1 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
7 Tuesday, March 4, 2008
10 Council Chambers
11 Scranton City Hall
12 340 North Washington Avenue
13 Scranton, Pennsylvania
LISA GRAFF, RMR - OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER
2 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:
MR. ROBERT MCGOFF, PRESIDENT
6 MS. JUDY GATELLI, VICE-PRESIDENT (Not present)
MS. JANET E. EVANS
9 MS. SHERRY FANUCCI (Not present)
MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT
12 MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK
MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
15 MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR
1 (Pledge of Allegiance recited and moment of reflection
3 MR. MCGOFF: Roll call, please.
4 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
5 MS. EVANS: Yes.
6 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
8 MR. COOLICAN: Ms. Fanucci.
9 (Ms. Fanucci not present.)
10 MR. COOLICAN: Ms. Gatelli.
11 (Ms. Gatelli not present.)
12 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. Let the record
14 show that both Mrs. Gatelli and Ms. Fanucci
15 are not here this evening. I would like to
16 dispense with the reading of the minutes.
17 MS. GARVEY: THIRD ORDER. 3-A.
18 POLICE PENSION COMMISSION MEETING SCHEDULED
19 FOR DECEMBER 19, 2007, WAS CANCELLED DUE TO
20 LACK OF QUORUM.
21 MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?
22 If not, received and filed.
23 MS. GARVEY: 3-B. MINUTES OF THE
24 SCRANTON-LACKAWANNA HEALTH & WELFARE
25 AUTHORITY MEETING HELD ON JANUARY 17, 2008.
1 MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?
2 If not, received and filed.
3 MS. GARVEY: 3-C. MINUTES OF THE
4 NON-UNIFORM MUNICIPAL PENSION BOARD MEETING
5 HELD ON JANUARY 23, 2008.
6 MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?
7 If not, received and filed.
8 MS. GARVEY: 3-D. MINUTES OF THE
9 SCRANTON POLICE PENSION COMMISSION MEETING
10 HELD ON JANUARY 23, 2008.
11 MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?
12 If not, received and filed.
13 MS. GARVEY: 3-E. AGENDA OF THE
14 NON-UNIFORM MUNICIPAL PENSION BOARD MEETING
15 TO BE HELD ON FEBRUARY 27, 2008.
16 MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?
17 If not, received and filed.
18 MS. GARVEY: 3-F. AGENDA OF THE
19 ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING TO BE HELD ON
20 MARCH 12, 2008.
21 MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?
22 If not, received and filed.
23 MS. GARVEY: That's it for Third
25 MR. MCGOFF: Prior to citizens'
1 participation, if there are any
2 announcements? Please.
3 MS. EVANS: I just wanted to
4 announce that District II champs Scranton
5 High Scranton Lady Knights will play Cedar
6 Crest tonight in the second round of the
7 state playoffs, and we in the City of
8 Scranton wish them luck and hope to see them
9 climb from the sweet 16 to the elite eight
10 of the State of Pennsylvania.
11 MR. MCGOFF: Just one point of
12 information from something that was brought
13 up at a prior meeting concerning a downtown
14 establishment, and I think the name was
15 reported in the paper because Vida Tapas was
16 cited for a health violation. That is not
17 correct. What occurred there was that the
18 Liquor Control Board came into check and
19 found that the health certificate I believe
20 was a month expired. There was no health
21 violation. The liquor control board in
22 order to have a license you must have a
23 valid health certificate. People at that
24 establishment it was an oversight on their
25 part and also a bit of an oversight on the
1 part of City Hall in not sending out the
2 bills for the certificate and the next day
3 they did apply and they did the paperwork,
4 renewed the certificate and the Liquor
5 Control Board reinstated the license.
6 At no time was there a health
7 violation of any kind and at no time were
8 there really, you know, in jeopardy or in
9 default of any loans through OECD. So, I
10 hope that clarifies some of that issue.
11 MS. EVANS: If I might just add to
12 that, too, I know there was mention of the
13 city health inspector, we have only one
14 inspector and she is sorely overtaxed in
15 this position. She has many, many more
16 duties and responsibilities than should be
17 carried out by one individual. Knowing
18 that, I had included additional inspectors
19 in both of the most recent budgets that I
20 had drafted, but, unfortunately, they did
21 not meet with the approval of my colleagues,
22 those budgets, and as a result there have
23 been no additions within that office and
24 they are sorely needed. So the blame
25 certainly for anyone who watches these
1 meetings, the blame does not belong on the
2 employees because, as I said, they're asked
3 to be about five individuals and wear ten
4 different hats all in one position and it's
5 physically impossibile.
6 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. Citizens'
7 participation. Doug Miller.
8 MR. MILLER: Good evening, Council
9 Doug Miller, president of the Scranton
10 Junior City Council. Last Thursday,
11 February 28, I had the privilege to attend a
12 student leadership summit at the capital
13 building in Harrisburg. Accompanied by Mr.
14 Bob Bolus, I met with students from all
15 around the state who hold leadership rolls.
16 This summit promoted civic engagement and
17 education. The goal of this leadership
18 summit was to provide students the
19 opportunity to learn more about their areas
20 of interest in government as well as reflect
21 views from other students across the State
22 of Pennsylvania.
23 The summit divided students into
24 committees to a series of plans regarding
25 various issues. I was assigned to the
1 committee on economic development. Each
2 student was given an identification badge
3 with their name and the city that you came
4 from. I was proud to have been the lone
5 representative from the City of Scranton.
6 For me it was an honor to not only represent
7 my fellow classmates, but also this city.
8 We, the students, were also given
9 the opportunity to propose our plans in
10 house chamber. As chair on economic
11 development I proposed a Bill to the
12 students who acted as representatives. My
13 Bill focused on educational finance reform.
14 This Bill was aimed at getting non-profits
15 to give back to the community and my Bill
16 read as follows: "In an attempt to boost
17 local economies and encourage education,
18 certain educational finance reforms should
19 be passed. A tuition incentive plan will be
20 offered to students who maintain a certain
21 grade point average. Once that student has
22 graduated, they will receive a portion of
23 the tuition costs back based on a merit
24 based sliding scale. The limitation would
25 be that the student must reside and attend a
1 school in their home state."
2 I'm proud to say that my Bill passed
3 63 to 29. My Bill, as well as the other
4 Bills that passed by the students, will now
5 move to the Governor's Office as well as the
6 Offices of our Representatives for further
7 consideration. I'd like to say that if this
8 opportunity becomes available for any other
9 students in the future to attend the summit,
10 I strongly recommended that you take
11 advantage of this opportunity.
12 This is certainly a once in a
13 lifetime opportunity and I would like to
14 conclude by thanking all of those involved
15 in organize this educational summit. You
16 have given me and all the other students
17 that attend a better understanding of our
18 state government.
19 Finally, the Scranton Junior City
20 Council is proud to be work with Mrs.
21 Novembrino and others by raising funds to
22 benefit a police and firefighter's memorial.
23 We believe that it is our responsibility to
24 honor these brave individuals. However,
25 each week Mr. Spindler and others have
1 stated at the podium that we shouldn't be
2 concerned about a memorial to honor these
3 great men and women, rather, we should be
4 involved in their contract negotiations.
5 Mr. Spindler, isn't it the job of the mayor,
6 council and the unions to negotiate the
7 contracts? Though I will say this, if
8 Junior Council was involved with these
9 negotiations this issue would have already
10 been resolved.
11 I quote a state representative from
12 Western Pennsylvania who attended the
13 leadership summit in Harrisburg, "You, the
14 students, accomplished more in one day than
15 we the representatives accomplished in one
17 This quote defines our generation.
18 We are becoming more informed and involved
19 in our government and we will continue to
20 voice our opinions because we are the future
21 leaders. Thank you.
22 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Doug. Ray
24 MR. LYMAN: Mrs. Evans, Mr.
25 Courtright. I see Mrs. Gatelli is not here,
1 but I have some questions. Number one, I
2 was down Smith's restaurant and a friend of
3 mine who is a repair guy and I found out
4 that the people who come to City Council are
5 going to have their reassessment taxes
6 raised because they come here and that Miss
7 Gatelli, Washo, O'Brien, Mayor Doherty and
8 Ken McDowell are going to raise it because
9 they complained to Mrs. Gatelli when she was
10 president on city counsel and it's going to
11 be her revenge because in retaliation, and I
12 heard this from a person who owns a
13 restaurant. Lo and behold, in today's
14 newspaper Mr. Smith owes back taxes.
15 Number two, my phone was tapped. I
16 asked my friend who was a state trooper, he
17 looked at my phone and it was taped, I
18 called Verizon phone company. The guy tells
19 me, "Oh, no, your phone wasn't tapped," I
20 asked my friend who is a state trooper, I
21 said, "Are you sure?" The guy that was
22 there, the phone guy, he said, "Oh, no, it's
23 not tapped."
24 My friend Dave said, "Are you sure,"
25 and showed him his badge. And the guy goes,
2 He asked him, "Let me see your I.D."
3 "Oh, I can't show you my I.D. I have
4 to go to the manager."
5 So, he says to him, "I want to see
6 your I.D." You know, he calls his manager,
7 so my friend who is a state trooper calls
8 because he was, you know, off duty. So he
9 calls in a state trooper car to come down.
10 The other Verizon truck takes off, but got
11 the license plate. I believe that was a
12 Scranton Police undercover and I want to
13 know why I'm being bugged? My mail was held
14 and when I get it it's open and then it's
15 reglued. I want to know why I'm being
16 bugged, I want to know why my mail was
17 opened. My house was broken into. I had
18 coins that were stolen, jewelry, I want to
19 know why I'm being harassed and I'm asking
20 since Gatelli ain't here I'm asking you, Mr.
21 McGoff, because the District Attorney,
22 Scranton police, I'm asking you --
23 MR. MCGOFF: I have no idea, Mr.
25 MR. LYMAN: Well, I want answers and
1 I want my coins returned and my jewelry. My
2 grandmother gave me those before she died
3 and I want them returned or I'm going to
4 file a lawsuit, and I'm sick and tired of
5 it. Those coins were given to me before she
6 died and I want them back. Because a
7 neighbor next door saw the Scranton Police
8 going in there undercover and they took the
9 license plate numbers and I asked my friend
10 who is undercover, I mean a state trooper,
11 and he took those license plate numbers and
12 they were Scranton Police.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Raymond, Raymond,
14 how about -- will you give me the name of
15 the state trooper and I'm going to call him,
16 okay, and we'll find out.
17 MR. LYMAN: No, I ain't giving you
18 any information.
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: I just want to
20 speak to him so we can get this scared away.
21 MR. LYMAN: I want my property
22 returned. I told you, Courtright, you said
23 there was no bug there and lo and behold
24 there's a car behind my house looking there.
25 I had a van, a guy having pictures like
1 this, going like this (indicating) in a
2 computer. You went into the appliance place
3 there was a guy there with binoculars like
4 this (indicating) looking in. I went up to
5 him, like this, he took off and I'll take a
6 lie detector, I'll take the truth serum. I
7 want my property returned, and I know it's
8 that crooked district attorney and that
10 MR. MCGOFF: Please don't state --
11 MR. LYMAN: I want my property
13 MR. MCGOFF: I don't blame you, Mr.
14 Lyman, but calling people names is not going
15 to help it take place.
16 MR. LYMAN: I want my property
17 returned and I got ahold of two lawyers and
18 they said I have a case.
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: Just tell me the
20 state trooper's name and I'll speak to him
21 for you.
22 MR. LYMAN: I'll tell you after the
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay. Good enough,
1 MR. MCGOFF: Jean Suetta.
2 MS. SUETTA: Hi. I had to come and
3 see if you were seated properly. My name is
4 Jean Suetta, Scranton. I want to apologize
5 for saying the JC last week, but I was
6 hurting so bad you're lucky I didn't use the
7 "F" word because you come very close when
8 you lock the door. That's all. Have a good
10 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Suetta.
11 I'm sorry for the door being locked.
12 MS. SUETTA: Huh?
13 MR. MCGOFF: I'm sorry for the door
15 MS. SUETTA: No, you're not. Another
16 thing, you're putting so much publicity on
17 this St. Patrick's Day parade, why don't we
18 get this for the Veteran's Day parade? I'll
19 buy the kegs if I could put one on every
20 corner to get the people out there to
21 respect our men and women. No? Yes? Could
22 I put a keg?
23 MR. MCGOFF: Well, we don't
24 advertise for --
25 MS. SUETTA: No, Judy brought it up
1 that she's going to call the Liquor Control
2 Board about the St. Patrick's Day parade and
3 it's been brought up how many times here and
4 I want to also commend the firemen again for
5 the fire on Meade Street that they didn't
6 lose a couple houses on each side. The
7 worse thing I ever did was get a scanner.
8 I'm sorry that lady died, God rest her soul,
9 but -- see, I was leaving and you had to
10 open your mouth. Good guy.
11 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. Les
13 MR. SPINDLER: Good evening,
14 Council. Les Spindler, city resident. Last
15 week Mr. Courtright suggested an outside
16 agency come in and ask Chief Davis
17 questions. Mr. McGoff, you stated you don't
18 know why an outside agency has to come in
19 and I could tell you why, Mr. McGoff,
20 because first of all you shouldn't have been
21 there, you yourself stated Chief Davis is a
22 friend of yours and you grew up with him,
23 you cannot form an objective opinion, so
24 that's why an outside agency should have
25 come in.
