. I found it very
22 disappointing, I was hopeful that this year
23 would be different and I guess in a lot of
24 ways I'm the internal optimist. I hope the
25 reorganization meeting would have some
1 discussion I was very disturbed to read the
2 reorganization in the newspaper last week.
3 I don't think that bodes well for 2008, but
4 I will try to remain optimistic.
5 The other thing I would ask your
6 input for the reorganization meeting, in the
7 event you do discuss something and
8 everything hasn't already been decided by
9 the majority three, is that the number of
10 agenda items be restricted. We have five
11 minutes and I think that we should have a
12 time to comment on those and sometimes five
13 minutes isn't enough. If you're going to
14 load up agenda with -- I'm sorry,
15 Mrs. Gatelli, if you don't like my
16 viewpoint, but if you are going to load 12
17 items on an agenda and we have five minutes
18 to speak and if we have something to say on
19 each of them there just isn't enough time,
20 and I think that last year there were a lot
21 of times that have very few and then another
22 time it would be loaded. I think they
23 should be distributed so that people do have
24 the time. If you take the time to come over
1 I would also like to ask, and that
2 brings up another thing, I'll make it three
3 items, I'm sure that the Clerk's Office,
4 everything that's prepared by the Clerk's
5 Office in response to the agenda is prepared
6 electronically, and I would hope that you
7 would start posting not just the agenda, but
8 all the backup, so we don't have to
9 physically come over here and read through
10 everything. I think you should make it a
11 rule that everything that's submitted to the
12 clerk for the agenda is submitted
13 electronically and it's posted so that we
14 can review it before the meeting and be
15 prepared to comment. Thank you very much
16 for your consideration.
17 MS. GATELLI: Anyone else? Do I
18 have a motion to adjourn?
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: So ruled.
20 MS. GATELLI: All in favor.
21 MS. EVANS: Aye.
22 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Aye.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
25 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
2 C E R T I F I C A T E
4 I hereby certify that the proceedings and
5 evidence are contained fully and accurately in the
6 notes of testimony taken by me at the hearing of the
7 above-captioned matter and that the foregoing is a true
8 and correct transcript of the same to the best of my
CATHENE S. NARDOZZI
13 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER