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            1              SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL SINE DIE MEETING

 

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            4

 

            5                          HELD:

 

            6

 

            7                   Monday, January 7, 2008

 

            8

 

            9                        LOCATION:

 

           10                    Council Chambers

 

           11                 Scranton City Hall

 

           12              340 North Washington Avenue

 

           13                Scranton, Pennsylvania

 

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                            CATHENE S. NARDOZZI- COURT REPORTER

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            1

 

            2   CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:

 

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            4

                MR. ROBERT MCGOFF

            5

 

            6   MS. JUDY GATELLI, PRESIDENT

 

            7

                MS. JANET E. EVANS

            8

 

            9   MS. SHERRY FANUCCI

 

           10

                MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT

           11

 

           12   MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK

 

           13

                MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK

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           15   MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR

 

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            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


 

 

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            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


 

 

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            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?


 

 

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            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.


 

 

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            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

 

            6              ISSUE.

 

            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


 

 

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            1              time.

 

            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


 

 

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            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


 

 

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            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


 

 

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            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

 

           25              here.


 

 

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            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.


 

 

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            2                     C E R T I F I C A T E

 

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            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

 

            9   ability.

 

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                                    CATHENE S. NARDOZZI

           13                       OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

 

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