1 Secondly, why was Chief Davis
2 against the stenographer coming in, what is
3 he is afraid of? What does want to hide?
4 Next thing, Chief Davis said in the
5 paper a few days ago he's run 82 marathons
6 and sparred with Larry Holmes? What does
7 that have to do with being a fire chief. If
8 we bring everybody in that sparred Larry
9 Holmes be a fire chief? Does that make you
10 a good fire chief?
11 Next thing, a quote from the paper
12 the other day from the fire chief about the
13 fire at Chamberlin, "If the fire went a
14 little longer it could have threatened the
15 weapons," Chief Davis said. Well, Chief
16 Davis, if you knew what you were talking
17 about there are no weapons at Chamberlin.
18 They manufacture the steel casings that go
19 on the shelves. There are no weapons in
20 Chamberlain. This is a man who is putting
21 our firefighters' lives at risk. He doesn't
22 even know what he's talking about.
23 Recently Wilkes-Barre City Council
24 wanted to introduce legislation for people
25 that are protesting two or more people have
1 to buy a permit for 20 dollars. The
2 citizens of Wilkes-Barre went there and
3 complained to their Council and their
4 Council took it off the agenda. Now, that's
5 a City Council that listens to their
6 citizens and does the right thing unlike our
7 three people that vote for whatever Chris
8 Doherty wants them to vote for which is Mr.
9 McGoff, Mrs. Fanucci and Mrs. Gatelli.
10 Last week it was stated the city
11 received a $300 gift from Laura Craig for
12 the pictures that were taken out. Just
13 because she gives a $300 gift does not mean
14 it was acceptable what Jeff Brazil did. He
15 still was doing private work on taxpayer's
16 time. I guess if the former warden made a
17 gift to the county that he would have been
18 convicted of prisoner's doing work at his
19 house. Next, as Mrs. Evans stated last week
20 that actual dollar amount of that work
21 probably would have exceeded well over $300.
22 On the news this morning they
23 stated there's a company coming to Forest
24 City, they're going to build a new plant
25 there, they're going to have 300 to 350 jobs
1 within five years. What do we get here in
2 Scranton? We get Poochies which has since
3 closed. Thank you.
4 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Spindler.
5 Sam Patilla.
6 MR. PATILLA: Good evening, Mrs.
7 Evans, Mr. Courtright. On January 15 I
8 slipped on an ice patch leaving city hall.
9 I didn't have my attorneys call and suing
10 the city, I don't want to sue the taxpayers,
11 but I did fill out an incident report and
12 turned the bill over to Mark Seitzinger and
13 if we can pay $60,000 for some trees
14 hopefully the city can pay that bill.
15 That's all I'm looking for. I don't want
16 any money.
17 Now, one of the main reasons I'm
18 here tonight, and Ray left, I don't think
19 they're going to raise my taxes, but I'll
20 have the feds on them quicker than you can
21 say grits, John Corzine, the governor of New
22 Jersey took a bold step, a really bold step,
23 something I've been harping on for the last
24 year or so, they're cutting spending.
25 They're reducing government, okay, and the
1 only way Scranton as a whole is never going
2 to get back to the level that this city once
3 was to take the same initiative. We have to
4 reduce government. We have to stop
5 spending. We have to prevent, not stop, we
6 have to prevent the mayor of this city from
7 any more borrowing. We cannot afford to
8 have money transferred from one authority to
9 one commission to another to another to
10 another. We have to cut all of that out.
11 You know, the name of the game is
12 accountability. All throughout the country
13 you're hearing the screams for change.
14 People are tired. Our children are coming
15 out to the election poles, they're voting.
16 Why? Because they're fed up.
17 We have a mortgage crisis, we have
18 oil prices per barrel going out of the
19 stratosphere. Why? Because of poor
20 management, misspending. We can't afford
21 this as a city. We can't afford this is as
22 nation. You know the last eight years under
23 George W. and there was under Governor
24 Rendell and Chris Doherty are the perfect
25 examples of what happens when society allows
1 undesirables into their neighborhoods, you
2 know, our prices go whacky, our health costs
3 go whacky, you know, the costs of the homes,
4 the costs of feeding, the cost of education
5 and raising our kids go whacky. We don't
6 need that anymore. We don't need yes men
7 and we don't need yes women. We need honest
8 representation for every citizen in this
10 A couple of days ago, I think it was
11 Friday, I'm working on my porch, I'm
12 stripping it down getting an early start
13 when the weather breaks and I heard these
14 two young Hispanic women as they walked by
15 one of them stated that's why I cuss out
16 every black person that I see, and the first
17 thought came to my mind was like that's
18 ignorant. You know, but then I thought and
19 I sat there and it dawned on me I said
20 that's the direct result of the
21 administration, you know, because unless you
22 know an entire group of people, an entire
23 race of people, you can't say they're all
24 ignorant, they're all thieves, they are all
25 this or they're all that, you don't know,
1 you haven't met them all.
2 Now, the individuals, they might be
3 the scum of earth, you know, whatever you
4 feel, that's your choice, you chose to
5 associate yourself with those people, you
6 know, you cannot single out a race. And
7 I've had quite a few negative things happen
8 to me since I started speaking here at
9 Council. I've gotten hate mail, I've had my
10 tires flattened, I don't blame the entire
11 race, the entire populous of Scranton for
12 what a few idiots have done. I put it
13 squarely on the shoulders of those that are
14 responsible, Chris Doherty, Austin Burke and
15 everybody else, those puppets because I have
16 people coming up to me everyday, senior
17 citizens, we speak about the situation here
18 in Scranton, we speak the about the
19 situation as far as Iraq and the other areas
20 of concern. You know, color doesn't play a
21 part, they either agree with me or they
22 disagree with me, but we have conversation,
23 we have dialogue, we have dialogue between
24 each other. As adults that what we do, you
25 know, and as a result I really believe that
1 come June, I mean 2009, I know you are not
2 going to do it, Mrs. Evans, but we really
3 need you to give serious thought for running
4 for mayor because Hillary Clinton might be
5 good, but she's no Janet Evans. Okay? We
6 need somebody that's for the people. We
7 have had enough those for corporation and
8 for Doherty and for the old way of doing
9 things. Yes, we can, we can change. We
10 have to change, you know, I grew up, I'm a
11 baby boomer. I've seen recessions, I've
12 seen depression, I've seen race lines. It's
13 a bunch of garbage. You know, we civilized
14 people should be above that right now. We
15 shouldn't have to go backwards any longer.
16 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. Bob Bolus.
17 MR. BOLUS: Good evening, Council,
18 Bob Bolus, Scranton. Quick question, I just
19 don't know if Ray is still here, I just want
20 to know if he was going for a casino license
21 or he had mob ties he was so concerned about
23 On Doug here, I have to tell you
24 something, I couldn't have been prouder than
25 to be in Harrisburg as an adult advisor, and
1 that was to all the groups not just
2 Scranton, but he represented this city.
3 Then for me to sit here tonight and listen
4 to a bunch of adults mock these kids for
5 what they're achieving rather than get up
6 and lead by example and do a good turn maybe
7 it would be a good awakening to understand
8 that. These are your future leaders and
9 this Junior Council down in Harrisburg was
10 literally applauded for coming from the City
11 of Scranton because there aren't any of them
12 doing it and they're looking at doing that
13 throughout the state and various areas and
14 councils. So something started here and you
15 people sit here and heckle these kids and
16 quite honestly it upsets me because you're
17 adults, start acting like it. Look in the
18 mirror and ask what you've done for the city
19 other than come in constantly knocking,
20 ridiculing people, questioning about the
21 fire and police memorial, how many of you
22 have gone out and fought a fire or took your
23 life in your own hands, but the people that
24 go out and are risk your lives for these
25 people you sit here and knock these kids?
1 You're a disgrace and I hate to come up
2 there and have to say that to you because a
3 lot of you are friends.
4 MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Bolus --
5 MR. BOLUS: This is the city and we
6 all have our opinions.
7 (Whereupon comments are made from
8 the audience.)
9 MR. MCGOFF: That was out of order,
10 Mrs. Knight.
11 MR. MCGOFF: Please address council.
12 MR. BOLUS: I don't care for what
13 they were doing in the back --
14 MR. MCGOFF: I understand, but please
15 address Council.
16 MR. BOLUS: I've tried to do that.
17 I've been coming here for a long time, I
18 have a lot of issues regarding this city and
19 when I start sitting here and listening to
20 people insulting kids and people in here for
21 no reason or justification it annoys me and
22 it's time they were put in their place.
23 Mr. Courtright, when I was here
24 several weeks ago I asked that you put a
25 motion on the golf course money $1.5 million
1 that's sitting there now plus interest that
2 will go into permanent trust and then the
3 second motion would be that in any event
4 more money becomes available to the city the
5 1.5 plus interest that was already used be
6 replaced and put there for the betterment of
7 this city that was put in there originally
8 to take care of the parks and recreation and
9 tonight would you make that motion please?
10 You said would when I was here that day but
11 I haven't heard it since and I would ask
12 tonight if you would do that, if you would,
14 The commissioners and Doherty have
15 gone out saying who they want to support.
16 Well, I hope they're only doing it on their
17 own personal opinions and not going out and
18 saying they represent Scranton or Lackawanna
19 County and the people in it. Who they want
20 to support should be their own business,
21 it's not who want to support as individuals
22 and I hope they're speaking for themselves
23 because they sure don't speak for he me and
24 they should understand that and I hope they
25 don't speak for the rest of you people.
1 The non-profits, the University I
2 see we got a donation, a big donation, but
3 they still don't pay any money here. We
4 need to make non-profits pay. You can't
5 continue to let the poor pay for the rich in
6 the city. And that's what's going on. The
7 poor can't even buy gas, they can't even pay
8 their heating bills yet we are doing
9 absolutely nothing in this city to change
10 it. KOZ's and non-profits need to pay a
11 fee. You need to become creative, that's
12 what you're here on this Council, it's time
13 to start doing it. Then talking about who
14 is going to run the city, and who is going
15 to do this and do that, the time is now to
16 start if you are going to do something
17 about, well, look at the people in this city
18 who cannot survive, the elderly, those that
19 are just about getting by and we have done
20 absolutely nothing as long as I've been
21 coming here. It's time now to put our money
22 where our mouth is around here.
23 You cannot continue to see this city
24 degraded, our police degraded, our fire
25 degraded, we're a public laughing-stock of
1 the whole State of Pennsylvania that we
2 cannot negotiate a contract and end this
3 ridiculous nonsense that's going on here.
4 All we hear is everybody and how great they
5 are and what they can do and, quite frankly,
6 nobody has done a darn thing here and it's
7 time. When I asked Mr. McGoff, I heard him
8 say if anyone of you want to get involved,
9 you got learn at this table. This is
10 Council's leadership. Whether the mayor
11 wants to show up here or the fire department
12 wants to show here that's their prerogative
13 but I believe you're a leader here and a
14 leader needs to take charge. Send a letter
15 to the mayor, send it to his administration,
16 send it to the fire department and let him
17 come here publicly so we know what is going
18 on because this city is in jeopardy right
19 now. Thank you.
20 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Bolus.
21 Tom Ungvarsky.
22 MR. UNGVARSKY: Good evening, City
23 Council. I'm Tom Ungvarsky and I'm a member
24 of the Scranton/Lackawanna County Taxpayers.
25 I'm sorry that Mrs. Fanucci is not here
1 because what I have to say concerns her.
2 Several weeks ago I addressed the City
3 Council about a woman who lost her home.
4 Fortunately, her son was able to buy it back
5 for her. Now I would like to tell you about
6 the spin that was put on that statement.
7 When the speaker got up and said the
8 city took the home I knew this not to be a
9 fact because these did not happen. Well, it
10 turns out it did happen, but I never said it
11 was the city that did it, okay? That wasn't
12 bad enough. She had to go on and say that
13 might have been my reaction when the speaker
14 gets up and misinforms the city. In no way
15 did I misinform the city. I never said that
16 it was the city. In fact, I did say that I
17 knew it was the county.
18 Now, several weeks ago she had a
19 little discussion with somebody over words
20 and she said that words have meaning and
21 those words that she uttered were hurtful
22 and I think they should be redacted from the
23 minutes. I also noticed that in today's
24 paper that Smith's restaurant fell into the
25 same trap. Fortunately he didn't have to
1 buy back his property, but I notice that
2 he's going to end up paying about $5,000 in
3 fees and penalties from that immoral act
4 that Council passed with all of these fines
5 and penalties on it and I wish you would
6 look into that again.
7 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. Before Mr.
8 Ungvarsky asked me if I would find an answer
9 for him to a question. I just want to let
10 you know that I have not been able to do
11 that at this time. I will try and get for
12 you for next week. Thank you.
13 MR. UNGVARSKY: I understand that
14 there was about $300,000 offered for that
16 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. Ozzie Quinn.
17 MR. QUINN: Ozzie Quinn, Taxpayers'
18 Association president. You all know that we
19 are pretty much well in debt here in the
20 City of Scranton, you know, we just can't
21 make our taxes, we cannot make it. We don't
22 have any revenue coming in and we have an
23 opportunity. Now, last summer Mrs. Gatelli
24 formed her own ad hoc committee to try and
25 get the non-profits to start giving some in
1 lieu of tax money to the city and it didn't
2 turn out that well, okay? We all know now
3 according to the newspaper that the former
4 executive director of the Scranton Housing
5 Authority, not the former, the suspended
6 executive director of the Housing Authority
7 one of the charges was that he was spending
8 money on the Park Gardens apartment
10 Well, the Park Gardens apartment
11 building is not a federally-owned building
12 and that was one of the problems, okay? You
13 can't use federal money, HUD monies for the
14 operation or the maintenance of Park
15 Gardens. To me it's obviously out there
16 that there is no -- the housing authority
17 cannot control or operate or maintain the
18 Park Gardens, so I think it's an opportunity
19 at our hands right now to try to get some
20 more tax money into this city by the sale,
21 proceeds of the Park Gardens to a private
22 developer and then every year in perpetuity
23 we will have more taxes coming into the City
24 of Scranton from the Park Gardens. There's
25 nothing wrong with this, it's just a matter
1 of a line of communication being open
2 between the city and the Scranton Housing
3 Authority to see if this can be done. Of
4 course, there's a lot of tenants out there
5 and I hope that they're empowered to be part
6 of this here process so that they know where
7 they're going, if they're going to go
8 anywhere, and what the rents are going to be
9 but we have an opportunity right now to -- I
10 don't know how many apartment are there
11 right now to get revenue, more revenue into
12 the City of Scranton.
13 So, please, I ask you to please
14 pursue this so we can do something to pay
15 off this debt because we are in no way are
16 we going pay off this debt with just
17 property taxes. We are not going to do it,
18 so there's got to be other sources and this
19 is a fine opportunity.
20 The other thing is I got a letter
21 about sending letters over time to the OECD
22 for some information and I asked them for
23 the amount of surplus funds for UDAG and for
24 the CDBG programs and I got a letter from
25 the executive director, Linda Aebli, and she
1 says, "Under the Right to Know, public
2 records subject to disclosure under the
3 Right to Know Act are accounts, vouchers or
4 contracts dealing with fiscal aspects of
5 government and minutes, orders or decisions
6 fixing personal or property rights for a
7 person or group of persons.
8 Based upon the above authority and
9 my review of your request on projects that
10 were approved prior to 2006 there are no
11 undesignated or surplus UDAG facts."
12 And I sent another letter and she
13 said that the same holds true for 2007 with
14 the exception for 7,000 and some odd
15 dollars. Now, I went and I asked a lawyer
16 what that means and he said you read it
17 upside down, that means you have to pay $110
18 to go and petition the court to try to find
19 out information that belongings to the
20 public right to know, okay? Now, obviously
21 I am here at all of these council meetings
22 and I see this money being transferred from
23 project to project, CDBG funds, where is it
24 coming from? Obviously we have money. I
25 saw a letter that he said you better pass
1 planting the trees because we're losing UDAG
2 money so pass planting the trees, the 1,000
3 trees over in South Side or we are going to
4 lose the money. Now, come on. What do they
5 think we are a bunch of fools here? We are
6 trying to do something for the City of
8 You know, if we don't get the
9 information and know what is going on this
10 mayor is going to continue use this money
11 for his own little nest egg and it's not
12 right, not with people suffering in the
13 neighborhoods with the blight, houses
14 falling apartment, no housing
15 rehabilitation, don't let anybody say there
16 is. Curbs falling apart, what curbs?
17 Potholes? My gosh, you know, and here we
18 are planting trees again, you know, and you
19 say we're losing the money so I ask you
20 those two things, so please follow up on
21 that for me in regards to the Park Gardens
22 and don't ever send me a letter like this
23 again, but this is going to be followed up.
24 Thank you very much.
25 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. Andy
2 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,
3 citizen of Scranton. Fellow Scrantonians, I
4 cut an article out from the paper and public
5 notices, maybe you can shed some light on
7 Wall Street West is soliciting
8 proposals to address and maintain workforce
9 and workforce development systems. Anybody
10 know anything about Wall Street West? Well,
11 they got 25 million dollars apparently to
12 train people in whatever requires the
13 training in computers or whatever and that
14 money is available and they're looking for
15 gap analysis, I guess there's a lot of stuff
16 that goes in, again, they have computer
17 centers, computer do this and computers do
18 this. They said something about development
19 system gap analysis which I don't know what
20 it means, but it has to do with whatever
21 they want to do for the stock market and
22 some of the facilities in New York or maybe
23 even in Philadelphia or Boston or whatever
24 to move into this area or it's in our paper
25 so I assume it's somewhere in our area and,
1 you know, you should look into it. At least
2 send out some fee orders being 25 million
3 dollars is available to ask what it is. I
4 wasn't quite sure. They give a contact and
5 they give a something on the website so you
6 get into it like your webpage or so forth
7 and so on, but they have $15 million
8 available for some type of training and as
9 you know we got a lot of university, we got
10 like -- we got schools all over this area
11 actually that maybe try to tap into some of
12 them funds.
13 Like, we got the county has that
14 school that's quite able, the Vo-Tech that's
15 up there that can use some training, we have
16 Johnson's there. I mean, there's a lot of--
17 the University and maybe Lackawanna, the
18 University probably has a lot they have
19 their own. Actually, they've got a good
20 computer up there, even they can tap into it
21 because they've got everything you could
22 think of actually to tap into this. I heard
23 that the only thing we really need is them
24 high speed internet lines and the fiber
25 optic lines I guess is what they are and I
1 don't know exactly where -- I know they're
2 in the city, we've dug them and placed them
3 in the city, but from the city to New York I
4 guess they're not there. But funds may be
5 available to do that, but the main thing is
6 you've got get the workforce ready and
7 hopefully we can keep people here instead of
8 having them go to the Poconos to do that
9 type of work, but it's there and it's just
10 something I was wondering being they had so
11 much available that it would be, you know,
12 you should try to look into it a little.
13 Maybe they want to stay up in the Poconos or
14 whatever, but money is money.
15 I wish Mrs. Fanucci was there. She
16 made the comment that the only person she
17 knows that was in default was Whistles. How
18 could she forget the Hilton? The Hilton was
19 probably the biggest bite we ever took. We
20 lost millions of dollars with the Hilton.
21 And then you have that 501 South Washington
22 Avenue, you forgave the loan, maybe they
23 would have been defaulted, too, but you
24 can't default a loan that was forgiven. So,
25 hence, you're forgiving loans maybe that's
1 the reason there ain't' more defaults,
2 you're just saying, you don't have to pay.
3 And if you look at the projects, the Connell
4 building, I think somebody said it cost like
5 $400,000, I don't know if that's quite the
6 first, when he bought the building and then
7 you gave $5 million to fix it. Man, I wish
8 I had to buy a bunch of houses in Scranton
9 and get the same thing under the stream
10 because probably all of these old homes in
11 Scranton has the same asbestos that the
12 Connell has and anyway the same with
13 Lackawanna Avenue, you got almost $10
14 million invested in them old buildings there
15 which they probably and I think the guy just
16 said 400,000 Rossi was it or something like
17 that that he's going to move his
18 headquarters in, but that's all they're
19 doing in this town. We're fixing up all
20 these old buildings. Like I said before,
21 this ain't an 1895 town, no wonder why they
22 don't want to come in here. All we showed
23 them is old broken down buildings and that's
24 what is here. And if you look at it a lot
25 of people's homes are the same way. That's
1 why there's so much -- well, I thank you.
2 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr.
3 Sbaraglia. Mrs. Knight.
4 MS. KNIGHT: Good evening, Mr.
5 Courtright, Mrs. Evans. I'm Geraldine
6 Knight, I'm a resident of Scranton.
7 Listening to this Council and saying it for
8 the last few weeks that I've missed coming I
9 see new faces and a lot of good people that
10 come up to this podium. The Scranton people
11 that I know we have met Mrs. Evans has
12 always been behind us and I'm asking our
13 fire department to please to drop your
14 attorney first, because he's not doing a
15 good job for you. You don't have -- if a
16 husband and wife is getting a divorce you do
17 not have the same attorney as the police and
18 the firemen do. You have -- go look for
19 others and you go to another town or
20 district. But if Mr. Courtright is really
21 honest about this fire department and is
22 going to get a group together outside of the
23 person that's sitting next to you, Mr.
24 Courtright, I ask that you make sure that
25 there is good coverage so these guys can
1 come out because I'm damn proud of them. I
2 hear them go up and down this street 100
3 times a day and I'm very proud and if you
4 think, Mr. Baldwin, it's a bunch of hogwash
5 it's not. You've changed your attitude in a
6 hell a lot of way in one year.
7 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Knight, please
8 address council.
9 MS. KNIGHT: Well, he addresses us.
10 MR. MCGOFF: And I asked him to do
11 the same. Thank you.
12 MS. KNIGHT: Get rid of this chief
13 immediately because if you don't you're not
14 going to have a fire department and Doherty
15 and your houses or mine or theirs will be
16 burnt down because we won't have anybody to
17 come to it.
18 We put money into parks, dog parks,
19 too. When I can walk down Main Street here
20 on Wyoming and the whole courthouse when I
21 see people with their dogs pooping right on
22 the courthouse lawn. So, what do we need a
23 dog house for when we've got courthouse
24 right over here to poop on? You know, and
25 then Doherty builds a treehouse. Maybe we
1 should put him in the treehouse and live
2 there and we could take his house and sell
3 it pay off some of our bills that we owe in
5 I was going to ask two of the ladies
6 of Council, Judy and Sherry, to see if they
7 could live on a budget of 600 to 800 dollars
8 a month that most of your elderly that is
9 living on social security and nothing else
10 to pay for their rent, food, no car, that
11 doesn't count because you can't afford one
12 today especially with the gas prices to
13 maybe stand up and see if they could run
14 their household on that kind of money. But
15 I don't think so because they don't have the
16 backbone and neither does Mr. McGoff. I
17 would I would like to ask him would you like
18 to do it on 600 or 800, Mr. Courtright? Do
19 you have the guts to run your household like
20 ours? Go ahead smile. You have the right
22 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.
23 MS. KNIGHT: Oh, yes, you do. You've
24 got the right to, but I'm asking Mr.
25 Courtright, please, help our firemen, tell
1 them to get new attorneys out of this town
2 and have our -- their -- whatever group is
3 going to go, not have anything done in this
4 town, out of town, so there is another
5 newspaper that might pick up a good story
6 that this one is putting out the bad story.
7 Thank you.
8 MR. MCGOFF: Lee Morgan.
9 MR. MORGAN: Good evening, Council.
10 I just have a couple comments here, I know
11 the mayor did gave a condition of the city,
12 gave his opinion and I just wrote down a
13 couple things here, but the first thing I'd
14 lake to start here with is Junior Council.
15 You know, there's freedom of speech, freedom
16 of expression and some people did chuckle
17 when Doug Miller said a couple of the things
18 he said, but I don't think they meant to be
19 disrespectful in any way. I think that we
20 may not agree with everything that anyone
21 including myself or the people on Junior
22 Council say and at times I assume that we
23 all get laughed at sooner or later and I
24 guess that's the price you pay to come and
25 voice your opinions on any issue.
1 The other thing I'd like to say is
2 I'm fairly troubled by Bishop Martino
3 folding the dioceses parochial education
4 system. I don't see how giving a contract
5 to those teachers is going to hurt the
6 diocese and I think that all of these things
7 are tied into the city. I'd also like to
8 say that the city and the county and the
9 school taxes are doing a terrible injustice
10 to the residents of this area.
11 I was just at the tax office
12 yesterday as a matter of fact to get my
13 taxes and the trouble that the -- and it's
14 not just seniors, it cuts across the whole
15 society here. I mean, everybody is really
16 struggling and then we come to, well,
17 Council or the school board and you see the
18 mismanagement, just massive mismanagement of
19 money. I'm really troubled with the Makisik
20 report because it has been alleged that the
21 people that did that report wrote it in a
22 light where they could get contracts to do
23 construction for the school district or to
24 make money in many different ways other than
25 just giving contributions to the candidates.
1 We need to take a look at the blight in the
2 neighborhoods and, you know, I don't know
3 what the mayor is really looking at when he
4 talks about how great the city is doing
5 because the amount of vacant homes in the
6 city is probably at an all time high, but I
7 don't hear too many people talking about the
8 amount of vacant apartments where people
9 just decide, I'm out, I'm not paying the 3.4
10 percent wage tax, I'm moving outside of the
11 city and saving a ton of money.
12 And then you look at the
13 mismanagement of the Scranton Sewer
14 Authority where rates are going through the
15 roof and when we relied on Council to
16 protect us from these rate increases because
17 it's my understanding that the Scranton
18 Sewer Authority couldn't raise its rate
19 without permission from the Council and that
20 Council just advocated that responsibility
21 and I find that to be a very troubling thing
22 for the residents of this city considering
23 that, you know, this isn't a 3-2 split,
24 three for the mayor and two for whoever,
25 this is a whole Council situation. This is
1 where the whole Council had to look at the
2 best interest of the residents and you can't
3 just say that while the mayor's proxy didn't
4 allow anything to happen because supposedly
5 the other two that are for us sometimes I
6 don't see them trying to move something and,
7 well, like I personally think they should.
8 I just think that we need to take a
9 look at the Lackawanna County Prison and
10 wonder why we have contracted out the food
11 service and why it isn't done in-house and
12 we also need to look at how that prison is
13 run and I know that has to do with the
14 county, but this is part of the city, so is
15 Catholic education and a lot of other things
16 we just take for granted, infrastructure,
17 you know, we have got to chuckle when they
18 start talking about sidewalks and curbs,
19 well, you know, it's a shame there is many
20 places in this city where there are none.
21 Our water systems are antiquated, our sewer
22 systems are antiquated and then we come in
23 here and me and Doug Miller sat with Mr.
24 Barrett, and Mrs. Gatelli was the president
25 of Council at the time, the only people that
1 had any information about what ws on the
2 agenda that night were myself and Doug
3 Miller because we sat with Mr. Barrett yet
4 you increased the length of their charter
5 and they didn't need it because they had
6 enough time in the present charter to take
7 all of the borrowing they were going to do
8 without increasing the charter, and now you
9 take a look at the parking authority and the
10 Sewer Authority, they're employment
11 agencies. You're blowing their payroll and
12 the city is crippled. It's just what it
13 leads to is just massive mismanagement.
14 Thank you.
15 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. Brett
17 MR. MCCLOE: Good evening. My name
18 is Brett McCloe, Scranton taxpayer,
19 homeowner. Before I get started, I just
20 want to make it clear that I have nothing
21 against trees to beautify parts of lower
22 South Scranton, but a few citizens in that
23 area have seen that show before, apparently
24 sometime in the mid 1990's the City of
25 Scranton planted trees for the same reasons.
1 Citizens took those trees without realizing
2 the cost it took to maintain those trees or
3 possible the property damage due to roots
4 that buckled the sidewalks.
5 Has City Council made every everyone
6 who accepts one of these trees aware of the
7 costs and challenges that's come with owning
8 a tree? One citizen told me she had one and
9 could not keep up with the rising costs of
10 maintenance. It started off at $50 a year,
11 went up to $150 a the next year, two years
12 later they had to cut the tree down due to
13 damage to their sidewalk and rising costs of
14 maintenance. Plant all the trees you want.
15 Let's just make sure that the people have
16 the means and the will to take care of
17 them which brings me to a phrase that
18 characterize many problems we face in our
19 own lives and how our officials run their
20 city. The phrase is indifference to
22 Last week I heard an exchange of
23 comments between Mrs. Fanucci and Mrs.
24 Evans. Mrs. Evans essentially asked for a
25 deeper, more thorough review of who and,
1 more importantly, why these grants and loans
2 are being handed out. Mrs. Fanucci,
3 although she is not here right now, but she
4 answered with a very disciplined message.
5 What we heard was the same economic fear
6 mongering that we heard all last year and
7 probably will hear for the rest of this.
8 Mrs. Fanucci said, "You don't
9 understand the loan and grant process and if
10 we don't talk advantage of these grants
11 Allentown will get them next year."
12 I'm quite sure every loan and grant
13 is carefully looked at and the ability of
14 those to pay of those loans and provisions
15 to get those grants are all carefully
16 measured. What Mrs. Fanucci essentially
17 said to Mrs. Evans was that the businesses
18 can do what they want regardless if they
19 succeed or fail. They still have to pay.
20 It reminds me a bit of predatory lending at
21 best and prostitution of our city's most
22 valuable assets at worse. Every time you
23 lend or grant money to a business that may
24 or may not make it two or three or five
25 years, when that business fails and packs up
1 and leaves and sometimes doesn't start up at
2 all it leaves a visible scar on the face of
3 our city. It's impossible to reengineer the
4 thinking process of economic development
5 where businesses must first prove their
6 commitment to our city by having the ability
7 to start up and stand on their own then
8 receive benefits over a period of time
9 instead of being rewarded for actual --
10 instead of being rewarded before actual work
11 is started or completed. This apparent
12 indifference to failure will create even
13 more scars and an even more apathetic
14 government and citizenry, and it is what I
15 fear may cause the spiral into yet another
16 local depression. No matter what level of
17 income, no walk of life, both saints and
18 sinners should do our best to offer our
19 thoughts, our bodies and our experiences to
20 help change our city into something greater
21 than ourselves. Indifference to failure
22 will never restore pride. Thank you.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Daniel Hubbard.
24 MR. HUBBARD: Good evening, Council,
25 Daniel Hubbard. Even though the garage was
1 pushed through last week, that money for the
2 garage, I still want it talk about it
3 because it's an important issue. Mrs.
4 Fanucci said last week that the garage is
5 closed on the upper floor because concrete
6 was falling on walls on vehicles below on
7 the ramps. What you will see is four or
8 five cinder blocks that are damaged from
9 water and there was no concrete falling
10 anywhere, but the ramps are closed. Also,
11 there's a picture of the inside of the
12 garage that shows the paint on the steel is
13 brand new. There's nothing wrong with that
14 garage. She stated that the staircase
15 doesn't work, you're right, the middle
16 staircase is closed, but the front staircase
17 and the back staircase are open and the
18 elevator is not working. The drywall around
19 the elevator and the ceilings is crumbling
20 because it was sheetrock installed in an
21 outdoor application and moisture and
22 sheetrock don't work well together, so
23 there's nothing wrong with that garage.
24 Now, has anybody even bothered to
25 question the fact that we're throwing
1 millions and millions of dollars into a
2 garage for a private developer? In 2004 the
3 parking authority said that they were
4 refinancing the bond issue and they were
5 going to put 1.4 million into renovating the
6 underground Oppenheim garage specifically
7 for the residents of the Connell Building.
8 Now, the bond -- I'm sorry, the
9 grant that was handed to the Connell
10 Building 5 million had to be used. Now,
11 that grant was issued in 2006 even though
12 construction of the project isn't slated
13 until Fall of 2008 so they received the
14 grant two years before construction was to
15 begin and now six or eight months before
16 construction is to begin they're saying they
17 have to use it now or they are going to lose
19 Let me give you a little history on
20 that grant. Mr. Wolfington and the City of
21 Scranton received a $5 million grant from
22 Governor Rendell on July 26th of 2006. Bear
23 with me. On July 1st of 2006 Mr. Wolfington
24 and his company and the associates therein,
25 I think one of them is his brother, donated
1 $35,000 to Governor Rendell's political
2 committee. Then they donated another $5,000
3 on the 21st of July. On July 26 they
4 received a $5 million grant from Governor
5 Rendell the same month. On July 27 Mr.
6 Wolfington donated another $5,000 to
7 Governor Rendell and on Top of that the
8 committee to elect Mayor Doherty donated ten
9 grand on the 27th of July. I guess that was
10 a thank you for the grant that was for the
11 Connell building that Mr. Doherty has now
12 managed to get his hands on a million of it
13 for one of his garage projects.
14 So, I mean, what are we doing? We
15 have $35 million we gave the park authority
16 last year. Where is it? Why do we have to
17 continue to give money to this authority?
18 They can't afford to fix the Oppenheim
19 garage up? The structural steel is fine.
20 There is no concrete damage anywhere in that
21 garage. There's a door knob missing on the
22 first floor, the elevator is not working and
23 that's it. It needs some paint on the top
24 floor. There is three cinder blocks that
25 are water damaged, clean the gutter out
1 above the cinder blocks, parge them, it's
2 fixed. Nobody has maintained that garage
3 since we took it. Why? I think the garage
4 was let go on purpose because it's easier to
5 say that the garage is a mess as Mrs.
6 Fanucci is quoted last week, it's a mess, it
7 needs to be demolished.
8 Well, I mean, no offense to Sherry,
9 but, come on. Is she a structural engineer?
10 It's a mess. If somebody's house is a mess
11 should we just bulldoze it? Clean the
12 garage up, maintain it. She said nobody can
13 use it, it's a private parking garage. Of
14 course, hey, the parking authority maintains
15 the lot on South Washington Avenue as a
16 private lot. You have to be a monthly card
17 holder to use it, so there's nothing wrong
18 with having a monthly garage that people
19 have to pay for a pass to use. You know,
20 Southern Union has a 100 spaces underground,
21 it's empty, but we need to build another
22 garage so a tenant that might move into the
23 Southern Union has more parking, they
24 already have an underground garage. The
25 parking authority, you know, they said they
1 were going to fix up the underground local
2 garage for the Connell building but it
3 doesn't financially benefit Mayor Doherty to
4 fix it up. It financially benefits him and
5 whoever the construction company is, I can
6 only venture a guess on who the
7 architectural company will be to design the
8 garage, we don't need another garage there.
9 If they would actually lease the spaces out
10 in that garage the whole upper floor is
11 empty, picture -- those pictures are last
12 Wednesday morning when people are at work.
13 It's empty. Empty. Why don't they try
14 filling it before they decide to get rid of
15 it? It's not producing any income because
16 they're not using it. It's a lot of money
17 and yet you guys just blindly pass this on.
18 You know, and in response to Mr.
19 Bolus I understand Gapetto is getting angry,
20 we are picking on his Marionette, but --
21 MR. MCGOFF: All right, that's out of
23 MR. HUBBARD: I mean, if the mayor
24 was to stop appealing the contracts they
25 would have been-settled.
1 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Hubbard.
2 Liz Hubbard.
3 MS. HUBBARD: Good evening, Council.
4 Liz Hubbard, Scranton resident, Daniel's
5 mother, and he's not that old that I still
6 can't spank him. Anyway, I just have a
7 question, we paid Southern Union, we gave
8 them a refund of a 40 thousand some odd
9 dollar tax payment that they had made, but I
10 don't understand, KOZ has certain
11 requirements for it to be a KOZ. I believe
12 you have to have a certain number of jobs
13 available and whatever the rest of the
14 criteria is. They don't have anybody there,
15 I mean, it's an empty building. Where are
16 we giving them tax free status? If they
17 built a building they don't want to be here
18 then they should have to pay taxes on
19 property until it's sold and I don't
20 understand why we gave them a $40,000
21 refund. Could somebody explain that to me?
22 MS. EVANS: I have many questions
23 about that situation as well, Mrs. Hubbard.
24 I don't have any answers for you though.
25 MS. HUBBARD: Well, I wanted to ask
1 the finance chairwoman, but she's not here
2 tonight, so maybe I should save that
3 question and ask it again next week. It's
4 ridiculous. These people get this KOZ,
5 there's nobody in the building, it's of no
6 economic value to the city or to it's
7 residents yet they are getting away with
8 paying no taxes and apparently they must
9 have paid something and we gave it back. I
10 don't understand that at all, I'm sorry. I
11 mean, KOZ might be a good thing if a company
12 comes in and they're hiring a number of
13 people, it's an economic benefit to the
14 city, but if they build a building and it
15 sits empty what benefit is that? I mean,
16 maybe somebody could find an answer to that
18 MS. EVANS: Or how a tax bill would
19 even have been sent to a KOZ and then why it
20 would take from 2006 to 2008 to refund the
21 payment. There are just many pieces of the
22 puzzle that don't seem to fit well.
23 MS. HUBBARD: Is there a KOZ office
24 in Harrisburg that you can call and ask
1 MS. EVANS: There's a local
2 representative, I think perhaps his office
3 might even be in OECD, and I have requested
4 an explanation from several departments.
5 The only one to respond, however, was Mrs.
6 Novembrino from the city controller's office
7 and that was to indicate that the $40,830
8 payment to Southern Union was refunded for
9 real estate taxes paid by Southern Union for
10 2006. They paid taxes, they didn't have to
11 because they were in a Keystone Opportunity
13 MS. HUBBARD: I would like to get my
14 neighborhood in a Keystone Opportunity Zone,
15 it's in a flood zone if anybody can do
16 something about that.
17 My next comment is, Mrs. Fanucci
18 isn't here tonight, but I recall her saying
19 when you were working on the smoking
20 ordinance that it might be a revenue stream
21 for the city fining people for smoking where
22 you're not supposed to smoke, etcetera,
23 etcetera, well, I think that maybe the city
24 should put extra police on, hire people if
25 you have to, to give citations for public
1 drunkenness on parade day because they could
2 probably get enough money to really pay a
3 good chunk of our long-term debt off and I
4 have a friend, not a friend, but somebody I
5 know, they got picked up for walking from
6 town to South Side and charged with $300
7 public drunkenness. I guess you can't drive
8 drunk, you can't can walk drunk either.
9 But, I mean, these guys or girls, people,
10 whoever in town they're discussing drinking
11 and whatever and they get away with it. Why
12 are we not citing them for public
13 drunkenness and where is the Liquor Control
14 Board checking these bars that are serving
15 kids underage?
16 You know, I mean, she thought we
17 were going to make a lot of money on a
18 smoking ordinance we could really make a lot
19 on this drinking. So it might be something
20 you can look into. I'll ask her next week.
21 Thank you.
22 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Hubbard.
23 MS. GARVEY: Mr. McGoff, if I could
24 just interrupt for minute regarding the
25 issue that she was speaking on, the KOZ,
1 Mrs. Evans you had asked about contacting
2 the regional coordinator or whatever, today
3 Lee Namey finally called me back and I was
4 speaking to him on that issue to ask if they
5 still obtained or currently obtained the
6 KOEZ status and they said that, yes, that
7 they do and it was probably through 2012 or
8 13, he didn't have it at his fingertips at
9 that time to tell me and it goes with the
10 land or the building and he said when he was
11 here a few years ago, remember, you had
12 explained something about the situation that
13 if they came and they didn't apply for the
14 benefit or they did each year they must
15 apply for that benefit, okay? They did that
16 in 2005, 2006 and 2008, but not in 2007
17 according to their records. Why that was he
18 did not know. They had to create -- one of
19 the stipulations may have been within that
20 to create 20 percent more jobs or something
21 when they were coming to Scranton from
22 Wilkes-Barre. If they fulfilled that
23 stipulation it did not mean that they had
24 to, which he thought it would have been,
25 that they would have had to keep those jobs.
1 Even though they have pulled out being that
2 they had done that within their first year
3 they no longer need to maintain that in
4 order to remain eligible for the benefit
5 according to the state. That's what I told
6 her today.
7 MS. EVANS: And thank you for that,
8 and I understand that, but I don't know at
9 the time when we discussed it with them that
10 had provided or created 20 percent more jobs
11 and that was part of the issue and Mr. Namey
12 at the time told us that it was more a
13 matter of local enforcement for city
14 government than for the state government to
15 step in.
16 MS. GARVEY: Right.
17 MR. MCGOFF: Go ahead.
18 MR. DOBSON: Thank you. My name is
19 Dave Dobson, taxpayer associate, resident of
20 Scranton. On this tax collection issue, I
21 feel we need registered mail or certified
22 mail somewhere where somebody has to sign
23 for an overdue tax bill so that they're
24 absolutely notified that they owe back taxes
25 and no person could can claim lack of
1 notification under that case or there would
2 be a responsible party. In too many cases
3 bills have not reached responsible parties
4 and if this method were used it would be a
5 criminal offense to sign and not deliver the
6 mail to that responsible party. And what
7 I'm asking is please consider an ordinance
8 to address this issue. If it were addressed
9 in this way it's, like I said, there
10 wouldn't be any reason why somebody would
11 owe a tax or tipping fee for trash for three
12 years and two years and not be aware of it
13 or somebody else is receiving it wouldn't be
14 allowed to just simply toss the bill in a
15 wastepaper can and not pass it back to the
16 post office.
17 Also, on this tax bill split,
18 somebody was puzzled on Council about how
19 that happens and at the end of the year if
20 you owe back taxes after say 2008, in 2009
21 the tax bill gets split up and sent back to
22 the original entities. So, that's how maybe
23 how some people are paying but by that time
24 they already accrue all the penalties so
25 anything Mrs. Evans you could do to help
1 that law along and to help people along
2 would be appreciated.
3 Now, I received a little fun over
4 this. Please consider a survey of the gypsy
5 moths that damage the trees in our parks.
6 We are planting $60,000 worth of trees for
7 better or worse, that's a different issue,
8 but if the problem goes on for many years
9 trees weaken, branches become diseased and
10 they start to die off, they become a risk
11 and stop being an asset. We have a lot of
12 really gorgeous trees in our parks that are
13 probably 100 years old and we have scores of
14 pest control companies that would probably
15 survey our parks for free and come up with
16 what it would cost to spray for gypsy moths.
17 During the summer when I do visit a park I
18 notice leaves all over the ground, look like
19 they're half eaten, right across, they're
20 hanging on a tree and they start to go bald.
21 Well, after a while this takes its toll on
22 the trees and, it's like I said, some of
23 these old Oaks and so forth at Nay Aug Park
24 and Connell Park they're kind of a treasure
25 and it takes 100 years for something like
1 that to grow back so, we'll never see it,
2 probably not.
3 Now, a few weeks ago I spoke out
4 about an act, a journalist in Afghanistan
5 and I would like the opportunity re-read
6 this newspaper article and it states, "An
7 Afghan journalist was sentenced to death for
8 distributing an article about Islam and
9 women's rights," and it goes on that he's
10 actually being punished for his brother
11 reporting abuses by warlords a media group
12 said Wednesday and the guy's name was Sayed
13 Parwez Kaambaksh and he is 23 and he was
14 sentence today death Tuesday, this is
15 several weeks old so hopefully the guy is
16 still alive, by a three-judge panel in the
17 city of Mazari-i-Shariff for distributing a
18 report he printed off the internet to fellow
19 journalism students at Balkh University.
20 The article asks why men could have four
21 wives but women can't have multiple
22 husbands. It was written in the Iranian
23 language of Farsi which is similar to Afghan
24 language of Dari which is probably -- what I
25 would like to do quickly is request, if I
1 may, is that everybody if you're concerned
2 about this contact your Congressmen. I did
3 contact Mr. Casey and Mr. Kanjorski and they
4 were very interested in this because things
5 aren't going very well in Afghan and I once
6 again, all we settle for is the same old
7 theocracy, we just change the names to
8 protect the guilty. Thank you.
9 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Dobson.
10 MS. EVANS: And, Mr. Dobson, with
11 regard are to the separation of the tax
12 bills that, as it stands, now really is in
13 Mr. Shimkus' or Representative Shimkus'
14 court. If he, indeed, has proposed that
15 amendment and if he pushes for that
16 amendment since it affects just this one
17 city with the unique rating, then it would
18 mean a world of difference, so I think we
19 have to keep our eye on that and see if, as
20 they say, Mr. Shimkus is able to bring home
21 the bacon to the City of Scranton.
22 MR. DOBSON: Right. I'm not in his
23 district, but I will try give him a call and
24 everybody that has concerns should give him
25 a call. Thank you.
1 MR. MCGOFF: Ms. Schumacher.
2 MS. SCHUMACHER: Good evening.
3 Marie Schumaker, citizen and member of the
4 Taxpayers' Association. I'm not going to
5 have a lot of details tonight because I
6 grabbed the wrong pad, so I am going to have
7 to wing a lot of it, but before I get
8 started what I came to talk about because we
9 talked again about curbs and sidewalks, I
10 would like to for I think it's at least the
11 third time now request that you dust off the
12 1993 failed ordinance that required new
13 businesses to install sidewalks. I wasn't
14 around, I don't know why that ordinance
15 didn't pass, but I don't think the City of
16 Scranton will ever have enough money to go
17 back and put sidewalks in and the time to do
18 it is when there's a new build and I think
19 that could be an appropriate ordinance to
20 get back on the books.
21 One of the things I did want to talk
22 about tonight is I think it's about -- it
23 was in May, the two homes in the 700 block
24 of Stafford Avenue were lost to fire.
25 Shortly thereafter one of the members of the
1 firemen's organization came to this podium
2 and talked about the fact that they had no
3 knowledge of hydrant flow and they had to go
4 over, oh, I think it was about six blocks,
5 they actually went over to Meadow Avenue to
6 get adequate pressure to fight that fire.
7 Now, whether one or both of those houses
8 could have been saved if they had known
9 initially when they went to fight the fire,
10 what the flow was in those hydrants, I don't
11 know, but I did contact and I reported here
12 just several months after that fire I
13 contacted the Pennsylvania American Water
14 Company who reported that every year after
15 they do their flow testing on the hydrants
16 that information is provided to the fire
18 Now, what the fire chief has been
19 doing with it all of these years, it would
20 be interesting to know and that was the
21 first little light that went on in my head
22 that the fire chief since he has this
23 information why hasn't he shared it with his
24 firefighters and now that we know that here
25 is a system for color coding those fire
1 hydrants is there money in the budget to do
2 that this year? That's our property. If we
3 have a fire in our homes and the
4 firefighters come and they have to spend --
5 waste a lot of time finding a hydrant that
6 has adequate pressure to fight the fire
7 there's a lot more property loss and
8 certainly possibly a life loss.
9 So, I think that that's something
10 that should be addressed and/or at least
11 investigated to find out when that's going
12 to it happen. I think that's certainly
13 something we need to do. We are supposed to
14 be a progressive city and progressive cities
15 have their fire hydrants color coded.
16 The other thing I would like to know
17 about the fire chief is what his
18 certifications are, what training classes
19 has he been to and been certified in since
20 he has assumed the office and how long was
21 he retired before he took the job of chief
22 of the firefighters. I think that would be
23 very interesting to see how up-to-date he
24 really is.
25 With respect to the garage, again,
1 because it came up tonight, there are two --
2 it was stated during the caucus that there
3 are 200 spaces for a subsidiary of
4 Senofi-Pasteur, but I believe they are also
5 in a KOZ status and I would think that one
6 of the Councilpersons would have asked the
7 question how long are they reserving those
8 200 spaces or leasing them? If it's only
9 until the end of a KOZ and then they move
10 out, will that parking structure be able to
11 be financially secure or are the taxpayers
12 going to have to come to the rescue or are
13 there any termination fees if they walk
15 And now I will get back to, Mr.
16 McGoff, what happens when you write Right to
17 Know letters. The biggest offender is the
18 solicitor of the City of Scranton, both
19 former and current. Next week I'll start
20 there, I promise.
21 MR. MCGOFF: Bring the right pad
22 next week. That was the last speaker on the
23 list. Anyone else wish to speak? Mr.
25 MR. TALIMINI: Good evening, Council.
1 What is remaining of it. My name is Joe
2 Talimini, Scranton resident. It's so nice
3 to see that we could possibly have one vote
4 go in the right direction tonight, but I
5 don't know what we are going to vote on.
6 The first thing I would like to address is
7 the fact that last week I believe, Mr.
8 Courtright and Mr. McGoff, you met with the
9 fire chief on Thursday?
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: I'm sorry, I didn't
11 hear what you said.
12 MR. TALERICO: I said I believe that
13 you met with the fire chief on Thursday?
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
15 MR. TALERICO: To discuss the matter.
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
17 MR. TALERICO: I hope that will be a
18 matter of public record. I don't want to
19 hear the fact that it's a personnel matter
20 as Mrs. Fanucci said because it's not a
21 personal matter it's not a personnel matter.
22 It's a matter of public safety, either the
23 man is qualified or he's not qualified and I
24 think it should be addressed publicly.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: I will speak on it
1 during motions.
2 MR. TALERICO: Secondly, I don't
3 know, I'm sure that the mayor will come back
4 to whatever fence he was on sooner or later,
5 I wonder if he ever travels North Washington
6 Avenue directly across the street from
7 Lackawanna College and right in front of
8 Washington West, but there's been some heavy
9 equipment there doing a lot of work on the
10 new designer apartments there, the potholes
11 in that area I could lie down in. It's a
12 tragedy, they practically cover the whole
13 lane. I don't know if you people are aware
14 if or not but that place is built over a
15 mine and it's only going to get deeper and
16 deeper as we go long and postpone things so
17 I don't know what they're doing, I have no
18 idea what in the world what is going on, I
19 know we have a DPW in this town, I'm sure
20 they do something, but I haven't figured out
21 what it is. They certainly don't repair
23 And, thirdly, you have an ordinance
24 here regarding Scranton High School area
25 where you want to rezone it for a Burger
1 King I assume. I don't know how many of you
2 people have been down in that area, but I
3 travel that area quite a bit, and I know,
4 Mrs. Evans, you teach there in that area and
5 you know the traffic situation is
6 horrendous. Do you people ever think before
7 you act on anything? I mean, that is a
8 very, very dangerous situation down there
9 with these high school kids to begin with,
10 not that they pay any attention to traffic
11 signals, and there is a cop down there
12 directing traffic, but I think it would be
13 nice if you get off your duffs once in
14 awhile and look around the city and saw
15 what's going on before you act on this
16 legislation. We need another Burger King or
17 another spot down there like we need a
18 second hole in the head. You can't get
19 around down there when that school let's out
20 and I don't know what you people are
21 planning on doing, but it's interesting.
22 Also, I would like to bring up the fact
23 that you have an illegal smoking ordinance
24 which you enacted and you never repealed.
25 It's in the Courts, playing games with
1 Doherty's crew again, this smoking ordinance
2 is still on the books which means if I smoke
3 a cigarette I could still get arrested for
4 it even though it wouldn't stand up in
5 court. You know, I mean, why do you people
6 leave laws on the books that you know are
7 unenforceable? I mean, what does it take
8 for you to say, hey, let's repeal this
9 thing. You can always reenact it if it's
10 necessary. But, you know, I'm tired of
11 catering to Mrs. Fanucci's little whims. If
12 she wants to be a cheerleader for some cause
13 that's her problem, but she's supposed to be
14 representing everybody and you can sneer as
15 want, Mr. McGoff, but you also were elected
16 for the same purpose and that's to act on
17 behalf of the citizens.
18 Now, you know the law is illegal,
19 you know that the law is still on the books
20 and I am forced because resolutions based on
21 this ordinance that I still have to go
22 outside and smoke a cigarette. I don't like
23 it at all. Don't like it at all. I think
24 it behooves you people to act responsibly.
25 It would be nice for a change.
1 Tonight I know we have a two to one
2 vote if we need one, but it will be
3 superceded next week. So thank you very
5 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Talimini.
6 MR. DAVIS: Salaam aleikum. My name
7 is Jim Davis of Scranton. I am here tonight
8 to speak to you about, first of all,
9 registering to vote. We have until the 24th
10 of March to register to vote for those who
11 are not registered to vote. This is an
12 important election. It's important for you,
13 it's important for your kids and I believe
14 it's going to be important for the United
15 States. That's nationally. If we don't
16 register to vote nationally we won't be
17 registered to vote locally. That means that
18 our control over our you officers here in
19 our county will no longer exist. We've been
20 electing 20 percent of the population
21 actually voting. It's a small, very small
22 amount, and I was always raised in Scranton
23 to think that your voting rights were very
24 important. It's right next to your
25 registration for the Army which is now no
1 longer existent, but then it was. If we can
2 teach our kids the respect -- to respect our
3 basic reasons for existence such as do you
4 have a right to vote? Is your voice a vote
5 is that what it is? If so, then I have to
6 protect it and that will give you more
7 respect for it, it will give you more
8 respect for those that use their voice to
9 talk to you. I'm hoping this is true, but I
10 have one big problem and my major reason was
11 about the election. Do go out and vote,
13 But the other thing is I cross -- I
14 walk Washington Avenue or I ride Washington
15 Avenue and I see this Washington Avenue West
16 apartment houses, I see a whole string of
17 homes that were made and built by HUD, by
18 the city for people of low income value, low
19 income, and they're vacant, totally vacant.
20 And then I hear you're getting ready to
21 spend money on the high-rises over in South
22 Scranton and I can't understand why are we
23 spending more money on low income housing,
24 when we have low income housing that just
25 needs to be fixed but nobody ever came up
1 with a solution on that. They just found
2 out that, no, the grounds aren't going to
3 cave in and it just died. It was the
4 funniest thing. It was going and going and
5 going and then suddenly nobody had a word
6 for it.
7 Now, Mr. Baker is up for his
8 problems I think it's a good time we reopen
9 this. Why did we close up Washington West?
10 Why don't we have more housing for the low
11 income, it's necessary, it's needed or do
12 you just want to cover the volume of place
13 and therefore keep them segregated? I don't
14 know what your plans are but it seems as if
15 you were very quick to close up that
16 Washington West.
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mr. Davis, excuse
18 me, they closed it because they said it was
19 a fire hazard they are going to be
21 MR. DAVIS: They are going to be
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: I believe they are,
25 MR. DAVIS: You believe that?
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
2 MR. DAVIS: Okay. All right. I'll
3 remember that. You say that they're going
4 to be renovated, okay. Don't leave office
5 before they get renovated and if you do you
6 know my changes are less. Well, thank very
7 much because I never found out what was
8 going to happen and I was very interested
9 because many of my friends lived there at
10 one time. It was a community, it really
11 was. It was a very thriving community and
12 they destroyed it quickly and without malice
13 aforethought. So I thank you. I thank you
14 for your time and go out and vote. Go out
15 and register to vote and then vote.
16 MR. PILANSKY: Good evening, City
17 Council, my name is Andy Pilansky, I'm a
18 city resident and also a city firefighter.
19 Just to let you guys know I'm now in the
20 bottom 38 should there be a layoff I would
21 be one of the ones to go. Mrs. Evans, I
22 have a question for you, if I was to come in
23 how tonight and say, "How are you doing
24 tonight, Dolly?"
25 That would be labeled unprofessional
1 at the very least, would you agree?
2 MS. EVANS: I agree.
3 MR. PILANSKY: Well, the chief is
4 saying, well, I don't remember saying that.
5 Well, I remember him saying that because he
6 said it Friday, August 29 of 2002 which was
7 the first time he addressed my academy class
8 before we were sent way for training he
9 walked in the room and said, "I don't think
10 anybody will have a problem down at that
11 academy, even you two dollies," referencing
12 Miss Hawker and Miss McCue. Jennifer is one
13 of the best firefighters I have known, we
14 have been on the job together five and a
15 half years. I'd go down any hallway with
16 her. She deserves better than that.
17 Now, as for Mr. McGoff and Mr.
18 Courtright, you gentlemen met with Chief
19 Davis and I'm not here to slam you guys but
20 I have some questions for you. We in the
21 last six years some of the things that the
22 chief has done, we got new breathing
23 apparatus in 2004, we really did need it,
24 our breathing apparatus was about to be
25 taken out of service due to the extended
1 service length. The cylinders that we have,
2 they're only good for a certain amount of
3 time and onces it exceeds the service life
4 you can't use it anymore because, well, it
5 has the potential to explode. It holds
6 3,300 pounds of air, that's a lot of
7 pressure, but did you know that the chief
8 don't anything to replace it? I mean, do
9 you guys know if he had a plan to replace
10 the breathing apparatus? Because Lieutenant
11 Scott and Deputy Chief Osborne along with
12 the city grant writer they stepped up and
13 compiled all of the information so that we
14 as the firefighters had the proper safety
15 equipment. When they went out to
16 Indianapolis for a fire conference the
17 Indianapolis fire department had the airpack
18 that we were currently wearing in their fire
19 museum and there was no plan to replace it,
20 I mean, unless you guys know of one that I
22 We talk about a wellness program,
23 the chief put the squash to writing a grant
24 for fitness equipment. It was a grant for
25 the Fire Act. Lieutenant Scott and Deputy
1 Chief Osborne, again, along with the city
2 grant writer wrote the grant. The chief
3 decided it would be a better idea to ask for
4 a new piece of fire apparatus, the
5 Department of Homeland Security states that
6 it's almost impossible to get a piece of
7 fire apparatus and we didn't even qualify so
8 it was like asking for something we couldn't
9 get anyway, and we could have gotten the
10 fitness equipment.
11 From my understanding we had a deal
12 set up with the university to be proctored
13 by their fitness department and it fell by
14 the wayside and that wouldn't have cost the
15 city anything. If you guys know, Mr.
16 McGoff, I know you like the Right to Know
17 Act, where can I go to find a copy of the
18 department's standard operating procedures?
19 Since I was hired in September of 2002 I
20 never received one? Do you --
21 MR. MCGOFF: Do you want an answer?
22 MR. PILANSKY: Yes, please.
23 MR. MCGOFF: It is our
24 understanding, Mr. Courtright and I asked
25 that question, it's my understanding that
1 they have never been codified.
2 MR. PILANSKY: So we don't have any?
3 MR. MCGOFF: They are, but they're--
4 I'm giving you a lengthy answer and I don't
5 want to take up your time --
6 MR. PILANSKY: Okay.
7 MR. MCGOFF: -- but we were told that
8 there has never been a codification of the
9 standard operating procedures, but they --
10 it's kind of a by tradition or just by
12 MR. PILANKSY: Okay. Correct me if
13 I'm wrong, you're saying that the chief has
14 them but they're not ready for
16 MR. MCGOFF: No.
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: No, nobody has them.
18 MR. PILANSKY: Okay, nobody has them
19 I'm sure what you're referring to is the
20 training that we received, yes, you can put
21 water on an fire and you go in and od
22 things, that's standard training across the
23 board that every fire department does. You
24 know, we are a paramilitary organization, we
25 have structure, we have rank, to not have
1 standard operating procedures and claim to
2 be a progressive department they don't go
3 together. Now, for the three of you I wish
4 Ms. Gatelli and Ms. Fanucci were here, what
5 is your back ground in the fire service, if
6 you have any?
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: I don't have any.
8 MS. EVANS: I have none.
9 MR. PILANSKY: Now, Mr. McGoff and
10 Mr. Courtright, you went and spoke with
11 Chief Davis this week and said you are going
12 to speak, if you guys don't any fire service
13 background how do you know what his answers
14 should be? Thank you.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: I know, I don't
16 know what his answer is going to be, but I'm
17 going to try to explain the process what
18 happened here when it's my turn to speak in
20 MR. SLEDENZSKI: Hell, Bill.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: Hi, Chris. What
22 happened today?
23 MR. SLEDENZSKI: There it is, baby.
24 There it is. Well, Bill, our girls'
25 softball team is ready and good luck. Lisa,
1 welcome back.
2 MS. GRAFF: Thank you, Chris.
3 MR. GERVASI: Chris is a tough act
4 to follow. Good evening, ladies and
5 gentlemen. My name is Dave Gervasi, I'm a
6 Scranton firefighter, city resident. I'll be
7 very brief tonight, anxiously awaiting to
8 hear how your meeting went. I'm waiting to
9 hear that in motions and just answer one
10 question that was brought up for the
11 audience today, I believe it was Mrs.
12 Schumacher, she's used to not getting
13 answers but she comes up here and asks week
14 after week so I'm going to try and give her
15 one. She was talking about the hydrant
16 flows and the pressures and the different
17 size water mains that we utilize that are --
18 go to our hydrants, the hydrants are hooked
19 to, we have a program through our safety
20 committee to paint the bonnets a certain
21 color so that we would know arriving on the
22 scene if that would be -- if we had any
23 water flow and the volume of water for
24 whatever incident we were trying to
25 suppress. That was brought to the city. I
1 believe, I believe our people got in touch
2 with the water company and they said it
3 would be fine to do that.
4 Again, we go to the city and I guess
5 they want to to us buy the paint, too, so
6 that was left to the wayside and that
7 program I think is put together, I think it
8 is ready to go, again, it's been about six
9 months now since we heard anything about it,
10 again, lack of leadership, but thank you
11 very much.
12 MS. EVANS: Mr. Gervasi, I spoke
13 with Mr. Schreiber on that issue in July and
14 he told me exactly what you stated tonight
15 and I believe he had been in discussions
16 with Mr. Hayes about that.
17 MR. GERVASI: That's correct.
18 MS. EVANS: But I specifically
19 remember it was in January and it had to be
20 somewhere between I would say January -- or
21 not January, July, July 17 and 26 and the
22 only reason I recall that vividly is because
23 I was volunteering during the St. Ann's
24 Novena and I remembered during Novena masses
25 I had called Mr. Schreiber and we had that
1 conversation and I had asked them to be
2 updated so that I would know when the fire
3 hydrants would be -- the tops would be
4 painted, and he told me when he would
5 receive a response from the chief he would
6 let me know. But, you know, again, to date,
7 I never heard anything.
8 MR. GERVASI: That's one of hundreds
9 of examples of these safety programs being
10 fostered and being created by the regular
11 rank and file members of the fire department
12 only to reach a brick wall when it gets to
13 our leadership. Thank you.
14 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Gervasi.
15 Anyone else?
16 MS. KRAKE: Good evening, Council, my
17 name is Nancy Krake. Every week I am going
18 to try to continue to explain the
19 misinformation that certain Councilpersons
20 put out about the tax ordinance they passed
21 with the Draconian penalties and interests.
22 Mrs. Fanucci is not here tonight, but it was
23 two weeks ago when I heard her say that the
24 city would not get any of the money in which
25 they put into the budget if we did not have
1 these fees and penalties.
2 Once again, those monies do not come
3 into the city coffers. They go to
4 Abrahamson, Moran and Conaboy who also own
5 Northeast Credit and Collections. I don't
6 know how many times we have to say this, but
7 I will just continue to say it, 3 and 4
8 million, 3 to 4 million dollars actually
9 came from MRS's that came upfront. The
10 fines and fees and penalties do not go to
11 the city. This year I was informed we will
12 be having a tax sale or rather I should say
13 the Scranton Redevelopment Authority will be
14 having a tax sale. I do not know if Council
15 is aware of that. I'm assuming it will be
16 for quiet title. No one has told me, I am
17 the tax clerk, so I get a lot of questions
18 and I don't have any answers. I would
19 appreciate it even though Mr. McGoff is
20 reluctant to find out if we could find out
21 what exactly is going to go on. I think the
22 public has a right to know.
23 Also, Mrs. Fanucci made a statement
24 that it was her understanding if people
25 paid-- were making payments on their
1 property they would not go through this tax
2 sale. I find that very interesting. I
3 wonder if there's any frame around that, if
4 there's any amounts or any time frame, but
5 she made the statement so I would like her
6 to clarify that.
7 And, also, Mrs. Evans, I'm going to
8 try and answer this question, and it may be
9 incorrect, but I'm guessing at this, the
10 money that was refunded to Southern Union, I
11 see this every day in the treasurer's
12 office, every year if you have a KOZ the
13 director of DCED for the state, Dennis
14 Yablonsky, will issue a letter for your
15 property for as long as it qualifies and you
16 are to bring that letter to the taxing body.
17 Now, if you forget during the current year
18 you can go back and then you would come to
19 our office for a past year.
20 So, in fact, we even had a couple of
21 people today. So, I'm guessing that the
22 money that was refunded was because of that.
23 They hadn't possibly gotten their letter in
24 on time and/or they just paid it outright
25 and then they asked for it back, and I'm not
1 positive though.
2 Also, it's been in the past that
3 when the city held its tax sale that they
4 sent a certified letter because there was a
5 lawsuit brought about by a taxpayer that
6 they did not receive their mail. I do not
7 know if the Redevelopment Authority is
8 sending certified letters for the sale, but
9 that is a valid point that some speaker
10 brought up.
11 And, finally, I would like to ask
12 Mrs. Evans to run for mayor. I'm basing
13 that request on her voting record and her
14 budgets which did not increase taxes and, in
15 fact, brought in revenue that would have
16 begun to pay off the looting that Mr.
