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            1              SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING

 

            2

 

            3

 

            4

 

            5                          HELD:

 

            6

 

            7               Tuesday, February 26, 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:

 

            3

 

            4   MR. ROBERT MCGOFF, PRESIDENT

 

            5

                MS. JUDY GATELLI, VICE-PRESIDENT

            6

 

            7   MS. JANET E. EVANS

 

            8

                MS. SHERRY FANUCCI

            9

 

           10   MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT

 

           11

                MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK

           12

 

           13   MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK

 

           14

                MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR

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            1   (Pledge of Allegiance recited and moment of silence

                observed.)

            2                      MR. MCGOFF:  Roll call.

 

            3                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS:  Here.

 

            5                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

            6                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Here.

 

            7                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI:  Here.

 

            9                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Gatelli.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI: Here.

 

           11                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF:  Here.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Dispense with the

 

           14              reading of the minutes and prior to Third

 

           15              Order we do have a proclamation this evening

 

           16              for the members of the West Scranton High

 

           17              School football team that I would like to

 

           18              read and present.

 

           19                      WHEREAS, the Council of the City of

 

           20              Scranton is desirous of honoring the "2007

 

           21              WEST SCRANTON INVADER FOOTBALL TEAM" as

 

           22              Lackawanna Football Conference Division I

 

           23              Champions and PIAA District 2 AAA Division

 

           24              Champions; and.

 

           25                      WHEREAS, the "WEST SCRANTON INVADER


 

 

                                                                       4

 

 

            1              FOOTBALL TEAM" made Lackawanna Football

 

            2              Conference and school history by winning a

 

            3              state playoff game defeating Blue Mountain

 

            4              39-16.  The "2007 WEST SCRANTON FOOTBALL

 

            5              TEAM" became the first Lackawanna Football

 

            6              Conference team to win a state game in Class

 

            7              AAA.  These young men have brought pride to

 

            8              the West Scranton Community through their

 

            9              hard work, commitment, dedication and

 

           10              teamwork.  They are outstanding examples of

 

           11              student-athletes and an outstanding

 

           12              reflection of West Scranton High School; and

 

           13                      WHEREAS, the "WEST SCRANTON INVADERS

 

           14              FOOTBALL TEAM" wish to express their

 

           15              gratitude to Head Coach Michael DeAntona;

 

           16              Assistant Coaches Rick Rosser, Meade Beebe,

 

           17              Bill Phillips, Colin Phillips, Larry Reagen,

 

           18              Andy Butsko, Sr., Andy Butsko, Jr., Mario

 

           19              Bevilacqua, Dennis Hircenak and Frank

 

           20              Santomauro, Trainers Tom Nowakowsk and Alex

 

           21              Bonisese, Equipment Manager Anthony "Tippy"

 

           22              DeNunzio, and their familles, friends and

 

           23              fans.

 

           24                      WHEREAS, the "WEST SCRANTON INVADER

 

           25              FOOTBALL TEAM MEMBERS" consist of Hubie


 

 

                                                                       5

 

 

            1              Graham, Cody Elgin, Mike Gerrity, Brian

 

            2              Courtright, Jason Chuff, C.J. Rosser, Jon

 

            3              Smerecky, Anthony Monacelli, Craig Lora,

 

            4              Brandon Ward, Shawn Irving, Matt McGloin,

 

            5              Chris Gentilezza, Mark Strzelecki, Shawn

 

            6              Bodtman, Devin Gonzales, Dylan Rivera, Chris

 

            7              Krouchick, Jacob Karboski,Corey Marsland,

 

            8              Austin Eltora, Tim Horlacher, Ethan Dunn,

 

            9              Nick Boyle, Marc DeNinno, Bradley O'Malley,

 

           10              Kyle Matay, Josh Schroeder, Jimmy Williams,

 

           11              Tim Tanana-Nae, Brad Seymour and Nick Ferra.

 

           12                      NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that

 

           13              on Tuesday, February 26, 2008, Scranton City

 

           14              Council wishes to congratulate the "WEST

 

           15              SCRANTON INVADER FOOTBALL TEAM", their

 

           16              Coaches, Teachers and Parents for their

 

           17              outstanding achievement.

 

           18                      BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this

 

           19              Proclamation be made a permanent part of the

 

           20              Minutes of this Council, as lasting tribute

 

           21              to the "WEST SCRANTON 2007 INVADER FOOTBALL

 

           22              TEAM."

 

           23                      (Round of Applause from audience and

 

           24              each member of the team comes forward.)

 

           25                      MR. COURTRIGHT: And we would just


 

 

                                                                       6

 

 

            1              like to, if we could, just bring up another

 

            2              special guest, Chris Sledzenski.

 

            3                      (Round of Applause by the audience

 

            4              and Chris Sledzenski comes forward.)

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: I would like to offer

 

            6              Coach DeAntona if you would like to say

 

            7              anything please come to the podium.

 

            8                      MR. DEANTONA:  I'd like to take this

 

            9              opportunity to thank City Council for

 

           10              allowing us to come over here and recognize

 

           11              the hard work that these young men put into

 

           12              have a successful football season this year,

 

           13              and it does take a team effort and it's not

 

           14              just the players who work hard and the

 

           15              coaches, but we have a fantastic booster

 

           16              club at West Scranton High School, too, that

 

           17              allows us the opportunities to feed the kids

 

           18              lunch during sessions and any of you, if you

 

           19              happen to be at our banquet this year, it's

 

           20              a first class event and I'd liketo thank our

 

           21              president, Mr. McGoin, and the rest of the

 

           22              boosters for that and I'd also like to thank

 

           23              not only the community of West Scranton, but

 

           24              the City of West Scranton because, boy,

 

           25              everybody really got behind us through our


 

 

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            1              playoff run.  It seems like the coaching

 

            2              staff and the community of West Scranton and

 

            3              our team really fed off the energy the City

 

            4              of Scranton gave us and there is no place to

 

            5              live like the City of Scranton, it's a great

 

            6              place to be.  Thank you very much.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF:  Third order.

 

            8                      MS. GARVEY: 3-A.  MINUTES OF THE

 

            9              COMPOSITE PENSION BOARD MEETING HELD ON

 

           10              JANUARY 23, 2008.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

           12              If not, received and filed.

 

           13                      MS. GARVEY: 3-B. CONTROLLER'S REPORT

 

           14              FOR THE MONTH ENDING JANUARY 31, 2008.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

           16              If not, received and filed.

 

           17                      MS. GARVEY: That's it for Third

 

           18              Order.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: Prior to Fourth Order

 

           20              are there any announcements that any members

 

           21              of council have?

 

           22                      MS. EVANS: Yes.  I'd like to

 

           23              congratulate Mark Horan, Scranton High

 

           24              School senior for winning the District II

 

           25              diving championship and his coach, Frank


 

 

                                                                       8

 

 

            1              McGuire.  Congratulations to Jason Dominic

 

            2              for winning the District II wrestling title,

 

            3              and congratulations to the Scranton High

 

            4              School girls' basketball team for winning

 

            5              their third straight district title and to

 

            6              their coaches, Pat Ferguson and Bill

 

            7              Gibbons, and these are just a few reasons

 

            8              why Scranton High School has become known as

 

            9              the Campus of Champions.

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI: I just have two things.

 

           12              The first thing is the Northeast Theatre in

 

           13              the Hotel Jermyn is having a play called

 

           14              Time and Timeless, that will be running from

 

           15              February 27 until March 16, and you may call

 

           16              558-1515 for tickets and schedule.  And

 

           17              also, the Minooka Lions is going to have

 

           18              their Autism Awareness dinner again back at

 

           19              St. Joseph's in Minooka.  It's on April 26

 

           20              and they will have a raffle, door prizes,

 

           21              food and entertainment and tickets are $15

 

           22              and you are can call Jack Walsh at 346-2152

 

           23              also if you would like to volunteer, and

 

           24              that's all I have.  Thank you.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: Fourth Order.  Citizens'


 

 

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            1              Participation.  Doug Miller.

 

            2                      MR. MILLER: Good evening, Council,

 

            3              Doug Miller, president of Scranton Junior

 

            4              Council.  Last week I was unable to attend

 

            5              council due to an illness, however, I did

 

            6              receive a full report of the meeting in the

 

            7              Times and I did see the replay on Channel

 

            8              61.  You know, regarding what took place

 

            9              here last week, I think I may have a simple

 

           10              solution for one of our problems here, each

 

           11              week we should play a game of musical chairs

 

           12              and whatever seat you land in is where you

 

           13              will sit for the night.  I find this to be

 

           14              fair for everyone.  It could be fun for all

 

           15              of us, too.

 

           16                      But, on a more serious notes, you

 

           17              know, I would have to ask that some of the

 

           18              adults that attend these meetings start

 

           19              setting a better example for this junior

 

           20              council and for the many other young people

 

           21              that view these meetings at home.  We come

 

           22              here to conduct city business and it's time

 

           23              people respect that.

 

           24                      And moving onto some business, I'd

 

           25              like to respond to the latest development in


 

 

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            1              our downtown, last week the city received

 

            2              word that Rosado Group, an expanding car

 

            3              dealership chain, will be moving their

 

            4              corporate headquarters to Lackawanna Avenue.

 

            5              The ownership decided to come to Scranton

 

            6              because they saw that the downtown was

 

            7              growing and it's a great place to conduct

 

            8              business.  This move comes at a time when

 

            9              progress and revitalization is taking place

 

           10              on Lackawanna Avenue.  This business was not

 

           11              asked to come here, they chose to come here

 

           12              because they want to be a part of our

 

           13              success.

 

           14                      Recently, the Office of Economic and

 

           15              Community Development released a project

 

           16              that would invest $16.5 million in Skyview

 

           17              Park Apartments.  This project will

 

           18              certainly help compliment the progress that

 

           19              is being made in South Scranton and the

 

           20              improvements that will be made transform the

 

           21              complex into a state of the art facility.  I

 

           22              encourage council to approve any measures

 

           23              necessary to move this project forward.

 

           24                   Finally, Scranton Junior City Council

 

           25              is raising funds to benefit a police and


 

 

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            1              firefighters' memorial.  We are proudly

 

            2              joining Mrs. Novembrino and others to honor

 

            3              our brave men and woman.  We are asking

 

            4              citizens to join us in these fundraising

 

            5              efforts and make a contribution towards this

 

            6              project.  Donations can be sent to city

 

            7              hall, 340 N. Washington Avenue, Scranton,

 

            8              PA, 18503.  Scranton Junior Council is also

 

            9              planning fundraising events to benefit this

 

           10              project and we will be making announcements

 

           11              on those owe events very soon.  Thank you

 

           12              for your time.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Doug.  Fay

 

           14              Franus.

 

           15                      MS. FRANUS:  Fay Franus, Scranton.

 

           16              I'm going to address something that I

 

           17              addressed a couple of weeks ago.  Something

 

           18              has been brought to attention, that's why

 

           19              I'm bringing this back up.  Last week Daniel

 

           20              Hubbard mentioned that Jeff Brazil was not

 

           21              at that fire on Linden Street until many

 

           22              hours after it started.  When I spoke with

 

           23              Jeff Brazil on the phone he told me that he

 

           24              was there for the whole day, so in my

 

           25              opinion I believe that Jeff Brazil was not


 

 

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            1              telling me the truth.  He knew about the

 

            2              letter that I wrote him, that I sent him, so

 

            3              I'm sure he has had answers ready for me.

 

            4                      I would like to explain something

 

            5              else.  I think it's a public outrage and

 

            6              abuse of public confidence for Donna

 

            7              Doherty, Mayor Doherty's wife and Laura

 

            8              Craig to do the same exact thing that Tom

 

            9              Gilhooley did, but Tom Gilhooley didn't get

 

           10              away with it, he was charged, he lost his

 

           11              job for doing the same thing.

 

           12                      Roseanne Novembrino sent Joe

 

           13              Pilchesky a letter when he asked her to

 

           14              investigate this incident of the DPW workers

 

           15              at the fire.  She wrote him and said that

 

           16              city council, the city rather, was paid $300

 

           17              in donation for the work that DPW did.  It

 

           18              should have been a payment for services

 

           19              rendered by a DPW.  I'd like to know who set

 

           20              that amount.  I wonder what a moving company

 

           21              would have charged to take paintings from

 

           22              Point A to Point B with truck loads.  Donna

 

           23              Doherty had a municipal man there, Jeff

 

           24              Brazil and DPW had trucks loaded, trips back

 

           25              and forth, probably would have cost over


 

 

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            1              $1,000.  So, I say this to you everybody in

 

            2              the city, the president has been said here

 

            3              at the very least, the very least, DPW is

 

            4              now open for business, but they will get

 

            5              donations later so that's okay.  I guess

 

            6              they figure this justifies it.  They can do

 

            7              what they want and get donations later, so I

 

            8              suggest that anybody in the city in the

 

            9              spring if your house is flooded call DPW,

 

           10              have them come over and help them move

 

           11              furniture, just make a donation, twenty,

 

           12              thirty dollars, whatever you think is right.

 

           13                   The letter that was sent sugarcoating

 

           14              the wrongdoings that was done by public

 

           15              workers for private services, private work

 

           16              in my opinion and many others.  I'd like to

 

           17              know why are the criminal laws different for

 

           18              Tom Gilhooley than they are for Jeff Brazil,

 

           19              it's the same law, the law was broken.

 

           20              Different faces, different names but the

 

           21              same law was broken.

 

           22                      I say council -- I gave council

 

           23              rather letters that I wanted answered, I

 

           24              never got any response many, many weeks ago

 

           25              on this issue and I would like some replies.


 

 

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            1              I gave each one of you a letter with

 

            2              questions I wanted answered and I hope to

 

            3              get these answers.

 

            4                      Mrs. Evans, I have pictures here of

 

            5              Donna Doherty, the mayor's wife, Jeff

 

            6              Brazil, Bill Candor and other DPW workers

 

            7              with the vehicles, the license numbers and

 

            8              everything in these photos.  You can make

 

            9              copies and give them to everybody else on

 

           10              council if you like, I'll get this to you

 

           11              when I'm done, and I would just like to wrap

 

           12              this up by just asking a question, I just

 

           13              want to make this one statement, Mayor

 

           14              Doherty, and I want to quote this, Mayor

 

           15              Doherty is now running for office and he is

 

           16              quoted in the newspaper, "Two terms in eight

 

           17              years is long enough for someone to commit

 

           18              themselves to change."

 

           19                      He didn't make any changes so I'm

 

           20              just wondering why he is running again if he

 

           21              thinks two terms is enough, and I would like

 

           22              to go further with this criminal case as far

 

           23              as this Jeff Brazil matter and, Billy, in

 

           24              motions would you please respond to me, in

 

           25              motions, if you could write it down so you


 

 

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            1              won't forget this time, I know it's a lot

 

            2              but it's hard for you because of what the

 

            3              rules are, Mr. McGoff set the rules so

 

            4              whacky, if you could you please you

 

            5              mentioned last time while we were here that

 

            6              Mrs. Gatelli lied about the seat, if could

 

            7              you just explain what you mean by that as

 

            8              far as the vote and underhanded because I

 

            9              would like to know because I thought it was

 

           10              for whatever reasons if you could explain

 

           11              that in motions.  Mrs. Evans --

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I said it was my

 

           13              opinion.

 

           14                      MS. FRANUS: Pardon me?

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I said it was my

 

           16              opinion.

 

           17                      MS. FRANUS:  Oh, absolutely, but I

 

           18              would just like to know what you were

 

           19              saying.  Mrs. Evans, I would like to give

 

           20              you these pictures now and give all of the

 

           21              members of council and have Kay make copies

 

           22              if you'd like.  That's all.  Thank you very

 

           23              much.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Ms. Franus.

 

           25              Bill Jackowitz.


 

 

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            1                      MR. JACKOWITZ:  Bill Jackowitz,

 

            2              South Scranton.  The Scranton Fire

 

            3              Department was established in 1866,

 

            4              142 years ago.  Now the Mayor of Scranton,

 

            5              Chris Doherty, and the Scranton

 

            6              Times-Tribune are going out of their way to

 

            7              embarrass the members of the Scranton Fire

 

            8              Department.  Whether you like them or not

 

            9              you cannot take aware their professionalism

 

           10              and bravery which is demonstrated any time

 

           11              they put their fire jackets and boots on and

 

           12              respond whether a false alarm or two or

 

           13              three alarm fire.  Four May 1901 Scranton

 

           14              became a paid fire department, almost

 

           15              117 years ago.

 

           16                      Scranton's Fire apparatus.  During a

 

           17              24-hour period Scranton fire operates ten

 

           18              apparatuses in one command vehicle.  Engine

 

           19              2, Gibson Street.  The newest piece of fire

 

           20              apparatus in 2003 American LaFrance engine

 

           21              was delivered to the fire department October

 

           22              of 2003.  This engine was paid with OECD

 

           23              funds.  The backup engine is a 1984 Spartan

 

           24              chassie with a Young body design.  Young

 

           25              body went out of business approximately


 

 

                                                                      17

 

 

            1              15 years ago.  Replacement parts are hard to

 

            2              come by.  The only modifications to this

 

            3              engine were new decals, adaptors for hoses

 

            4              and nozzles.  Three firefighters were

 

            5              assigned, but usually only staffed with two

 

            6              firefighters.

 

            7                      Rescue 1, Wyoming Avenue, apparatus:

 

            8              A 1995 engine that is currently out of

 

            9              service as of 23 February '08.  Rescue 1 is

 

           10              currently utilizing a 1990 Sutphen pumper

 

           11              that was originally Rescue 1 and was taken

 

           12              out of service in 1995.  Now it is back in

 

           13              the service.  A proposal to replace Rescue 1

 

           14              was made in 2001, this was never acted upon.

 

           15              Rescue 1 responds to all motor vehicle

 

           16              accidents, industrial accidents, rescue

 

           17              calls, alarms, structural fires throughout

 

           18              the City of Scranton.

 

           19                      Engine 4, Mulberry Street,

 

           20              apparatus: A 1977 Ferrara pumper, three

 

           21              firefighters assigned.  Truck 2, a 2002,

 

           22              aerial ladder, out of service.  Currently a

 

           23              1985 Sutphen tower truck is currently in

 

           24              service as Truck 2, three firefighters

 

           25              assigned.


 

 

                                                                      18

 

 

            1                      Engine 7, Luzerne Street, apparatus,

 

            2              a 1987 Sutphen pumper, three firefighters

 

            3              assigned, but usually only staffed with two

 

            4              firefighters.  This fire station originally

 

            5              was built to house two engine companies.

 

            6                   Engine 14 was disbanded by the city, a

 

            7              reserve fire truck is housed here.

 

            8                      Engine 8, Market Street, apparatus,

 

            9              a 1997 Ferrara, three firefighters assigned

 

           10              but usually staffed with only two

 

           11              firefighters.  This fire station was

 

           12              originally built to house two engine

 

           13              companies.

 

           14                      Engine 12 was disbanded by the City.

 

           15                      Engine 9, North Main Avenue,

 

           16              apparatus, a 1997 Ferrara, also a truck

 

           17              four, a Quint 1993 emergency, one Quint

 

           18              model, 75-foot aerial and 1,500-gallon pump,

 

           19              staffed at all times with three

 

           20              firefighters.  Truck four covers all of

 

           21              Scranton on the West Side.  It is a 75-foot

 

           22              ariel height.

 

           23                      Engine 10, East Mountain Road,

 

           24              apparatus, a 1990 Sutphen Pumper 3.  Three

 

           25              firefighters assigned but usually only


 

 

                                                                      19

 

 

            1              staffed with two firefighters.

 

            2                      Engine 15, Ash Street, apparatus, a

 

            3              1989 Sutphen pumper, three firefighters

 

            4              assigned, but usually staffed with two

 

            5              firefighters.  This fire station was built

 

            6              in the 1800's and remodeled in 1980.

 

            7                      Car 21, a 1997 Ford Expedition

 

            8              purchased with OECD funds, a replacement is

 

            9              on order.  Assistant chief's vehicle not

 

           10              used to fight fires.

 

           11                      A brush truck stored in Engine 7

 

           12              Luzerne Street, only used for special calls,

 

           13              year unknown.

 

           14                      Car 30, a 1977 International that

 

           15              replaced a 1972, a special that is only used

 

           16              for two alarm fires, an eight cylinder

 

           17              cascade and fill station for breeding there.

 

           18                   Cameras, thermal image cameras were

 

           19              purchased by the residents of the city and

 

           20              donated to the fire department.  Newer

 

           21              cameras are needed.  Fire protection is a

 

           22              never ending upgrade.

 

           23                      As you can see, the Scranton Fire

 

           24              Department has been operating old fire

 

           25              apparatus to protect the residents of


 

 

                                                                      20

 

 

            1              Scranton and I may add doing a professional

 

            2              and outstanding job.  For the mayor to

 

            3              criticize is totally not acceptable and

 

            4              unwarranted.  Considering he has refused to

 

            5              negotiate a contract or purchase safety

 

            6              equipment for the department, I find it to

 

            7              be very disturbing for the mayor, fire chief

 

            8              and public safety director not to be aware

 

            9              of the problems that allegedly exist in the

 

           10              fire department.

 

           11                      Furthermore, the fact that a person

 

           12              is a veteran, past firefighter and personal

 

           13              friend are not the qualifications needed to

 

           14              be a fire chief.  As a resident of Scranton

 

           15              I expect that an investigation be started

 

           16              immediately into Chief Davis' qualifications

 

           17              including schooling, experience, management,

 

           18              training courses that have been completed,

 

           19              communication courses that have been

 

           20              completed and the national fire safety

 

           21              schools and courses that Chief Davis has

 

           22              attended.

 

           23                      Also, a complete and thorough

 

           24              investigation into the recovery operation

 

           25              that Chief Davis participated in.  I


 

 

                                                                      21

 

 

            1              understand that many violations were

 

            2              committed by Chief Davis that day.  This was

 

            3              a recovery not a rescue.  Councilman

 

            4              Courtright and Councilwoman Evans, I hope

 

            5              you work together in this investigation.

 

            6              Thank you.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF: Andy Sbaraglia.

 

            8                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,

 

            9              citizen of Scranton, Fellow Scrantonians.  I

 

           10              see you're raising the permit for what we

 

           11              call service vehicles.  You want to raise

 

           12              the fee to $150 per month.  Well, I can

 

           13              understand some of that, but you got to

 

           14              realize service vehicles perform what they

 

           15              say, a service.  It's not that -- I had one,

 

           16              okay, I had a permit in my van because I

 

           17              have serviced the elevators in the city, so

 

           18              naturally we had a permit, but the permit

 

           19              not for amusement, we didn't park there all

 

           20              day or talk all night, we just did what we

 

           21              were supposed to do and left the parking

 

           22              space for whatever we had to do, but where

 

           23              is the money going to go for these permits?

 

           24              Is part of it going to stay with the parking

 

           25              authority or is it going to be into the city


 

 

                                                                      22

 

 

            1              coffers?  I mean, I don't know what the old

 

            2              permit was because I retired quite a long

 

            3              time ago, but I did have a permit, but

 

            4              anyway, you probably don't have any

 

            5              legislation there or read it.  But, anyway,

 

            6              this mayor has found a way to oppress the

 

            7              people that -- the businessmen in Scranton,

 

            8              too, because a lot of businesses do have

 

            9              offices in Scranton like plumbers,

 

           10              electricians and so forth and so on and a

 

           11              lot of them live outside of the city, too,

 

           12              okay?

 

           13                      Now, the 150 isn't going to kill

 

           14              anybody, but it's just another step.  We

 

           15              have been oppressed in this city constantly.

 

           16              You got that amusement tax that's going to

 

           17              be oppressive when you finally get to it,

 

           18              but that's an oppressive tax and you have

 

           19              been steadily oppressing the people of

 

           20              Scranton.  You went up to your emergency fee

 

           21              that 52 bucks, that was an oppression.  You

 

           22              raised our taxes.  Constantly you are

 

           23              looking for ways to squeeze the people, but

 

           24              not ways to squeeze the administration.

 

           25                      A long time ago I said watch the


 

 

                                                                      23

 

 

            1              dollars and cents and everything else will

 

            2              take care of itself.  Nobody cares.  You

 

            3              care little or nothing, you just look for

 

            4              more ways to siphon money from the people in

 

            5              Scranton or whatever the businessmen in the

 

            6              area.  It just so happens though I did use

 

            7              that permit so I know what it's about.

 

            8                   Now we got our million dollars going to

 

            9              the parking authority.  Now, according to

 

           10              Mrs. Fanucci or Sherry, Miss, whatever you

 

           11              want to say, that money was going to be

 

           12              lost.  She points out various things, but we

 

           13              have another four million that's probably

 

           14              going to be lost, too.  Maybe we should pull

 

           15              that four million and put it into the

 

           16              streets because we definitely need better

 

           17              streets then we need a Connell building.  It

 

           18              was actually cheaper to tear that building

 

           19              down than the money we poured into it and

 

           20              the good part about it, no one ever figured

 

           21              how long it would take for us to get the tax

 

           22              money out of that building that we invested

 

           23              in.  No one ever cares about that.  No one

 

           24              ever cares about how long the return is on

 

           25              these investments.  They are not lifetime


 

 

                                                                      24

 

 

            1              investments, that building probably will

 

            2              last -- it was probably put in 1890 or 1900

 

            3              when everything else was built in the city,

 

            4              so we are taking all of these old buildings,

 

            5              poured millions and millions of dollars

 

            6              into, people are losing their homes, their

 

            7              cars, they can't no longer heat, but yet you

 

            8              got money for these buildings and they are

 

            9              private developers.  They are people that

 

           10              have money, have access to money, they just

 

           11              don't want to borrow it which is one way of

 

           12              looking at it, so we go out and get them a

 

           13              grant to fix up an old broken down building

 

           14              and we are great at that.  We are trying

 

           15              to -- I don't know what you are trying to

 

           16              do, preserve Scranton as an 1890 town, is

 

           17              that our goal is?

 

           18                      Central City is losing it's

 

           19              relevance no matter what.  If it wasn't for

 

           20              the University and some of the other

 

           21              colleges it would be a ghost town down

 

           22              there.  You seen the mall.  The mall was a

 

           23              bright spot when they said it was going to

 

           24              be built, this that and whatever, but when

 

           25              you look at how much money we are getting


 

 

                                                                      25

 

 

            1              out of that mall it's no longer a bright

 

            2              spot.  I think we probably lost more because

 

            3              them people that were down there weren't

 

            4              paying taxes and that's like four blocks we

 

            5              lost for the mall and if I remember right I

 

            6              think the mall on the tax rolls was like

 

            7              400,00, 400,000 bucks on the tax roles.

 

            8              Thank you.

 

            9                      MS. EVANS: Mr. Sbaraglia, to very

 

           10              quickly return to your initial question, the

 

           11              permit fee was increased to $150 per year

 

           12              rather than per month and it hadn't be

 

           13              changed -- or I should say raised, since

 

           14              1988, however, the request to increase the

 

           15              fee was made by Mr. Wintermantle and that

 

           16              would lead me to assume that whatever

 

           17              revenues are generated from the increase in

 

           18              the permits would be received by the

 

           19              Scranton Parking Authority rather than the

 

           20              City of Scranton.

 

           21                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Thank you.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Evans.

 

           23              Ozzie Quinn.

 

           24                      MR. QUINN:  Ozzie Quinn, Taxpayers'

 

           25              Association, good evening.  Each election we


 

 

                                                                      26

 

 

            1              have welcomed the candidates who are running

 

            2              in the election to come before us if they

 

            3              please, I'll ask actually a Paul Povridge

 

            4              who is running in 119 legislation against

 

            5              Edward Staubach and tomorrow night at 7:00

 

            6              here in the city council chambers Kevin

 

            7              Murphy who will be running against Frank

 

            8              Shimkus will address the membership and it

 

            9              will be later on during the week on Channel

 

           10              61, 7:00 p.m. the public is invited.

 

           11                      Today the mayor did the State of the

 

           12              City address over at the Chamber of

 

           13              Commerce.  I don't know why he did it over

 

           14              there, half of the members aren't from the

 

           15              city, it should have been done here or

 

           16              someplace else that's -- Scranton High

 

           17              School where the people could have went and

 

           18              they wouldn't have been turned away, but

 

           19              anyway, as President of the Scranton

 

           20              Taxpayers' Association I'd like to give my

 

           21              State of the City address from the

 

           22              taxpayers' viewpoint.

 

           23                      First, there is no transparency for

 

           24              the city taxpayers, that's obvious with

 

           25              Mr. McGoff and Mrs. Gatelli trying to get


 

 

                                                                      27

 

 

            1              what I've been trying to get since last

 

            2              October and you told me that it's not your

 

            3              job to do it.  Three-hundred million dollars

 

            4              in long-term indebtedness including the

 

            5              school district, also in addition to school

 

            6              district tax, which is the responsibility of

 

            7              our taxpayers plus the pro rata of the

 

            8              county, which since it's over half a billion

 

            9              dollars in taxes, property taxes, 25 percent

 

           10              tax increase to taxpayers by three of you

 

           11              people last -- this year, last year, an

 

           12              atrocity penalizing our homeowner taxpayers

 

           13              for being tax delinquent, unbelievable.  Per

 

           14              capita tax income, $17,187.00 for taxpayers,

 

           15              less than the state.  Median household,

 

           16              $31,090, less than the state.  Elderly

 

           17              18 percent over 65 years of age fixed on

 

           18              social security or retirement taxpayers.

 

           19              Poverty individuals, 17 percent -- 17.2

 

           20              percent, families 10.6 percent.  Hundreds of

 

           21              nonproducing property tax vacant city lots.

 

           22              Neighborhood blight, housing, sidewalks,

 

           23              curbs, and streets hurting our taxpayers'

 

           24              home values.  Cronyism and $11 million at

 

           25              cost to the taxpayers.  No police or fire


 

 

                                                                      28

 

 

            1              department paid increases in six years yet

 

            2              ongoing service to our taxpayers, thank you,

 

            3              gentlemen.

 

            4                      Economic development projects, as I

 

            5              pointed out last week, four jobs at $400,000

 

            6              each job as per HUD's last report.  Three

 

            7              point percent wage tax to our taxpayers.

 

            8              Extravagant cost of parks and dog parks

 

            9              placed on the taxpayers' back.  Pay to play

 

           10              contracts causing our taxpayers thousands

 

           11              and thousands of dollars.  No bid contracts,

 

           12              thousand and thousands and thousands of

 

           13              dollars for probably Nay Aug Park.  Potholes

 

           14              all over the city and we lost our ballfield.

 

           15              What kind of a state of the city address is

 

           16              that mayor giving over there?  He is not

 

           17              with reality.  Come on, we are suffering

 

           18              here.  These taxpayers cannot afford what's

 

           19              going on here and we are owe a half a

 

           20              billion dollars in taxes.  Look out for the

 

           21              taxpayers, will you?  You are all own homes.

 

           22              Stop bowing down to this Mr. Doherty.  Get

 

           23              with it.  Get with the taxpayers.  Come on,

 

           24              we are sick of it and we are not going to

 

           25              put up with it.  Thank you.


 

 

                                                                      29

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Quinn.

 

            2              I'm not sure who signed here next, we have

 

            3              two names on the same line.  Lisa Lowrey.

 

            4                      MS. LOWREY:  Good evening, Council.

 

            5              On February 5 at approximately 10:00 p.m.

 

            6              there was a call for a dog that was stuck in

 

            7              a pool.  At least two police cars responded

 

            8              and Rescue 1 was then called out.  As Rescue

 

            9              1 was on it's way to the address they came

 

           10              over the air trying to find out why the

 

           11              animal control officer was not being called

 

           12              out for the job.  I understand that animal

 

           13              control is not called out after hours due to

 

           14              overtime issues, but it costs approximately

 

           15              $100 plus for Rescue 1 to respond to this

 

           16              type of a call.  We ended up with one fire

 

           17              truck, three squad cars, three firemen on

 

           18              Rescue 1 and three policemen all for a dog

 

           19              in a pool.  Animal control has the equipment

 

           20              to remove that dog within minutes at half

 

           21              the cost if not more than it was to have

 

           22              everybody else respond for this call.

 

           23                      I don't know if anybody knows, but

 

           24              Scranton has an estimated population of

 

           25              76,000 people which in turn would turn into


 

 

                                                                      30

 

 

            1              21,000 plus owned dogs alone.  They would

 

            2              have an estimated 41,000 owned cats.  The

 

            3              city sells approximately anywhere up to

 

            4              3,000 dog licenses at $9.00 a license.

 

            5              There is no way for anybody to follow-up on

 

            6              these licenses but that is a big lost in

 

            7              revenue to the city.

 

            8                      While I was employed at the Humane

 

            9              Society the City of Scranton also paid

 

           10              $8,000 a year for animals to be taken there.

 

           11              That also is a lost of revenue and you have

 

           12              the cost of gas and the multiple trips each

 

           13              day and then you the population of the feral

 

           14              cats which could exceed $50,000, these are

 

           15              all estimated through the ASPCA.  I don't

 

           16              know if the city has ever looked into owning

 

           17              it's own shelter, but there are programs

 

           18              that help cities build their own shelters at

 

           19              little or no cost to the city.

 

           20                      There are also grants available once

 

           21              a shelter is up and running that would help

 

           22              buy vehicles, maintain the building.  The

 

           23              city also in turn could look into turning

 

           24              over dog law enforcement to the state.  I

 

           25              think that there is a law that would


 

 

                                                                      31

 

 

            1              probably have to be changed allowing them to

 

            2              be able to come into Scranton because the

 

            3              class the city is under.  I think they would

 

            4              be acceptable to this idea because they

 

            5              would stand to gain that $9.00 per license

 

            6              at $21,000 plus licenses.

 

            7                      It is obviously the animal control

 

            8              job is to much for any one person to do with

 

            9              the day-to-day routine and then try to

 

           10              follow-up who bought their dog licenses.  So

 

           11              you still end up with than loss of revenue.

 

           12              All of my facts are available through

 

           13              websites, the Scranton website, the ASPCA

 

           14              website and Operation Orange websites.

 

           15              Thank you.

 

           16                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Mr. McGoff, I just

 

           17              want to ask Mrs. Garvey a question, I'm

 

           18              sorry, I will forget by the end of the

 

           19              meeting.  Kay, if you could just find out, I

 

           20              know it switched back and forth, who makes

 

           21              the decision on whether the dog catcher or

 

           22              whatever, animal control guy comes out, who

 

           23              it is, and what the standard operating

 

           24              procedure would be if they can give us a

 

           25              copy of that I would appreciate it.  Thank


 

 

                                                                      32

 

 

            1              you.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF:  Joe Talimini.

 

            3                      MR. TALIMINI:  Thank you,

 

            4              Mr. McGoff.  My name is Joe Talimini, I'm a

 

            5              resident of Scranton.  We had a recent

 

            6              incident here which has been ongoing with an

 

            7              agency in the community as you all know.  As

 

            8              the Board of Directors this incident has

 

            9              been going on for better than eight years

 

           10              and the Board of Directors knows nothing

 

           11              about it.  Now, my understanding is this

 

           12              Board of Directors is appointed by the

 

           13              mayor.  Consequently, it's under the

 

           14              jurisdiction of the city.

 

           15                      For several months now Mrs. Evans

 

           16              has asked for records, audits, etcetera, if

 

           17              this can go on in one agency in this

 

           18              community, it can go on in any agency in

 

           19              this community.  Now, a board, as well know

 

           20              or you should know, is there to supervise

 

           21              and to make sure that things like this don't

 

           22              happen.  You people are the board for this

 

           23              city.  There are five of you sitting up

 

           24              there.  You are elected, you are getting

 

           25              paid very well for what you are supposed to


 

 

                                                                      33

 

 

            1              be doing.  It's up to you to supervise the

 

            2              agencies in this city.  I have yet to hear

 

            3              anybody on this council say anything in

 

            4              favor of the citizens, but you all jump up

 

            5              and down whenever our illustrious mayor, who

 

            6              happens also I guess to be the honorary

 

            7              chairman of the Chamber of Commerce wants

 

            8              something.  Well, the citizens want

 

            9              something, too, they want action.  I want to

 

           10              see some action out of this council.  If we

 

           11              don't get any action out of this council I

 

           12              personally will see to it that there is an

 

           13              investigation of this council as well as the

 

           14              mayor because it's long overdue.  You people

 

           15              are the Board of Directors of this

 

           16              community, act like Board of Directors.

 

           17              Make sure these agencies take care of

 

           18              things.

 

           19                      Now, I'd like to tell you something

 

           20              else, I have been a journalist for well over

 

           21              60 years, most of you weren't even born when

 

           22              I was covering my first council meetings, I

 

           23              have seen a lot of city councils on major

 

           24              levels, on small town levels and, believe

 

           25              me, this is the saddest one I have ever


 

 

                                                                      34

 

 

            1              seen.  You have got a fire department in

 

            2              this community which is an excellent fire

 

            3              department I would stack it up against

 

            4              anybody in the country and I mean I'm

 

            5              talking about LA, New York, Birmingham,

 

            6              Alabama, a lot of small towns in-between,

 

            7              the way they are treated is deplorable, it's

 

            8              sickening, and you people don't speak out

 

            9              for them and that's sad, too.

 

           10                      I realize we have a strong mayor and

 

           11              weak council, but I didn't realize how weak

 

           12              this council is until I started coming to

 

           13              these meetings, now I realize how weak you

 

           14              are.  You've got the same thing with the

 

           15              police department.  You've got an excellent

 

           16              police department here, treat them with

 

           17              respect.  These people do it, they deserve

 

           18              it.  It's about time you people started

 

           19              acting like responsible board members.

 

           20              Thank you.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Talimini.

 

           22              Les Spindler.

 

           23                      MR. SPINDLER: Good evening, Council,

 

           24              Les Spindler.  First of all, I'd like to add

 

           25              onto something that Doug Miller said, he


 

 

                                                                      35

 

 

            1              said about the Rosado Group coming into the

 

            2              city, what he neglected to say is the Rosado

 

            3              Group is replacing a business that was in

 

            4              this city for 16 years and they left because

 

            5              they are unhappy with the way the city is

 

            6              doing things.  If I didn't know better I'd

 

            7              think he has the same speech writer that

 

            8              Mayor Doherty has, talk about the few

 

            9              businesses coming in, but they don't say

 

           10              about the 20 businesses that left the city

 

           11              last year.

 

           12                      Next thing, Mr. McGoff, are you

 

           13              going to ask for an investigation on Jeff

 

           14              Brazil helping take those pictures out of

 

           15              that art store?

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF:  Do you wish an answer

 

           17              now?

 

           18                      MR. SPINDLER:  Yes.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: No, I am not.  It was

 

           20              already sent to the District Attorney and

 

           21              the District Attorney said that there was no

 

           22              reason to investigate.

 

           23                      MR. SPINDLER: I find that hard to

 

           24              believe.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: You asked me and I gave


 

 

                                                                      36

 

 

            1              you an answer.

 

            2                      MR. SPINDLER: To me it sounds to me

 

            3              like the same thing the prison warden did

 

            4              and he was arrested for that.  I guess maybe

 

            5              because Donna Doherty was involved that's

 

            6              why nothing is happening.

 

            7                      The next thing, Mr. McGoff, last

 

            8              week you told Mrs. Franus when her time was

 

            9              up she wanted more time, you said, "You

 

           10              asked questions, you got answers.  Your time

 

           11              is up," but two weeks before Mr. Santos

 

           12              asked questions and got answers and you let

 

           13              him go well beyond his five minutes, why is

 

           14              that?

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: Again, you wish me to

 

           16              answer?

 

           17                      MR. SPINDLER: Yes.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: It's at my discretion.

 

           19                      MR. SPINDLER: No, that's

 

           20              discrimination.  It's discrimination not

 

           21              your discretion and it's against the law.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF:  No, it's in the Rules

 

           23              of Council.

 

           24                      MR. SPINDLER:  The Rules of Council

 

           25              don't override the constitution.


 

 

                                                                      37

 

 

            1                      I have a couple of quotes from the

 

            2              mayor from the Doherty Newsletter on Friday.

 

            3              "If the conditions are so bad," Doherty say,

 

            4              "firefighters can find other jobs."

 

            5                      Well, they don't want to find other

 

            6              jobs, they love their jobs, they just don't

 

            7              like working under unsafe conditions that

 

            8              Chief Davis is making them do.

 

            9                      Next thing, another quote from the

 

           10              mayor, "If people feel I made the wrong

 

           11              decision on Fire Chief Tom Davis then they

 

           12              can vote me out of office."

 

           13                      Well, I hope they listen to him and

 

           14              do that thing and vote him out of office.

 

           15              Next thing, the mayor said he is running for

 

           16              office because he hasn't finished what he

 

           17              started.  He is right.  He hasn't finished

 

           18              draining the city.  He has borrowed millions

 

           19              and millions of dollars and what do we have

 

           20              to show for it?  We have a $600,000

 

           21              treehouse, a bridge to nowhere, we have a

 

           22              long-term debt of over $300 million, we have

 

           23              people leaving the city in droves, a

 

           24              population lower than it's ever been.  We

 

           25              have businesses leaving the city and the


 

 

                                                                      38

 

 

            1              mayor has the gaul to say the city is in

 

            2              good shape.  Does he think the people are

 

            3              stupid.  I think the only people that are

 

            4              stupid are the ones that vote for him.  So,

 

            5              like I said, we should do what the mayor

 

            6              says and vote him out of office.  Thank you.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Spindler.

 

            8              Lauren Kushner.

 

            9                      MS. KUSHNER:  Good evening, Lauren

 

           10              Kushner, a resident of the city and the wife

 

           11              of a Scranton firefighter.  We are here

 

           12              tonight as family members of Scranton

 

           13              Firefighters.  Enough is enough.  We are not

 

           14              interested in making personal attacks on the

 

           15              mayor or the administration because our

 

           16              interest is in the safety and integrity of

 

           17              these men and woman.  However, we feel the

 

           18              need to protest the most recent comments

 

           19              made by Mayor Doherty and the Scranton Times

 

           20              that no firefighters have left the

 

           21              department during his time in office, that

 

           22              firefighters are unable to perform their

 

           23              duties due to their fitness level and that

 

           24              those who are unhappy with the way they are

 

           25              being treated should simply leave the city.


 

 

                                                                      39

 

 

            1              Such a statement is a reflection of the lack

 

            2              of respect for our city employees.

 

            3                      It is important that this

 

            4              administration and this council are aware

 

            5              that the issues recently brought to light

 

            6              regarding safety have been going on for

 

            7              years.  It is time that you understand that

 

            8              we do not take these attacks lightly and

 

            9              that the statements made effect not just the

 

           10              men and woman of the fire department, but

 

           11              their family and their friends as well.  We

 

           12              are here to show support for our husband's

 

           13              and their coworkers because the citizens

 

           14              have a right to know that the information

 

           15              provided to them is untrue and misleading.

 

           16                   The firefighters put their lives on the

 

           17              line everyday to protect the citizens of

 

           18              this city and their property.  They are

 

           19              placed on the fire department to be ready at

 

           20              a moment's notice for the next call.  The

 

           21              job of a firefighter is inherently a

 

           22              dangerous one and to say that safety

 

           23              concerns are politically motivated is absurd

 

           24              and offensive.  It is time for this council

 

           25              to do the right thing and address the safety


 

 

                                                                      40

 

 

            1              concerns of the Scranton Fire Department.

 

            2              Thank you.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: Pat DeSarno.

 

            4                      MR. DESARNO: There are so many

 

            5              issues in this city I don't even know where

 

            6              I'm going to start, so I'll just go with one

 

            7              issue at a time.  I would like to start with

 

            8              a little primer for the benefit of those who

 

            9              wish to continue to bash the Scranton Fire

 

           10              Department.  I suggest that you educate

 

           11              yourself before embarrassing yourself by

 

           12              repeating spoon-fed misinformation.

 

           13                      In regards to the recent no

 

           14              confidence vote, casting secret ballots is

 

           15              an integral part of most electoral systems.

 

           16              The process affords everyone the opportunity

 

           17              to vote their conscience without fear of

 

           18              reprisal from those with opposing views.  In

 

           19              this instance, the so-called veil provided

 

           20              by the union was the chance for anyone,

 

           21              anyone in the Scranton Fire Department to

 

           22              not go with the flow so to speak and then no

 

           23              one would be the wiser, yet 125 members

 

           24              chose to forego that opportunity and declare

 

           25              their lack of faith in the chief.  So, what


 

 

                                                                      41

 

 

            1              then is spineless?  Is it those 125 men who

 

            2              traveled without disguises to the voting

 

            3              site?  Is it the 35 or so members who stood

 

            4              in front of the cameras in front of fire

 

            5              headquarters and behind the union

 

            6              leadership?  And maybe it's those who dare

 

            7              to come here and publically express our

 

            8              dissatisfaction with the goings on in this

 

            9              city.

 

           10                      Personally, and I mean this on a

 

           11              personal level, I think this fits the

 

           12              definition to a "T", one who stands by idly,

 

           13              head bowed in deference to his political

 

           14              patron as he watches if that patron exacts

 

           15              his penchant of vendettas on the families,

 

           16              and believe me, indeed, the children of

 

           17              those who dare oppose him politically.  How

 

           18              then are we supposed to look to that man for

 

           19              leadership?

 

           20                      Now, another thing, pay attention,

 

           21              Miss Fanucci and Stacy Brown if you are

 

           22              looking here somewhere, for the last time,

 

           23              longevity is a form of acknowledging and

 

           24              compensating employees for their years of

 

           25              service.  It's an equitable way for those a


 

 

                                                                      42

 

 

            1              little bit higher in seniority to earn a

 

            2              little bit more than those that came after

 

            3              them.  An employee's base pay is increased 1

 

            4              percent for every two years, not one year as

 

            5              is so often misstated.  In 1993, the union

 

            6              conceded a cap of 10 percent as well as

 

            7              freezing longevity for those who were above

 

            8              the 10 percent at that time.  All years

 

            9              spent working after 20 are done so with no

 

           10              further bumps in longevity and since

 

           11              longevity increases are added to base salary

 

           12              they do accrue, but at the rate of

 

           13              approximately $200 per year I hardly think

 

           14              that warrants being categorized as a raise.

 

           15                      The health care coverage touted as

 

           16              unsurpassed by any local employer is ancient

 

           17              history.  As a matter of fact, the only fire

 

           18              department employee still enjoying the

 

           19              so-called Cadillac coverage is Chief Davis.

 

           20              Some have stated that no confidence votes

 

           21              are a national trend and, Mr. McGoff, you

 

           22              called them increasingly common.  They are

 

           23              eerily familiar sounding, don't you think?

 

           24              I don't know if I would call eight

 

           25              departments out of over 3,000 IAFF


 

 

                                                                      43

 

 

            1              affiliates taking such actions over the past

 

            2              two years trendy.

 

            3                      Additionally, the average tenure of

 

            4              these chiefs was three and a half years.

 

            5              So, six years really isn't all that odd, it

 

            6              actually implies the real reluctance by

 

            7              anyone to take such a drastic measure and

 

            8              the realization of the gravity of such an

 

            9              action.  It was not an easy option.

 

           10                      A final note, in three of those

 

           11              cases the chief stepped down.  I have taken

 

           12              notice of one particular recurring trend,

 

           13              every so often Doherty ads pop up everywhere

 

           14              imparting laughably simpler versions of the

 

           15              latest Doherty provided propaganda and all

 

           16              the while they assume that everyone might be

 

           17              dumb enough to actually believe the notion

 

           18              that everyone involved in the very same

 

           19              original idea at the very same time -- at

 

           20              the very same moment in time.

 

           21                      Oh, finally, Mrs. Gatelli, twice I

 

           22              have asked members of this council to opine

 

           23              on the matter of wasteful spending by a

 

           24              vindictive mayor of much needed city dollars

 

           25              and spending that money on sure loser Court


 

 

                                                                      44

 

 

            1              cases.  And, Mr. McGoff, feel free at any

 

            2              time to give me a real answer, I have came

 

            3              here, I cited my sources, unlike some

 

            4              people, and I presented my facts, your

 

            5              failure to offer even the slightest

 

            6              acknowledgment of the issues I raised is an

 

            7              insult to me and will behoove you to pay

 

            8              attention to this, by your own admissions

 

            9              you have engaged in questionable political

 

           10              business on school district property during

 

           11              your regular working hours and I reiterate

 

           12              this behavior as questionable so I have

 

           13              taken it upon myself to contact some of my

 

           14              old friends and to hatcheck in the US Office

 

           15              of Special Counsel, we'll let them sort it

 

           16              out, and just to be thorough, I'll be

 

           17              presenting my concerns to all pertinent

 

           18              school district officials as well.  I hope

 

           19              you hear me now.  Thank you very much.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF: Candace McColligan.

 

           21                      MS. MCCOLLIGAN: Candace McColligan,

 

           22              Scranton resident.  Each week I'm amazed at

 

           23              the information that the people of this city

 

           24              bring to your attention and I'm amazed to

 

           25              see that much of it is ignored, that valid


 

 

                                                                      45

 

 

            1              questions go unanswered even as votes on

 

            2              those same issues are being passed.  Do any

 

            3              of you want to have all of the answers

 

            4              before making a decision or is that your

 

            5              decision isn't affected by the facts,

 

            6              therefore, getting answers to the questions

 

            7              presented here truly doesn't matter.

 

            8                      I'm fascinated with the issue with

 

            9              the DPW removing property for a private

 

           10              citizen has been blindly defended.  No

 

           11              looking into it, no efforts to find out what

 

           12              really happened, just defense, who needs

 

           13              facts.  Even if the person had benefited

 

           14              from the actions of the DPW money

 

           15              contributing back to the city, since when

 

           16              are city services funded by taxpayers out

 

           17              for hire?  Would it even be legal for that

 

           18              to happen?  Who is protecting the taxpayers

 

           19              of this city?

 

           20                      I have never seen a city so divided

 

           21              or taxpayers so ignored all headed by a

 

           22              mayor who creates hostility through a my way

 

           23              or the highway attitude and feeds false

 

           24              information to the public through a

 

           25              newspaper whose journalist integrity can be


 

 

                                                                      46

 

 

            1              called questionable at best.

 

            2                      I keep hearing the recovery plan

 

            3              used as a defense by members of this

 

            4              council.  If you truly support a recovery

 

            5              plan as you state how can you justify voting

 

            6              for the 2008 budget or any of the budgets

 

            7              that created new positions and gave raises

 

            8              to a select few?  From my reading of the

 

            9              plan, positions were to be eliminated and

 

           10              salaries reduced or held at bay.  You, as

 

           11              council, have voted against the recovery

 

           12              plan in those instances and now try to stand

 

           13              behind it and use it as a defense.  You

 

           14              can't have it both ways and neither can the

 

           15              mayor.

 

           16                        Just like the plans of the past

 

           17              there are some really good ideas within the

 

           18              current plan, but there are things that

 

           19              simply don't work.  I support a recovery

 

           20              plan that supports the people of this city,

 

           21              not just the people at city hall.  I support

 

           22              a recovery plan that makes crime and safety

 

           23              not landscaping a priority.  While I don't

 

           24              have all of the facts and information that

 

           25              you do on council, I do have ideas and even


 

 

                                                                      47

 

 

            1              if my initial thoughts aren't feasible

 

            2              perhaps there are ways to make them that

 

            3              way.  Mainly, I would like to see the people

 

            4              be more involved and more heard in the

 

            5              decisions of this government.  There are

 

            6              always seem to confusion as to why people

 

            7              are up in arms about $60,000 spent on trees

 

            8              or one million dollars transferred to fund

 

            9              an already funded parking garage.

 

           10                      First, as was pointed out last week,

 

           11              it's the amount of money being spent.  It's

 

           12              shown over and over in other cities these

 

           13              projects can be completed for a fraction of

 

           14              what this city is spending.  Why are we

 

           15              wasting taxpayer dollars when we are in

 

           16              financial distress?  Do any of you bother to

 

           17              compile the amount of money being wasted

 

           18              each week?  Does it even matter to you that

 

           19              so much more can be done with that money and

 

           20              that you have the control to make it happen?

 

           21                   I realize that certain money is

 

           22              allocated for specific things, but why can't

 

           23              this council present several options to the

 

           24              people as to how that money could be spent

 

           25              rather than putting one thing up as the only


 

 

                                                                      48

 

 

            1              option at the last minute.  We all know that

 

            2              there are plenty of opportunities to

 

            3              brainstorm for ideas before time is about to

 

            4              run out.  Procrastination, if that's what we

 

            5              should call it, is no excuse in city

 

            6              government.  Let the people have an

 

            7              opportunity to be a part of the process.

 

            8              Put some power into the hands of those whose

 

            9              money you are spending.  Let them make a

 

           10              case for which of those options they feel is

 

           11              best and then place your votes keeping those

 

           12              opinions in mind.  Seeing the people

 

           13              represented in those votes is a great first

 

           14              step in rebuilding the trust that has been

 

           15              lot, and a trust has been lost no matter how

 

           16              much you have tell yourselves differently.

 

           17                   I fully realize that this would not be

 

           18              an option for each vote in issue, but it

 

           19              would be an option for some and it would

 

           20              allow the people to have a say which is what

 

           21              this city is lacking all too often.

 

           22                      It was made very clear at the last

 

           23              meeting I attended that nothing has changed

 

           24              at these council meetings and until

 

           25              something does we the citizens should not


 

 

                                                                      49

 

 

            1              expect different results from our presence

 

            2              here, that you will keep smiling, but

 

            3              perhaps we should take your advice and

 

            4              change our ways.  So my question is this, if

 

            5              we are unhappy with the direction of this

 

            6              city and the decisions of this mayor and

 

            7              council what is that we should do?  If we

 

            8              shouldn't come here each week and let you,

 

            9              as our representatives know, who should we

 

           10              talk to?  The implications is that we either

 

           11              need to change what we are saying or how we

 

           12              are saying it or that we shouldn't

 

           13              participate at all, but I'm sure that I must

 

           14              be mistaken because it would be largely

 

           15              offensive to think that a representative of

 

           16              the people would say to them that their

 

           17              voice doesn't matter or shouldn't be heard

 

           18              especially as that representative has been

 

           19              elected to listen to the people and be

 

           20              guided accordingly.

 

           21                      Certainly there are those that come

 

           22              to these meetings with the intention of

 

           23              disrupting things rather than to bring

 

           24              positive change, but to focus on those

 

           25              speakers is to admit your inability to do


 

 

                                                                      50

 

 

            1              your job properly and does and injustice to

 

            2              the rest of us.  To state because of those

 

            3              speakers all of us must suffer your

 

            4              disinterest in what we have to say is a

 

            5              disgrace.

 

            6                      Listen to the people of this city

 

            7              because they have a lot to offer, because

 

            8              they have a different perspective, because

 

            9              they have every reason to only one the best

 

           10              for this city and because it's what you are

 

           11              put on this council to do.  Thank you.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF:  Thank you, Mrs.

 

           13              McColligan.  Andrew Porter.

 

           14                      MR. PORTER: Good to see the young

 

           15              people involved in the city government.  One

 

           16              city under God.  Last week I may have

 

           17              witnessed the birth of a city in these

 

           18              changes, the citizens of Scranton spoke to

 

           19              city council and the mayor were included in

 

           20              this glimpse of the future.  There may be a

 

           21              light at the end of the tunnel.  The

 

           22              firefighters spoke of an major problem

 

           23              within his department and very serious

 

           24              charges were brought up -- were brought

 

           25              forth against the fire chief.  This person


 

 

                                                                      51

 

 

            1              spoke of a meeting where amongst others the

 

            2              mayor was present and promised something

 

            3              would be done but the chief would remain in

 

            4              his position.  Other citizens spoke of taxes

 

            5              and at least one senior citizen was losing

 

            6              their home.  City council chambers were

 

            7              filled with anger, but less hate and after

 

            8              the citizens spoke all of the members of

 

            9              city council did some work.  There was anger

 

           10              and disagreement on many issues, but the

 

           11              line were drawn and each member defended

 

           12              their proposition as best they could.

 

           13              Scranton's heavyweight bought ensued for

 

           14              more than two hours.  Janet Evans came out

 

           15              swinging, three left jabs followed by a Bill

 

           16              Courtright right cross.  Then Sherry Fanucci

 

           17              countered with the right lead followed by a

 

           18              Judy Gatelli upper cut.  Mr. McGoff was in

 

           19              the middle of the ring feeling the affects

 

           20              of both sides and offered that he would like

 

           21              to balance the scales by giving the chief

 

           22              the benefit of the doubt.  In the end the

 

           23              referee called it a draw, but it was a

 

           24              victory for the City of Scranton.

 

           25                      The City of Scranton does not belong


 

 

                                                                      52

 

 

            1              to us.  This is God's city.  We just live

 

            2              here.  At one moment in time at the meeting,

 

            3              I think it was at the beginning of the

 

            4              meeting, council member announced a function

 

            5              to be held in the city acknowledging black

 

            6              history month, that they had a speaker, I

 

            7              never heard of that speaker, so at this time

 

            8              I would like to take the time to reflect on

 

            9              American History and I ask you that be

 

           10              patient with me because certain things need

 

           11              to be said.

 

           12                      In America for over the course of

 

           13              400 years slavery existed.  People were

 

           14              beaten down, raped, maimed and murdered

 

           15              simply because of the color of their skin.

 

           16              African people were taken and removed from

 

           17              the land to become -- from their land to

 

           18              become slaves in these United States and

 

           19              Tarzan was left in Africa to become the king

 

           20              of the jungle.  This was a dark and

 

           21              despicable period in our American history

 

           22              and after centuries of people owning people

 

           23              the Emancipation Proclamation Act was

 

           24              brought forth to free the slaves, but the

 

           25              struggle for freedom hadn't even begun.


 

 

                                                                      53

 

 

            1              Rosa Parks, Macon Evans, Martin Luther King,

 

            2              Malcolm X, Jessie Owens, Joe Louis, Muhammad

 

            3              Ali, the Tuskegee Airman, Branch Ricky,

 

            4              Eleanor Roosevelt, John Fitzgerald Kennedy

 

            5              were but a few colored and noncolored heroes

 

            6              to impact positive change in America and the

 

            7              people trying to define their identity in

 

            8              the 60's and 70's were saying it loud, "I'm

 

            9              Black and I'm proud," adorned in African

 

           10              attire called Dashikis and natural hairdo's

 

           11              known as Afros.  A Renaissance period was

 

           12              underway not as a threat to America, but to

 

           13              help the people find their place in a

 

           14              strange land.

 

           15                      Today people wear wigs, adorn their

 

           16              hair with colors from red, blue, yellow,

 

           17              orange, green, purple and every other color

 

           18              of the rainbow while our youth walk the

 

           19              streets hooded in over 60-degree

 

           20              temperatures while others slump riding and

 

           21              driving in cars, so I ask you, is this cool

 

           22              or is this possibly dangerous?  Decades ago

 

           23              our government met in the halls of Congress

 

           24              and passed a piece of legislation that would

 

           25              even the playing field, kind of to balance


 

 

                                                                      54

 

 

            1              the scales, and so the idea of a grant was

 

            2              born but the very people that grants were

 

            3              put in place to help they have never

 

            4              received and so that dream was never even

 

            5              realized.  Over the course of time the

 

            6              language of legislation has been changed to

 

            7              benefit other individuals, their families

 

            8              and friends.

 

            9                      In the year 2004 through 2006 I went

 

           10              back to school with some fine young men and

 

           11              gentlemen of Scranton.  My time is up.  I

 

           12              shall be back.  This is not our city.  We

 

           13              have to do the work.  This is God's city and

 

           14              if we don't define who we are it can rain

 

           15              for 18 days and 18 nights and Noah's Ark

 

           16              will not save us.  That only happens once in

 

           17              a lifetime.  This is our land.  These are

 

           18              our people, and I'd like to say

 

           19              congratulations to the West Scranton

 

           20              football team and that they should try and

 

           21              get some other folks on their team because

 

           22              those other folks can help them go over and

 

           23              into the nationals.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Brian

 

           25              Murray.


 

 

                                                                      55

 

 

            1                      MR. MURRAY: Good evening, Council.

 

            2              My name is Brian Murray, taxpayer, city

 

            3              firefighter.  I come before you this evening

 

            4              to provide factual information in regards to

 

            5              the recent statements made by the

 

            6              administration in the Scranton Times on

 

            7              Friday, February 22, 2008, regarding the

 

            8              recovery process that took place in Roaring

 

            9              Brook on May 27, 2007.

 

           10                      As the driver of the on-duty chief

 

           11              that day I was involved in all aspects of

 

           12              that recovery, including providing transport

 

           13              of rescue crews, equipment and

 

           14              administrative officials to the scene,

 

           15              assisting in the setup of both safety ropes

 

           16              for the crews to descend into the step falls

 

           17              area and the lifting system used for the

 

           18              recovery.  I also descended into the step

 

           19              falls myself and assisted with the recovery.

 

           20                   In light of the statements and

 

           21              pictorials and reference to the physical

 

           22              condition of the eight, not 15 or 20

 

           23              firefighters as indicated by the Times that

 

           24              took place in the recovery, I offer the

 

           25              following facts:  Of those eight, six


 

 

                                                                      56

 

 

            1              repelled into the falls, including myself,

 

            2              all of which received advanced training and

 

            3              certification in both firefighting and

 

            4              rescue at Harrisburg Area Community College.

 

            5              Chief Davis doesn't even have that type of

 

            6              training.  All being deemed physically fit

 

            7              to do the profession at hand by Harrisburg

 

            8              Area Community College, three of which were

 

            9              so certified just months before the

 

           10              recovery.

 

           11                      As for the remaining two, one was

 

           12              the duty chief who oversaw the complete

 

           13              operation and the other a seasoned member of

 

           14              Rescue 1 crew who oversaw the operation of

 

           15              all rope lifting systems and safety lines.

 

           16                   In reference to Chief Davis' actions

 

           17              that day, it was only after the initial

 

           18              recovery crew repelled into the falls area

 

           19              did Chief Davis himself scale down the

 

           20              terrain.  He did so with no safety harness

 

           21              or helmet to protect himself in case of a

 

           22              fall.  He was advised by a member of our

 

           23              crew not to do so without proper gear and

 

           24              his reply was, and I quote, "I have to see

 

           25              this for myself."


 

 

                                                                      57

 

 

            1                      Upon entering the falls area Chief

 

            2              Davis was advised to stay away from the

 

            3              scene until the crime scene investigator

 

            4              arrived.  He continued into the crime scene

 

            5              and only turned back after he was threatened

 

            6              with detainment by the on-scene police

 

            7              officer for entering a crime scene.

 

            8                      It disheartened me to read in the

 

            9              paper the quotes of the administration about

 

           10              this terrible day and think of the pain the

 

           11              Grendel family has and continues to go

 

           12              through.  I can only offer my most sincere

 

           13              condolences to the family in hopes to ease

 

           14              their pain.

 

           15                      To both this council and the

 

           16              citizens and of Scranton I ask you, how is a

 

           17              member of the fire department to have

 

           18              confidence in their fire chief, a man who

 

           19              has less modern day firefighting training

 

           20              and experience than one of our newly hired

 

           21              recruits, a man who previously stated both

 

           22              today and in past weeks has complete

 

           23              disregard for his own safety and safety of

 

           24              the men and women he commands?  I implore

 

           25              you, please, personally educate yourself


 

 

                                                                      58

 

 

            1              with the safety issues at hand, both the

 

            2              safety issues of the firefighters and the

 

            3              issues that plague the citizens of the city.

 

            4              Thank you.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Sean Trope.

 

            6                      MR. TROPE: Good evening, Council.

 

            7              My name is Sean Trope, I'm a firefighter for

 

            8              the City of Scranton.  It really turns my

 

            9              stomach what I read in the paper on Friday

 

           10              about the physical condition of the

 

           11              firefighters that were there, I was there

 

           12              that day, I was on Rescue 1, the mayor has

 

           13              no -- we know he has no soul for us, he

 

           14              doesn't care about us, but yet he uses the

 

           15              family's name in the paper again, brings it

 

           16              up.  Why?  When we talked about this

 

           17              situation we were behind closed doors we

 

           18              left it as just an incident at the falls at

 

           19              the gorge.  He wanted to know, what

 

           20              incident?  What incident?  He knew what

 

           21              incident it was, he was there.  Why did he

 

           22              have to come out and say this to the

 

           23              families?  Why is it he have to lie, not

 

           24              even half truth, it's a lie.  Every single

 

           25              one of us that were there that day did our


 

 

                                                                      59

 

 

            1              job without exception and we were

 

            2              physically -- more than physically able to

 

            3              do it and we did do it.

 

            4                      I was there when the chief came to

 

            5              the scene.  Now, he goes over to the rope,

 

            6              asked me, "Are there guys down there?"

 

            7                      "Yes, Chief."

 

            8                      He grabs the rope.  Now, he is

 

            9              wearing sneakers, shorts, and a golf shirt.

 

           10              Meanwhile, for me to go down and two other

 

           11              firefighters that were already down there

 

           12              assessing the situation and already

 

           13              addressed the problem.  I have to wear a

 

           14              harness, hook into the line, into the rope,

 

           15              with two bruising cords which are safety

 

           16              attachments which I was to slip and fall and

 

           17              I let go of that rope they are going to grab

 

           18              and I'm not going to fall.  The degree of

 

           19              the slope dictated that that's how we

 

           20              operate.

 

           21                      I advised him, chief, I wouldn't go

 

           22              down there like that with no gloves,

 

           23              nothing, just get a fastener.  I want to be

 

           24              John Wayne, I want to be a hero, I want to

 

           25              go down that rope.  Okay.  I advised him, I


 

 

                                                                      60

 

 

            1              advised him three times, "Chief, I wouldn't

 

            2              do it --" it's a crime scene.  It's the

 

            3              police.  They are running the show, we are

 

            4              just helping them.

 

            5                      I do have knowledge on crime scenes

 

            6              and how they operate and what you need to

 

            7              do.  You get one shot at a crime scene.  One

 

            8              shot.  That's it.  There was no reason for

 

            9              him to go down there.  He is not offering us

 

           10              any sort of technical support.  Hey, you

 

           11              guys need this, you know, you should do

 

           12              this, you should do that.  The guys on scene

 

           13              are on halt systems, our set lines, our

 

           14              safety lines were already all set up.  Now,

 

           15              why does he have to go down there?  I can't

 

           16              even imagine why.  It turns my stomach to

 

           17              think why this man has to go down there.

 

           18                      Now, I was not in the gorge at the

 

           19              time that he was supposedly, you know, I

 

           20              wouldn't say yelled at by a police officer

 

           21              so I will not speak on that.  I mean, this

 

           22              is just ridiculous, I'm sorry.  Why is he

 

           23              there?  Can anybody tell me?  You know, I

 

           24              mean, you talk about safety for us.  Now, he

 

           25              goes down there, you know, wants to be a big


 

 

                                                                      61

 

 

            1              hero and he goes down and gets hurt.  Now we

 

            2              have to change our whole operation to rescue

 

            3              him, to bring him up.  I'm not trying to

 

            4              crack a joke here, but that's exactly what

 

            5              would happen.  We tax our resources now.

 

            6              It's a different way to have to operate.

 

            7              You know, and it's -- every one of us knows

 

            8              the inherent dangers of our chosen

 

            9              profession.  We know the risks.

 

           10                      All we ask from the mayor and the

 

           11              city is could you give us proper equipment

 

           12              so every one of us can go home at night or

 

           13              in the morning and see our children, our

 

           14              wife, our husband, whatever, it's all we ask

 

           15              for.  And what do we get?  We get the mayor

 

           16              in this paper who will just print a lie.

 

           17              Will print a lie.  And we are all fat, out

 

           18              of shape and then that cute little cartoon

 

           19              in Sunday's paper, I mean, that guy what is

 

           20              he, in second grade?  I mean, because that's

 

           21              what you do.  I mean, I understand, you

 

           22              know, council, you have different political

 

           23              views, what side you are on, that's fine.

 

           24              We aren't all going to agree on everything,

 

           25              but work with us, sit down.  I will sit down


 

 

                                                                      62

 

 

            1              with anybody and discuss in detail the

 

            2              events of that day.  I won't do it here in a

 

            3              public forum because there are certain

 

            4              things that do not need to be made public

 

            5              out of good taste and I will not do it.  I

 

            6              will sit down at any time and I will tell

 

            7              you details of how we operated and what

 

            8              happened.  Thank you.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Jim Davis.

 

           10                      MR. DAVIS: Salaam aleikum.  My name

 

           11              is Jim Davis and I come to you after, let's

 

           12              see, we started this in 1984 when Jessie

 

           13              Jackson first ran for president and this is

 

           14              more or less we have a history of people

 

           15              running for president, but we have told

 

           16              Jessie, run, Jessie, run, because that was

 

           17              the thing he had to do.  We are making our

 

           18              way towards the pole or the goal of

 

           19              presidency with Barack Obama, Senator Barack

 

           20              Obama, and we are very proud of him.  Now

 

           21              don't get confused, we are very proud of

 

           22              this young man.  He is the epitome of so

 

           23              many things we have asked for in this

 

           24              lifetime but he's finally gotten to the

 

           25              point where he can reach out and almost


 

 

                                                                      63

 

 

            1              touch that pot of gold for that little

 

            2              branch, whatever you want to call it, but

 

            3              I'm saying like this to the kids don't be

 

            4              disconcerting.  Don't be afraid to lose

 

            5              because there will be someone after that.

 

            6              Believe me.  We are not going to stop just

 

            7              like we are not going to stop running for

 

            8              city council or for mayor or for other

 

            9              conditions.  We don't have representation.

 

           10                   We don't have representation in the

 

           11              fire department, a fantastic fire

 

           12              department.  Some of my best friends are on

 

           13              the fire department.  Thomas Hogan who died

 

           14              in the fire department was my closest friend

 

           15              for a long time, but I'm saying like this,

 

           16              there is -- it's unsafe for us to tell our

 

           17              kids to go down and join them because you

 

           18              have problems at the top.  If you have

 

           19              problems at the top, if you have problems

 

           20              with the chief, the safety for those

 

           21              underneath him are not going to be looked

 

           22              at.  They should be -- you really should

 

           23              investigate.  There is something wrong with

 

           24              this whole thing and he should be removed

 

           25              and you should remove him, but that's beside


 

 

                                                                      64

 

 

            1              the point.  I'm not either in a position to

 

            2              have anybody removed or ask to have him

 

            3              removed, but the main thing is keep your

 

            4              heart and your soul and your hope in it's

 

            5              proper place.  Keep your eyes straight ahead

 

            6              and look at the people that you want to vote

 

            7              for and listen to them and discern what they

 

            8              are saying as being the truth.  If you can

 

            9              do that you won't make any mistakes because

 

           10              that's all we have.  All we have is our hope

 

           11              and our faith and our trust, and what goes

 

           12              on in front of us and I wish you nothing

 

           13              about the very best in this election.

 

           14                      The mayor is going to run for office

 

           15              again?  Is he serious?  I mean, there is so

 

           16              much negative -- well, I guess we don't

 

           17              count.  If we think things negatively that

 

           18              does not -- and he has already shown it to

 

           19              us twice, that does not decide what he does

 

           20              in the polls, so maybe what we have to do is

 

           21              to get two more people like ourselves and

 

           22              start talking to people like that and talk

 

           23              to them about the election, talk to them

 

           24              about the presidential election, get

 

           25              involved.  I mean, really get involved, get


 

 

                                                                      65

 

 

            1              involved to the point where it almost hurts

 

            2              to talk about because what's going on in

 

            3              Scranton is painful.  We have got firemen

 

            4              that are hurting themselves and maybe

 

            5              causing others to do that and they are still

 

            6              not doing anything about it and I feel sorry

 

            7              for them because there is some good strong

 

            8              men.  I mean, there are some very brave men,

 

            9              too.  I have seen it.  There is no -- there

 

           10              is no whimps in our fire department that I

 

           11              know of.  So pray for them, guide them and

 

           12              have faith in what they are saying and what

 

           13              they are doing and we got a back up because

 

           14              if we don't back them we don't have

 

           15              anything.  Seriously, our lives are at

 

           16              jeopardy, are in jeopardy.  Thank you very

 

           17              much.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Davis.

 

           19              Brett McClough.

 

           20                      MR. MCCLOUGH: Good evening.  My name

 

           21              is Brett McClough, Scranton taxpayer.  Weeks

 

           22              ago I had made a statement about substantive

 

           23              hope and I heard an interesting statistic

 

           24              about Scranton and Lackawanna County.  There

 

           25              are more single women with children than


 

 

                                                                      66

 

 

            1              married with children and I wanted to tell

 

            2              you a little story about some advice I gave

 

            3              a single young mother of two when she was

 

            4              talking about how she was going to spend her

 

            5              tax return.  She was talking about going

 

            6              shopping, paying off some utility bills with

 

            7              what turned out to be a substantial amount

 

            8              of money, it was $5,000 from head of

 

            9              household earned income tax credits.  I

 

           10              asked her what her rent was.  She told me it

 

           11              was $500 a month plus utilities.  I asked

 

           12              her, do you plan on staying in this

 

           13              apartment for at least the next year and is

 

           14              the landlord good about fixing things when

 

           15              things break?  Once again she said, yes.

 

           16                      I said to her it must be very hard

 

           17              and frustrating to live paycheck to paycheck

 

           18              especially with two children and a drawer

 

           19              full of bills.  Now, the advice I gave her

 

           20              was not rocket science, nothing new, has

 

           21              many variations dependent on individual's

 

           22              circumstances and is by no means fool proof,

 

           23              but is based on some successes and more

 

           24              importantly lessons from my own failures

 

           25              that always result in a "I could have done


 

 

                                                                      67

 

 

            1              this.  I would have done that.  I should

 

            2              have done the other."

 

            3                      I told her to take 60 to 70 percent

 

            4              of that $5,000 return and put it towards

 

            5              reducing her rent for the year.  Paying off

 

            6              two or three months gives you a nice break.

 

            7              When it's over you are back where you

 

            8              started.  Strike a deal with the landlord

 

            9              and give him the $3,000 which cuts her

 

           10              monthly rent from $500 down to $250 a month,

 

           11              not to mention there are possibly a few

 

           12              landlords out there that might even cut her

 

           13              a break, maybe even take a month off.

 

           14                      The reason why I made this

 

           15              suggestion to her was to give her a chance

 

           16              to see options for a better future for

 

           17              herself by reducing her rent she now has

 

           18              alleviated one of the major stressors in her

 

           19              life by showing a bit of innovative fiscal

 

           20              responsibility she now has options, options

 

           21              to spend more year round instead of blowing

 

           22              it all in three months on things that really

 

           23              don't add to the quality of life.  She now

 

           24              has options of spending more time with her

 

           25              children instead of pulling double shifts to


 

 

                                                                      68

 

 

            1              make ends meet.  She might even like her job

 

            2              just a little bitter because she knows that

 

            3              her financial situation is not hopeless.

 

            4              She can now begin to develop a peace of mind

 

            5              and finally read that brochure that has been

 

            6              sitting on other coffee table that could

 

            7              eventually take her back to school and

 

            8              possibly double her income in two years.

 

            9                   Yes, she still has hard work to do to

 

           10              get the rest of the bills paid, but the

 

           11              funny thing about utilities and credit cards

 

           12              it's all controllable.  That tax return

 

           13              should not be used on utilities because you

 

           14              are to lazy to turn off the lights or turn

 

           15              down the heat.  You make those bills, you

 

           16              pay those bills.  Why blow a $5,000 head

 

           17              start on your future because of mistakes you

 

           18              made in the past.

 

           19                      There is many, many more things that

 

           20              can be done to help the quality of life for

 

           21              single parents and women during these

 

           22              economic hard times and I wish this young

 

           23              mother as well as all single parents good

 

           24              luck on finding their own way through own

 

           25              fiscal 2008.


 

 

                                                                      69

 

 

            1                      What does this have to do with city

 

            2              business?  It has to do with innovative

 

            3              fiscal responsibility and economic

 

            4              development that starts from the ground up,

 

            5              by strengthening the morale of the work

 

            6              force and offering a vision built upon the

 

            7              unique qualities of our existing population,

 

            8              not a population that we think we are going

 

            9              to get.  Books, lager, lattes are not enough

 

           10              to transform this city.  Hopefully in 2009

 

           11              we can elect innovative leaders who don't

 

           12              follow orders, read outdated books on how to

 

           13              run a city or stand in federal or state

 

           14              welfare lines waiting for a grant that can

 

           15              only be used to plant trees.  Thank you.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. McClough.

 

           17              Chris Sledenzski.

 

           18                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: Well, Bill, where's

 

           19              Matt going to college this year, Billy?

 

           20              Where's he going to college this year, Bill?

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT: PennState.

 

           22                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: That's right. He's

 

           23              sticking with Penn State, too.  It's the

 

           24              only one in the world.  West is best, Bill.

 

           25              You know they are still better than anybody


 

 

                                                                      70

 

 

            1              else in this city and they are.  West is

 

            2              Best, Baby.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: Any other speakers?

 

            4                      MS. SUETTA:  Jean Suetta, Scranton.

 

            5              You know, I was a little late today, but

 

            6              Jesus Christ you didn't have to lock the

 

            7              front door.  You locked the front door.  I

 

            8              had to walk all the way around the back and

 

            9              I got a sore knee.  Did you find out

 

           10              anything for me, Bill?

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes, I did, Jean.

 

           12              Do you want me to answer you now?

 

           13                      MS. SUETTA: Yeah.

 

           14                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I left a letter in

 

           15              my basket there, but Mark Seitzinger sent me

 

           16              a letter and I called him this morning and

 

           17              spoke to him.  He had gone down there right

 

           18              after I spoke to you here and he talked to,

 

           19              I can't remember the guy's first name, it

 

           20              was Cordaro was his last name, he spoke to

 

           21              him, he went down there and he met with him

 

           22              at the location.  He told him he needed to

 

           23              get the place cleaned up and he said as soon

 

           24              as the weather breaks he will start doing

 

           25              that, but he told him -- hear me out here,


 

 

                                                                      71

 

 

            1              and he told him that he needs to do

 

            2              something now to start getting it cleaned up

 

            3              now and he said he would and Mr. Seitzinger

 

            4              said he would keep his eye on it and if

 

            5              nothing materializes in the way of fixing it

 

            6              he will start to cite him.

 

            7                      MS. SUETTA: Okay, thank you very

 

            8              much.

 

            9                      MR. COURTRIGHT: You are welcome.

 

           10                      MS. SUETTA: Judy, last week you said

 

           11              you sit on the left-hand side so you can

 

           12              vote second.

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI: Bill, would you like to

 

           14              sit here, Bill?  You can have your seat

 

           15              back.

 

           16                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes, I would like to

 

           17              sit there.

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI: Well, next week you can

 

           19              sit here.

 

           20                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you.

 

           21                      MS. GATELLI: I'm not going to fight

 

           22              about the seat.  My Gosh.

 

           23                      MS. SUETTA: No, no, no, not God, you

 

           24              know --

 

           25                      MS. GATELLI: Bill and I always got


 

 

                                                                      72

 

 

            1              along with each other, I'm not going to

 

            2              fight about the seat.

 

            3                      MS. SUETTA: You're going to give him

 

            4              back his seat?

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI:  He can have his seat.

 

            6                      MS. SUETTA: Because I was going to

 

            7              tell you to put a motion up --

 

            8                      MS. GATELLI:  How about that?

 

            9                      MS. SUETTA: Good.  I was going to

 

           10              tell you to put a motion up to vote first.

 

           11              No response?

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Well, I don't care

 

           13              when I vote, Jean, you know that, it's

 

           14              just--

 

           15                      MS. SUETTA: I was going to say you

 

           16              put a motion up there so you can vote first.

 

           17              We don't care what order --

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI:  I don't care when I

 

           19              vote.  It doesn't matter.

 

           20                      MS. SUETTA: Because it's always

 

           21              going to be the same.

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI: It doesn't change the

 

           23              vote.

 

           24                      MS. SUETTA:  All right.  We're gonna

 

           25              switch?


 

 

                                                                      73

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI: We'll switch.  How

 

            2              about that?

 

            3                      MS. SUETTA:  All right.

 

            4                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Good evening, Marie

 

            5              Schumacher, resident and member of the

 

            6              Taxpayers' Association.  First, I would --

 

            7              my recollection is that the OECD three-year

 

            8              lease expires in June of this year?

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI: No, it did.

 

           10                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Say what?

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI: I think it did last

 

           12              year.

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: Actually it was the year

 

           14              before, I believe during July perhaps.

 

           15                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Can you wait because

 

           16              I have a lot tonight, but in motions, thank

 

           17              you very much, but I do hope you take action

 

           18              and sufficient time to keep that lease from

 

           19              being renewed and get OECD back in this

 

           20              building filling up some of the empty space.

 

           21                   Now, next I'd like to talk about the

 

           22              proposed ordinance that somehow skipped from

 

           23              5-D to 7-C this week.  I don't know what

 

           24              happened to the interim step, but last week

 

           25              Mrs. Fanucci stated that the Growing Greener


 

 

                                                                      74

 

 

            1              money is not a new issue of money.  It is a

 

            2              transfer from the Connell building project

 

            3              to the garage.  A lot of times they have

 

            4              time frames on the money and this money was

 

            5              earmarked for the Connell building in the

 

            6              beginning so it's not new money that's being

 

            7              issued.  Now, the ordinance itself is to

 

            8              approve applying for a grant from the

 

            9              Growing Greener II fund which is in it's

 

           10              third year.  The reports for the first two

 

           11              years are on-line and there have been no

 

           12              grants to Scranton made per these reports.

 

           13              The ordinance makes no note of a transfer,

 

           14              only an application for new grant under the

 

           15              Growing Greener II.

 

           16                      Now, I have two problems with the

 

           17              ordinance which I believe should be

 

           18              defeated:  First, council has already proved

 

           19              a bond which included demolition of the

 

           20              current structure and building the new

 

           21              garage.

 

           22                      Second, DCED, Growing Greener II has

 

           23              $50 million for Main Street and downtowns

 

           24              redevelopment including improvements to

 

           25              water and wastewater infrastructure.  Then,


 

 

                                                                      75

 

 

            1              if Scranton is to obtain a grant I would

 

            2              suggest and argue that it should be to help

 

            3              out the sewer authority with improvements to

 

            4              the waste water infrastructure.  We have

 

            5              already approved the money in the bond for

 

            6              the work that is now being considered under

 

            7              this grant.

 

            8                      Further, per the ordinance the

 

            9              million dollars would be used for two items:

 

           10              $380,000 for demolition of the current

 

           11              Oppenheim garage and the balance to shore up

 

           12              a fire wall.  Now, I must ask why the

 

           13              shoring up of the Connell building wall

 

           14              should be the responsibility of the parking

 

           15              authority?  When the sewer authority ran

 

           16              into a problem at Franklin and Spruce the

 

           17              owners of that building paid for the shoring

 

           18              up.

 

           19                      Now, next, new subject.  Last week I

 

           20              pondered why the city was not overseeing

 

           21              restaurants to ensure licenses and health

 

           22              permits are current.  Tonight I bring forth

 

           23              a new question, the bar and grill that was

 

           24              cited by the state police it turns out was

 

           25              given $120,000 commercial industrial loan


 

 

                                                                      76

 

 

            1              just last June.  Now, failure to maintain

 

            2              current licenses and permits is a default of

 

            3              the covenant of the loan if notified by the

 

            4              city.  Now I wonder if the reason it was the

 

            5              state police who made the citation was to

 

            6              avoid a default notification.  Is this how

 

            7              OECD protects taxpayer money?  I wonder.

 

            8                   Now, to some of the unanswered Right to

 

            9              Know, I know I have only been commenting

 

           10              since the chair of council informed us it

 

           11              was not his job or your jobs to fetch

 

           12              information for us, so I would like to

 

           13              comment and just a few he said we should use

 

           14              Right to Know.  Here's one to the solicitor

 

           15              of the City of Scranton, this one is pretty

 

           16              recent, it was only dated the 19th of

 

           17              January, I asked for -- "I am hereby

 

           18              requesting principal amount of nonelectoral

 

           19              debt for the City of Scranton and each of

 

           20              it's authority and how close in dollars or

 

           21              percent the aggregate amount comes to the

 

           22              Commonwealth's limit on nonelectoral debt."

 

           23                      I have not received an answer to

 

           24              that.  This one is more recent, dated 2

 

           25              February, but still out of compliance, I


 

 

                                                                      77

 

 

            1              ask -- I requested to review the contract

 

            2              and any amendments thereto with Forever

 

            3              Young Treehouses for the Nay Aug treehouse.

 

            4              I'll read a few more next week that I have

 

            5              not had responses to.  Thank you.

 

            6                      MR. HUBBARD:  Good evening, Council,

 

            7              Daniel Hubbard.  A couple of quick things

 

            8              for you.  I quoted Mayor Doherty last week

 

            9              as saying that the reason we need to redo

 

           10              the Oppenheim Garage, which is not part of

 

           11              the Connell building, just so we are clear

 

           12              on that, I know that you said the money was

 

           13              earmarked for the Connell building, this has

 

           14              nothing to do with that project, it's

 

           15              actually separate.  I found out that the

 

           16              city, in fact, did buy the garage from the

 

           17              management of the Steamtown Mall then they

 

           18              refurbished it.  Now, Mayor Doherty is

 

           19              saying that, if I may, that we need more

 

           20              parking in that area.  These pictures are as

 

           21              of this morning.  That's the third floor of

 

           22              the Oppenheim building.  This is the

 

           23              entrance to the third floor where there is

 

           24              no cones or saw horses blocking it off.

 

           25              There is over 50 parking spots on the top


 

 

                                                                      78

 

 

            1              floor that are empty.  This is the second

 

            2              floor of the Oppenheim garage, empty, and

 

            3              this is the management sign, the only sign

 

            4              indicating who owned the garage at one point

 

            5              or another, the Steamtown Mall.  There is no

 

            6              signs in that facility indicating if you

 

            7              have a problem with your vehicle or any

 

            8              problems parking there to contact the

 

            9              parking authority.

 

           10                      I still would like an answer on

 

           11              whether or not we are rebuilding this garage

 

           12              for the City of Scranton or is this garage

 

           13              for the Connell building project because the

 

           14              Connell building project is being marketed

 

           15              by Precision Realty Group and they are

 

           16              indicating that there is a potential for a

 

           17              parking garage to supply sufficient parking

 

           18              for each residential unit so is there a

 

           19              potential for a parking garage for the

 

           20              residents of this building or like has been

 

           21              stated previously by the mayor in the paper

 

           22              are they building a parking garage

 

           23              underneath the facility?

 

           24                      Now, if this facility was rehabbed

 

           25              by the city not too long ago, and I'll tell


 

 

                                                                      79

 

 

            1              you the epoxy coating on the concrete on the

 

            2              third floor is brand new, there is not a

 

            3              mark on it.  I pushed some of the snow off

 

            4              just to see how many lines were there to

 

            5              count the empty spaces and it's brand new

 

            6              and it's not blocked off, so it could easily

 

            7              be driven up and parked if it was cleared of

 

            8              snow.  You can't drive up there?

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI:  No.

 

           10                      MR. HUBBARD: Then why isn't it block

 

           11              off?

 

           12                      MS. FANUCCI: Actually, I parked in

 

           13              that garage.

 

           14                      MR. HUBBARD:  Why isn't it blocked

 

           15              off?

 

           16                      MS. FANUCCI:  The reason that

 

           17              they've had it block off is because pieces

 

           18              of --

 

           19                      MR. HUBBARD:  It's not blocked off.

 

           20                      MS. FANUCCI: Pieces of the concrete

 

           21              have been falling and they were worried

 

           22              about health and people's safety.

 

           23                      MR. HUBBARD: Falling from where?

 

           24                      MS. FANUCCI: Falling from -- going

 

           25              up the ramp to get to the top space.


 

 

                                                                      80

 

 

            1                      MR. HUBBARD:  It's not blocked off.

 

            2                      MS. FANUCCI: You can't get out --

 

            3              they don't even have enough cards.  It's a

 

            4              private parking spot.

 

            5                      MR. HUBBARD: I'm saying it's not

 

            6              blocked off.  You could drive right up there

 

            7              if you want right now.

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI: You can drive right up

 

            9              there, but they have -- they had had it all

 

           10              blocked off, all taped off and now --

 

           11                      MR. HUBBARD: As of this morning it's

 

           12              not taped off --

 

           13                      MS. FANUCCI: I'm answering -- do you

 

           14              want to hear the answer or do you want to

 

           15              hear --

 

           16                      MR. HUBBARD: You are eating my time

 

           17              so wait until I'm done speaking.  A quick

 

           18              question on the Connell building project

 

           19              since we are so quick to give money to

 

           20              people.  When this building was purchased in

 

           21              2003, this is from the Times, a King of

 

           22              Prussia Real Estate developer bought the

 

           23              building for $200,000 and he agreed to pay

 

           24              $679,000 of back property taxes, 419 of

 

           25              which is to the city in delinquent property


 

 

                                                                      81

 

 

            1              taxes and with NCC I'm sure we can roll that

 

            2              up to a million, $193,000 to the school

 

            3              district and $66,000 to the county.  Have

 

            4              those back taxes been paid?  Since we are

 

            5              going to be giving this guy a $5 million

 

            6              grant to rehab a building and we are

 

            7              conveniently building a parking garage for

 

            8              him and throwing another million in on top

 

            9              of it, why not just give him the key to the

 

           10              city at this point?  I mean, is this kind of

 

           11              like a Daron thing?  That number rings

 

           12              pretty close, I think it was 675 in

 

           13              delinquent taxes that they got by without

 

           14              paying, so did Mr. Wolfington pay $679,000

 

           15              in back taxes on this facility yet?

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: I'll address that when we

 

           17              vote.

 

           18                      MR. HUBBARD: Now, Mrs. Gatelli, you

 

           19              are the finance chair, correct?  Right?

 

           20              Okay.  Good.

 

           21                      MS. GATELLI:  By default.

 

           22                      MR. HUBBARD:  So we are on the same

 

           23              page here.  This is for everybody, this is a

 

           24              handout that came out from the Department of

 

           25              Parks and Recreation in Newport News,


 

 

                                                                      82

 

 

            1              Virginia, population 70,000 people.  They

 

            2              built a dog park that rivals what we have,

 

            3              although, they don't have boulders to the

 

            4              tune of $25,000.  They did manage to get a

 

            5              dog park in with a fence, double gates,

 

            6              water fountains for the dogs, shelter and a

 

            7              separate area for small dogs that's

 

            8              separately fenced off and they managed to

 

            9              build a dog park that is self-supporting by

 

           10              the membership or registration fees by city

 

           11              residents that use this dog park and imagine

 

           12              that they got one that's self-supporting and

 

           13              they did all of these lovely things that

 

           14              they put in there that we have and they did

 

           15              it for $55,000.

 

           16                      So, as the finance chair you need to

 

           17              at least try to justify $300,000 in a dog

 

           18              park because I have researched this and

 

           19              across the country I have yet to find one

 

           20              dog park that was built for more than

 

           21              $150,000 and even in some of the biggest

 

           22              cities they managed to put dog parks in for

 

           23              under $150,000.  Hawaii put a dog park that

 

           24              would be combined with the Newsport News and

 

           25              Scranton's, enormous dog park.  They got it


 

 

                                                                      83

 

 

            1              in for $95,000, so we want to talk about

 

            2              frivolous spending, where is the $250,000

 

            3              gone that what was overspent on a dog park.

 

            4              $300,000, it's probably the most expensive

 

            5              dog park in the United States and we are a

 

            6              distressed city.  So, I mean, I would like

 

            7              an answer on that one to justify to the

 

            8              taxpayers why we have to spend $300,000 on a

 

            9              fence in field for dogs to run around in

 

           10              when every city in the country managed to

 

           11              get it done for under $150,000 and I just

 

           12              gave you proof that a city the same size as

 

           13              ours managed to do a park better than ours

 

           14              for $55,000.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Anyone else?

 

           16                      MR. ANCHERANI: Good evening.  Nelson

 

           17              Ancherani, resident and taxpayer and city

 

           18              employee, financial secretary of the FOP,

 

           19              First Amendment Rights.  Miss Fanucci,

 

           20              February 5 you made reference to OECD, and I

 

           21              quote, "Just not picking from what I heard,

 

           22              like, the favorites of the city," end of the

 

           23              quote.  That's funny.  I have been using the

 

           24              word favorites only in the context that the

 

           25              favorites or favor of the city share in


 

 

                                                                      84

 

 

            1              $15 million in raises in new positions.  One

 

            2              example is her new business administrator,

 

            3              Stu Renda.  Previously, I said Renda's wages

 

            4              were $30,000 a OECD, I stand corrected.

 

            5              Renda was making $39,000 a year as auditing

 

            6              and compliance director in a newly created

 

            7              position in 2003.  In 2004 Renda got a

 

            8              $5,000 raise.  2005 he got a $5,000 raise,

 

            9              his salary rose to $49,000.  He was promoted

 

           10              toward the end of 2007 to business

 

           11              administrator and the salary for business

 

           12              administrator for 2008 is $85,000.  Renda

 

           13              received a $46,000 raise since 2003.  Renda

 

           14              received raises even though it violated the

 

           15              Recovery Plan.  Renda said the following in

 

           16              newspaper quotes:  "Better financial footing

 

           17              can only be attained by controlling employee

 

           18              costs through implementation of the city's

 

           19              Recovery Plan."

 

           20                      I didn't hear Renda complain when he

 

           21              received raises and $312,500 in salary

 

           22              through 2008 between his newly created

 

           23              position and business administrator.  Even

 

           24              without costs, this is another quote, "Even

 

           25              without costs of living increases


 

 

                                                                      85

 

 

            1              firefighters and police union members pay

 

            2              only a small fee for health and other

 

            3              insurance."

 

            4                      Isn't that how it works for him,

 

            5              too, or he must have forgotten?

 

            6                      "They also received additional pay

 

            7              each year for longevity.  Some receive as

 

            8              much as 10 percent of their base salaries

 

            9              while many receive 5 percent or 3 percent."

 

           10                      Stu, that's no where near

 

           11              200 percent like he gets.  Just remember,

 

           12              Ms. Fanucci, if the favorites like Renda got

 

           13              no raises from the beginning just like the

 

           14              unions no one would have a gripe and we

 

           15              wouldn't be where we are now.  Fair is fair,

 

           16              discrimination is not fair.

 

           17                      Stu started out in OECD at $39,000

 

           18              now making $85,000, $46,000 more.  How about

 

           19              that raise?  Would we call him a favorite?

 

           20              I would.  Hey, Stu, you said police were

 

           21              offered a 19 percent raise, try 5 percent

 

           22              and you got over a 200 percent raise.  Ms.

 

           23              Evans' budget would have eliminated all of

 

           24              the raises and put everyone in city hall

 

           25              back to where they were and it would be fair


 

 

                                                                      86

 

 

            1              to everyone, not just the favorites.  Ms.

 

            2              Fanucci also said she believes in a Recovery

 

            3              Plan.  A question for Miss Fanucci, and

 

            4              please just a yes or no is required, did you

 

            5              read the Recovery Plan in it's entirety?

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI: Yes.

 

            7                      MR. ANCHERANI:  I'll refresh

 

            8              everyone's memory then, on Page 64 of the

 

            9              Recovery Plan under wages it says, and I

 

           10              quote, "Wages for 2003, 2004, 2005, the base

 

           11              hourly wages and salaries of all city

 

           12              employees not exceed existing 2002 rates."

 

           13                   That means no raises.  Now, since you

 

           14              believe in the Recovery Plan this in my

 

           15              opinion must mean that you believe in it's

 

           16              violations by the mayor by giving out raises

 

           17              to the favorites since you believe in the

 

           18              Recovery Plan you apparently are not

 

           19              objecting to it's violation by the mayor by

 

           20              your yes votes on the budget that contain

 

           21              raises for nonunion workers, but not the

 

           22              unions.  I take that as discrimination.  I

 

           23              as a city employee have no choice but to

 

           24              believe that you, along with Ms. Gatelli and

 

           25              Mr. McGoff approve of the treatment of the


 

 

                                                                      87

 

 

            1              unionized workers of this city by this

 

            2              administration.

 

            3                      Now, Ms. Fanucci, in your laughing

 

            4              quote, "My laughing.  My laughing always

 

            5              seems to be the funniest.  I can't imagine

 

            6              that it actually gets as much attention as

 

            7              it does.  But, yes, when I see how it is

 

            8              conducted here and, of course, when it is s

 

            9              blatantly obvious I'm going to laugh, just

 

           10              like you would laugh if it was me."

 

           11                      Miss Fanucci, you are saying you are

 

           12              supposed to be professional.  You are

 

           13              supposed to represent all of the people of

 

           14              the city and not just your people.  When you

 

           15              laugh at the people from up there you show

 

           16              scorn for the people who come to this podium

 

           17              because they care about their city.  You

 

           18              were right about the Jerry Springer show and

 

           19              it starts there.

 

           20                      Miss Gatelli, your turn.  Do you

 

           21              remember saying, "I'm not going to go

 

           22              through the tree project again - can I just

 

           23              finish this?

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.

 

           25                      MR. ANCHERANI: "I can't believe that


 

 

                                                                      88

 

 

            1              trees for 60,000 is causing such a ruckus."

 

            2              Sixty-thousand for trees when the city would

 

            3              not even give our returning soldiers from

 

            4              Iraq the money to make them whole.  That

 

            5              wasn't even $20,000 total and they risked

 

            6              their lives for their country.  What a shame

 

            7              but yet we would give 60,000 for trees.  A

 

            8              little trivia.  Do you remember when they

 

            9              removed all of the trees from the 400-block

 

           10              of North Irving Avenue because it was felt

 

           11              that the tree line street contributed to the

 

           12              crime rate?  The drug dealers had to cover

 

           13              of trees to do their drug deals.  Remember,

 

           14              once the trees were gone you could see up

 

           15              the street and the druggies left, so putting

 

           16              $60,000 in trees in South Side will that

 

           17              invite the druggies there for the cover of

 

           18              trees?  Thank you.

 

           19                      MR. GERVASI: Good evening, city

 

           20              council, my name is Dave Gervasi, I'm the

 

           21              vice-president of the firefighters' union

 

           22              and a very proud firefighter.  I'm going to

 

           23              be very brief.  Usually when things are said

 

           24              by the audience people go on their merry way

 

           25              and talk about the things that they want to


 

 

                                                                      89

 

 

            1              talk about so I have one question I want to

 

            2              ask each and every one of you during motions

 

            3              to answer for me, is now that you heard just

 

            4              one incident, by the way, that was not

 

            5              brought up by the firefighters' union within

 

            6              our news press release because of the

 

            7              sensitivity of that issue, it was brought up

 

            8              by the mayor, now that you heard some of the

 

            9              truth other than our guys are fat or

 

           10              physically unable to do repelling down an

 

           11              embankment, Mr. McGoff, does that sound in

 

           12              any way, shape or form what these two

 

           13              gentlemen said tonight, my brothers, as a

 

           14              character assassination?  Does that sound

 

           15              like a character assassination or do they

 

           16              sound truthful to you of his behavior at

 

           17              this scene?

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Tonight?

 

           19                      MR. GERVASI: Yes.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF: I believe what they

 

           21              said, yes.

 

           22                      MR. GERVASI:  Okay.  Now, since you

 

           23              two gentlemen were supposed to have a

 

           24              meeting with the chief and then later on

 

           25              with us so we can bring more witnesses that


 

 

                                                                      90

 

 

            1              would back up our allegations we made in our

 

            2              press release, not the one that was spoken

 

            3              on tonight because it wasn't on the press

 

            4              release, are you going to have that meeting

 

            5              because everyday that goes by we still

 

            6              continue to have incompetent leadership

 

            7              running the department?  Are we going to do

 

            8              that in a timely manner?

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: The meeting is

 

           10              scheduled.

 

           11                      MR. GERVASI: Thank you very much.  I

 

           12              would like to know your comments during

 

           13              motions.

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI:  Could I just ask a

 

           15              question?  I just want to ask you a

 

           16              question.

 

           17                      MR. GERVASI:  Sure.

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI: If you can please

 

           19              answer me, is there a clause in your

 

           20              contract that if you feel that there is a

 

           21              safety issue or that someone is being

 

           22              harassed or someone isn't being treated

 

           23              right or they have been called names, do you

 

           24              have a grievance procedure like we do at the

 

           25              school district?


 

 

                                                                      91

 

 

            1                      MR. GERVASI: Yes, we do.

 

            2                      MS. GATELLI: And maybe I'll just

 

            3              talk to you later.  I'd like to know a

 

            4              little bit more about were there ever

 

            5              grievances filed?

 

            6                      MR. GERVASI: Absolutely.  Numerous.

 

            7              We have two -- we have a mediation tomorrow,

 

            8              I'm sorry, Friday, with two others --

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI: All of these safety

 

           10              things.

 

           11                      MR. GERVASI: Arbitrations,

 

           12              mediations.

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI: So you have.

 

           14                      MR. GERVASI: Yes.  As a matter of

 

           15              fact, many of the things that are on the

 

           16              press release were brought to mediation and

 

           17              the public safety director ordered our chief

 

           18              at that time when I made the statement that

 

           19              he contain them for awhile, knew that those

 

           20              things were true and contained the chief at

 

           21              fire scenes to not interfere with our

 

           22              incident commander.  As time went on it

 

           23              started getting worse again, he started

 

           24              interfering and doing really unprofessional

 

           25              things.  So, yes, this has been an on-going


 

 

                                                                      92

 

 

            1              process since day one, since 2002 and it's

 

            2              continued up until --

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI:  I'd like to discuss

 

            4              this with you at another time.

 

            5                      MR. GERVASI: -- the Linden Street

 

            6              fire a few weeks ago.  Absolutely.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI:  Okay.  Thank you.

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: If I might though,

 

            9              Mr. McGoff, you indicated the meeting has

 

           10              been scheduled for when?

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: Thursday morning.

 

           12                      MS. EVANS: Thursday morning and will

 

           13              a stenographer be present at this meeting?

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: No.

 

           15                      MS. EVANS: Why not?

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Davis refused to

 

           17              have one.

 

           18                      MS. EVANS:  Well, I had agreed that

 

           19              I would forego attending such a meeting only

 

           20              on condition that a stenographer be present

 

           21              because I feel it's imperative for those

 

           22              statements to be recorded in order that

 

           23              every council member have them available.  I

 

           24              don't believe in such a serious matter we

 

           25              should be reliant upon he said, he said, he


 

 

                                                                      93

 

 

            1              said, and I don't know that even all of the

 

            2              parties involved in the meeting are

 

            3              completely objective, so I would say this,

 

            4              if Chief Davis refuses a stenographer then I

 

            5              insist on being present at that meeting and

 

            6              that means the meeting must be held after

 

            7              3:00 and I am the elected official.

 

            8                      MR. GERVASI: Or may I suggest

 

            9              subpoena him to a meeting with a

 

           10              stenographer.

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: And I do agree with that.

 

           12              If the chief will not agree to meet after

 

           13              3:00 then I will make a motion for a

 

           14              subpoena to have him appear before Scranton

 

           15              City Council.

 

           16                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Mr. McGoff, could

 

           17              I -- I know this is not going with the rules

 

           18              and I ask maybe if you can just indulge me

 

           19              for a minute here, I think this thing has

 

           20              escalated much further than I thought it

 

           21              would.  We did have a meeting set for

 

           22              tomorrow morning and I will certainly attend

 

           23              the meeting and they refused to have it

 

           24              recorded so it's not going to be recorded.

 

           25                   I'm going to think now that it's out of


 

 

                                                                      94

 

 

            1              our hands.  I've got to think now this thing

 

            2              has gotten so serious.  These are -- I mean,

 

            3              we have a list of the accusations and I

 

            4              apologize for breaking the rules, but I just

 

            5              think this is a serious issue and we have

 

            6              the list of accusations and my intention was

 

            7              this tomorrow, was to just read off things

 

            8              that the fire department said and ask

 

            9              Mr. Davis, you know, if they were true or if

 

           10              they weren't true and if he wanted to offer

 

           11              an explanation.  I wasn't asking any of my

 

           12              own questions, I was just going to read what

 

           13              was on that sheet and now I have a couple of

 

           14              firefighters come to the podium and I think

 

           15              it's time we do something different.

 

           16                      I will certainly attend tomorrow,

 

           17              but I ask everybody here to ponder this and

 

           18              I will get back to Mr. McGoff or Kay or the

 

           19              mayor, whoever has to make the decision what

 

           20              we do.  I think we should just call in an

 

           21              outside agency.  You know, when we have

 

           22              problems -- when we have problems within --

 

           23              the police department or something and it's

 

           24              an internal type thing so that there is no

 

           25              chance of any impropriety they usually would


 

 

                                                                      95

 

 

            1              use like the state police to come in and

 

            2              investigate them.  I think this is beyond me

 

            3              and you here.  I really do.  I mean, that's

 

            4              serious stuff they are saying there, you

 

            5              know, and if it's true it's extremely

 

            6              serious and if it's not true the man needs

 

            7              to have his named cleared.

 

            8                      So, I would see say we seek out some

 

            9              outside agency and I know the mayor has to

 

           10              agree on this, but I think we got to get it

 

           11              resolved once and for all because I think

 

           12              the meeting tomorrow, which was a good idea,

 

           13              isn't going to satisfy everybody concerned

 

           14              and this is -- I would hope that you would

 

           15              agree this has escalated and I'm not

 

           16              comfortable, I'm not comfortable with the

 

           17              way it's going on.  I think it's beyond us.

 

           18              I think we need to find an outside agency to

 

           19              come in and let them look at the

 

           20              accusations, let them speak with the chief,

 

           21              let them speak with the firefighters and let

 

           22              that outside agency make a decision what

 

           23              needs to be done, not me or not you or not

 

           24              this council, I just don't think it's -- I

 

           25              don't think it's within my field of


 

 

                                                                      96

 

 

            1              expertise, you know, because I think what's

 

            2              going to happen, and I apologize for being

 

            3              lengthy on this, but this is probably one of

 

            4              the most serious issues since I have been on

 

            5              council, I think what's going to happen, and

 

            6              this is just my guess that, you know, I'm

 

            7              going to ask Chief Davis those questions and

 

            8              he would deny them.  He would deny probably

 

            9              each and every one of them and then we would

 

           10              come back and have a have meeting with the

 

           11              firefighters and they would say, "He is

 

           12              lying," and then I think we are just going

 

           13              to keep going back and forth.

 

           14                      And I will say again, and I

 

           15              apologize, but an outside agency, but then

 

           16              parties, both the firefighters' union and

 

           17              the administration is agreeable to look at

 

           18              this and say, okay, we agree on this agency

 

           19              and we will abide by their decision and I

 

           20              was just hoping that, and I wasn't -- I

 

           21              didn't even think about this until after

 

           22              this all happened tonight.  I just didn't

 

           23              think it was going to go this far, but it's

 

           24              a serious issue and we got guys that are

 

           25              claiming they were there when these


 

 

                                                                      97

 

 

            1              incidents happened, and I'm not about to

 

            2              call him a liar, but I'm not about to call

 

            3              Chief Davis a liar either.  Everybody has a

 

            4              right to defend themselves, so that's a

 

            5              suggestion.  If you would think about it and

 

            6              then maybe we can get back to Mr. McGoff and

 

            7              offer your opinion, and I'm sorry for

 

            8              breaking the rules, but, thank you.

 

            9                      MS. EVANS: I would find that a

 

           10              reasonable alternative simply because I

 

           11              would hope that an outside agency could

 

           12              remain purely objective in this matter.  But

 

           13              I did want to add to what they will be

 

           14              probing.  A matter that arose several years

 

           15              ago, none of you with the exception of

 

           16              Mr. Courtright were on council, and it's an

 

           17              issue that has lingered through the years

 

           18              involving, once again, the fire department

 

           19              and there had been storage of toxic

 

           20              materials in Minooka in a flexible foam

 

           21              warehouse and it was investigated by the

 

           22              Scranton Fire Department and it was reported

 

           23              according to chain of command and rather

 

           24              than that material being removed immediately

 

           25              by the owner of the warehouse it was


 

 

                                                                      98

 

 

            1              permitted to remain within the warehouse for

 

            2              a period of five additional months, thereby,

 

            3              potentially placing the safety of the

 

            4              residents of Minooka and any firefighters

 

            5              who would be called to the scene in the

 

            6              event of a fire in grave danger, and I had

 

            7              asked publically several times in 2005 for a

 

            8              response from Chief Davis and the mayor who

 

            9              gave the order, who made the deal to allow

 

           10              that material to remain in that warehouse

 

           11              for five additional months.

 

           12                      And the question was asked over and

 

           13              over and the fire chief was asked to come to

 

           14              council, he did not appear nor did he ever

 

           15              respond nor did the mayor and I believe this

 

           16              too is a vital issue of public safety that

 

           17              should never be repeated, but I also

 

           18              strongly believe it should be added to the

 

           19              investigative list.  It certainly merits

 

           20              disclosure.  Who is running the public

 

           21              safety department, who is calling the shots,

 

           22              and who is putting the people of Scranton

 

           23              and the men and woman of the Scranton Fire

 

           24              Department at risk.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: Anything else?


 

 

                                                                      99

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI:  I would just like to

 

            2              ask our solicitor if he can help us, you

 

            3              know, get this going or his legal opinion,

 

            4              the only thing I have to say on it is, yes,

 

            5              I do believe, you know, the people that

 

            6              spoke here this evening and, you know, every

 

            7              place you work there is problems with

 

            8              supervisors, etcetera, and I just feel badly

 

            9              that it's being discussed so much in public.

 

           10              I know there is a safety issue, but in all

 

           11              personnel matters that I have ever dealt

 

           12              with, personnel matters are even exempt from

 

           13              the Sunshine Law and if, indeed, I don't

 

           14              know very much about Chief Davis' activities

 

           15              other than what I have read, but I think he

 

           16              does have a due process and just like

 

           17              everyone else does, so I wanted to make sure

 

           18              that he has his due process and that we are

 

           19              not violating any of his confidentiality

 

           20              with personnel issues on council.

 

           21                      I do agree with Bill that, you know,

 

           22              it does need to be addressed, but it is

 

           23              escalating and there is a person's

 

           24              reputation at stake and I think we should

 

           25              just put ourself in his shoes and even


 

 

                                                                     100

 

 

            1              though we may dislike him or he is doing

 

            2              terribly wrong things he does have rights

 

            3              under the Sunshine Law for personnel matters

 

            4              of confidentiality, so let's try to go the

 

            5              route that Bill said and have someone, you

 

            6              know, that's very objective hear both sides

 

            7              and we certainly don't want any fireman, you

 

            8              know, at risk.  Absolutely.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Last week when it was

 

           10              requested that a meeting be held I

 

           11              contacted -- I actually contacted the mayor

 

           12              and contacted Chief Davis, it was agreed,

 

           13              they said, fine, we will meet, I have no

 

           14              problem with meeting, we will answer any

 

           15              questions that are asked.  They said that

 

           16              that there was no need for a stenographer.

 

           17              Anyone -- notes could be taken, all

 

           18              questions would be answered.  There was no

 

           19              attempt to hide anything.  I thought that

 

           20              that was a reasonable request that they

 

           21              agreed to and that is what we want.  I don't

 

           22              know what necessarily has changed.  They

 

           23              still agree that Chief Davis would answer

 

           24              any questions that were asked of him.

 

           25                      MS. EVANS:  Well, what -- I'm sorry.


 

 

                                                                     101

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: Why we need some outside

 

            2              agency to ask questions is beyond me.  If

 

            3              there are questions that we have why can't

 

            4              we ask the questions, why do we need someone

 

            5              else to ask the questions, why do we need

 

            6              somebody else to interpret the answers for

 

            7              us?  If there are questions that we have I

 

            8              believe that we are competent, capable

 

            9              people, able to make a determination as to

 

           10              the voracity of the answers and interpret

 

           11              them on our own for whatever purpose it may

 

           12              serve.

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: As I noted several

 

           14              minutes ago, questions have been asked and

 

           15              they have gone unanswered and it's long past

 

           16              time that answers must be given and I had

 

           17              but a minor request which was originally

 

           18              suggested by Councilman Courtright and that

 

           19              was for the presence of a stenographer and

 

           20              the mere fact that that is refused in my

 

           21              mind does raise a red flag because, as you

 

           22              said, you know, they are so agreeable to

 

           23              this and it's just a small issue.  It is not

 

           24              a small issue to those who are not present

 

           25              at the meeting and it was a small request on


 

 

                                                                     102

 

 

            1              my part and short of that, of course, my

 

            2              suspicion will increase and I do prefer to

 

            3              see an objective outside agency doing an

 

            4              investigation again since none of us are

 

            5              professionals, public safety professionals.

 

            6                   I don't know that we are equipped to

 

            7              satisfactorily judge the responses of the

 

            8              fire chief and, you know, the concerns of

 

            9              the fire department.  I think those who are

 

           10              schooled and skilled in public safety are

 

           11              much better equipped to handle this

 

           12              situation right now.

 

           13                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Mr. McGoff, if I

 

           14              can just -- I'm sorry.

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: Can I just say one

 

           16              thing?  I've been trying to get in.  My

 

           17              question is at the end of the day what are

 

           18              we responsible for and what can we do?  We

 

           19              are not a judge, we are not a jury, and we

 

           20              are stepping out of our bounds as far as

 

           21              the --

 

           22                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Excuse me, that's

 

           23              why as they were talking it came to my mind

 

           24              and I asked myself that question, what could

 

           25              we do, and I'm thinking this, maybe the


 

 

                                                                     103

 

 

            1              firemen won't agree with me or the mayor

 

            2              won't agree with me but I'm thinking this,

 

            3              an outside agency that is a professional,

 

            4              I'm not talking about just bringing somebody

 

            5              off the street, I'm talking about that knows

 

            6              about firefighting, somebody that is a

 

            7              professional and the firefighters' union

 

            8              would agree to and the administration would

 

            9              agree to would probably ask the same

 

           10              questions.  I'm going to show up tomorrow,

 

           11              absolutely, or Thursday, I'm sorry, Thursday

 

           12              and, you know, speak with the Chief Davis

 

           13              and Mr. McGoff, but my thing is this, if you

 

           14              and I sit there and we ask Mr. Davis the

 

           15              questions and he answers them and then we go

 

           16              back with the firefighters and they are

 

           17              going to say, no, and he is going to say,

 

           18              no, then I'm thinking a professional agency

 

           19              would make a professional recommendation to

 

           20              the mayor what needs to be done and what

 

           21              does not need to be done and I don't know --

 

           22              I don't know if either side is going to be

 

           23              happy with me making that suggestion, you

 

           24              know, I can't get a read from looking at

 

           25              these guys out in the audience and certainly


 

 

                                                                     104

 

 

            1              the chief isn't here so I don't know, I'm

 

            2              just trying to be fair.  I think that's the

 

            3              fairest way to go and I think I know quite a

 

            4              bit about the fire department and I just

 

            5              don't know that I'm comfortable that I know

 

            6              enough to say whether a man's career should

 

            7              terminate or not terminate, you know, I

 

            8              don't know that I'm qualified.

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI:  And not only that we

 

           10              have no power to do it in way.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Right.

 

           12                      MS. FANUCCI: So, we can sit here and

 

           13              say anything we want, but quite frankly, at

 

           14              the end of the day it means nothing.

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Absolutely.

 

           16                      MS. FANUCCI: So if we are going to

 

           17              go about this it has to be in a way that

 

           18              keeps our, you know, it's stays within our

 

           19              professional bounds and what we are allowed

 

           20              to do.

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT: And that's what I'm

 

           22              trying to do.  I think they come to us

 

           23              looking for help when sometimes there are

 

           24              things that we can do, sometimes there is

 

           25              things that we can't do, but we can try to


 

 

                                                                     105

 

 

            1              steer it in the right direction.  Do we have

 

            2              the authority?  No, we don't.  We don't have

 

            3              the authority.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS: Well, actually we do.

 

            5                      MS. FANUCCI: Is there anything that

 

            6              we can do --

 

            7                      MS. EVANS: We have the powers of

 

            8              investigation.

 

            9                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I'm talking about

 

           10              the removal.

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: No, we have no power, I

 

           12              agree with Mrs. Fanucci.  We have no power

 

           13              to hire nor do we have power to fire.

 

           14                      MS. FANUCCI: Right.

 

           15                      MS. EVANS: Nevertheless, I believe

 

           16              that exposing a situation or shining a light

 

           17              on it goes a very long way to solving it.  I

 

           18              think it's the job of government, the job of

 

           19              the responsible newspaper to investigate

 

           20              situations, to bear it to the public and in

 

           21              so doing provide an avenue toward a solution

 

           22              and so far I don't believe that I have seen

 

           23              that either on the part of government or the

 

           24              newspaper because I believe if the mayor

 

           25              himself were truly objective and listening


 

 

                                                                     106

 

 

            1              to both sides he would be amenable to an

 

            2              investigation and would never state so

 

            3              arbitrarily I will not fire this individual,

 

            4              he will remain as long as I remain in

 

            5              office.

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI: Well, and I'm going to

 

            7              say his, but just in researching this, this

 

            8              has happened what, ten other times in other

 

            9              states and --

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: Six.

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI: It's actually nine, I

 

           12              think I have nine here, but none of them,

 

           13              the mayors all stood by their chiefs, I

 

           14              mean, that's what they do and so that is not

 

           15              something that I find abnormal.  It seems to

 

           16              be that's what you stand by and I'd want my

 

           17              boss to stand by me under any circumstances,

 

           18              too.  Does that mean it's right or wrong,

 

           19              no, but I'm saying that's what the boss

 

           20              does.

 

           21                      MS. EVANS: But, he is not standing

 

           22              by the remainder of his employees when he is

 

           23              saying, "If you don't like your job you can

 

           24              leave."

 

           25                      MS. FANUCCI: Well, I think was that


 

 

                                                                     107

 

 

            1              you didn't leave your job.  It's not if you

 

            2              don't like it, he's saying you would have

 

            3              left if you didn't like it.  I would have

 

            4              left my job if I didn't like it.  But I'm

 

            5              not here to dispute that, that means

 

            6              nothing, but the thing is that when you have

 

            7              a situation like this we can't -- I'm not

 

            8              capable of putting a price tag on what can

 

            9              happen out there, I'm not, and I'm not

 

           10              certainly not going to take responsibility

 

           11              for it.  If something happens, you know,

 

           12              they are saying they are not confident with

 

           13              him and he saying this is not the situation

 

           14              that took place.  I certainly don't feel and

 

           15              Bill is right qualified under any

 

           16              circumstances to make that decision.

 

           17                      I know that there has been --

 

           18              grounds have been made that were a good move

 

           19              and I though, they were meeting once a week

 

           20              with the mayor, which I thought was a good

 

           21              thing and continue to do so and I also know

 

           22              that there was a board put together which

 

           23              was three union members, and I'm not sure

 

           24              who else, if it's the mayor and someone else

 

           25              on the board which they will sit down and


 

 

                                                                     108

 

 

            1              try to implement new procedures, so at least

 

            2              we know futurewise they are getting

 

            3              together, which is a very great thing.

 

            4                      I am not going to make a decision on

 

            5              someone's career and I'm not certainly --

 

            6              I'm not even comfortable with all of this

 

            7              discussion right now because anyone -- I

 

            8              don't know, I just don't feel like it's

 

            9              appropriate, and this is administrative --

 

           10                      MR. COURTRIGHT: If the majority of

 

           11              us agree that this should be done, it has to

 

           12              be the majority then we would send a request

 

           13              to the mayor and ask him if he is agreeable,

 

           14              that's all I am asking.

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: Do we even have that

 

           16              right, that's my --

 

           17                      MR. MINORA: Well, I'd like to take a

 

           18              look at this.

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI: Can everybody stay for

 

           20              a few minutes after the meeting?

 

           21                      MS. EVANS: We still have

 

           22              investigative powers according to the Home

 

           23              Rule Charter.

 

           24                      MS. GATELLI: Why don't we --

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: Council may make


 

 

                                                                     109

 

 

            1              investigations into the affairs of the city

 

            2              and the conduct of any department, office or

 

            3              agency in aid of it's legislative powers and

 

            4              functions.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I'm just asking if

 

            6              this council would be agreeable to ask the

 

            7              mayor if he is agreeable to have an outside

 

            8              investigation and ask the firefighters'

 

            9              union if they're -- that's all I'm asking.

 

           10              I'm not asking us to do anything other than

 

           11              say, "Mr. Mayor, are you agreeable with

 

           12              having an outside agency investigate these

 

           13              allegations?  Firefighters' union, are you

 

           14              agreeable to having an outside agency that

 

           15              you both agree on to investigate these

 

           16              allegations?"

 

           17                      That all I'm asking, nothing more.

 

           18              I think we're making it more complicated

 

           19              than what I intended to be, just a simple

 

           20              request, "Mr. Mayor, are you agreeable?

 

           21              Firefighters' union, are you agreeable?"

 

           22                      Then if they are agreeable then we

 

           23              are out of the loop, right?

 

           24                      MS. FANUCCI:  No, I think you are

 

           25              right, yeah.


 

 

                                                                     110

 

 

            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT: And that's all I'm

 

            2              asking and I'm not asking you right here and

 

            3              now to make your decision, I'm asking if

 

            4              you'll think about it and it's something

 

            5              that you would like to do you can tell

 

            6              Mr. McGoff and if three of more of us are

 

            7              agreeable then Mr. McGoff would I guess have

 

            8              to bring it the mayor, and that's all I'm

 

            9              asking, is he agreeable and then Mr. McGoff

 

           10              would also have to, also, I would say, talk

 

           11              to Mr. Schreiber and see if the

 

           12              firefighters' union is agreeable, so to

 

           13              be -- you know, and if he they are both

 

           14              agreeable they to do it.  If not, then I

 

           15              don't know what we do.

 

           16                      And, again, that's all I'm asking.

 

           17              I'm not asking us to do the investigation,

 

           18              just asking if they are agreeable to looking

 

           19              into it.

 

           20                      Our solicitor is saying that's fair

 

           21              enough and that's good by me.

 

           22                      MR. MINORA:  Well, you didn't bring

 

           23              up a legal issue, which is what I was

 

           24              concerned with when you were talking about

 

           25              doing what would the effect be in judicial


 

 

                                                                     111

 

 

            1              when there is one already in place in the

 

            2              contract and I had a concern about that and

 

            3              that's what I was pausing about.  What you

 

            4              are suggesting I have no problem at all.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay, good.

 

            6                      MR. MINORA: I have no problem at all

 

            7              with that.

 

            8                      MR. COURTRIGHT: We will make our

 

            9              feelings known to you, Mr. McGoff, and if

 

           10              there is three of us then you can make a

 

           11              note to the firefighters' president and the

 

           12              mayor.  Thank you.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Have we moved into 5-A

 

           14              motions, yet?  5-A motions, I believe.  Mrs.

 

           15              Evans.

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: Thank you.  First I wish

 

           17              to revisit two issues I raised at last

 

           18              week's meeting.  I recently received the

 

           19              Hill Neighborhood monthly newsletter in

 

           20              which the association states that further

 

           21              explanation for the Nay Aug Park theater

 

           22              needs to take place.  A photocopied

 

           23              photograph provides evidence of the lack of

 

           24              the maintenance by the city, and I quote:

 

           25              "The persons or person responsible for the


 

 

                                                                     112

 

 

            1              maintenance of the tent theater should be

 

            2              required to explain why preventative

 

            3              maintenance was not initiated.  Nothing

 

            4              inside of the tent was protected from the

 

            5              elements as you can see in the picture taken

 

            6              August of 2007.  The chairs have all rusted,

 

            7              and are no longer usable.  The tent theatre

 

            8              was left in such a manner that nothing can

 

            9              be salvaged."

 

           10                      And I know it is difficult for you,

 

           11              all of you to see from that copy, but I will

 

           12              pass it along to my colleagues.

 

           13                      When council receives responses to

 

           14              the questions raised at the February 19

 

           15              meeting by unanimous motion I will be happy

 

           16              to report the information publically.

 

           17                      Next, council agreed during it's

 

           18              last meeting to create an oversight

 

           19              committee appointed by council for Channel

 

           20              61, 62 management.  However, there are

 

           21              crucial questions and issues concerning a

 

           22              peg channel management contract that must be

 

           23              addressed within the next few weeks.  Start

 

           24              up costs in 2008 are over $300,000.  The

 

           25              yearly contribution from the cable franchise


 

 

                                                                     113

 

 

            1              fee to fund Channel 61 and 62 will not kick

 

            2              in until 2009.  Cable TV revenue is already

 

            3              set in the 2008 operating budget at it's

 

            4              maximum of 5 percent as it is each fiscal

 

            5              year.  From where will the over $300,000

 

            6              come in 2008?  In fact, within the next

 

            7              several weeks it appears.

 

            8                      If the city provides funding for the

 

            9              purchase of new equipment who retains

 

           10              ownership of the equipment at the conclusion

 

           11              of the contract?  Why invest in HD cameras

 

           12              when peg channels are not carried in HD nor

 

           13              will they are be in the foreseeable future?

 

           14              Where is the contract between Electric City

 

           15              television and the city?  Will the contract

 

           16              come before city council for approval prior

 

           17              to the disbursement of funds.  I strongly

 

           18              recommend that no contract with Electric

 

           19              City TV come before council until the

 

           20              aforementioned questions are answered by the

 

           21              mayor and that no disbursement of funds

 

           22              occur in 2008 to deplete the 2008 operating

 

           23              budget.  Any new contract should not begin

 

           24              until 2009.

 

           25                      So, Kay, if you could please send a


 

 

                                                                     114

 

 

            1              letter to the mayor, Mr. Renda, and Attorney

 

            2              Patterson requesting responses to these

 

            3              questions and if council is agreeable that

 

            4              letter could be sent on behalf of council.

 

            5              Yes?

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: I have no objection.

 

            7                      MR. COURTRIGHT: None.

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: Thank you.  Next, I'd

 

            9              also like a letter sent and perhaps on

 

           10              behalf of council, if once again you are

 

           11              agreeable, to Mr. Seitzinger and Miss Aebli

 

           12              regarding a city bar and grill that was

 

           13              cited by the state police on January 8,

 

           14              2008, for operating without a health permit

 

           15              or license. As was noted earlier, this

 

           16              establishment received a $120,000 loan from

 

           17              the city in June of 2007 and is in violation

 

           18              of the terms of the loan agreement,

 

           19              specifically, Item 8, Covenants, Paragraph

 

           20              C.  What measures, if any, have been taken

 

           21              to obtain a valid house health permit and

 

           22              what actions, if any, have been taken by

 

           23              OECD.  Please respond on or about before

 

           24              March 10, 2008, and will that be agreeable?

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF:  I have no objection.


 

 

                                                                     115

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS: Thank you.  Finally, in

 

            2              the city controller's report for

 

            3              January 2008 a payment to Southern Union

 

            4              company for $40,830.88 is listed on page 33.

 

            5              Please send a letter to Mr. Renda and

 

            6              Mrs. Novembrino requesting a complete

 

            7              explanation of this payment, for what

 

            8              purpose is the city making payments to

 

            9              Southern Union Company as a prior year

 

           10              obligation?

 

           11                      Also, to the regional director who

 

           12              oversees KOZ's and KOEZ's, does the Southern

 

           13              Union building on Lackawanna Avenue

 

           14              currently retain it's tax free status?  And

 

           15              just very quickly, some requests I received

 

           16              this evening, a resident states that the DPW

 

           17              is not clearing the handicapped ramps at the

 

           18              intersections in downtown Scranton for the

 

           19              wheelchair bound residents so I would like

 

           20              Mr. Brazil to please turn his attention to

 

           21              that.

 

           22                      And I also have some requests

 

           23              regarding the East Mountain area involving

 

           24              the parking of illegal cars.  Now, I was

 

           25              notified of through Kay from Mr. Seitzinger


 

 

                                                                     116

 

 

            1              that there will be a sweep or a saturation

 

            2              in the near future of the South Side area.

 

            3              I'm expecting that to occur once weather is

 

            4              permitting, but perhaps the police as they

 

            5              are patrolling the area can take a look at

 

            6              those cars that have illegal registrations

 

            7              or inspections and also there's a report of

 

            8              cars being parked on sidewalks so I would

 

            9              pass in the east mountain area, Kay, so I'm

 

           10              going to pass this along to you and ask

 

           11              thank Mr. Seitzinger and Mr. Brazil would be

 

           12              notified of these citizens' complaints, and

 

           13              that's it.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.

 

           15              Mr. Courtright.

 

           16                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.  I better

 

           17              answer Fay's question first or you'll be

 

           18              yelling at me next week.  I did forget that

 

           19              Miss Franus when you asked the question, I

 

           20              did forget, a lot transpired that evening

 

           21              and I didn't answer the question and last

 

           22              week when I came back, I got to be honest

 

           23              with you, I wasn't going to bring it up

 

           24              because I didn't think anything would come

 

           25              of it, and Mrs. Gatelli jumped in and


 

 

                                                                     117

 

 

            1              answered the question before I could deny

 

            2              the answer or anything and we had our little

 

            3              to-do here last week.  I think it's been

 

            4              solved.  She graciously is willing to move

 

            5              her seat and that's all I'm going to say

 

            6              about it.  I'm not going to go any further

 

            7              with that.

 

            8                      I got another letter here and last

 

            9              week I showed a letter, it's three pages

 

           10              front and back, and I got another one the

 

           11              following day after this meeting three pages

 

           12              front and back and I'm having a real, real

 

           13              hard time reading this individual's writing

 

           14              and so what I've pieced together from the

 

           15              six pages of the letter I have here is that

 

           16              it's a parking problem in Park Gardens and I

 

           17              believe they wanted to tell Dave Elliott

 

           18              about it and they are upset with me and said

 

           19              they are not going to vote for me ever

 

           20              again, but I can't make out what you are

 

           21              asking me.  So, please, if you watch these

 

           22              meetings you leave no name or address or

 

           23              phone number or e-mail, I can't get back and

 

           24              find out actually what it is that you want

 

           25              me to do and if it is a parking problem in


 

 

                                                                     118

 

 

            1              Park Gardens I do not know that the Scranton

 

            2              Police Department can do anything with it if

 

            3              it's on private property, but I said that's

 

            4              what I pieced together out of these six

 

            5              pages that there is some type of parking

 

            6              problem at Park Gardens and you want me to

 

            7              turn it over to Dave Elliott and I would be

 

            8              happy to pass it onto Dave Elliott, please

 

            9              contact me somehow, phone number or

 

           10              anything.  I will do whatever I could to

 

           11              help you.  I certainly don't want you mad at

 

           12              me.

 

           13                      I took care of the Lace Company

 

           14              there with Jean Suetta.  We talked about the

 

           15              police chief -- or fire chief, I'm sorry.

 

           16              We'll have another one with the police chief

 

           17              next or something, and character

 

           18              assassination, I know I certainly am not

 

           19              trying to assassinate his character.  I

 

           20              believe I'm trying to help him is what I'm

 

           21              trying to do because I certainly want to be

 

           22              able to defend myself if I was being accused

 

           23              of things.

 

           24                      I have to agree with Mrs. Evans on

 

           25              not allowing any funds to be distributed for


 

 

                                                                     119

 

 

            1              this new channel, what was the name of it

 

            2              again, ECTV for Channel 61?  Mr. Webber was

 

            3              here and wanted to speak with me about it

 

            4              earlier and unfortunately we got tied up and

 

            5              I couldn't talk with him.  I was always an

 

            6              advocate of keeping it Scranton Tomorrow or

 

            7              Scranton Today or whatever, it didn't work

 

            8              out that way, but as she said the funds for

 

            9              2008 I think shouldn't be given to them out

 

           10              of the budget.  I don't know if there is

 

           11              somewhere else that money could be coming,

 

           12              maybe from that miraculous UDAG fund, that

 

           13              seems to crop up wherever.

 

           14                      MS. EVANS: I don't know though that

 

           15              they would be able to do so and probably,

 

           16              you know, and this is a side effect, but

 

           17              another issue for the concern is that some

 

           18              of those monies will be used to renovate a

 

           19              building that is not city owned, in fact,

 

           20              it's owned by a millionaire.

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT: So there is a lot of

 

           22              questions, but especially the one of the

 

           23              money, I would like to see where that's

 

           24              going to come from.  And a regular speaker

 

           25              here, Raymond Lyman, contacted me and he


 

 

                                                                     120

 

 

            1              asked that I request I will take, but he

 

            2              specifically wished me to say them on the

 

            3              air so I will do that for him.  He has got a

 

            4              problem with garbage on Green Place and I

 

            5              will talk to the DPW for you, Raymond, and

 

            6              some type of parking problem and a loitering

 

            7              problem on Green Place and I will turn your

 

            8              concerns over, Raymond, to the police

 

            9              department and that's all I have.  Thank

 

           10              you.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Fanucci?

 

           12                      MS. FANUCCI:  I actually only have

 

           13              two comments to make tonight.  We are all

 

           14              given a letter to transfer one of our --

 

           15              from Sixth Order to Seventh Order a file of

 

           16              council to move, this is on the building

 

           17              with the Skyview Park Apartments.  We all

 

           18              received a letter from Linda Aebli that a

 

           19              request had come in pretty much from

 

           20              Washington that we did this so that they did

 

           21              not lose the tax or funding, so I just

 

           22              wanted to put that out that if we do move

 

           23              that that was the reasoning for that so that

 

           24              the scheduled closing would still take place

 

           25              so that the income tax would not, I believe


 

 

                                                                     121

 

 

            1              that's what they are saying, the tax would

 

            2              not actually accumulate so I just wanted to

 

            3              put that out there.

 

            4                      Also, in response to the Recovery

 

            5              Plan and the fact with the raises, Candace,

 

            6              I believe this was your question about the

 

            7              raises with the Recovery Plan, there were

 

            8              provisions in there and the provisions were

 

            9              not only for raises for clerical and

 

           10              nonclerical union and nonunion so there are

 

           11              provisions for the fire and police to get

 

           12              raises.  In fact, when the budget was passed

 

           13              then it became that it was, I mean, there

 

           14              definitely are provisions.  I will get you

 

           15              exactly what page that is on, Mr. Ancherani,

 

           16              next week because I didn't have it with me,

 

           17              but I actually researched that a few weeks

 

           18              ago myself because I know that you have been

 

           19              coming up here saying that was one of the

 

           20              violations of the Recovery Plan and it

 

           21              actually was not after I looked into it.

 

           22              But, there were provisions for everyone to

 

           23              get raises, which is a good thing, so, you

 

           24              know, not that there was not an intention

 

           25              for the unions to get raises there certainly


 

 

                                                                     122

 

 

            1              was, so I definitely wanted to respond to

 

            2              that.

 

            3                      As far as the Skyview apartments, I

 

            4              am for that project.  And for the garage I

 

            5              wanted to respond to Mr. Hubbard, I'm trying

 

            6              to figure out who I was responding to,

 

            7              Daniel, the garage is not accessible right

 

            8              now to anyone.  Anyone cannot get into the

 

            9              garage.  You have to have a pass to get in

 

           10              there so the reason that is not filled right

 

           11              now because they have actually been

 

           12              relocating people from the Oppenheim garage

 

           13              because it was purchased to the city now,

 

           14              the purchased it from a private owner.  The

 

           15              owner had relocated people little by little

 

           16              to another place where they could park, I

 

           17              know that because I park there, so they are

 

           18              trying to little by little get people not to

 

           19              park there.  This garage has been a mess.  I

 

           20              stated this on the record I believe months

 

           21              and months ago, this garage is an absolute

 

           22              mess.  They did try to make it better, they

 

           23              patched it up, it did not work.  It need it

 

           24              to be demolished.  You can't even walk up

 

           25              the stairwells.  You are walking down ramps,


 

 

                                                                     123

 

 

            1              it's very unsafe, so just as a personal

 

            2              opinion, the reason there is not parking

 

            3              there is because you can't park there.  Not

 

            4              that a private person can't park there so

 

            5              that's why if you are wondering why it was

 

            6              empty that's why it's empty because it's

 

            7              being taken care over and your pictures of

 

            8              why, isn't that what I'm responding to.

 

            9                      MR. HUBBARD: I'll get more pictures

 

           10              of the ramps in the morning.

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI:  He is very good as a

 

           12              photographer.  And that is all I have.

 

           13              Thank you.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Gatelli.

 

           15                      MS. GATELLI: Yes.  I will look into

 

           16              the dog park.  The dog park was not my idea,

 

           17              by the way, it was a speaker that comes here

 

           18              every week and requested the dog park.

 

           19              However, I will look into it, I think that

 

           20              it was bid, you know, so I'm sure it was all

 

           21              bid out, but I will investigate that for

 

           22              you.

 

           23                      I was trying to call the animal

 

           24              control officer, but I haven't been able to

 

           25              reach him.  Kay, if you can reach him there


 

 

                                                                     124

 

 

            1              is a property on Gibbons Street, the animal

 

            2              control officer, and I talked to Mark

 

            3              Seitzinger and he is going to have it

 

            4              boarded up, but there is all stray cats in

 

            5              it and I was trying to reach him for that

 

            6              reason.  I'll give you the address later,

 

            7              it's on Gibbons Street.  And I'm glad that

 

            8              we are going to be investigating this

 

            9              problem that we were having.  It does need

 

           10              to be looked in and I'm sure Mr. Courtright

 

           11              and Mr. McGoff will get some information

 

           12              tomorrow and bring it back to the rest of

 

           13              us.

 

           14                      The last thing is the trees.  The

 

           15              trees passed.  The trees are coming to South

 

           16              Side.  I'm sorry that you don't approve of

 

           17              that, but that's what's happening.  They

 

           18              have been approved.  I have pictures here of

 

           19              all of the trees.  I know Mr. Santolli, the

 

           20              city forester contacted people to go look at

 

           21              projects that he has done.  Trees are part

 

           22              of the environment.  There is global

 

           23              warming.  There are funds for this

 

           24              particular type of activity in OECD.  We are

 

           25              trying to remake an area that was driven by


 

 

                                                                     125

 

 

            1              drug dealers and bring it back.  I don't

 

            2              know if no one understands that because you

 

            3              don't live there, but at the South Side

 

            4              neighborhood meeting we have heard about it

 

            5              for the last 15 years and that area is

 

            6              deplorable.  There are nuisance bars that we

 

            7              had to close with the district attorney and

 

            8              we are trying to bring it back, and believe

 

            9              it or not, trees are part of the environment

 

           10              and part of making it a nice play to live.

 

           11              So, yes, the trees are coming and I do have

 

           12              pictures of them.

 

           13                      Now, years ago when they planted

 

           14              trees there wasn't a forester so they

 

           15              planted silver maples and trees that lifted

 

           16              sidewalks.  None of these trees will lift

 

           17              the sidewalks, I will show my colleagues.

 

           18              And no one is going to get a tree that

 

           19              doesn't want one and we did a project

 

           20              several years ago with the money we had

 

           21              gotten from Fred Belardi and the

 

           22              Neighborhood Association planted them and

 

           23              they are all thriving and doing very well.

 

           24              So, this is not, you know, if you think it's

 

           25              a joke it's not a joke.  It's part of a


 

 

                                                                     126

 

 

            1              renaissance that we are trying to do over

 

            2              there in a neighborhood that has been

 

            3              suffering for years and we are trying to

 

            4              bring it back.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS: Mrs. Gatelli, could you

 

            6              tell everyone though where the trees will be

 

            7              planted?

 

            8                      MS. GATELLI:  They are going to be

 

            9              planted on Moosic Street, Cedar, Pittston

 

           10              and all the side streets in-between to Brook

 

           11              street.  It has to be in a low to moderate

 

           12              census track.

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: Thank you.

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI:  So that's where we're

 

           15              starting, and I really appreciate my

 

           16              colleagues supporting this.  I mean, I know

 

           17              it's a lot of money, but the neighborhood is

 

           18              terrible and you all know that.

 

           19                      MS. EVANS: Yes.

 

           20                      MS. GATELLI:  You have all been over

 

           21              there, you know, and some of you have come

 

           22              with me to see the area and there is a lot

 

           23              of demolition going on and we are going to

 

           24              have a lot of revitalization and low

 

           25              interest loans and facade grants to try and


 

 

                                                                     127

 

 

            1              help Cedar and Pittston Avenue, so that's

 

            2              all this is about.  It's to make the place

 

            3              better and when Mr. Santolli did his study

 

            4              South Side had the least trees of the whole

 

            5              city, and I think it will add to the

 

            6              vitality of the new neighborhood that we are

 

            7              trying to create, and he doesn't work for

 

            8              free and I know he doesn't like to be given

 

            9              accolades, but he does a wonderful job.

 

           10              It's truly his life is forestry and we are

 

           11              very, very lucky in the city to have him.

 

           12              He did go on several complaints that I had

 

           13              from people and he will even come if you

 

           14              have a problem with trees that are dying and

 

           15              he will tell you what's wrong with them and

 

           16              how to take care of them, so he is a very,

 

           17              very good asset to the city and we

 

           18              appreciate all of his volunteer services.

 

           19              So that's the reason they are coming and I

 

           20              hope that you will bear with me and hope

 

           21              that are project is very successful for our

 

           22              community and thank you.

 

           23                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you very much.  A

 

           24              couple of things, one from last week I was

 

           25              in contact with Mrs. Mehalchick from the


 

 

                                                                     128

 

 

            1              Drug and Alcohol Counsel or whatever and she

 

            2              was inquiring about what it was exactly that

 

            3              we wish to -- what the letter should contain

 

            4              that we wish to send.  I instructed her to

 

            5              contact Mrs. Garvey, I don't know if she

 

            6              did, and that they were going to -- that

 

            7              they would a compose a letter that would be

 

            8              sent to appropriate taverns and tavern

 

            9              associations.  She did ask that if were sent

 

           10              if it would be possible that my signature be

 

           11              attached to it as well.  I didn't want to do

 

           12              that without, you know, asking approval.

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI: You can put mine on

 

           14              there, too.

 

           15                      MS. EVANS: And mine.

 

           16                      MS. GATELLI: I would appreciate mine

 

           17              on this.

 

           18                      MS. EVANS: Perhaps we'd all sign it.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: Like I said, she was

 

           20              asking that at least --

 

           21                      MS. GATELLI: Absolutely.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: -- it have a some

 

           23              substance from the city as well from city

 

           24              council.  Also, in reference to that I was

 

           25              talking with Chief Elliott as well and he


 

 

                                                                     129

 

 

            1              said he is going to get back to the

 

            2              procedure for the patrols for that day.  He

 

            3              did make mention of one thing that this year

 

            4              they are going to strictly enforce the open

 

            5              container ordinance which is a city

 

            6              ordinance.  It's not a state, it's not a --

 

            7              you know, it's a city ordinance, it can only

 

            8              be enforced by city police and they are

 

            9              going to make an attempt to enforce that

 

           10              during the parade day.  Also, you mentioned,

 

           11              Mrs. Evans mentioned the oversight

 

           12              committee.  I did bring that to the mayor

 

           13              and asked him about that.  He said that that

 

           14              was a -- that he was fine with that, the it

 

           15              was something that he thought that perhaps

 

           16              the best way for us to do it would be submit

 

           17              the names that we would want for the

 

           18              committee and the provisions that we wanted

 

           19              that they would then put it in the form of a

 

           20              motion, resolution, whatever, resolution and

 

           21              then it would be sent back to us for

 

           22              approval and that it would become, you know,

 

           23              part of -- all we would need to do is give

 

           24              him or give them what we wanted in that

 

           25              resolution and that would then be sent back


 

 

                                                                     130

 

 

            1              to us for approval.

 

            2                      Last two things, I neglected to do

 

            3              this for quite awhile now.  A number of

 

            4              weeks ago the Hill Neighborhood Association

 

            5              presented a check for $1,000 to be given to

 

            6              the canine fund, in fact, there was no

 

            7              specific fund in which to place that check

 

            8              and so I received this back from Director

 

            9              Hayes and they created a fund, a special

 

           10              city account was created and that $1,000 was

 

           11              placed into that fund so just so it's

 

           12              recorded that it was sent.

 

           13                      Also, a letter was received from

 

           14              Miss Laura Craig.  Basically it says, "My

 

           15              name is Laura Craig and I'm writing to thank

 

           16              you and your fellow city employees, in

 

           17              particular Mr. Jeff Brazil and his coworker

 

           18              from DPW for the kindnesses that the City of

 

           19              Scranton showed me and my business on the

 

           20              unfortunate occasion of the devastating fire

 

           21              that effected us here on Linden Street

 

           22              recently."

 

           23                      She goes onto thank people and in

 

           24              response to that, "Enclosed a check for

 

           25              $300.00 as a gratitude to the city."


 

 

                                                                     131

 

 

            1                      I would like to ask for a motion to

 

            2              accept this check on behalf of -- from the

 

            3              Laura Craig gallery and Laura Craig and to

 

            4              be placed into the city treasurer I assume.

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI: Bill, you always made

 

            6              the motions.

 

            7                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I'm not going to

 

            8              make this one.

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI:  I'll make the motion

 

           10              to accept it.

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI: Second.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?

 

           13                      MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question, I'm

 

           14              going to vote to accept it.  I had a concern

 

           15              when I read the letter and I discussed it

 

           16              with the solicitor earlier on I was fearful

 

           17              that that check would be misconstrued as

 

           18              payment for services rendered by the DPW and

 

           19              then I believe somebody, I can't remember,

 

           20              but somebody even brought it up this

 

           21              evening, somebody at the podium brought it

 

           22              up, you know, well, let them come and

 

           23              possibly clean your basement and shovel your

 

           24              driveway, you know we are hiring out the DPW

 

           25              more or less, and I was concerned about that


 

 

                                                                     132

 

 

            1              and I discussed it with Mr. Minora prior to

 

            2              the meeting and he said the wording on there

 

            3              makes it a gift to the city and we are okay,

 

            4              we are safe in that respect because we don't

 

            5              and we should not be hiring out the DPW.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?

 

            7                      MS. EVANS: I share Mr. Courtright's

 

            8              concern with this issue and I do understand

 

            9              that it is a gift and I am most

 

           10              appreciative.  I do understand that the city

 

           11              has accepted gifts before from private

 

           12              citizens for the fire department in

 

           13              gratitude for exemplary service provided

 

           14              during a fire at a resident's homes.  My

 

           15              concern is that this may be construed,

 

           16              although I'm not talking about the dollar

 

           17              amount here because I think if we were to

 

           18              look at the actual dollar amount it would

 

           19              probably exceed the $300.00, though I think

 

           20              it is a generous gift, my concern is that it

 

           21              could be construed as maybe a payment of

 

           22              sorts after the fact of so much public

 

           23              discussion and scrutiny and I don't want any

 

           24              citizen to be mislead by this or be of the

 

           25              opinion that you, as Mr. Courtright said,


 

 

                                                                     133

 

 

            1              you can have a particular situation at your

 

            2              home and you are going to call the DPW and

 

            3              expect that they will come and clear your

 

            4              house of all appliances or furniture and

 

            5              then you can gift them afterwards with your

 

            6              appreciation.

 

            7                      So as much as I do appreciate

 

            8              Mrs. Craig's gift and I am grateful and

 

            9              pleased that precious art works are saved, I

 

           10              personally prefer because of the

 

           11              circumstances of this incident I prefer not

 

           12              to accept the gift.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?  The motion

 

           14              is to accept the $300.00 check as a gift for

 

           15              to the City of Scranton from the Laura Craig

 

           16              Galleries.  All those in favor?

 

           17                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?

 

           21                      MS. EVANS: No.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: The ayes have it and so

 

           23              moved.

 

           24                      MS. GARVEY: Fifth order.  5-B. FOR

 

           25              INTRODUCTION - AN ORDINANCE - AMENDING FILE


 

 

                                                                     134

 

 

            1              OF COUNCIL NO. 16, 1988 - WHICH AMENDED FILE

 

            2              OF COUNCIL NO. 29, 1986 ENTITLED "AN

 

            3              ORDINANCE, AS AMENDED, CREATING THE REMOVAL

 

            4              OF EXISTING PARKING METERS WITH THE CENTRAL

 

            5              BUSINESS DISTRICT AND PRESCRIBING PARKING

 

            6              TIME LIMITS; DEFINING OFFENSES AND

 

            7              PRESCRIBING PENALTIES; PROVIDING FOR THE

 

            8              ENFORCEMENT THEREOF; AND REPEALING

 

            9              CONFLICTING AND INCONSISTENT ORDINANCE, BY

 

           10              DETAILING THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF

 

           11              THE SCRANTON PARKING AUTHORITY ACTING AS AN

 

           12              AGENT FOR THE CITY OF SCRANTON," BY AMENDING

 

           13              SECTION 5(b) SERVICE VEHICLE PARKING PERMITS

 

           14              BY INCREASING THE COST OF THIS PERMIT TO

 

           15              $150.00 PER YEAR PER VEHICLE."

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll

 

           17              entertain a motion that Item 5-B be

 

           18              introduced into it's proper committee.

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.

 

           20                      MS. FANUCCI:  Second.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  All

 

           22              those in favor signify by saying aye.

 

           23                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

           24                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

           25                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.


 

 

                                                                     135

 

 

            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The

 

            3              ayes have it and so moved.

 

            4                      MS. GARVEY: 5-C. FOR INTRODUCTION -

 

            5              A RESOLUTION - APPOINTMENT OF BERNARD

 

            6              GARVEY, 601 MERIDIAN AVENUE, SCRANTON,

 

            7              PENNSYLVANIA, 18504, AS A MEMBER OF THE FIRE

 

            8              PENSION COMMISSION, EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 18,

 

            9              2007.  MR GARVEY WILL BE REPRESENTING THE

 

           10              RETIRED FIREFIGHTERS ON THE COMMISSION AND

 

           11              HIS FIVE YEAR TERM WILL EXPIRE ON DECEMBER

 

           12              18, 2012.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll

 

           14              entertain a motion that Item 5-C be

 

           15              introduced into it's proper committee.

 

           16                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  So moved.

 

           17                      MS. FANUCCI: Second.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  All

 

           19              those in favor signify by saying aye.

 

           20                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

           21                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

           23                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The

 

           25              ayes have it and so moved.


 

 

                                                                     136

 

 

            1                      MS. GARVEY:  5-D. FOR INTRODUCTION -

 

            2              A RESOLUTION - APPOINTMENT OF JOHN

 

            3              SYDLOWSKI, 624 WINTERMANTLE AVENUE,

 

            4              SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA, 18505, AS A MEMBER

 

            5              OF THE FIRE PENSION COMMISSION, EFFECTIVE

 

            6              DECEMBER 18, 2007.  MR. SYDLOWSI WILL BE

 

            7              REPRESENTING THE RETIRED FIREFIGHTERS ON THE

 

            8              COMMISSION AND HIS FIVE YEAR TERM WILL

 

            9              EXPIRE ON DECEMBER 18, 2012.

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll

 

           11              entertain a motion that Item 5-D be

 

           12              introduced into it's proper committee.

 

           13                      MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.

 

           14                      MS. FANUCCI: Second.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  All

 

           16              those in favor of introduction signify by

 

           17              saying aye.

 

           18                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

           19                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

           20                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The

 

           23              ayes have it and so moved.

 

           24                      MS. GARVEY: SIXTH ORDER.  6-A.

 

           25              READING TY TITLE - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 14,


 

 

                                                                     137

 

 

            1              2008 - AN ORDINANCE - AMENDING FILE OF

 

            2              COUNCIL NO. 49, 2006 (AS AMENDED) ENTITLED,

 

            3              "AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND

 

            4              OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS OF THE CITY OF

 

            5              SCRANTON TO TAKE ALL NECESSARY ACTIONS TO

 

            6              IMPLEMENT THE CONSOLIDATED SUBMISSION FOR

 

            7              COMMUNITY PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS

 

            8              (AS AMENDED) TO BE FUNDED UNDER THE

 

            9              COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG)

 

           10              PROGRAM AND EMERGENCY SHELTER GRANT (ESG)

 

           11              PROGRAM", BY DELETING CERTAIN PROJECTS AND

 

           12              ADDING A NEW PROJECT.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: You have heard Reading

 

           14              by Title of Item 6-A what is your pleasure?

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I move that Item

 

           16              6-A pass Reading by Title.

 

           17                      MS. FANUCCI:  Second.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?  All

 

           19              those in favor signify by saying aye?

 

           20                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

           21                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?

 

           23                      MR. COURTRIGHT: No.

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: No.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: The ayes have it and so


 

 

                                                                     138

 

 

            1              moved.

 

            2                      MS. FANUCCI:  At this time I'd like

 

            3              to make a motion that we suspend our rules

 

            4              and put 6-A into Seventh Order so that we

 

            5              can vote on that.

 

            6                      MS. GATELLI:  Second.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?  All

 

            8              those in favor signify by saying aye.

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT: No.

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: No.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: The ayes have it and so

 

           15              moved.

 

           16                      MS. GARVEY: SEVENTH ORDER.  7-A. FOR

 

           17              CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON RULES -

 

           18              FOR ADOPTION - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 1, 2008 -

 

           19              VACATING ANY AND ALL RIGHT, TITLE AND

 

           20              INTEREST OF THE CITY OF SCRANTON IN THE

 

           21              RIGHT-OF-WAY KNOWN AS SMALLACOMBE DRIVE AS

 

           22              MORE PARTICULARLY DESCRIBED ON THE MAP

 

           23              ATTACHED HERETO.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: As Chairperson for the

 

           25              Committee on Rules, I recommend final


 

 

                                                                     139

 

 

            1              passage of Item 7-A.

 

            2                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  Roll

 

            4              call, please.

 

            5                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            6                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

            7                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

            8                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

            9                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

           10                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

           11                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Gatelli.

 

           12                      MS. GATELLI: Yes.

 

           13                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

           15              Item 7-A legally and lawfully adopted.

 

           16                      MS. GARVEY: 7-B. FOR CONSIDERATION

 

           17              BY THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION -

 

           18              RESOLUTION NO. 12, 2008 - AUTHORIZING THE

 

           19              MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS

 

           20              TO EXECUTE AND ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT WITH

 

           21              THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT

 

           22              OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ("DEP") TO

 

           23              ACCEPT THE ACT 101, SECTION 902 RECYCLING

 

           24              DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION GRANT IN THE

 

           25              AMOUNT OF $69,250.00.


 

 

                                                                     140

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: As Chairperson for the

 

            2              Committee on Rules, I recommend final

 

            3              passage of Item 7-B.

 

            4                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  Roll

 

            6              call, please.

 

            7                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            8                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

            9                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           10                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

           11                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

           12                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

           13                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Gatelli.

 

           14                      MS. GATELLI: Yes.

 

           15                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

           17              Item 7-B legally and lawfully adopted.

 

           18                      MS. GARVEY: 7-C. FOR CONSIDERATION

 

           19              BY THE COMMITTEE ON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT -

 

           20              FOR ADOPTION - RESOLUTION NO. 13, 2008 -

 

           21              AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE

 

           22              CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE AND APPLY FOR A

 

           23              GRANT THROUGH THE COMMONWEALTH OF

 

           24              PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AND

 

           25              ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (DCED) FOR A GROWING


 

 

                                                                     141

 

 

            1              GREENER II MAIN STREET AND DOWNTOWN

 

            2              REDEVELOPMENT GRANT IN THE AMOUNT OF

 

            3              $1,000,000.00.  IF SUCCESSFUL, COORDINATING

 

            4              THE USE OF THE GRANT FUNDS WILL BE WIT THE

 

            5              SCRANTON PARKING AUTHORITY FOR THE PROJECT

 

            6              TO BE NAMES AS "WASHINGTON SPRUCE PARKING

 

            7              FACILITY".

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: What is the

 

            9              recommendation of the Chairperson for the

 

           10              Committee on Community Development.

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI: As Chairperson for the

 

           12              Committee on Community Development, I

 

           13              recommend final passage of Item 7-C.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF:  Second.  On the

 

           15              question?

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: There was a question

 

           17              posed earlier this evening by a speaker

 

           18              regarding possible tax delinquencies for the

 

           19              owner of the Connell building, Graystone,

 

           20              Scranton, LLP and, in fact, there are

 

           21              delinquencies dating back to 1995.  Now,

 

           22              many of those were paid '95, '96, '97, '98,

 

           23              '99, 2001 and 2001 and to 2002, 2003.

 

           24              However, it appears that the 2007, 2006

 

           25              taxes were not paid and it is, indeed, a


 

 

                                                                     142

 

 

            1              significant amount of money that it owed to

 

            2              the county, the school and the city.  I

 

            3              believe, for example, 2007, to the county

 

            4              and school district $31,906.08.  In 2006,

 

            5              $34,018.09 and to the city in 2007

 

            6              $11,8040.62 and in 2006 $12,767.93.

 

            7                      Now, we have already discussed at

 

            8              last week's meeting the fact that a bond

 

            9              issue was approved by city council with the

 

           10              exception of myself for $35 million which

 

           11              included the demolition and construction of

 

           12              the new garage.  I do not see the need for

 

           13              the additional million dollars, but more so,

 

           14              I don't know why we would be funding,

 

           15              further funding, this garage that is going

 

           16              to serve in a significant capacity the

 

           17              owners of the Connell building.  I think the

 

           18              owners of the Connell building must first

 

           19              step up to the plate and pay their

 

           20              delinquencies.

 

           21                      MS. FANUCCI: I'm going to comment on

 

           22              that on the question.  That's pretty much

 

           23              inclusion, they are not going to own this

 

           24              garage so I don't know how you can, you

 

           25              know, decide and it's a grant.  It's a


 

 

                                                                     143

 

 

            1              wonderful grant and if we don't take it

 

            2              maybe it will go to Allentown.  I don't

 

            3              understand how we can fight over grant

 

            4              money, but, yes, I don't believe that that's

 

            5              the case.  It is for all of downtown.  I

 

            6              know myself I park down there everyday and

 

            7              this garage is sorely needed especially for

 

            8              the people in my building which now will be

 

            9              losing all of their parking, seven floors of

 

           10              people who need to park, so I do believe

 

           11              that this garage will be very, very well

 

           12              needed because it's needed now and that's

 

           13              all I have.

 

           14                      MS. EVANS: Well, certainly we are

 

           15              not going to argue over the necessity of the

 

           16              garage, but the money, as I stated, was

 

           17              already put in place by this council many,

 

           18              many, many months ago and as for the grant,

 

           19              certainly I'm not opposed to the application

 

           20              and awarding of the grants, but I do believe

 

           21              we should be applying for those grants for

 

           22              more necessary projects that will benefit

 

           23              everyone in the City of Scranton and I think

 

           24              it's been made quite clear whether or not

 

           25              through the newspaper or the mayor or the


 

 

                                                                     144

 

 

            1              representatives of the parking authority

 

            2              that it is the intention of the owners of

 

            3              the Connell building to utilize a

 

            4              significant number of spaces in that garage.

 

            5              So, if we are going to be applying for

 

            6              something let's apply for it for a project

 

            7              that I think that is it more worthy.

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF:  Anyone else on the

 

            9              question?  Roll call, please.

 

           10                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

           11                      MS. EVANS:  No.

 

           12                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           13                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  No.

 

           14                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

           16                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Gatelli.

 

           17                      MS. GATELLI: Yes.

 

           18                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

           20              Item 7-C legally and lawfully adopted.

 

           21                      MS. GARVEY: 7-D. FOR CONSIDERATION

 

           22              BY THE COMMITTEE ON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT -

 

           23              FOR ADOPTION - RESOLUTION NO. 14, 2008 -

 

           24              AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE

 

           25              CITY OFFICIALS FOR THE CITY OF SCRANTON TO


 

 

                                                                     145

 

 

            1              ENTER INTO A LOAN AGREEMENT AND MAKE A LOAN

 

            2              FROM THE HOME INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM

 

            3              IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $400,000.00 TO

 

            4              GREATVIEW DEVELOPMENT LIMITED PARTNERSHIP TO

 

            5              ASSIST AN ELIGIBLE PROJECT.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: What is the

 

            7              recommendation of the Chairperson for the

 

            8              Committee on Community Development?

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI: As Chair for the

 

           10              Committee on Community Development, I

 

           11              recommend final passage of Item 7-D.

 

           12                      MS. GATELLI:  Second.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?

 

           14                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  On the question,

 

           15              Mr. McGoff, I spoke with Linda Aebli quite

 

           16              awhile ago on this whole thing and one of

 

           17              the concerns I had was, I mean, it's

 

           18              40 years.  Forty years is a long time.  She

 

           19              said to me that she, too, was very concerned

 

           20              about it but this deal was struck before she

 

           21              got in there and she also had some concerns

 

           22              with, you know, with the 40-year thing.  If

 

           23              I could just step back one minute to 7-C as

 

           24              far as the grant goes, I don't know, it just

 

           25              seems that sometimes these loans and grants


 

 

                                                                     146

 

 

            1              come down to where, you know, we only have a

 

            2              couple of months left and we are going to

 

            3              lose them.  We are always trying to market

 

            4              this city, maybe we need to market these

 

            5              loans and grants a little better so we don't

 

            6              have to wait until three months before we

 

            7              are going to lose it and have to rush.  I'm

 

            8              sure a lot of people would be standing in

 

            9              line to get, you know, a million dollar

 

           10              grant so maybe we need to market it a little

 

           11              bit better.  Thank you.  That's all I have.

 

           12              Thank you.

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: And I just wanted to add

 

           14              to the terms of the loan which

 

           15              Mr. Courtright alluded to a 40-year loan but

 

           16              at 0 percent interest.  Who among us

 

           17              wouldn't enjoy such an arrangement?  And my

 

           18              other problem with the situation is, again,

 

           19              what I explained last week, I want more

 

           20              information in black and white from now on.

 

           21              As we have seen with a number of the loans,

 

           22              we have awarded there have been significant

 

           23              problems thereafter.  There is little to no

 

           24              accountability after this is awarded and

 

           25              until such time as I get in black and white,


 

 

                                                                     147

 

 

            1              not lip service, but black and white a

 

            2              credit history, history of payments and

 

            3              defaults, a history of liens, if any,

 

            4              etcetera, I'm just not going to feel

 

            5              comfortable approving anymore of these

 

            6              agreements, so that is why I would be

 

            7              declining.

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI:  You know, I don't want

 

            9              to keep tonight going on and on, but to

 

           10              claim that there is no accountability.

 

           11              There is only one person who has defaulted

 

           12              on a loan and, in fact, he is trying to make

 

           13              good now, it was Whistles.  We have only had

 

           14              one problem in the entire city.

 

           15              Accountability.  You have to pay back the

 

           16              loan.  The states accountable.  There are

 

           17              some many checks and balances in place, so

 

           18              maybe to sit down and understand the system

 

           19              better you would understand that.  This is

 

           20              what has to happen.  It's not one person in

 

           21              the office deciding.  It goes on and on and

 

           22              on, so to -- and you can't apply for the

 

           23              loan, you have to be cleared and free before

 

           24              you get the loan, so you can't have liens on

 

           25              you.  You can't be in default of something


 

 

                                                                     148

 

 

            1              else, so that's just not an accurate

 

            2              statement.

 

            3                      And we have said this time and time

 

            4              again, there has only been one instance in

 

            5              the city's history in years since at least

 

            6              since this mayor and the last mayor had

 

            7              taken place that this has happened, so that

 

            8              is just not accurate and to say that I just

 

            9              couldn't let that go because that is so not

 

           10              what happens in that office.

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: Well, I do know this that

 

           12              I have been requesting all of the

 

           13              information, complete information about all

 

           14              of the loans from Miss Hailstone for years

 

           15              and now from Ms. Aebli on no one seems to be

 

           16              able to provide that.

 

           17                      MS. FANUCCI: I do believe that

 

           18              that's because they cannot provide what

 

           19              people's personal financial statements are

 

           20              to you as a councilperson.

 

           21                      MS. EVANS: But, they can ask me to

 

           22              approve the awarding of money to them.

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI: Well, maybe you should

 

           24              sit down and go through everyone of them and

 

           25              then --


 

 

                                                                     149

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS: That's what I would like

 

            2              to do.  That's what I want sent to all of

 

            3              us.

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI: Then you should go and

 

            5              call because when I sit down with them it's

 

            6              very accurately done and the procedure is

 

            7              very, very -- and you would like it because

 

            8              it is very black and white so you should

 

            9              probably go.

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: Well, I'd like that, but,

 

           11              you know, again, I'm reading about lien

 

           12              after lien, I see business after business

 

           13              that leaves --

 

           14                      MS. FANUCCI: But they still have to

 

           15              pay back the money if they leave.  The money

 

           16              has to be paid back, so even if they close

 

           17              they still have to pay the money back, so

 

           18              that again, we are still getting our money

 

           19              back.

 

           20                      MS. EVANS: That, again, I don't know

 

           21              until I see in black and white, but, you

 

           22              know, again, as I said last week, use it or

 

           23              lose it that's worn out now.  There are

 

           24              plenty of places to use money in this city

 

           25              and how it happens to conveniently sit for


 

 

                                                                     150

 

 

            1              so long I find puzzling.

 

            2                      MS. FANUCCI: It does have to be

 

            3              applied for in advance.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS: And no one applies for it

 

            5              in all those years?

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI:  There are, but they

 

            7              have to go through the black and white

 

            8              procedure of filling out of the forms and

 

            9              being able to pass and decide if they are

 

           10              financially able to do.  I mean, you have to

 

           11              have some type of equity.  You just can't go

 

           12              and decide to take this money.

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: Right, but ultimately

 

           14              it's OECD and the mayor that makes the

 

           15              decision on where that money is going to go.

 

           16                      MS. FANUCCI: No, the state is the

 

           17              one who decides.

 

           18                      MS. EVANS: Well, the state I can't

 

           19              really rely on at this point either because

 

           20              the state has done nothing, for example,

 

           21              about the Southern Union building.

 

           22                      MS. FANUCCI: Nobody knows how to do

 

           23              the job.

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: And when the agency was

 

           25              brought in they told us -- do you remember


 

 

                                                                     151

 

 

            1              they told us to lease the Southern Union

 

            2              building ourselves.  Now, it's been vacant

 

            3              for how long?  I don't even know if they

 

            4              still maintain their tax exempt status.  No

 

            5              one wants to properly investigate any of

 

            6              this, so I think it's all well and good to

 

            7              listen to all of this and all it shakes out

 

            8              to there is always enough money in the kitty

 

            9              for the next new project the mayor wants.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI: Excuse me, I'm going to

 

           11              interrupt here, too, because if we have any

 

           12              questions about OECD our solicitor happened

 

           13              to be the solicitor for OECD for many years,

 

           14              so he is a valuable resource and he

 

           15              certainly can answer a lot of the questions

 

           16              that we may have on these issues.

 

           17                      Secondly, some of the money in OECD

 

           18              and I believe it was specifically the UDAG

 

           19              account was always the mayor's discretion.

 

           20              I worked, you know, you know I worked for

 

           21              Connors and that was always his discretion

 

           22              to use the UDAG accounts.  So, yeah, it is a

 

           23              mayoral decision in a lot of these instances

 

           24              with OECD.

 

           25                      MS. EVANS: But, even when I think


 

 

                                                                     152

 

 

            1              commercial/industrial loans, those were

 

            2              applying the decisions are ultimately

 

            3              made --

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI: But I don't think

 

            5              anyone is denied.

 

            6                      MS. EVANS: -- and then they come

 

            7              down to us.

 

            8                      MS. GATELLI: Yeah, I don't think

 

            9              anyone is denied, you know, that would apply

 

           10              and has all of the proper -- I know I was

 

           11              trying to help someone to get a loan but

 

           12              they didn't have a business plan and they

 

           13              didn't have, you know, adequate credit

 

           14              history, you know, they couldn't understand

 

           15              why they couldn't get it, but they didn't

 

           16              have all of these criteria to get it, but,

 

           17              you know, at least they tried.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: We are still on 7-D.

 

           19              Anyone else on the question?  Roll call,

 

           20              please.

 

           21                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

           22                      MS. EVANS:  No.

 

           23                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  No.

 

           25                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.


 

 

                                                                     153

 

 

            1                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

            2                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Gatelli.

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI: Yes.

 

            4                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

            6              Item 7-D legally and lawfully adopted.

 

            7                      MS. GARVEY: Mrs. Evans, just to

 

            8              interject here, I just talked to Linda Aebli

 

            9              regarding that letter that was sent back in

 

           10              December and the second request in January

 

           11              as a body of council asked the same

 

           12              questions that you posed in December

 

           13              regarding all of the loan information and

 

           14              she did say that she was working on that to

 

           15              get a response to you, so maybe soon you

 

           16              will have one.

 

           17                      MS. EVANS: Thank you.

 

           18                      MS. GARVEY: 7-E. FOR CONSIDERATION

 

           19              BY THE COMMITTEE ON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT -

 

           20              FOR ADOPTION - RESOLUTION NO. 15, 2008 -

 

           21              AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE

 

           22              CITY OFFICIALS FOR THE CITY OF SCRANTON TO

 

           23              ENTER INTO A GRANT AGREEMENT AND MAKE A

 

           24              GRANT FROM THE HOME INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP

 

           25              PROGRAM IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED


 

 

                                                                     154

 

 

            1              $150,000.00 TO NATIONAL HOUSING

 

            2              TRUST-ENTERPRISE PRESERVATION CORPORATION TO

 

            3              ASSIST AN ELIGIBLE PROJECT.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF: What is the

 

            5              recommendation of the Chairperson for the

 

            6              Committee on Community Development?

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI: As Chair for the

 

            8              Committee on Community Development, I

 

            9              recommend final passage of Item 7-E.

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF: Second.  On the

 

           11              question?

 

           12                      MS. GATELLI: Yeah, I just want to

 

           13              talk about this again, I'm not quitting on

 

           14              the subject because I happen to live there

 

           15              very close to this particular low income

 

           16              housing project and I believe there are at

 

           17              least 150 families or more that live there.

 

           18              We had many, many problems up there with

 

           19              drug activity and guns and problems in this

 

           20              particular neighborhood, they since have

 

           21              settled down quite a bit and the people

 

           22              here, this National Housing Trust, are the

 

           23              leading public housing enterprises in the

 

           24              country.  I many very, very confident that

 

           25              they are going to do a wonderful job.  The


 

 

                                                                     155

 

 

            1              place itself is not in good shape, once

 

            2              again, when I worked for Jimmy I had to go

 

            3              up there several times and condemn some of

 

            4              the units.  There is also a sewage problem

 

            5              because it's down in a hole and they have to

 

            6              pump the sewage up, so there is always a

 

            7              problem with sewage in the apartments, and

 

            8              it really needs an overhaul and it needs new

 

            9              management and I think that these people are

 

           10              going to bring it to that particular

 

           11              project.  I don't think that we can afford

 

           12              to have anymore poor people out on the

 

           13              streets and that's why I'm really for this.

 

           14                   You know, we had the Washington West

 

           15              where the people had to leave and we do have

 

           16              all of the low income housing projects in

 

           17              South Side and I have fought that over the

 

           18              years because they wanted to more in, but

 

           19              what we have we like to keep in good

 

           20              condition and it really needs some work up

 

           21              there, the people are living in deplorable

 

           22              conditions and I think that these people are

 

           23              reputable nationwide in managing low income

 

           24              housing projects.  It was managed always

 

           25              privately and some of the people were not


 

 

                                                                     156

 

 

            1              very amenable when we went up there and had

 

            2              meetings, they just let things go on there

 

            3              that shouldn't have gone on, and this is

 

            4              going to be a great thing and it will help

 

            5              all of the poor people that live there.  We

 

            6              cannot afford to put anyone out of their

 

            7              homes and I think they will do a great job.

 

            8              The county, Cordaro and Munchak and I

 

            9              believe Washo also voted for it.  They have

 

           10              contributed to this project with their

 

           11              community development assets, so they also

 

           12              have an investment in the project, it's not

 

           13              just the city, so I think everybody is

 

           14              looking forward to it being a much better

 

           15              place than it was in the past.

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: And I agree, I think we

 

           17              do want to see the improvements and they are

 

           18              greatly needed, but this isn't ours.  Let's

 

           19              remember this is privately owned.  This is

 

           20              not city-owned and, yes, this is a highly

 

           21              reputable nationwide company who a developer

 

           22              I can't understand why, you know, they are

 

           23              coming with their hands out for such

 

           24              significant amounts from every government

 

           25              entity.  I mean, you have to wonder almost


 

 

                                                                     157

 

 

            1              are there tax credits involved, is this a

 

            2              tax shelter, whatever.

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI:  Oh, absolutely.  It is

 

            4              tax credits, absolutely.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS: I do agree it needs a

 

            6              complete overhaul and I very much want to

 

            7              see that happen, but I would rather see it

 

            8              happen at the expense of the owners not

 

            9              those who reside there but this company that

 

           10              owns this housing development.

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI: My thought is that the

 

           12              people are ours and it's our job to

 

           13              sometimes look out for people who can't look

 

           14              out for themselves right now.

 

           15                      MS. EVANS: Oh, I agree, but I don't

 

           16              think we often do that.  I mean, we are

 

           17              ready to crucify them for their taxes --

 

           18                      MS. FANUCCI: For $150,000 I believe

 

           19              it's a very good, it's a very good

 

           20              investment.

 

           21                      MS. GATELLI:  And I think the total

 

           22              cost it's probably $4 or $5 million so they

 

           23              are investing a lot of their own money.

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  On the question,

 

           25              obviously it's going to pass, but I just wan


 

 

                                                                     158

 

 

            1              to say this, this new company that comes in

 

            2              I hope they do one thing, Mrs. Gatelli said

 

            3              there was some drugs and crime and that's a

 

            4              fact.

 

            5                      MS. GATELLI:  Oh, absolutely.

 

            6                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  That's probably the

 

            7              worst place in the city at one time and for

 

            8              one reason and one reason they don't have

 

            9              that activity now is they have two police

 

           10              officers sitting up there all the time and I

 

           11              hope this new company, I think sometimes in

 

           12              the afternoon hours I hope this company

 

           13              continues to do that because if not it will

 

           14              going right back to where it was.

 

           15                      MS. GATELLI:  Don't worry, they

 

           16              will.

 

           17                      MR. COURTRIGHT: And I saw that

 

           18              happen in Townhouse, when they put a police

 

           19              officers in Townhouse that place was like, I

 

           20              got to be honest with you, if there wasn't

 

           21              much action on a night and a cop was looking

 

           22              for action they would just ride through

 

           23              Townhouse and grab one of the drug dealers.

 

           24              Once they inject a police officers in there

 

           25              they just move on, so I hope they live up to


 

 

                                                                     159

 

 

            1              their national name and keep officers there,

 

            2              and that's all I have.  Thank you.

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI: Long after I'm off this

 

            4              council I will still be on them.  I can spit

 

            5              over there.  That's how close I am.

 

            6                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I hope so.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?  Roll call,

 

            8              please.

 

            9                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

           10                      MS. EVANS:  No.

 

           11                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  No.

 

           13                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

           14                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

           15                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Gatelli.

 

           16                      MS. GATELLI: Yes.

 

           17                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

           19              Item 7-E legally and lawfully adopted.

 

           20                      MS. GARVEY: 7-F FOR CONSIDERATION BY

 

           21              THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION -

 

           22              RESOLUTION NO. 16, 2008 - APPROVING THE

 

           23              TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE CONTRACT BETWEEN

 

           24              THE CITY OF SCRANTON'S OFFICE OF ECONOMIC

 

           25              AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND THE PALUMBO


 

 

                                                                     160

 

 

            1              GROUP, A PLANNING AND DESIGN FIRM, AND

 

            2              AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE

 

            3              CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE AND ENTER INTO THE

 

            4              CONTRACT TO RETAIN THE PALUMBO GROUP TO DO A

 

            5              STUDY TO INCLUDE HISTORIC PRESERVATION,

 

            6              ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS AND DESIGN FOR THE

 

            7              CEDAR AVENUE REVITALIZATION AREA OF SOUTH

 

            8              SCRANTON.  TOTAL COST NOT EXCEED $90,000.00

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: As Chairperson for the

 

           10              Committee on Rules, I recommend final

 

           11              passage of Item 7-F.

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  Roll

 

           14              call, please.

 

           15                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

           16                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

           17                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           18                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

           19                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

           20                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

           21                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Gatelli.

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI: Yes.

 

           23                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

           25              Item 7-F legally and lawfully adopted.


 

 

                                                                     161

 

 

            1                      MS. GARVEY: 7-G. FOR CONSIDERATION H

 

            2              MITE O COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT - OR ADOPTION -

 

            3              RESOLUTION NO 17, 2008 - ACCEPT THE

 

            4              RECOMMENDATION OF THE HISTORICAL

 

            5              ARCHITECTURE REVIEW BORD ("HARB") AND

 

            6              APPROVING THE CERTIFICATE OF APPROPRIATENESS

 

            7              FOR HIGHLAND ASSOCIATES, LTD, 102 HIGHLAND

 

            8              AVENUE, CLARKS SUMMIT FOR REPAIR OF THE

 

            9              EXISTING CLOCK AND NEW REAR ENTRANCE AT

 

           10              GOODWILL NTH, NORTH MAIN AVENUE AND THEODORE

 

           11              STREET.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: What the recommendation

 

           13              of the Chairperson for the Committee on

 

           14              Community Development?

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI: As Chairperson for the

 

           16              Committee on Community Development I

 

           17              recommend final passage of Item 7-G.

 

           18                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Second.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  Roll

 

           20              call, please.

 

           21                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

           22                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

           23                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

           25                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.


 

 

                                                                     162

 

 

            1                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

            2                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Gatelli.

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI: Yes.

 

            4                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

            6              Item 7-G legally and lawfully adopted.

 

            7                      MS. GARVEY: 7-H, was which formerly

 

            8              6-A, FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON

 

            9              COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT -- maybe prior to

 

           10              reading this I don't know if there is anyone

 

           11              in the public that wishes to speak on the

 

           12              issue?

 

           13                      7-H, which was formerly 6-A. FOR

 

           14              CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON COMMUNITY

 

           15              DEVELOPMENT - FOR ADOPTION - FILE OF COUNCIL

 

           16              NO. 14, 2008 - AMENDING FILE OF COUNCIL NO.

 

           17              49, 2006 (AS AMENDED) ENTITLED, "AN

 

           18              ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER

 

           19              APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS OF THE CITY OF

 

           20              SCRANTON TO TAKE ALL NECESSARY ACTIONS TO

 

           21              IMPLEMENT THE CONSOLIDATED SUBMISSION FOR

 

           22              COMMUNITY PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS

 

           23              (AS AMENDED) TO BE FUNDED UNDER THE

 

           24              COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG)

 

           25              PROGRAM, HOME INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP (HOME)


 

 

                                                                     163

 

 

            1              PROGRAM AND EMERGENCY SHELTER GRANT (ESG)

 

            2              PROGRAM", BY DELETING CERTAIN PROJECTS AND

 

            3              ADDING A NEW PROJECT.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF: What the recommendation

 

            5              of the Chairperson for the Committee on the

 

            6              Community Development?

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI:  As Chairperson for the

 

            8              Committee on Community Development, I

 

            9              recommend final passage of Item 7-H.

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI: Second.  MR. MCGOFF:

 

           11              On the question?  Roll call, please.

 

           12                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

           13                      MS. EVANS:  No.

 

           14                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  No.

 

           16                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

           17                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

           18                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Gatelli.

 

           19                      MS. GATELLI: Yes.

 

           20                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

           22              Item 7-H legally and lawfully adopted.

 

           23              That's concludes Seventh Order.  Thank you

 

           24              for your participation and your concern and

 

           25              I ask for a motion to adjourn.


 

 

                                                                     164

 

 

            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.

 

            2                      MS. GATELLI:  Second.

 

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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

           14                       OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

 

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