17 Doherty and council members McGoff, Fanucci,
18 Gatelli and Pocius have created.
19 By the way, this debt is just
20 another tax increase waiting to happen. If
21 Mr. Doherty were to be re-elected you can
22 bet that he would repeat the performance of
23 his second term whereas as soon as he was
24 re-elected he would increase your taxes
25 again. Thank you.
1 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Krake.
2 Mr. Ancherani.
3 MR. ANCHERANI: Good evening.
4 Nelson Ancherani, resident and taxypayer,
5 city employee. First Amendment rights.
6 During motions last week Mrs. Fanucci
7 remarked about the Recovery Plan.
8 Violations by the mayor to the tune of $15
9 in raises and new hires. That's on page
10 Page 64, Section 2, and it's covered under
11 wages. I'm going to read it again: "For
12 2003, 2004, 2005, the base hourly wages and
13 salaries of all city employees shall not
14 exceed existing 2002 rates except to the
15 extent that future collective bargaining
16 agreements, arbitration awards or other
17 means result in using the monies made
18 available in Item 3 below for wage
20 I will get to Item 3 shortly. Miss
21 Fanucci said, and I quote, "Also, and in
22 response to the Recovery Plan and the fact
23 with the raises, Candace, I believe this is
24 your question about the raises, about the
25 Recovery Plan, there were provisions in
1 there and the provisions were not only for
2 raises for the clerical, non-clerical, union
3 and non-union, so there are provisions for
4 the fire and police to get raises. In fact,
5 when the budget was passed then it became
6 that it was, I mean, there definitely are
7 provisions. I will get you exactly what
8 page that's on," and she's not here to give
9 me the page.
10 "I will get you exactly which page
11 that's on, Mr. Ancherani, next week because
12 I didn't have it with me. But I did, I
13 actually researched that a few weeks ago
14 myself because I know that you've been
15 coming up here saying that that was one of
16 the violations of the Recovery Plan and it
17 actually was not. After I -- after I looked
18 into it. But there were provisions for
19 everyone to get raises which is a good
20 thing. So, you know, not that there was not
21 an intention for the unions to get raises,
22 there certainly was. So I definitely wanted
23 to respond to that."
24 Miss Fanucci was right about those
25 provisions, but now I'm forced to bring up
1 three more violations. I believe on Page
2 64, Section 3, personnel costs are what she
3 was referring to and I quote, "For 2003 a
4 total of $225,000 will be available to meet
5 any adjustments in any personnel related
6 costs for all," that's all, city employees,
7 "including those costs resulting from
8 collective bargaining arbitration and/or
9 means. For 2004 a total $400,000 will be
10 available to meet the costs of any such
11 adjustments and for 2005 a total of $605,435
12 will be available. Distribution of these
13 monies among the various departments
14 bargaining units shall be fair and equitable
15 and shall generally be in proportion to the
16 actual 2001 costs incurred for each
17 department and bargaining unit."
18 Now, as per Section 3, a total of
19 225,000 was available in 2003 to meet the
20 adjustments in personnel costs ,but the
21 mayor gave out raises and new hires that
22 totalled approximately $1,014,854. That's
23 $764,854 more than allowed under the plan.
24 A violation. Likewise, a total of $400,000
25 was available in 2004, but the mayor gave
1 out raises and new hires in 2004 that
2 totaled approximately 2,109,669. That's
3 1,709,700 more than allowed in the plan.
4 Another violation. A total of 605,435 --
5 605,435 was available in 2005. But the
6 mayor, again, gave out raises and new hires
7 in 2005 that totaled approximately
8 2,399,400. That's 1,793,942 more than
9 allowed in the plan. Another violation.
10 By my count, three violations of
11 Section 3. I believe that's the section she
12 was going to give to me. Total for these
13 three violations is four thousand --
14 $268,000 and none of that was for police,
15 fire or clerical. These were from the
16 budgets. I've been totalling the wages and
17 raises of the new hires cummulatively since
19 I've been saying that the mayor
20 violated the Recovery Plan to the tune of 15
21 million dollars. That alone is in the wages
22 section of the Recovery Plan and it's much
23 higher if you included the specialized
24 attorneys, consultants and anyone else that
25 did work for the city. Thank you.
1 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. Anyone
3 MS. EVANS: A letter, Kay, because
4 I'm following up to some of the requests
5 that were made by the speakers tonight. A
6 letter to the Scranton Redevelopment
7 Authority asking for a full explanation of
8 the tax sale to be conducted this year, and
9 also inquiring if the SRA intends to send
10 certified letters of notification and if Mr.
11 Courtright agrees we can send that on behalf
12 Council. Thank you.
13 I also wanted to indicate that I
14 spoke with Jeff Brazil, DPW director, after
15 school today about the city's preparations
16 for potential flooding. He stated that he
17 was in contact with emergency management and
18 that while 1.7 inches of rainfall is
19 anticipated today and this evening, our
20 rivers can absorb 2 inches, however, the DPW
21 is on standby and, further, during the last
22 two to three months approximately 80 catch
23 basins have been cleaned of the leaves,
24 garabe and debris. This has prevented
25 flooding in the underpass areas of Olive
1 Street and Market Street today, for example.
2 A few weeks ago I posed several
3 questions regarding the Nay Aug Park
4 ampitheater. I did find a few responses in
5 a newspaper article of February 28, 2008,
6 which stated that a $289,000 ampitheatre
7 should have been added to the city's general
8 property insurance policy in 2004, but it
9 wasn't. We would all agree in addition that
10 it should have been maintained through the
11 Parks and Recreation Department, but it
13 I also learned that two DPW
14 employees were suspended for 30 days for an
15 allegedly illegal act, yet another employee
16 was arrested and fired several months ago
17 under somewhat similar circumstances. That
18 deserves an explanation. I'm also told that
19 apparently revenues have declined in the
20 Office of Licensing, Inspection and Permits.
21 This, too, deserves an explanation yet I
22 fear that many problems, accusations and
23 oversights of the last weeks, months and
24 even years will not be solved or
25 appropriately addressed until the people of
1 Scranton bid farewell to this administration
2 and its mismanagement, lack of
3 accountability and borrow and spend
5 Kay, I'd also like a letter sent to
6 Mr. Renda, business administrator,
7 requesting a response to the following
8 questions on or before March 10, 2008: What
9 is the city's current bond rating? Do you
10 believe the the city can obtain municipal
11 bond insurance for the forthcoming borrowing
12 which was included in the 2008 operating
13 budget? Do you foresee a significant rise
14 in interest costs for borrowing because of
15 the ongoing crisis of municipal bond
16 insurers? And if Council consents, we can
17 send the correspondence on behalf of
19 MR. MCGOFF: That's fine.
20 MS. EVANS: I would also like a
21 letter sent to Mr. Dougher regarding Weston
22 Field, will the city purchase lifeguard
23 chairs for the outdoor pool before the
24 opening of the 2008 swim season, and again,
25 if Council consents letter will be sent on
1 behalf of Council with a request for a
2 response on or before March 17,2008.
3 Also, a letter to Chief Davis why
4 have the fire hydrants remained unmarked
5 relative to water pressure underground water
6 lines and perhaps we can send that on behalf
7 of Council as well as?
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: Absolutely.
9 MR. MCGOFF: Yes.
10 MS. EVANS: Thank you. Lastly, in
11 response to many of the comments made this
12 evening by speakers and some of the comments
13 made at last week's meeting by Councilwoman
14 Fanucci, I'd like to remind everyone that
15 the city sold a loan portfolio comprised of
16 its best low risk loans which were hand
17 selected by its purchaser in 2005. The less
18 desirable loans, that is high risk and
19 questionable, were retained by the city. In
20 addition, the city lost approximately half a
21 million dollars on that sale. The monies
22 received were sent to be used to provide
23 future loans.
24 Since 2005 approximately 49 loans
25 have been given through OECD. Thus, their
1 payment histories would be to date quite
2 brief, but in addition to that, I don't
3 believe the monies obtained from those sales
4 would be available for use in Allentown or
5 any other city outside of Scranton, and
6 that's it.
7 MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Courtright.
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you. First
9 before I start I would like to give my
10 condolences to the Clifford family, Mrs.
11 Clifford on her passing.
12 I am going to save my comments on
13 Chief Davis until the end here because I
14 think it's going to take me a little bit to
15 go over everything. I had an e-mail from
16 somebody about a property on Penn Avenue,
17 I'm not going to name them, but Mr.
18 Seitzinger I sent a request in and he sent
19 me an e-mail back, I'll just read it for the
20 individual that sent me that e-mail. The
21 property that you sent the e-mail on was
22 condemened on Tuesday morning at 2:30.
23 Notices had gone out to the owner and the
24 property due to the condition of the
25 property and the correction that needed to
1 be made, so for those individuals that sent
2 me that on Penn Avenue that has been taken
3 care of.
4 For the fourth week in a row I've
5 received a letter from an individual at Park
6 Gardens. I cannot read your writing. You
7 started out this last time where I could
8 just about read it, so I went to Park
9 Gardens this Saturday and I knocked on every
10 door in building 7 and 8 and no one will
11 tell me they're the one that sent me the
12 letter. I do gather from the letters that
13 you believe that Dave Elliott from the
14 police department could handle whatever
15 problem I can't make out here, so I have
16 taken your letters down to the police
17 department this morning and Dave Elliott has
18 them so maybe he will have a little better
19 luck than I will because they're lengthy
20 letters you've really taken a lot of time
21 and I'm sorry I can't make out your writing.
22 Keyser Terrace, the residents there
23 want a meeting with some official from the
24 City of Scranton and I don't believe that
25 Council is going to act on dedicating those
1 streets until what time we have that
2 meeting. I'm guessing that's the case.
3 There's a little difficulty as we were
4 talking earlier, we don't know what official
5 from the city would show up there, we don't
6 have a Mr. Parker and city engineer like we
7 did before so I'm guessing maybe Mr. Brazil
8 would come, but they want to speak to
9 somebody from the administration about the
10 problems they are having back there at
11 Keyser Terrace, so we will be look into try
12 to find somebody and-- oh, yes, we are
13 going to try and talk with the rest of
14 Council in caucus next week and see who we
15 can send to possibly meet with the people
16 from Keyser Terrace so we can move forward
17 on whatever needs to be done there.
18 This is why I didn't want to take
19 the notes on Chief Davis' thing, I can't
20 read my writing. And I'll get into the fire
21 chief now. We did meet, Mr. McGoff and
22 myself and Chief Davis and Director Hayes,
23 and the firefighter that spoke before, Andy
24 Pilansky, I believe you said, right, Andy, I
25 did not believe that I had any
1 qualifications to determine whether his
2 answers were correct or incorrect, so we did
3 not have any discussion. What I did was I
4 read each and every question that was
5 presented to me about you the firefighters'
6 union and I asked Chief Davis to respond to
7 each and every question. I went back
8 after-- we did not have a stenographer or
9 anybody there so I took my own notes so I
10 made sure I went back after we were done
11 with every question and I read the question
12 again to the chief and I read the answer
13 that he had given me so that it was as
14 correct as possible. There's certain
15 things, and I forget, somebody said they
16 didn't want to give answer that's a personal
17 issue, I forget who it was out there, but
18 there are certain things that I don't think
19 we can talk about, there are certain things
20 taht I'm not comfortable talking about
21 because I don't know where this is going to
22 lead, and I did not -- I spoke with some
23 representatives of the fire union, I did not
24 give them the answers that Chief Davis had
25 given me. I didn't think it was proper for
1 me to give anybody the answers until after I
2 gave them to the rest council. We will meet
3 somewhere between 9:30 and 9:45, 10:00 this
4 Monday hopefully with the union president,
5 Dave Shreiber, and I asked him if he would
6 be willing to bring just one other member
7 being that the city sent two representives
8 and they will be afforded the opportunity to
9 go through each and every one of those
10 questions and give their response.
11 What will take place after that is
12 undetermined. We were missing two Council
13 members in caucus this evening when we were
14 supposed to talk about this issue, and I
15 don't think we are 100 percent in agreement
16 where we will go forward with this after the
17 questioning. So that's all I'm going to say
18 on that. Hopefully I'll speak with Dave
19 Shreiber again, he said he was agreeable to
20 coming at any time so I will speak with him
21 either later on tonight or tomorrow. Mrs.
22 Evans was willing to forfeit herself coming
23 here so that we could do it in a timely
24 fashion. If it was all five of Council we
25 would have had to advertise it and it would
1 take some time and I think we all would like
2 to see this thing move on as quickly as
3 possible. I ask those of you that are
4 friends of mine or acquaintences of mine if
5 I tell you I can't -- outside of here and in
6 here, if I tell you I can't tell you what we
7 spoke about I hope you understand because it
8 is a personnel issue and I know a lot of you
9 don't want to hear that, I just don't know
10 where this is going to go and I don't want
11 to disclose any information that could be
12 damaging to either side. I'm trying to do
13 do this as fair as we possibly could. So we
14 will meet hopefully on Monday. After we
15 meet on Monday I hope we will bring back the
16 answers once again to the rest council and I
17 guess we'll take it from there.
18 As far as the chief's
19 qualifications, I think and someone can
20 correct me later on if I'm incorrect, I
21 don't believe the fire department has the
22 rule structure of the police department.
23 The police department has to go every single
24 year for updates and to keep their
25 certification for municipal police officer
1 and education and training commission. I do
2 not believe that the fire department has
3 somebody that governs them like that, do
4 they train? They're always training. If
5 you see all the fire trucks over here at
6 headquarters I believe more often than not
7 the reason you will see them parked all over
8 the place is because they're over there
9 training. What training does the fire chief
10 have or is required to have, I don't believe
11 he is required to have any and I don't know
12 what training he's had, if any, since he's
13 come back, but I don't think it's a
14 requirement. If I'm incorrect maybe you
15 could let me know.
16 So, again, I'm going to leave it at
17 that. I don't want to say too, too much. I
18 will be giving the representative from the
19 firefighters' union all of the answers that
20 were given to us by Chief Davis and then
21 when the firefighters give us their answers
22 to those questions I will give those to
23 Chief Davis so everybody has the information
24 that was made available.
25 I will not -- for the news media, if
1 you are going stand outside and wait for me
2 like they did for the last meeting with
3 Cheif Davis I'm not going to tell you when
4 we leave the meeting on Monday the answers
5 the fire department gave me until what time
6 every member of Council has an opportunity
7 to see it. I just think that's fair. And
8 that's all I have. Thank you.
9 MS. EVANS: Mr. Courtright, if I can
10 just add to your comments that you're going
11 to be a bit more fortunate during the next
12 meeting that you won't be taking the notes.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
14 MS. EVANS: I had requested that at
15 this meeting we would either see the
16 presence of a stenographer or have the
17 meeting taped just as these meetings are
18 taped and Mr. Courtright informed me that
19 the representatives of the fire department
20 would certainly be agreeable to any
21 stipulations that were placed on that
22 meeting by Council and, so it was decided
23 that the responses that are given will be
24 taped and then will be given to us by Kay so
25 that we have the exact responses.
1 And I do commend and thank the fire
2 department for agreeing to do so. It
3 certainly shows the degree of transparency
4 that you're willing to offer and that
5 provides me personally with a sense of
6 security. Thank you.
7 MR. MCGOFF: Just a few things.
8 First, just a brief congratulations to Diane
9 Broom and the Molina News who sponsored the
10 black history month dinner. It was well
11 attended. Mr. Stacy Brown was the keynote
12 speaker. The message was well-received and
13 it was a pleasure to attend.
14 We received a letter, there has been
15 some questions in here about the delinquent
16 wage taxes and requesting an investigation
17 of the wage tax. We received some
18 information back, a letter from an attorney
19 at the Single Tax Office, and it really
20 wasn't very helpful, should I say not
21 helpful? It really added somewhat to the
22 confusion. Apparently the controller's
23 office in the city does have the power to
24 audit the Single Tax Office, but doesn't
25 have the wherewithall to do so. I am told
1 they would have to hire an outside
2 accountant in order to conduct the audit.
3 The controller's office in the county
4 does have the power also to audit the Single
5 Tax Office, but that brings into question
6 what had been brought up during the election
7 that it would now end up being the
8 controller auditing himself. And so we are
9 left without a real practical means of
10 conducting that audit. Hopefully we can
11 somehow maybe resolve this as we go along,
12 but hope that -- I would like to continue to
13 pursue this in some way until we do get some
15 I do want to mention that a couple
16 of things that were said and I got snickers
17 last week when I said that the police were
18 going to enforce open container laws during
19 the St. Patrick's Day parade and post
20 parade. I am also told that they are going
21 to enforce the public drunkenness law. I am
22 only repeating what I have been told. I do
23 not know the efficiency with which that will
24 be done or the diligence with which either
25 of those will be pursued, but I am told that
1 it is a point of should I say emphasis for
2 this coming year.
3 Also, you probably read in the
4 newspaper that the District Attorney's
5 Office has sent a letter to tavern owners
6 asking them to open later in the day. We
7 are in the process of sending a letter also
8 through the Drug and Alcohol Commission
9 asking the same thing, recognition that it
10 is a problem and hopefully that it, you
11 know, is abateded in some way.
12 I personally enjoy parade day. The
13 parade itself is something I've been
14 attending with my family for a number of
15 years. I've never participated in the
16 postparade, I shouldn't say never. It's
17 been awhile since I've participated in the
18 postparade type activities, but it does lend
19 to -- some events lend to sort of a
20 demeaning of what is intended to be a joyous
21 day, a day for families and a day to
22 celebrate ethnic pride.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mr. McGoff, could I
24 just say one thing?
25 MR. MCGOFF: Sure.
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: Just very quickly,
2 the police always put the biggest presence
3 they could out there, but you need to
4 understand something if they see somebody
5 for public drunkenness and they're in the
6 process of going to an arrest and then a
7 fight breaks out with six or eight guys, you
8 know, there is just -- we just don't have
9 the manpower to control the situation so
10 it's like fighting a fire. They've got to
11 go to the most dangerous situation at the
12 time and, unfortunately, on parade day
13 there's a lot of fighting going on so I'm
14 sure they are going to go out there and do
15 the very best they could. I think the
16 bottom line is if we control the drinking,
17 you know, the volume and I don't know if
18 that's possible, but that's the only thing
19 that's going to stop it. You can double up
20 the force, I don't think it would totally
21 wipe out the problems on that day.
22 MR. MCGOFF: And in response to Mr.
23 Davis who was speaking about voter
24 registration, I know when I was teaching at
25 Pocono Mountain each year the League of
1 Women voters would come into the schools and
2 register any 18 year olds that have just
3 reached, you know, voter age. I did ask
4 Mrs. Evans, I am writing notes here, and I'm
5 told by Mrs. Evans that there is -- it's not
6 the League of Women Voters but possibly the
7 PTA that does go into the high schools and
8 certainly a program that, you know, should
9 be encouraged and certainly encourage
10 everyone to register to vote, not only for,
11 you know, a presidential primary but for all
12 elections that are held. It is the one
13 great right that we are given in this
14 country and we should use it and utilize it
16 And to Fireman Pilansky, a valid
17 point that he made that I have no
18 qualifications to evaluate the effectiveness
19 of, you know, a firefighter. About the only
20 thing that I can say was that if the fire
21 was put out, good job. Other than that, I
22 have absolutely no criteria on which to
23 judge anyone. Hopefully through this
24 process that we're using, I don't think it's
25 our job to evaluate, I think what we are
1 trying to do is gather some information and
2 make the best determination as to what we
3 should do as a Council and hopefully we can
4 do that, you know, through a few meetings.
5 And, Mrs. Krake, I will look into the
6 SRA and tax sale. I hopefully will get an
7 answer for you. I will pursue that and see
8 if there's anything. You probably have more
9 contact than I do, but I will at least, you
10 know, make an effort to find out.
11 And the last thing, two of the
12 questions that Mrs. Evans asked, one, the
13 letter to Mr. Dougher about lifeguard
14 chairs, we can send a letter, but I will try
15 to find that out tomorrow. I will make a
16 number of phone calls. Like I said, we will
17 send a letter, but I will see if I can find
18 that out and the same thing with the
19 hydrants. I will ask Tom and see if there's
20 a response that's legitimate and see if we
21 get a response. And that is all that I
23 MS. GARVEY: FIFTH ORDER. NO
24 BUSINESS AT THIS TIME. Sixth order. 6-A.
25 READING BY TITLE - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 15,
1 2008 - AN ORDINANCE - AMENDING FIEL OF
2 COUNCIL NO. 16, 1998 WHICH AMENDED FILE OF
3 COUNCIL NO. 29, 1986 ENTITLED "AN
4 ORDINANCE", AS AMENDED, CREATING AND
5 DEFINING A CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT;
6 PROVIDING FOR THE REMOVAL OF EXISTING
7 PARKING METERS WITHIN THE CENTRALBUSINESS
8 DISTRICT AND PRESCRIBING PARKING TIME
9 LIMITS; DEFINING OFFENSES AND PRESCRIBING
10 PENALTIES; PROVIDING FOR THE ENFORCEMENT
11 THEREOF; AND REPEALING CONFLICTING AND
12 INCONSISTENT ORDINANCE, BY DETAILING THE
13 DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE SCRANTON
14 PARKING AUTHORITY ACTING AS AN AGENT FOR THE
15 CITY OF SCRANTON," BY AMENDING SECTION 5.(B)
16 SERVICE VEHICLE PARKING PERMITS BY
17 INCREASING THE COST OF THIS PERMIT TO
18 $150.00 PER YEAR PER VEHICLE.
19 MR. MCGOFF: You've heard Reading by
20 Title of Item 6-A, what is your pleasure?
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: I move that Item
22 6-pass Reading by Title.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Second. On the
24 question? All those in favor signify by
25 saying aye.
1 MS. EVANS: Aye.
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
3 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The ayes
4 have it and so moved.
5 MS. GARVEY: SEVENTH ORDER. 7-A. FOR
6 CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON RULES -
7 FOR ADOPTION - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 11, 2008
8 - AMENDING FIEL OF COUNCIL NO. 74, 1993, (AS
9 AMENDED), ENTITLED "THE ZONING ORDINANCE FOR
10 THE CITY OF SCRANTON", BY CHANGING THE MAP
11 IN THE VICINITY OF THE SCRANTON HIGHT SCHOOL
12 AND ITS SURROUNDING AREA, AS MORE
13 PARTICULARLY DESCRIBED IN EXHIBIT "A"
14 ATTACHED HERETO FROM I-L (LIGHT INDUSTRIAL)
15 TO INS-G (GENERAL INSTITUTIONAL) AND C-G
16 (GENERAL COMMERCIAL).
17 MR. MCGOFF: As chairperson for the
18 Committee of Rules, I recommend final
19 passage of Item 7-A.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
21 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? I
22 guess we've talked about this before, I
23 would just like to mention that it is an
24 attempt to strengthen the zoning ordinance
25 rather than weaken it. It's not allowing
1 for I don't know what I want to say,
2 businesses to move in. It actually
3 stengthens the zoning a little bit and makes
4 it a little bit more difficult to place
5 certain types of businesses there.
6 MS. EVANS: But it does seem that
7 this is occurring after the fact in that
8 directly across the street we have quite a
9 number of businesses, restaurants, laundry
10 mats, fitness center, doctor's offices,
11 etcetera, and they were all built in a KOZ
12 without having to alter anything through
13 planning or zoning and suddenly all of this
14 becomes necessary to enable someone who
15 bought a very what should be almost
16 priceless piece of property for the all time
17 low purchase price of $7,000 to put
18 something on that property and further
19 disrupt the traffic patterns at Scranton
20 High School, not to mention put into
21 potential jeopardy the safety of students
22 who play on the soccer fields. So, somehow,
23 I can't put my finger on it, but somehow
24 none of this passes the smell test, so I
25 will be voting no.
1 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else? Roll call
3 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
4 MS. EVANS: No.
5 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli. Mrs.
6 Fanucci. Mr. Courtright.
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
8 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
9 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. I'm sorry, on a
10 2-1 vote I declare Item 7-A legally and
11 lawfully adopted.
12 MS. GARVEY: 7-B. FOR CONSIDERATION
13 BY THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION -
14 RESOLUTION NO. 18, 2008 - APPOINTMENT OF
15 BERNARD GARVEY, 601 MERIDIAN AVENUE,
16 SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA, 18504, AS A MEMBER
17 OF THE FIRE PENSION COMMISSION, EFFECTIVE
18 DECEMBER 18, 2007. MR. GARVEY WILL BE
19 REPRESENTING THE RETIRED FIREFIGHTERS ON THE
20 COMMISSION AND HIS FIVE YEAR TERM WILL
21 EXPIRE ON DECEMBER 19, 2012.
22 MR. MCGOFF: As Chairperson for the
23 Committee on Rules, I recommend final
24 passage of Item 7-B.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
1 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? Roll
2 call, please.
3 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
4 MS. EVANS: Yes.
5 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli. Mrs.
6 Fanucci. Mr. Courtright.
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
8 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
9 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. I hereby declare
10 Item 7-B legal and lawfully adopted.
11 MS. GARVEY: 7-C. FOR CONSIDERATION
12 BY THE COMMITEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION -
13 RESOLUTION NO. 19, 2008 - APPOINTMENT OF
14 JOHN SYDLOWSKI, 624 WINTERMANTLE AVENUE,
15 SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA, 18505, AS A MEMBER
16 OF THE FIRE PENSION COMMISSSION, EFFECTIVE
17 DECEMBER 18, 2007. MR. SYDLOWSKI WILL BE
18 REPRESENTING THE RETIRED FIREFIGHERS ON THE
19 COMMISSION AND HIS FIVE YEAR TERM WILL
20 EXPIRE ON DECEMBER 18, 2012.
21 MR. MCGOFF: As Chairperson for the
22 Committee on Rules, I recommended final
23 passage of Item 7-C.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
25 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? Roll
1 call, please.
2 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
3 MS. EVANS: Yes.
4 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli. Mrs.
5 Fanucci. Mr. Courtright.
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
7 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
8 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. I hereby declare
9 Item 7-C legally and lawfully adopted. And
10 that is Seventh Order. Ask for a motion to
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.
2 C E R T I F I C A T E
4 I hereby certify that the proceedings and
5 evidence are contained fully and accurately in the
6 notes of testimony taken by me at the hearing of the
7 above-captioned matter and that the foregoing is a true
8 and correct transcript of the same to the best of my
LISA GRAFF, RMR
13 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER