2 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
8 Tuesday, March 18, 2008
11 Council Chambers
12 Scranton City Hall
13 340 North Washington Avenue
14 Scranton, Pennsylvania
CATHENE S. NARDOZZI- COURT REPORTER
3 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:
MR. ROBERT MCGOFF, PRESIDENT
7 MS. JUDY GATELLI, VICE-PRESIDENT
MS. JANET E. EVANS
10 MS. SHERRY FANUCCI
MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT
13 MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK
MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
16 MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR
1 (Pledge of Allegiance recited and moment of reflection
3 MR. MCGOFF: Roll call.
4 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
5 MS. EVANS: Here.
6 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
7 MS. GATELLI. Here.
8 MR. COOLICAN: Ms. Fanucci.
9 MS. FANUCCI: Here.
10 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: Here.
12 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Here. Dispense with
14 the reading of the minutes.
15 MS. GARVEY: THIRD ORDER. 3-A.
16 APPLICATIONS AND DECISION RENDERED BY THE
17 ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING HELD ON MARCH
18 12, 2008.
19 MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?
20 If not, received and filed.
21 MS. GARVEY: 3-B AGENDA FOR THE CITY
22 PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING TO BE HELD ON
23 MARCH 19, 2008.
24 MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?
25 If not, received and filed.
1 MS. GARVEY: That's it for Third
3 MR. MCGOFF: Just one brief
4 announcement that I have, next week -- or,
5 excuse me, the agenda for next week's
6 meeting will not be posted until Monday.
7 Legislation does not come down until
8 Thursday and city hall is closed on Friday
9 and so Mrs. Garvey will not be posting the
10 agenda until Monday for next week's meeting.
11 Any other announcements that anyone may
13 MS. EVANS: Yes, I received an e-mail
14 from a city resident who asked if city
15 council would consider awarding
16 proclamations for students from West
17 Scranton Intermediate School who won first
18 place at King's College Junior Academy of
19 Science. He says most often he hears about
20 basketball and football and he believes that
21 education should take precedence and when
22 academic excellence has been achieved it
23 should be recognized, so if council would
25 MS. FANUCCI: Absolutely.
2 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
3 MR. MCGOFF: Any other? Fourth
4 order. Citizens participation. Doug
6 MR. MILLER: Good evening, Council,
7 president of the Scranton Junior City
8 Council. I'd like to begin by once
9 announcing as I did last week that the
10 Scranton Junior City Council is sponsoring a
11 charity basketball game between the police
12 and firemen on Friday April 4 at Scranton
13 High School beginning at 7:00 p.m. Tickets
14 are $3.00 each and all proceeds will benefit
15 a police and firefighters' memorial. We
16 hope to see many residents out supporting
17 our brave servicemen and women.
18 I also am pleased to hear that the
19 St. Patrick's Day parade on Saturday went
20 very well. We were also fortunate to have a
21 special visit by Senator Clinton who walked
22 in the parade. I would like to thank the
23 parade committee for making Saturday an
24 enjoyable day for all families. We look
25 forward to the continued success in the
2 Last week I, and a few students from
3 West Scranton High School, addressed the
4 smoking ban issues and I would like to take
5 the time to respond to a few points that
6 were brought up by speakers here last week
7 and in the past. I find it totally
8 despicable that adults come up here and
9 chastise this Junior Council and the
10 students that come forward. We are only
11 trying to make our air cleaner and
13 Also, the statement was made by a
14 speaker that we, the students, are being
15 used to push other council members agendas.
16 Well, the speakers are partially right,
17 however, we aren't the one pushing agendas.
18 The student from West Scranton came forward
19 and expressed their concerns about our
20 health and safety and they should be
21 commended rather than degraded by these
23 I support a smoking ban for personal
24 reasons. I speak for myself on this issue
25 and all other issues. I am not controlled
1 like a so-called little Marionette. I lost
2 a family member due to secondhand smoke, so
3 I take total offense in anyone who comes up
4 here and says smoking is not harmful. You
5 loss a loved one to secondhand smoke and I
6 guarantee you'll change your mind --
7 MR. MCGOFF: Doug, please address
8 council, not the audience.
9 MR. MILLER: Well, I understand. It
10 has also been stated that we, the students,
11 should be more concerned with the
12 handicapped rather than the smoking ban.
13 We'll take a trip up to Nay Aug Park and
14 take a look at the handicapped swingset this
15 Junior Council raised money and can be used
16 by handicapped children.
17 Take a look at all of the
18 neighborhood parks that this Junior Council
19 spent Saturday mornings installing flags to
20 honor our veterans. We are currently
21 working with the South Side Neighborhood
22 Association to plant trees all across the
23 neighborhood. We are all in the process of
24 raising funds to benefit a police and
25 firefighters' memorial. We are doing our
1 fair share of service to this great city,
2 let me see some of you do something positive
3 for this city for once rather than
4 constantly criticizing every project.
5 Finally, I would ask Senator Mellow
6 once again to listen to the 85 percent of
7 the Pennsylvanians and support a
8 comprehensive smoking ban. I would like to
9 thank council for sending a letter to
10 Senator Mellow last week and I encourage
11 residents to call Senator Mellow's office at
12 570-346-5721 and as I have said in the past
13 the time to act is now. And with that said,
14 I would like to wish everyone a very happy
15 Easter and remember West is best. Thank
17 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Douglas.
18 Mike Dudek.
19 MR. DUDEK: Good evening, Council.
20 My name is Mike Dudek, 608 People's Street
21 here in Scranton. I live in the Plot. I
22 sent a letter to the Attorney General of the
23 State of Pennsylvania, I'm going to read you
24 the content of the letter since this is
25 directly on point for city business.
1 "Dear sir, the Scranton
2 Times-Tribune March 14, 2008, reported on
3 the front page of $12 million mysteriously
4 appeared unaccounted for in the Single Tax
5 Office of the City of Scranton, the
6 employees did not know what to do with it.
7 The newspaper mistakenly called it a
8 quote windfall for the city. The newspaper
9 is wrong. Obviously somebody committed a
10 crime and as a citizen, taxpayer, resident
11 of the City of Scranton I want you, Attorney
12 Corbett, to investigate that crime. This is
13 not a situation where the money appeared
14 less than an hour before closing time. It
15 would be hard to get an armored car that
16 late in the day. This money at 3 percent
17 interest is losing a thousand dollars a day
18 just sitting there as apparently it has just
19 before Christmas. Is the criminal act
20 criminal incompetence on the part of a
21 worker or workers? If so, how could all of
22 that money stay hidden in that tiny tax
23 office for so long?
24 Did tax collector Ken McDowell order
25 that money to be held in storage through the
1 detriment of the city and the school
2 district he served or did Mayor Christopher
3 Doherty order Mr. McDowell not to deposit
4 that money in order to isolate the mayor
5 from a perjury charge?
6 In a labor arbitration filed by the
7 city's fire and police units, the city
8 administration testified under oath that
9 Scranton is a distressed city under
10 Pennsylvania Distressed Municipalities Act.
11 Obviously, this $12 million if properly
12 deposited would automatically disqualify
13 Scranton as a distressed city since
14 $12 million stands to relieve a lot of
16 This money is as much proof of a
17 crime having been committed as a bleeding
18 corpse with bullet holes in it. Please
19 investigate the level of criminality
20 involved here and bring Jack Wagner with you
21 so he could lead the auditing team.
22 Sincerely, Mike Hudack.
23 I would also ask city council to
24 conduct it's own investigation. You have a
25 unique asset, you have one of the very best
1 investigating solicitors on the planet at
2 your disposal to conduct an investigation.
3 I think that you should be able to conduct
4 an investigation as to find out what's going
5 on with this $12 million and perhaps even
6 work with the Attorney General. We are
7 looking at the biggest financial scandal in
8 the history of this city. That's enough.
9 There is no two ways about it.
10 I always feel like the oceanographer
11 in jaws trying to get the mayor of Shark
12 City to realize he has got a problem out
13 there. You have a crime, it has been
14 committed, it could be simple negligence but
15 negligence can be a crime or it could be all
16 of the other possibilities that I laid out
17 for you. I can guarantee you this much, I
18 know an attorney named Jennings who is going
19 to investigate this starting tomorrow when
20 he hears about it. Thank you.
21 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Dudek.
22 Dennis D'Agostino.
23 MR. D'Agostino: Good evening,
24 Council, my name is Dennis. This past
25 Sunday on Extreme Makeover ABC with Ty
1 Pennington, America fell in love with a
2 rough Harley biker pastor named Steven
3 Astori. As Ty put it, he is just a
4 nontraditional kind of pastor, the kind that
5 America loves. I mean, this guy prays with
6 rough bikers right in the bar. His story
7 took place in Stage Coach, Nevada. Steven
8 actually converted his family garage into a
9 community rec room for skaters, punks,
10 preps, like all of these kinds of teens. I
11 grew up in an upper class police officers
12 home and I would have been the kind of teen
13 who have went to that and I wasn't a
14 troubled teen.
15 As it ended Steve said, "Throughout
16 all of this my heart's passion is that
17 somebody across America sees this and sees
18 what we've started with and they see the
19 need in their community and I hope others
20 catch our vision and do the same things in
21 their community. Don't forget about the
23 Well, I don't ride a Harley, I
24 actually ride a Kawasaki Ninja, and I feel
25 in love with the underground youth culture
1 of which every teen in Scranton is a member,
2 troubled or not. I don't know what drove
3 us, but a few college buddies decided to
4 start a similarly youth thing in a west
5 Scranton park in the middle of winter in
6 2004 and it grew. Teens like underground
7 stuff and it's attracted over 1,000
8 one-timers, a lot of them from the West
9 Scranton High School and Scranton High.
10 These same college buddies reopened a closed
11 down Boys and Girls Club in the West Side
12 with a little money they had. I mean, can
13 you imagine what a story. College students
14 reopened a Boys and Girls Club center. We
15 applied for Extreme Makeover but our video
16 got damaged in the mail.
17 What do college students do while
18 they're in college? I would have never
19 thought of something like this. I have just
20 finished my master's degree and I'm working
21 hard, about 3/4 finished my second.
22 Scranton's Youth Culture needs a 2008 center
23 where they walk in and it feels like it's
24 2008 not 1950, but upholding the values of
25 1950 and/or asking or pleading from the
1 bottom of our hearts that we need help. We
2 need our community, we can't do it
3 yourselves. We own a 15,000 square foot
4 building that's been designed for youth and
5 we are asking the City of Scranton, a
6 community, to take our building and put on
7 an extreme makeover. We have a little heat,
8 bad lighting, serious water damage, ceilings
9 and walls are collapsing, some mold,
10 overflow of water, busted pipe, it's just
11 falling apart externally, but internally
12 you'll see more life in that place than most
13 places. It's a home to these kids.
14 I want to restore the pride of
15 Scranton. I love this city. I love it's
16 European flavor. It doesn't have to be us,
17 but we are young, educated, willing and we
18 have a lot of energy. The name of our work
19 is the Coal Mine and we don't currently have
20 our 501 C-3, but we are a nonprofit youth
21 organization. Thank you for your time and
22 God bless.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you very much.
24 Les Spindler.
25 MR. SPINDLER: Good even, Council,
1 Les Spindler, city resident. First off, I
2 have to correct an error stated last week.
3 I stated that the long-term debt of the city
4 is three million, unfortunately, I was
5 wrong, I wish it was only that little, it's
6 really over 300 million. I just wanted to
7 get that straightened out.
8 Next thing, Mr. McGoff, I know that
9 decisions on the fire chief have been talked
10 about a lot about lately, I think any
11 decision and the fire chief you should not
12 have anything to do with since you already
13 stated he is friend of yours and you run
14 with him. If there are any decisions to be
15 made, any votes taken, I think you should
16 abstain because you have a partial -- a
17 biased opinion towards the fire chief.
18 And the next thing, Mrs Gatelli, you
19 said you don't think that should be
20 discussed between council. Well, back in
21 1999 council and Chris Doherty demanded that
22 Mayor Connors fire Chief Applebee over
23 something to do with fire hydrants, but it
24 was okay for him to discuss that back then,
25 but you don't think it's okay to discuss it
1 now, so I think council should discuss it
2 and it's a very important issue.
3 Next thing Mrs. Evans, last week you
4 stated on the matter of the flexible foam
5 warehouse, you said that either the mayor
6 has a selective memory or he isn't telling
7 the truth. Well, I think it's the latter.
8 Since the mayor has a history of not telling
9 the truth starting with him saying he will
10 be the sixth councilman here.
11 I learned last week that the city
12 loss two more arbitrations and they have
13 already paid lots of money out which
14 somebody else will talk about later, but
15 they had to pay the policeman that 27th week
16 that they were owed and also I had to hire
17 back the slip clerks the mayor let go, has
18 to give them all of their back pay and
19 everything else they had coming to them
20 which is going to cost the city lots and
21 lots of money because of Chris Doherty.
22 Another thing, last week in the Doherty
23 News here I saw an article that Scranton
24 Ford was charged with forgery, and lo and
25 behold, who owns Scranton Ford but the
1 Rosado Group. Well, a few weeks ago Doug
2 Miller was singing their praises about them
3 coming downtown. Well, that's just we need
4 coming downtown, a business that breaks the
5 law. We lost two reputable businesses,
6 Gryzbowski Train Shop and Gianetti Music
7 Studio that were in this city for years and
8 years, now we are going to have a coming in
9 that breaks the law. That's just what we
10 need in this city. Oh, I forgot, but we
11 have Nay Aug Park.
12 The $12 million found in the Tax
13 Office, it's unbelievable how $12 million
14 could just appear and everybody wants it,
15 the school district, the city, I think the
16 place where it should go is right back to
17 the taxpayers where it belongs.
18 Next thing, Saturday we had a
19 presidential candidate marching in the St.
20 Patrick's Day parade, and as a Scrantonian
21 I'm embarrassed that Hillary Clinton had to
22 march in this city, I'm surprised she didn't
23 trip in a pothole, that the streets are
24 ridiculous, the 200 block of North
25 Washington where the reviewing stand is like
1 a washboard, it goes up and down, but,
2 again, we have Nay Aug Park, the heck with
3 downtown, let's take care of Nay Aug Park.
4 I think this city should be ashamed of
6 Lastly, the Lackawanna Avenue
7 bridge, that was supposed to have been done
8 last summer, is there any word on that? Is
9 that thing ever going to get fixed before
10 someone falls through and gets killed?
11 MS. EVANS: Mr. Spindler, we did
12 receive some information about that. I have
13 it at home. I'll look for it during the
14 week and I could bring it for you next week.
15 MR. SPINDLER: Okay, because that's a
16 dangerous situation there. There is a hole
17 on the one side even though it is covered up
18 by a metal plate, who knows when another
19 hole might open up when somebody is walking
20 over the bridge or driving over it. I know
21 when Councilman Pocius was here back then he
22 said it was supposed to be fixed and now
23 they said it was supposed to have been fixed
24 last summer it's still sitting there falling
25 apart. It's real safety hazard. Thank you.
1 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Spindler.
2 Jack Powell.
3 MR. POWELL: Council, Jack Powell,
4 Luzerne Street. After caucus last week we
5 met and we got to together and you suggested
6 that we have a meeting in regards to
7 Mr. Skantos and Keyser Terrace. Well, some
8 of them were on vacation, we got in touch
9 with most of the people and we think
10 Thursday, the 27th, Thursday, we are not
11 sure on a time, I have to check with Mary
12 Alice tomorrow and that's the tentative
13 date. It will in the evening.
14 MR. MCGOFF: Where at?
15 MR. POWELL: At the Keyser Valley
16 Community Center.
17 MS. GATELLI: Do you think when you
18 find out you could call the office and let
19 Kay know?
20 MR. POWELL: Yes. Not a problem.
21 Yes. And, as you know, last week before the
22 caucus it was a very limited amount of time
23 so we didn't have time to go over all of the
24 issues. In addition, we were under the
25 impression from Mr. Courtright that
1 Mr. Skantos wasn't coming, so --
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: That's what I was
3 told. I was under the same impression.
4 MR. MCGOFF: That was my fault, I'll
5 explain it to you.
6 MR. POWELL: Okay. Thank you.
7 Mr. Skantos if he said he wasn't coming and
8 if this is his thing, but along with
9 Mr. King, Mr. King originally met with me up
10 in his zoning office prior to that plan
11 being approved and told me to tell the
12 neighbors that nothing could be built on
13 that corner. I went back to the neighbors
14 and told them no buildings were to built and
15 all of a sudden they have a meeting in the
16 planning commission and they approve those
17 meetings that I was shown there was no
18 buildings to be built on that corner, just
19 doesn't cut it.
20 All of the neighbors were mad, I
21 mean, it's really out of control and we
22 brought the minutes to the meeting last week
23 because we went to Mr. Skantos, he said he
24 didn't remember, so Mary Alice fortunately
25 had all our minutes and the meetings that we
1 had to refresh it and he remembered, so we
2 are going to have to wait and see I guess
3 how far this goes, but I thought maybe that
4 was similar to him saying he wasn't coming
5 and to have the meeting and him telling me
6 that the plans couldn't be approved and then
7 they approved them, you know, it just --
8 it's not right, okay?
9 That's all I have and I'll let you
10 know next week on the time and everybody
11 from Keyser Valley is welcome and we can
12 just discuss all of the problems. Thank you
13 very much.
14 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Powell.
15 Just very briefly, Mr. Skantos it was
16 indicated to me that he was not going to be
17 at the meeting, when I told the person that
18 had contacted me that we were still having
19 the meeting with residents of Keyser Valley
20 apparently he changed his mind and decided
21 to come, so it was my fault. I did tell
22 Mr. Courtright he wasn't.
23 MR. POWELL: I understand. I just
24 thought it was a little bit, you know, have
25 the meeting, he is not showing when he ws
1 supposed to.
2 MR. MCGOFF: I apologize for the
4 MR. POWELL: Thank you.
5 MR. MCGOFF: Lee Morgan.
6 MR. MORGAN: Good evening, Council.
7 The first question -- the first thing I have
8 is a question, and I'll address it to
9 Mr. McGoff since you're council president
10 and maybe you can clarify. Under the
11 agreement with the cable company if there is
12 over a certain amount of channels then there
13 is room for more public access. Scranton/
14 Lackawanna County Taxpayers' and Citizens'
15 Association would like to have access to one
16 of those channels and since city council is
17 part of the governing body in that contract
18 we would like to know how do we petition
19 this council to get access to that channel?
20 And if you don't know, sir, I would
21 like to ask you to find out how to go
22 through that procedure since you are part of
23 the governing body in that contract.
24 MR. MCGOFF: I have absolutely no
25 knowledge of that, but I will make some
1 attempt to find out.
2 MR. MORGAN: Okay, that would be
3 fine. The other -- there is a couple of
4 other questions I have here. There is going
5 to be a public access channel board, I mean,
6 that's my interpretation of what I have
7 heard, has there been any decisions on who
8 is going to be on that board and how the
9 candidates are going to be can chosen? Does
10 anybody know?
11 MR. MCGOFF: Yeah, I didn't know if
12 anybody wanted to respond. No one has been
13 appointed yet, each member of council is
14 going to suggest a name.
15 MR. MORGAN: The other questions I
16 have is Mr. Dudek brought up a good, I guess
17 a good solution evidently because he asked
18 council to investigate or to use it's powers
19 of investigation, at least that's what I
20 interpreted him to be saying to find out
21 what's going on with the Tax Office and he
22 is on very firm ground here, but I don't
23 know, do you think that the council would
24 entertain that idea? And this question
25 again goes to Mr. McGoff, since you are
1 council president I think I should address
2 everything to you, sir.
3 MR. MCGOFF: Do you want me to answer
5 MR. MORGAN: Sure.
6 MR. MCGOFF: It is my knowledge that
7 a forensic auditor is being hired, is that
8 the correct word I guess or is being hired
9 by the three taxing bodies jointly by the
10 county to investigate the situation.
11 MR. MORGAN: Okay. A follow-up,
12 would be in 2007 council voted to issue
13 subpoenas to all of the authorities in the
14 city of Scranton. Janet Evans I believe
15 brought that motion forward and it was voted
16 on and it was passed and then, I mean, do
17 you agree with that? Do you agree with that
18 statement that a motion was brought forth
19 and council agreed to issue subpoenas to all
20 of the various departments in the city?
21 MR. MCGOFF: I don't recollect the
22 vote, no. I remember a request for
23 subpoenas, but I do not remember what the
24 resolution of that was. I'd have to check
1 MR. MORGAN: Could you check back
2 because my recollection is that council
3 voted, and I would have to go back into the
4 Scranton Times archives to be absolutely
5 certain, but I'm fairly certain there was a
6 vote taken and it passed unanimously and
7 then two weeks later or a week later council
8 decided that it was going to break those
9 subpoenas up in various ways so that they
10 would be easier to ingest and then what
11 happened is council killed them because the
12 subpoenas were never issued and my question
13 is possibly you could ask your solicitor
14 that since that vote was taken and it was
15 duly taken by this council and it was passed
16 does Janet Evans still have the lawful
17 authority to ask the solicitor to issue
18 those subpoenas?
19 MR. MCGOFF: Well, the first thing --
20 to respond, the first thing I would like to
21 do is found out what the vote was on that.
22 MR. MORGAN: Could you?
23 MR. MCGOFF: Like I said, and then
24 investigate from there, you know, further
25 from that.
1 MR. MORGAN: Because I really think
2 it's time to start really trying to figure
3 out where we are and, you know, I think it's
4 time for the people in this city to realize
5 that we have to start doing business another
6 way and that's why hopefully you will get
7 back to me so that we can follow a set of
8 parameters in order to move forward to get
9 access to this public access channel that I
10 spoke to you about because in that contract
11 it says that you are part of the governing
12 body. And the other problem I have is that
13 this Channel 61 was advertised and put out
14 for bid and I don't remember that ever going
15 before this council to be advertised and
16 bid. All carry on next week. Thank you.
17 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Morgan.
18 Sam Patilla.
19 MR. PATILLA: Good evening, Mrs.
20 Evans and Mr. Courtright. I'm not going to
21 spend too much time on the 12 million, but I
22 will say once it's found out who how the
23 money is going to be disbursed I truly feel
24 that a portion of that money should be used
25 to paint the fire hydrants per the fire
1 department, to repair our roads here because
2 we have lousy roads, and the rest of that
3 money should be returned to the taxpayers
4 because that 25, 25, 25,25 should be
5 repealed and that money should be given
6 right back to the taxpayers and it shouldn't
7 be given to the mayor so he can use it to
8 plant trees or whatever else they want to
9 do. We have enough wasteful spending as it
11 Secondly, as a member of the
12 Scranton Taxpayer/Lackawanna County
13 Association to the people who take part our
14 next people will be April 3 here at
15 6:00 p.m., okay? We are currently in the
16 process, I asked Ozzie at our last meeting
17 if we couldn't comprise a series of graphs
18 and charts, bar graphs, pie charts, flow
19 charts, to show what the revenue was for say
20 the end of the Connors' administration to
21 the present administration so we can see
22 what the revenue was, what the spending was,
23 but I would like to take that a little bit
24 deeper, because while I have been viewing
25 the budgets from 2008 until 1999, I noticed
1 that especially in terms of the public
2 department, the Public Works, you know, when
3 they submitted a budget for 2008 there is a
4 $936 difference for each line item. Each
5 line item adds up to $936 and I talked to
6 Ms. Schumacher, my court-appointed anger
7 management person, why that figure always
8 pops up, okay? I have an accounting
9 background. I came through school,
10 accounting was my thing, and she suggested
11 maybe it was wages per the union. It can't
12 be wages per the union because if it wasn't
13 increased per wages it would be based on
14 each individual's -- each employee's wages
15 and unless they getting the paid same amount
16 of money then it can't be the same amount
17 per the increase. You know, this
18 administration through my brief, brief
19 viewing of the budgets here has a tendency
20 of overbudgeting extremely. Now, it's no
21 problem with overbudgeting requesting more
22 than you actually use the year before, but
23 when that money gets up -- that amount gets
24 up to 50 to $100,000 that's a big
25 difference, okay, and using the Single Tax
1 Office, for example, they had a standing
2 budget of 2007 of all $400,000, yet, the
3 health insurance costs was $200,000, that's
4 half the budget, you know. And like I said,
5 I have a small background in the accounting
6 field and I know, I make numbers do whatever
7 I want them to do, you know, it's hard for
8 us to actually get a clear picture of
9 exactly where this money is going without
10 the vouchers, the invoices and the bills,
11 but with the agendas that we receive each
12 night we come here and the budgets we can
13 get a general idea of where that money is
14 going or how it's being played with, you
15 know. As Mr. Dudek said earlier, that
16 $12 million is a lot of money, that's not
17 chicken feed and the sharks couldn't wait to
18 come out, oh, we are going to do this with
19 that money, we are going to do that. It's
20 not your money. All right? We don't know
21 who that money belongs to because it hasn't
22 been determined how the disbursement is
23 going to work out and until that has been
24 done, you know, we can't say, well, this is
25 Scranton's share, this is the wage tax
1 share, we don't know until that audit has
2 been done, okay? But like I said before,
3 80 percent of that money should go right
4 back to the taxpayers and that 25, 25, 25
5 the remaining portion of that increase
6 should be repealed, okay, because when you
7 go into the blight -- when you go into the
8 blight thing right now, you know, most of
9 the blighted occurs because administration
10 has allowed neighborhoods to go into decay.
11 It's not drugs, it's not minorities, it's
12 because the city gave up on that area. The
13 housing was run down. You give that
14 criminal element a place to hide their
15 drugs, you give the homeless a place to go
16 and sleep because instead of using money for
17 the emergency shelter program to house these
18 people you use it to plant trees. Now, you
19 could have used that money for what it was
20 earmarked for and got these people off the
21 street then you wouldn't have that problem,
22 okay, so I don't want people blaming the
23 poor, I don't want them blaming the minority
24 for blight because that's not the problem.
25 The problem is when a city gives up on it's
1 people. Thank you.
2 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Patilla.
3 Brett McClough.
4 MR. MCCLOUGH: Good evening. My
5 name is Brett McClough, Scranton taxpayer,
6 homeowner. I just wanted to say a few
7 things about the smoking ban that is
8 probably going to go statewide that I am
9 neither for or against it, but one thing
10 that is for sure, something really
11 extraordinary happened in the City of
12 Scranton when the illegal smoking ban was
13 lifted last spring and people across this
14 nation can take a look at the shining
15 example of what we set here in Scranton. I
16 am proud to report that people actually do
17 use free will and make choices to dine in
18 restaurants with or without smoking
19 sections. Most who do not smoke still chose
20 to go into restaurants that have smoking
21 sections or not. In Scranton, free will has
22 prevailed. Government intervention is
23 redundant and unwarranted. Regardless of
24 what side of this issue you are on never put
25 yours or anyone else's free will on the
1 chopping block simply because it's
2 inconvenient to use it.
3 Just before school closed last year
4 I had given Mrs. Evans as well as the
5 principal of Scranton High School a list of
6 air quality testing equipment that could
7 have been rented at reasonable prices
8 basically so the students could actually go
9 into a restaurant that wishes to participate
10 in a local indoor air quality study and have
11 those students actually do the work to test
12 the air quality, find out how many microns
13 of what kind of gases are in any particular
14 part of any given restaurant and reference
15 to how big the restaurant is, what time of
16 day it is or what day of the week or how
17 many people are smoking in that restaurant
18 and so on and so forth.
19 Have the science, wood-working and
20 art classes get together and actually build
21 and esthetically pleasing air purifier.
22 Before we allowed students to just get by
23 with cut, copying and pasted someone else's
24 work without full understanding of the
25 nature of the science behind it. Let them
1 do the work. Let them come up with their
2 own conclusions and their own solutions.
3 It's time we start educating our students to
4 become leaders, not indoctrinating them to
5 become followers.
6 Now, I just want to shift gears up
7 to that $12 million. I'm not quite sure
8 what to think about this $12 million, but I
9 am sure that no entity should even think
10 about touching it until it's found out how
11 these things happened. Even after all of
12 the excuses and the explanations are given
13 out I'm not quite sure that money should be
14 divvied up, I think every city council in
15 every municipality should just take a step
16 back and look at the big picture. This is
17 not extra money, it's money you never knew
18 existed, you have already made budgets
19 regardless of that money existed or not and
20 bottom line, it's not your money. How much
21 would it cost the county to retrain 200
22 CNA's to become LPN's, 200 LPN's to become
23 RN's. 200 med techs, 200 heavy equipment
24 and forklift operators, 200 machinist, those
25 are the things that I see in the newspaper
1 that these jobs that need to be filled and
2 if anything it should be done with this
3 $12 million is a countywide comprehensive
4 job training program to upgrade everybody.
5 With our incomes go up then you guys are
6 probably going to tax whatever, there you
7 go, you get your money.
8 How about a $5 million tuition
9 reimbursement grant that actually come from
10 all of the people of Lackawanna County where
11 you get yourself in school, when you pass
12 you will get your tuition reimbursed.
13 Something to keep us going. Something to
14 keep us moving up from Vandling to Moosic,
15 from Moscow to Dalton, there are many, many
16 things we can do to propel our economic
17 development of all citizens of Lackawanna
18 County and I believe it all starts with a
19 training and retraining of the adult
20 population and economic development that
21 starts from the bottom up.
22 I want everyone to ask this
23 question, is it worth 60 bucks you never
24 knew you had in order to make this happen?
25 Contact our local officials and demand at
1 that money be left alone. The time is now
2 to change our future. Thank you.
3 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. McClough.
4 Paula Manley.
5 MS. MANLEY: Good evening, my name is
6 Paula Manley. Most of you probably have
7 heard that name already this week. I was
8 told by the Parking Authority that I needed
9 to come to you in order to see if we could
10 get something resolved on this issue. I
11 have a letter here that I wanted to submit
12 to each and every one of you, I have a copy.
13 I also have a copy for everyone of a parking
14 ordinance within the city that I'm asking
15 for consideration by you that may be changed
16 by you.
17 Just a little a brief information to
18 you on my part, I am an employee of
19 Northeastern Eye Institute and because I
20 have had several injuries not only with my
21 heart, but also because of brain aneurysms I
22 park my car on Mifflin Avenue. I have been
23 granted a handicapped placard for my car.
24 Just recently new meters have been installed
25 on Mifflin Avenue. I am no longer allowed
1 to park near the building for more than
2 three hours. I say three hours because I am
3 granted an additional hour for parking at
4 the meter because of the handicapped
5 placard. On Thursday of last week I
6 received a $10 parking ticket for parking
7 over three hours. That was with money still
8 in the meter. It states -- oh, I called up
9 the parking authority, they told me that
10 there is a city ordinance that restricts me
11 from parking there for more than three
12 hours. It states that I must move my car at
13 least six spots away from the spot I am in
14 every three hours or pay the $10 fine.
15 Something has to be done about the
16 ordinance on Mifflin Avenue. Northeast Eye
17 is only one of two buildings on the entire
18 200-block of Mifflin Avenue and both of
19 those buildings give care to other people.
20 Northeast Eye is an optical and eye surgical
21 center that houses several doctors. The
22 other building is a building that houses a
23 DayCare and a dance studio that is only open
24 at night when the meters aren't used. I'm
25 sure that if any of you or any of your
1 family members have ever been to Northeast
2 Eye that your eye appointment was probably
3 longer than two hours. In the department
4 that I work in which is the retinal
5 department that department deals with mostly
6 aging. The department -- many of our
7 patients need to have certain testing done
8 while there and while they are with us and
9 they are there for several hours. They
10 cannot run out in two-hour increments to
11 move their cars six spaces or get a ticket.
12 The parking in that area is very congested
13 to begin with. I'm asking you all as city
14 council members to please take a second look
15 at the ordinance and either change it or
16 take it completely off the books.
17 I'm not asking for free parking
18 because we do put money in the meters. What
19 I am asking for is to lift the 2 to 3 hour
20 restrictions. I understand that there are
21 ten-hour meters throughout the entire city,
22 that even though these meters are ten hours
23 they only allow you to park there for two.
24 Every meter that I have looked at within the
25 city and it's been also told to me by the
1 parking authority all say two hours only. I
2 am just here to ask you to take a look it
3 this, this ordinance and I have a copy, you
4 don't even have to go looking for it, I had
5 brought a copy for everybody. When I got
6 the actual ticket -- when I got the ticket I
7 sent it back with a complaint to the parking
8 authority asking them to please, you know,
9 look at this again, I have, you know, a
10 handicap plaque on the car, they sent it
11 back, I was denied, pay your ticket, you
12 parked over three hours.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Can I just interrupt
14 you for just one second?
15 MS. MANLEY: Sure.
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: I forwarded your
17 e-mail this morning to Bob Scopelitti and
18 when I came in tonight he had called Kay and
19 gave a response to what you said on there, I
20 read it real quick. The answer though is --
21 just some of the things you mentioned in
22 there so maybe tomorrow we can call you and
23 give you his response, it will be start
24 anyway, but he did. I sent it this morning
25 when I came back today he had already called
1 back so I got to give him that much credit.
2 So I will get you the response that he gave
3 to me and we'll start from there.
4 MS. MANLEY: I do also want to thank
5 you and Mrs. Gatelli for returning my
6 e-mails and thank you for allowing me to
7 come here. If you need a copy of the
8 ordinance I have them.
9 MR. MCGOFF: Just give that to
10 Mr. Coolican. Thank you, Mrs. Manley.
11 MS. MANLEY: Thank you.
12 MS. GATELLI: Can I ask her one
13 question? Mrs. Manley?
14 MS. MANLEY: Yes.
15 MS. GATELLI: I just had a question,
16 does Northeast Eye provide with you with a
17 parking space?
18 MS. MANLEY: They don't -- no, they
19 do not. They don't provide us free with
20 parking, the employees are granted a parking
21 pass at the forum. I actually sent that
22 back to you today in an e-mail. We have a
23 small parking lot on the side of the
24 building that employees are not allowed to
25 park in because that is strictly for
1 patients. It is -- I did have a pass at the
2 Forum and I used to park there, but after I
3 did have high surgeries the walk especially
4 in the winter is very hard for me to come
5 over and into the building because there is
6 only the one entrance on Mifflin Avenue side
7 which is why I been parking in front of the
8 building and I do want to just interject
9 here to that the two cars that were
10 ticketed, mine and one other person, were
11 the only two employees that have handicap
12 plac on their cars.
13 MS. GATELLI: Handicapped.
14 MS. MANLEY: Yep.
15 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. Fay Franus.
16 MS. FRANUS: Fay Franus. Billy, I
17 would like to ask you a question, if I may,
18 are you going to make a motion tonight to
19 have an investigation into the allegations
20 against Chief Davis?
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes, I said I would
22 make it tonight. I wanted to give Mrs.
23 Gatelli the opportunity to review all of the
24 information. She said she needed more time.
25 MS. FRANUS: May I ask if your
1 follow collegiate vote you down what will
2 you do then?
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: I don't know, I will
4 have to explore my options. I hope that
5 doesn't happen, but if it does I'll have to
6 explore my options.
7 MS. FRANUS: Mrs. Evans explained
8 the options last week, I hope you might
9 consider that idea.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: I will look at
11 whatever options are available.
12 MS. FRANUS: Okay. Thank you.
13 Mr. McGoff, how does it feel to become a
14 patsy here?
15 MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me?
16 MS. FRANUS: How does it feel to
17 become a patsy?
18 MR. MCGOFF: I don't know what are
19 you speaking of so --
20 MS. FRANUS: Well, I'm tell you what
21 I'm speaking of, I'm just amazed --
22 MR. MCGOFF: It sounds insulating,
23 but --
24 MS. FRANUS: Well, if the shoe fits,
25 $5 million they find and nobody knew about
1 it and nobody told you about it as president
2 of council this $5 million in revenues
3 missing and all of a sudden it shows up and
4 nobody told you, so all of a sudden how
5 would you like it if you didn't have $500 in
6 your paycheck, would you miss it? Would you
7 miss it?
8 MR. MCGOFF: I don't know what you
9 are asking or what you are --
10 MS. FRANUS: If you're missing, if
11 there was $500 missing out of your paycheck?
12 Would you miss if there was $500 out of your
13 paycheck, would you notice?
14 MR. MCGOFF: Apparently.
15 MS. FRANUS: Well, okay. You think
16 the mayor and Stu Renda and Ken McDowell
17 would miss $1,000 out of their paycheck? I
18 don't know. I know, I don't expect an
19 answer to that so I'll simply say, I think
20 they care more about the value of their
21 paycheck more so than they take their
22 responsibilities for the people in the city.
23 Now, I personally believe that they
24 know about this, either that or it's very --
25 or else it's very -- negligence on their
1 part of the Taxpayers' Office, a lot of
2 negligence there. Either that or you're
3 patsies for the administration because
4 council people up there, the three of you,
5 Mr. McGoff, Mrs. Fanelli -- Mr. McGoff, Ms.
6 Gatelli and Fanucci raised the taxes when
7 they knew there was money sitting there.
8 When they knew there was money sitting there
9 you had the gaul to raise our taxes.
10 Somebody is going to have to answer to this
11 and then you sit there and you defend this
12 administration, Mr. McGoff, and Mrs. Gatelli
13 and Mrs. Fanucci. We'll see what's going to
14 happen, but something is going to happen
15 here. I'd like to say how Patsy McGoff is
16 going to look on your campaign poster.
17 I also would like to ask you, Mrs.
18 Fanucci, when Sam Patilla speaks why is it
19 you go out in the hall? I mean, you are
20 supposed to represent the people in this
21 city and you go out in the hall and stand
23 MS. FANUCCI: Mr. -- he doesn't
24 address me, why should I stay in here and
25 listen to me.
1 MS. FRANUS: He addresses all of
3 MS. FANUCCI: No, he does not.
4 Watch the tapes and go back. If he
5 addressed me I certainly would stay. He
6 certainly does not. He addresses only two
7 of council members every single time.
8 MS. FRANUS: So you get up and you
9 walk out --
10 MS. FANUCCI: Absolutely, and I will
11 continue to do so.
12 MR. FRANUS: Oh, you think just
13 because you continue to do so you think
14 that's right?
15 MS. FANUCCI: I personally think it's
16 right and it's something that I continue to
18 MS. FRANUS: You are representing
19 everybody in this city, you are getting by
20 paid --
21 MS. FANUCCI: Obviously I'm not
22 representing Mr. Patilla because he doesn't
23 address me.
24 MS. FRANUS: But that's childish on
25 your part if you ask me. Mrs. Gatelli, I'd
1 like to ask you, as finance chair what are
2 you going to do about this $12 million,
4 MS. GATELLI: I'm going to wait and
5 see what the forensic audit says before I
6 make a decision.
7 MS. FRANUS: Okay, and about the
8 subpoenas that Lee Morgan mentioned, I
9 believe, Mr. McGoff, that vote was, yes, for
10 these subpoenas, so I don't think you have
11 to wait. Let's put it this way, when you
12 find out that you did vote, yes, for those
13 subpoenas I'm going to ask you would you
14 still -- Mrs. Gatelli, Mrs. Fanucci and
15 Mr. McGoff did you still want to follow
16 through with those subpoenas? Would you
17 follow through and get those subpoenas, act
18 on them? Hypothetically if you find out
19 that the answer was, yes.
20 MR. MCGOFF: I would like to find out
21 what the results were first.
22 MS. FRANUS: Well, the results were
23 yes, because I know they were, so I said
24 will you?
25 MR. MCGOFF: I don't know.
1 MS. FRANUS: You don't know if you
2 will or not? You did once before but that's
3 what I mean by your a patsy by the
5 MR. MCGOFF: I don't know that I did.
6 MS. FRANUS: Well, I say you did.
7 MR. MCGOFF: Well, I'm glad that you
8 are so sure.
9 MS. FRANUS: Well, let's put it this
10 way, would you want the subpoenas whether
11 you voted that way or not? Would you want
12 the subpoenas just present day today, would
13 you want the subpoenas to get this
15 MR. MCGOFF: What information?
16 MS. FRANUS: On all of the audits
17 that Mrs. Evans asked for.
18 MR. MCGOFF: I would have to review
19 it again.
20 MS. FRANUS: Would you want to have
21 Kenny McDowell come in here and answer those
23 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Franus, you are
24 asking questions that are hypothetical.
25 MS. FRANUS: No, these are --
1 MR. MCGOFF: I already said that I
2 would --
3 MS. FRANUS: These aren't
4 hypothetical. These are questions I'm
5 asking you now. Would you want to get --
6 MR. MCGOFF: And they are very
8 MS. FRANUS: No, they are not.
9 MR. MCGOFF: Yes, they are.
10 MS. FRANUS: I'm asking you a
11 question? Would you want to get subpoenas
12 to get to the records. That's not
13 hypothetical, that's a direct question.
14 MR. MCGOFF: And I said if it and
15 when the motion is made I will --
16 MS. FRANUS: Oh, you'll decide then,
17 but you don't know right now in your head if
18 you want to or not. You to have to think
19 about whether you want to or not, is that
21 MR. MCGOFF: That's correct.
22 MS. FRANUS: Boy, you really have
23 the hand of -- you just don't know what you
24 want, do you? You don't have an idea what
25 you want. Thank you.
1 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Ms. Franus.
2 Ron Ellman.
3 MR. ELLMAN: Ron Ellman, homeowner
4 and taxpayer and member of the Taxpayers'
5 Association and the Taurus Club as you can
6 see, I keep growing and growing. Oh,
7 Mr. McGoff, you are not even listening to
9 MR. MCGOFF: Yes, I am.
10 MR. ELLMAN: Heaviest the head that
11 wears the crown, isn't it? As you may or
12 may not have noticed, I hadn't been here for
13 a few months and I had quiet a few people
14 does me why and the reason was by choice, I
15 just didn't want to come. You know, and I
16 had some people say were you being sued by
17 the mayor or somebody for your big mouth and
18 did somebody at council tell you to tone it
19 down? None of these things -- I just didn't
20 want to come nor more, you know. These
21 people -- these people these five people up
22 here are too arguable and too credible to
23 worry about what I say, you know, I just
24 wanted to, like I say, I go to the flea
25 markets and everything and I have people ask
1 me, that's just ridiculous. The reason I
2 came tonight though I had a fire at my house
3 December 14, I'd hired an electrician to do
4 some work and it caught fire, I should have
5 done it myself and burned the house down and
6 saved $165, but I want to say the first
7 thing that happened the smoke alarms went
8 off before I smelled any smoke and I cannot
9 put enough emphasize on people that have
10 smoke alarms. They don't cost very much, I
11 think 16 is giving them away or somebody is
12 going to give them away, they are so
13 important at saving your lives; and the
14 second thing is I grabbed the fire
15 extinguisher out of my antique car and run
16 in there like a fool and squirted the fire,
17 which was huge, and that is plain stupid,
18 you shouldn't ever go back in, the smoke hit
19 me and I couldn't believe it, it just like a
20 20th of a second or something, I've read
21 where people are found by the door and
22 windows and you wonder why they don't get
23 out. You are incapacitated immediately, so
24 if you have a fire just get the hell out of
25 the house and forget it.
1 Then I want to say that my neighbor
2 phoned the fire department and they go there
3 in minutes and there was stuff all over of
4 the street, just all kinds of fire trucks
5 and the police were there and an ambulance
6 and they come into my house like gang
7 busters and with two big hoses and put the
8 fire out, of course, and I don't want to get
9 involved in their -- I'm not educated enough
10 to make a comment on their internal
11 problems, but whoever trained these people
12 did a wonderful job. These people were so
13 professional and just handled everything so
14 perfect I didn't have no broken windows and
15 doors, they didn't damage any furniture and
16 we have a houseful of, you know, several
17 antiques. They just were you -- just did a
18 wonderful job and for the mayor to say to
19 the city that these men and women don't
20 deserve a rais is just a -- it's just
21 outrageous. There is just no reason for
22 them not having raises and all of the dead,
23 unnecessary weight that's on the payroll
24 there has been 50 jobs added, there is all
25 kind of jobs been invented, like, Mr. Hayes,
1 he has an invented job, then he gets a
2 promotion, then he gets a raise and Mr.
3 Seitzinger is useless. I phoned him myself
4 over and over and over again, he is harder
5 to find that Ken McDowell when he was in
6 office and to give people like that raises
7 and promotions and say our firemen and our
8 police is a disgrace is a kick in the teeth
9 to the people of the city. Thank you.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Ellman,
11 David Dobson.
12 MR. DOBSON: Good evening, Council.
13 There was a woman here a few minutes ago
14 speaking on parking, I might also add I took
15 an elderly relative to Northeast Eye and
16 they are actually so busy that people are
17 parking in the parking lot with their cars
18 idling and stuff and nobody can find the
19 space for the patients, so that is a big
20 problem for people down there.
21 Okay, once again, the smoking ban
22 has arisen, and should people smoke?
23 Absolutely not. There is no evidence that
24 could justify the risk you're taking,
25 however, when law enforcement and law
1 enforcement commences and become involved
2 many people who cannot stop will suffer.
3 Once tobacco becomes a controlled substance,
4 fines, prosecution, criminal sentences may
5 prevail. I do not believe in this kind of
6 ideals that there are any kind of help to
7 the people involved and the amount of
8 secondhand smoke that's present right now is
9 negligible compared to what existed years
10 and years ago which is what I suspect many
11 of our so-called scientists and whatever and
12 people to make that call are basing their
13 facts on.
14 Social legislation in many instances
15 means well, however, more often than not
16 results in creating more problems than it
17 solves. An approximately 25 percent of all
18 lung cancer is caused by Raydon and it's
19 present in great quantities in our area, in
20 great volumes because of the mine that
21 existed years ago and very little has been
22 done to generate awareness.
23 I see some ads on the state a year
24 ago or so, but if you are a nonsmoker and
25 you are concerned about your lungs have your
1 house tested for Raydon, please. My
2 respectful advice to the young generation is
3 consider tolerance as a virtue, but find out
4 who you are before you burn your bridges.
5 Don't smoke, don't start to smoke, but don't
6 become a thorn in somebody's side to fight
7 for some public space, and also have your
8 home tested for Raydon once again. It might
9 be the unlucky one in four.
10 Throughout the history of our
11 country we have had many laws concerning
12 birth control and everything, Emma Goldman
13 wound up in prison for talking about birth
14 control back in the early 20th Century, a
15 doctor could be arrested and imprisoned in
16 Connecticut for five years for discussing
17 birth control with his patients, and a lot
18 of the social legislation, like I said, it
19 means well, nobody should ever start to
20 smoke, there is no good evidence to continue
21 smoking that you are going to get -- be left
22 off the hook, but in many instances once
23 these laws -- once we have a law and we have
24 the laws being violated then people are sent
25 to prisons and fined and constantly under
1 scrutiny and if you follow the results of
2 this a person like this winding up in the
3 penal system more often than not the
4 recidivism rate is very high and it's for
5 something far worse because all -- most
6 prisons cause mental insanity. They are not
7 correctional institutions. Thank you. Have
8 a good night.
9 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Dobson.
10 Marie Schumacher.
11 MS. SCHUMACHER: Good evening, Marie
12 Schumacher, resident and member of the
13 Taxpayers' Association. First regarding the
14 $12 million, I would like to know how the
15 auditor overlooked these missing millions.
16 I recall the audit was delayed because of
17 problems in coordinating with a Single Tax
18 Office, so certainly they must have
19 overlooked their books and I wonder how they
20 could have overlooked this especially since
21 it was a single account according to
22 Mr. McGovern. How they would have
23 overlooked that and I wander if the auditor
24 you hired is competent.
25 Next, I'm disappointed that 5-F
1 progressed last week without the answers to
2 the questions I raised. Mrs. Fanucci said,
3 I believe, that the $74,000 item was money
4 allocated for the Roaring Brook Pittston
5 Avenue collapse, but the state came through
6 and allocated the money. Well, that was a
7 roughly $6 million project and 75 percent of
8 that was paid by the federal government.
9 The balance was paid by a combination of the
10 state and the city.
11 Now, OECD informs me that the first
12 two project digits reflect the year, so
13 since two of the projects were in the '01
14 somebody would have had to have a crystal
15 ball to know what tropical storm Ivan was
16 going to do to Pittston Avenue in 2004 and
17 two other projects were '05 projects which
18 would have been after the storm. So, it's
19 difficult to correlate these days with what
20 Mrs. Fanucci stated.
21 I still believe we need to know the
22 remaining balances in the projects from
23 which the monies are being transferred and
24 what approved and budgeted projects will not
25 be accomplished.
1 I noticed an RFP in the legal
2 section off the Monopoly newspaper for 300
3 trees for South Side. This raises the
4 question of whether or not this is a phased
5 program which is not housed, it was
6 presented in the ordinance, or has the 1,000
7 tree project been reduced to 300 and if the
8 latter what will happen to the remaining
9 funds for the 700 trees that will not be
10 procured and planted.
11 Next, I would like to request if
12 there is any intention to introduce an
13 ordinance requiring new built homes to
14 install sidewalks. I have repeatedly asked
15 that question and most of my questions
16 anymore are rhetorical, but that one I would
17 like an answer to in motions. I would like
18 to request that the Director of Parks and
19 Recreation be invited to come before council
20 to describe the recreation program.
21 It seems that we have a big "P,
22 little "R" parks and recreation department.
23 There is not much recreation for our young
24 people. It's been stated that way tonight
25 and repeatedly. All of the emphasis seems
1 to be on the parks. No, not parks, but Nay
2 Aug Park. Much of the mayor's first
3 five-year capital budget poured tons of
4 money into Nay Aug. The mayor started the
5 Nay Aug conservancy to raise funds for Nay
6 Aug Park. The Scranton Redevelopment
7 Authority spends funds on Nay Aug park.
8 Recently, a component of the Chamber
9 announced a project focusing on the
10 restoration of the Shimel-Finney Pavilion at
11 Nay Aug. The Recreation Authority itself
12 deals only with Nay Aug Park. Why are all
13 of the other parks orphans and all of this
14 attention is paid only to Nay Aug Park?
15 I would like to know if we have any
16 projections for what happens to our local
17 economy when the Middle East conflict ends
18 or is significantly scaled back? Certainly
19 it's likely that Tobyhanna, General
20 Dynamics, Gentex and the remainder of the
21 defense contractors will be affected and
22 probably scale back and I wonder if anybody
23 is looking into how this is going to affect
24 our economy, what it's going to do to the
25 city budget, and what kind of retraining
1 projects may be offered? And that concludes
2 my comments for tonight.
3 MS. EVANS: Miss Schumacher, I do
4 have a number of responses to the questions
5 that you posed last week, so if you could --
6 would you be staying until the conclusion of
7 the meeting?
8 MS. SCHUMACHER: Depends on how long
9 it goes.
10 MS. EVANS: Okay. Well, I'll take
11 care of this now then and I'll see that you
12 get it almost immediately.
13 MS. SCHUMACHER: Thank you.
14 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else to speak?
15 MS. STULGIS: I'm Ann Marie Stulgis,
16 and I'm here as both a city taxpayer and
17 president of the Fraternal Order of Police
18 and the Scranton Police Union. Since the
19 taxpayers didn't learn about this in the
20 Scranton Times, I thought they should know
21 that the City of Scranton with Christopher
22 Doherty as mayor, Ray Hayes as public safety
23 director, Lisa Moran as Human Resource
24 Director and David Elliott as chief of
25 police eliminated in violation of the police
1 contract several clerk positions in January
2 of 2003. In February of that year the union
3 filed a grievance because those positions
4 were created as part of a recovery plan.
5 They were created by the Pennsylvania
6 Economy League who oversees the distressed
7 status of the City of Scranton. In return
8 for the creation of those clerk positions
9 police jobs were eliminated the
10 understanding being that while police jobs
11 were eliminated lower paying clerks would be
12 then hired to do all of the paperwork for
13 police officers because police officers are
14 mandated to write reports and all reports
15 have to be typed. Since, like most of us,
16 police officers aren't necessarily typists
17 and tend to hunt a peck a lot on the
18 keyboard, a lot of time spent doing
19 paperwork. That time would not any longer
20 spent in headquarters they would be on the
21 road insuring the safety of the citizenry
22 and the clerks would do the work.
23 However, since the city chose to
24 arbitrarily eliminate those positions the
25 FOP went to arbitration and in February 13
1 is when we filed the brief of '03, that was
2 heard by an arbitrator and on September 13th
3 of '04, a full 19 months later, the
4 arbitrator ruled that the city blatantly and
5 willfully violated the union contract. They
6 were ordered to make a cash payment to the
7 police officers, they were ordered to pay
8 union legal fees and they were ordered to
9 pay interest from the date the grievance was
10 filed which was, of course, February of '03.
11 Did the city comply? No, they did not.
12 They appealed it with Common Pleas Court.
13 The city lost. Did they by law then comply?
14 No, they did not. They then went to
15 Commonwealth Court. There were two hearings
16 held in Commonwealth Court, the first
17 hearing with three judges because of the
18 seriousness of the issue, because of the
19 possibility of a huge monetary payout and
20 because the city was an Act 47 city
21 Commonwealth Court demanded an en banc
22 hearing which means the case was heard by
23 the full Commonwealth Court. The decision
24 was unanimous, the city lost again. Did
25 they comply? No, they did not. At that
1 point the FOP then went to Pennsylvania
2 Labor Relations Board alleging that the city
3 violated the Pennsylvania Labor Relations
4 Act by failing to comply with Common Pleas
5 Court decision. Pennsylvania Labor
6 Relations Board ruled, in fact, the city did
7 fail to comply. Did the city then comply?
8 No, they did not. In the mean time the city
9 filed with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to
10 have the case heard. Pennsylvania Supreme
11 Court denied hearing the case saying that
12 the Commonwealth Court decision stands. Did
13 the city then comply? No, they did not.
14 May I remind you that the dollar
15 figure all of those years continued to grow
16 as did the interest. The Pennsylvania Labor
17 Relations' Board then contacted Robert
18 Farrell who was of the city solicitor asking
19 why the city failed to comply. He said, oh,
20 they are working on complying. On July 19th
21 of 2007 Lisa Moran signed a notarized sworn
22 affidavit stating that, in fact, the city
23 had completely complied with the
24 arbitrator's decision. Nothing could have
25 been further from the truth. The city did
1 not comply and yet she swore that they have,
2 and I happen to have a copy of that with me
3 should anyone doubt my word. Has the city
4 complied as of yet? No, they have not, and
5 we recently had another Pennsylvania Labor
6 Relations hearing to force compliance. To
7 date five years and one month has passed. A
8 week ago the police officers were paid
9 $1 million of that arbitration award. They
10 have hired five of the eight clerks. That
11 $1 million is about half of what the city
12 owes. Keeping in mind that that dollar
13 figure is mounting everyday, that that
14 interest is growing everyday, that they
15 still have three more clerks to hire.
16 Now, to make it very clear, I fought
17 this case through that whole system, I do
18 not get paid to fight that case nor did I
19 get one dollar of that award. I did it
20 because it's the right thing to do. It's
21 just most unfortunate that this
22 administration has no clue what the right
23 thing to do is and as a taxpayer I find it
24 appalling at the incompetence, and might I
25 also mention that an additional $1 million
1 was spent on legal fees to fight this
2 ridiculous case. Thank you.
3 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Stulgis.
4 MR. JACKOWITZ: Good evening,
5 Mr. President, Scranton City Council
6 members. My name is Bill Jackowitz, South
7 Scranton resident. Enough is enough. The
8 St. Patrick's Day parade became a political
9 campaign parade. Forty-five minute delay so
10 Hillary Clinton can campaign and Chris
11 Doherty was never more than two inches away
12 from her. Doherty did a better job than the
13 secret service agents. Maybe a career
14 change is in store for Mayor Doherty and
15 businessman Doherty. A 45-minute delay in a
16 parade. A parade should continue one, it
17 should never be stopped.
18 Elected officials, politicians have
19 been betrayed the trust of Scranton
20 taxpayers. The alleged incident at the
21 Single Tax Office does not paint a good
22 picture of Scranton elected officials.
23 Citizens have been coming before council for
24 years asking for someone to look into this
25 matter only to be ignored. Citizens have
1 asked for audits, pages and documented proof
2 as to what taxpayers' money has been
3 collected and where the money is. Citizens
4 have been stonewalled every step of the way.
5 I have said many times from this podium that
6 coverups lead to trouble. Nay Aug Park
7 cannot solve this situation. A complete and
8 total audit must be accomplished and also an
9 investigation by the State of Pennsylvania
10 and federal law enforcement agencies.
11 Councilwoman Gatelli, as finance
12 chairperson, you must provide answers to the
13 taxpayers. Last week 11th March of '08 you
14 stated that you voted for the fines and fees
15 because taxpayers must pay their taxes.
16 Well, it appears that taxpayers were paying
17 their taxes. Elected officials were not
18 doing their jobs. Remember, each elected
19 official takes an oath of office where they
20 swear to uphold the constitution of the
21 United States of America against all foreign
22 and domestic enemies and serve the people.
23 I guess there is no mention of protecting
24 the people from elected officials.
25 Last week's meeting was very
1 interesting, there was a long discussion
2 about the situation with the fire
3 department. President McGoff and Councilman
4 Courtright held an informal meeting with
5 Chief Davis and then with the firefighters.
6 No notes were taken at Chief Davis' meeting,
7 a tape and notes were taken at the
8 firefighters' meeting. Now Councilwoman
9 Gatelli and Fanucci are stating that they
10 had to vote against the letter being sent
11 that questioned that an outside agency be
12 brought in to investigate, the alleged
13 allegations against the chief, the reason
14 being they have not seen any information
15 about the alleged complaints and no
16 grievances were filed by the fire
18 Well, if the council would have
19 followed the lead of Councilman Courtright
20 and Councilwoman Evans and had a
21 stenographer present then an official record
22 would have been available with every word
23 that was spoken at these two meetings. Now,
24 we have a record of one meeting and no
25 record of Chief Davis' meeting, plus Kay
1 Garvey was put into a position that she
2 should not have been put into. Again, the
3 elected officials have let the people down.
4 This is not a personnel issue. This is a
5 public safety issue, a simple thing is
6 having a stenographer present became a
7 political issue. Now you all are arguing
8 about not having the proper information.
9 What a dog and pony show.
10 Just two or three weeks ago the city
11 controller stated that taxpayers would not
12 be receiving their tax refund checks. The
13 reason, the city has no money. Well, guess
14 what, there was tax money available because
15 people have been paying their taxes. Tax
16 collectors and controllers have not been
17 doing their jobs. The time has come for all
18 elected officials to start doing what they
19 were elected do, serve and protect the
20 citizens and taxpayers, not finding jobs for
21 family members and friends. Start by
22 fetching information for citizens and
23 answering legitimate questions. The
24 coverups must stop today.
25 Mr. Renda stated that the city
1 administrator and administration was not
2 privy to the tax, this tax information.
3 Come on now, this is Scranton Taxpayers'
4 money being paid to Scranton to provide
5 services to the residents of the city and
6 now they the elected and appointed officials
7 want us to believe they were not aware of
8 12.2 million dollars in a checking account
9 at the First Fidelity Bank. Please, give us
10 some credit for intelligence.
11 This has been spoken about over and
12 over but, yet nobody in authority listened
13 and took the time to investigate. All that
14 was done was to raise taxes and fees and
15 blame the unions. Stand up and be counted
16 and accept the blame. Scranton Taxpayers
17 deserve an apology from every elected and
18 appointed official who stonewalled them for
19 the past four years. Don't tell me you
20 didn't know where the money was and,
21 Mrs. Gatelli, as finances chair I hope by
22 next week you can tell us the citizens of
23 Scranton whose name was on that checking
24 account, who made the deposits to First
25 Fidelity Bank's checking account. Someone's
1 name must be on that account and someone had
2 to make those deposits unless Casper the
3 Ghost arrived in Scranton to do it. I hope
4 you have that information for me next week.
5 MR. JUDGE: Good evening, Council.
6 John Judge, I'm the secretary with the
7 firefighters' union. I didn't come last
8 week, I thought there was going to be a
9 vote, after I saw that the vote wasn't taken
10 it was tabled because some members didn't
11 have a chance to read over what was talked
12 about between myself and President
13 Schreiber, President McGoff and
14 Mr. Courtright. I would just like to extend
15 our offer to of the union to sit down with
16 the other council members if that's what you
17 need to make an informed decision on this
18 very important safety matter.
19 This executive body has received a
20 mandate from our membership to pursue this
21 issue and make sure and ensure that there
22 they are save when they do their work. I
23 think there has been some confusion about
24 our motives, some people have put forth some
25 ideas which are ridiculous and we spoke with
1 Mr. Courtright and Mr. McGoff and I think
2 that all four of us when we left that
3 meeting felt very confident on where each
4 side was coming from with the issue. We
5 just hope that you will move this issue
6 forward tonight and when we talk about a
7 third party arbitrator or mediator we are
8 not assuming that that mediator is going to
9 come in and say, "Chief Davis no longer has
10 a job."
11 What we want is somebody to come in
12 and look at these issues from the outside
13 and give us recommendations based on these
14 incidents that have happened on how to make
15 this department more effective and safer to
16 run. So, I would really hope, and if you
17 don't have the proper information tonight or
18 you do want to speak to us, I'm sure that we
19 would be more than willing to sit down with
20 any of the council members that didn't have
21 the ability to sit down with us the first
22 time. Please just don't brush us aside
23 here. Like I said, we have that mandate
24 from our membership and we're not going to
25 let you brush us aside. We are going to
1 push this forward and ensure that all 150 of
2 us are able to work as safely and possible.
3 We understand the inherent risks with our
4 job, but you as you see when we put forth
5 some of the specifics on this matter we need
6 this addressed and I hope that council will
7 take this very seriously and help and work
8 with us to do that and I think that
9 supporting Councilman Courtright's motion
10 would be the prudent thing to do. Thank you
11 very much.
12 MS. GATELLI: Mr. Judge, I just
13 would like to tell you that I will be voting
14 on that issue tonight. I wasn't here and I
15 didn't have the transcript.
16 MR. JUDGE: I understood. Right.
17 Thank you.
18 MR. GERVASI: Good evening, city
19 council, my name is Dave Gervasi and I'm a
20 Scranton Taxpayer and Firefighter with the
21 City of Scranton. I just want to add to
22 what my brother John Judge just said, there
23 have been a lot of things thrown around,
24 words that I heard coming from council and I
25 just wanted to assure you that this is
1 solely based on safety, and as Mr. Judge
2 said, we have a mandate from our guys, our
3 guys are not letting us let this go. It
4 needs to be done, so I just want to stress,
5 I really, really want to stress this, and I
6 want to apologize if any of you up there
7 feel that we, you know, put you guys in the
8 middle of this whole thing, but what else do
9 we do? We went to the mayor, had a meeting
10 with the mayor, I was at the meeting, we
11 explained everything to him, he did not make
12 any apologies for the chief. He didn't try
13 to defend the chief, he sat and he listened
14 and he heard what we had to say and he said
15 he would take care of it, and when we said
16 -- once you try to take care of it who is
17 going to run the department to understand
18 all of these new procedures that we are
19 going to try to formulate together, and he
20 said, "Don't worry about it, I will take
21 care of it."
22 He must have said is five times that
23 day and, well, I did mostly, I said, well,
24 we all did, there was four of us at the
25 meeting and we told him that, you know, we
1 need some competent leadership in our
2 department because no matter what you do and
3 no matter what we do the chief needs to be
4 chief and needs to make the decisions and
5 needs to carry out whatever procedures we
6 come up with to make this department safer
7 than it is now and he insisted he is not
8 getting rid of the chief, period.
9 So, we apologize for putting you in
10 the middle of this, but where else do we go?
11 You know, there is nobody else to call,
12 there is nobody else to tell, so we came
13 here and we are asking for whatever it
14 takes, an outside investigation to make it
15 fair, political pressure from you, whatever
16 you need to do we are asking you to do
17 because things are not right with the fire
18 department as long as we don't have or we
19 continue to have the leadership we have now,
20 and I'm sorry for putting you in the middle
21 of this, but you are elected officials, you
22 are the next step we take and I thank you
23 for your time.
24 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Gervasi.
25 MS. KRAKE: Good evening, Council.
1 My name is Nancy Krake. The Doherty
2 administration is oppressive and dictatorial
3 in it's policies and treatment of workers
4 and citizens alike. Mrs. Evans and
5 Mr. Courtright are a striking contrast to
6 the three people on this council that follow
7 the mayor's examples and his orders.
8 Mrs. Evans holds this administration
9 and her colleagues accountability for city
10 finances and asks the tough questions.
11 Mr. Courtright holds this administration
12 accountable for public safety and also ask
13 the tough questions. These things need to
14 be asked every day. A good example is the
15 recent $12 million found at the Single Tax
16 Office. It just shows how important checks
17 and balances are in city government and how
18 important it is to have a newspaper that
19 finally reports both sides of the story. I
20 wonder if any of the councilpersons who did
21 not vote for Mrs. Evans' budget, that would
22 be Mr. McGoff, Mrs. Gatelli and
23 Mrs. Fanucci, a budget that included
24 revenues from the Single Tax Office that
25 should are been collected over the past
1 seven years would like now to go back and
2 revisit that proposal. Perhaps you could
3 amend the current budget to add those
4 revenues and reduce taxes, and maybe we can
5 take away those Draconian penalties that do
6 not go into city coffers no matter what
7 Mrs. Fanucci says.
8 I would like to ask Mrs. Evans to
9 consider running for Mayor of Scranton.
10 Many people stop me at my job and wherever I
11 am and tell me that she is the person that
12 watches over them and the city. If a new
13 administration at the Single Tax Office
14 found millions in one month just think of
15 what Mrs. Evans would be able to find out
16 about Mayor Doherty's administration if she
17 were mayor. Thank you.
18 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?
19 MR. DAVIS: My name is Jim Davis,
20 and I'm here again and I'm going to -- we
21 have got seven more days until election,
22 until the primary election. It seems as
23 though by a strange divine essence of the
24 law, we are now faced with the idea that
25 Pennsylvania may be the voting -- may be the
1 voting block of the century and we may be
2 the persons that actually define who our
3 next president or our next candidate for
4 presidency will be. It's important. It's
5 very important. Things have not done as we
6 had hoped with the last election, but we
7 need all of you people, everybody out there
8 we need you to get involved with the school
9 board. We need you to get involved here.
10 We need your words. We need your prayers,
11 too, but at the same time this is democracy
12 in action. This is a form of democracy that
13 will you see no matter what country you go
14 into, no matter what state you go in, even
15 if you were to go to Washington and
16 Harrisburg, there is the form of government
17 that stands up. They follow the same rules
18 and you hear them all of the time.
19 Mrs. Fanucci came up with the smoking ban,
20 it was struck down, in the next court it was
21 struck down, even across the state they were
22 trying to bring up the ban, it was
23 unconstitutional, they proved it.
24 You see, because a person says
25 something that's true and it's good it
1 doesn't mean that it is and we can't be lead
2 around like a bunch of sheep, so we have to
3 listen to what we are hearing. We have to
4 be conscious when we come in here. We have
5 to be conscious when we go other places.
6 It's so important. Our rights, our freedoms
7 are only that if we protect them. I think I
8 said that last time, too, and it's so
9 important. I was a veteran, I am a veteran
10 so, therefore, I know when I say about
11 protecting rights and freedoms it's
12 important to us. It's important to me and
13 my kids. I'm so proud of McClough and
14 Patilla come up ear and really have done
15 their homework, they have done their
16 homework, and you have to admit to it that
17 they have done their homework and they have
18 done a very good job. They are giving us
19 facts, something that you didn't think you
20 would ever hear from us, but if they are
21 here and they are here and they are
22 representing themselves very, very well and
23 I'm very proud of them. Yeah, I'm very
24 proud of a lot of things and I'm proud of
25 this election, also.
1 I can't mention the candidates, I
2 know that's again the law, so I'm just
3 saying to you be conscious in your efforts,
4 get out of the house, register to vote if
5 you haven't registered, if you have
6 registered make sure you get out and vote.
7 It's very important. How we treat this next
8 election is going to determine a awful lot
9 of people and an awful lot of things, a lot
10 of money that comes down from the federal
11 government, from the state government to our
12 educational systems and to our legal systems
13 and the grants and the loans and things that
14 like that keep us afloat because we are
15 supposed to be -- I came here four years ago
16 we are already depressed. Remember that?
17 And I said what is it that is going to keep
18 me depressed and broke and nobody had an
19 answer to it. Well, depressed is a state of
20 mind. We are broke. We are in, but we are
21 totally sitting on the side line. That
22 is -- that's gigantic, and you are right,
23 and we thank you, Miss -- I have forgotten
24 your name a second, she did such a fantastic
25 job with the budget and this has to be a
1 problem. If we had listened to her, and
2 that's what we are saying, you are doing
3 your homework, Mr. Courtright, I know you
4 were never put in this situation before in
5 your live, but you keep coming up with
6 answers, answers that help us understand,
7 they help us understand what problems we
8 have with the fire department and what
9 problems we have with the city. Thank you.
10 Keep up the good work, I'll keep praying for
11 you and keep this open for democracy,
12 really, for democracy's sake, we need it.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Davis.
14 MR. SLEDENZSKI: Hello, Bill.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: Hi, Chris.
16 MR. SLEDZENSKI: Here's yours, Bill.
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you, Chrissy.
18 MR. SLEDZENSKI: Here, Jude.
19 MR. MCGOFF: It's the West Scranton
20 High School baseball schedule.
21 MR. SLEDENZSKI: Well, Bill, it was
22 fantastic, I enjoyed it Saturday, so,
23 remember something, Billy, always West Side
24 Bill, always West Side, Bill. Remember
25 that, Billy.
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay, Chris.
2 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Chris.
3 MR. PORTER: Andrew Porter,
4 concerned citizen. Good evening, citizens
5 of Scranton. I'm not a politician and no
6 one knows who I vote for, and when I got
7 home last week I understand that someone
8 needed to hear some information for me. I
9 don't tell people who to vote for. I,
10 myself, work for God and I'm pointed in that
11 direction. This is God's city and I
12 consider it to be a great city and I'm not a
13 biased person, I look out for the best
14 interest of this city, so any vote of mine
15 cast in any direction is my personal
16 business and, you know, I just look for --
17 so if you have a question, if anybody has a
18 question for me, you can ask the question
19 now, but, you know, if you need to -- if you
20 would like to see me outside or if you see
21 my outside and you have a question for me
22 and you can ask that question and I'll give
23 you an honest answer, but I don't think that
24 anyone wants to challenge my integrity, so
25 if there is a question and you need a
1 question answered I'm here now, you can ask
2 the question and I'll answer it for you. If
3 not, have a good evening.
4 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Porter.
5 MR. TALIMINI: Joe Talimini,
6 Scranton. I'd like to first of all
7 congratulate the young gentleman over there
8 for his efforts, I get a lot of complaints
9 from the kids in town that there isn't
10 anything to do, of course, we had the same
11 complaints when we were kids, but I have to
12 agree with them. All of these kids don't go
13 down to Adams Avenue, they don't go down and
14 hang out down town, they don't go and hang
15 out in parking lots and I applaud this young
16 man's efforts and I hope that they are
17 successful in every way, shape on form.
18 Secondly, I would like to bring up
19 something that disturbed me a little bit. I
20 found out probably 20 or 25 years ago we had
21 a pretty serious situation in Scranton with
22 a gentleman who was flying to Colombia and
23 bringing drugs back here from Colombia, a
24 very big deal, I don't know how many of you
25 remember it, but also there was a money
1 laundering situation with the local bank and
2 I said this 20, 25 years ago that's
3 something we can't blame on you and Chris
4 Doherty, but I would just like to point out
5 the fact that Scranton hasn't always been
6 squeaky clean and it's not squeaky clean
7 right now.
8 There is an issue that keeps coming
9 up here and it's called honesty, integrity,
10 dedication and humility. Now, you people
11 sit up there every week, most of us come
12 here every week. We look at you and we look
13 at you for leadership and guidance, which is
14 why you were elected. Several months ago
15 Mrs. Evans asked for an audit, she asked for
16 records to come through, recently we have
17 had some pretty disturbing trends within
18 city agencies. They have boards and
19 directors, there are oversight committees,
20 again, I'm reiterating, you people are the
21 oversight committee for these groups. Very
22 questionable activities, some of them which
23 resulted in indictments of a local director
24 of an agency, and now this situation with
25 the Tax Collector's Office, the Single Tax
1 Office, you know, come on. I find it
2 awfully hard to believe that you people
3 couldn't possibly know what was going on or
4 would not investigate when that is your duty
5 and that is our right as citizens to demand
6 that you adhere to that policy. Now, I am
7 personally involved in this thing for the
8 simple reason that I live in the Scranton
9 Housing Authority project. You know, I have
10 seen what goes on up there, I have seen how
11 people are treated, I see how some of the
12 tenants are treated, I would hate to think
13 that this same thing existed in other
14 agencies within this city, but if you people
15 don't exercise your right to oversee these
16 committees you are just as guilty as the
17 people who are indicted and who may very
18 well be going to jail and it's incumbent
19 upon you as a governing board to make sure
20 that these agencies are above board and
21 legit because you are dealing not only with
22 your money, but you are dealing with our tax
23 money and that's very, very important.
24 And as far as the fire department
25 goes, that situation with the chief, I don't
1 know the chief, I have no opinion one way or
2 the other, but I reiterate what
3 Mr. Jackowitz said, this is not a matter of
4 a personnel situation, this is a matter of
5 public safety and I think it should be
6 treated that way and I hope you will honor
7 that commitment. Thank you very much.
8 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Talimini.
9 MR. ANCHERANI: Good evening,
10 Council. Nelson Ancherani, resident and
11 taxpayer, city employee, financial secretary
12 of the FOP, again, exercising my first
13 amendment rights. What I'm going to talk
14 about tonight nobody saw in the slimes, it
15 wasn't in there, they didn't get a chance to
16 read about it, so I'll just let them know
17 and let you know. It's about the 27 pay
18 period arbitration. We have to remember
19 that January 2, 2004, was a Friday payday,
20 so the pay was for the year before. In that
21 27 pay argument the city argued that meant
22 that there were 54 weeks that year or
23 378 days in 2004. I mean, the most amount
24 of days that I have heard about in a year is
25 366, leap year, this year. I got paid, they
1 did finally pay. I got paid and I got $500
2 more than I should have had I been paid the
3 regular pay. That's absurd, okay? I got
4 over $500 more. Bad. But it shouldn't have
5 been that way. It was a senseless
6 arbitration, so I'm going to read from some
7 of the judge's opinion. It has here, "Lisa
8 Moran gave the union representatives two
9 choices for dealing with the issue, the
10 first choice presented was having pay this
11 payday at this end of calendar year 2004, at
12 about the time of the Christmas holidays.
13 Second choice was having the wages of each
14 employee reduced throughout the year so that
15 the budgeted salary amounts would be paid on
16 27 pay days Moran insisted upon immediate
17 answer. When none was forthcoming the city
18 unilaterally reduced the wages of the union
19 employees. The situation in which Moran
20 found herself in early 2004 was totally
21 foreseeable and predictable. Every 11 or
22 12 years due to the inherent quirks in the
23 Gregorian calendar a pay year will have 27
24 biweekly paydays instead of 26.
25 Moran also knew at the time that she
1 proposed reducing hourly pay to stretch the
2 city's appropriations over 27 pay periods
3 that this matter had been handled
4 differently in 1993. When this situation
5 previously arose 11 years prior, the city
6 had paid it's employees their regular pay
7 for each of the 27 pay periods without
8 modification. Were this the case of first
9 impression," and this is a judge, "I might
10 be inclined to give the city the benefit of
11 the doubt. While the city may have
12 inadvertently blundered into a quagmire in
13 200 by reducing police wages, the remedy
14 perceived a fiscal dilemma, it compounded
15 it's problem by resolutely refusing to
16 remedy it's contractual violations even when
17 it knew or reasonably should have known that
18 it could not win.
19 Thus, while the initial decision to
20 reduce wages may not have been in bad faith,
21 the decision to persist with it's position
22 that it need not properly pay it's police
23 employees is a clear indication of bad
24 faith. Once the Court's ruled denying the
25 city's appeals in the firefighter's case and
1 the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board
2 issued it's decision the city was on notice
3 that it was threading on dangerous ground by
4 failing to settle a police case," yet it
5 continued and it ended up paying this
6 interest that they shouldn't have had to if
7 they paid us in the beginning.
8 "The city's reduction of police
9 employees biweekly wages to address the 27
10 payday issued in 2004 violated both Article
11 II and Article 27 of the collective
12 bargaining group Agreement. As a remedy,
13 the city must make whole with backpay and
14 all applicable benefits owed for the back
15 pay period. Any union employee whose hourly
16 wage was reduced in 2004. I also find that
17 the city acted in bad faith by persisting in
18 the litigation of in matter after June 24,
19 2007, a date one month after the date of the
20 Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board
21 Firefighters' case. By that date the city
22 should have reasonably been able to digest
23 the sum of the decisions of the PLRB and the
24 Courts and should have known that it had no
25 likelihood of prevailing in the instant
2 Thank you.
3 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr.
4 Ancherani. Fifth Order. Mrs. Evans.
5 MS. EVANS: Good evening. Twelve
6 million dollars, maybe more, that's the
7 issue on everyone's mind and tongue. Of
8 course, the priority is to properly
9 distribute the revenue among the local
10 taxing bodies as well as outlying
11 governments. I also believe there are count
12 less Scranton residents who are owed refunds
13 for the EMS tax. Many senior citizens and
14 teens spoke to me in the last two years
15 about their earning less than $12,000
16 annually and never receiving refunds.
17 Consequently, I do firmly support an
18 independent audit of the Scranton Tax
19 Office, however, I believe the serious
20 nature of the discovery requires a forensic
21 audit and I'm very happy to learn that that
22 will be the case, but I also believe we need
23 an auditor or a firm from outside of
24 Northeastern Pennsylvania, many employees of
25 local firms have contributed to political
1 campaigns of local elected officials. Thus,
2 it is important that any shred of doubt be
3 removed from this situation from this
4 particular audit in order to restore
5 taxpayers' confidence in the Scranton Single
6 Tax Office. Equally important, I believe if
7 an independent investigation is warranted
8 either the State Attorney General or the
9 Secret Service should conduct a complete
10 investigation. Apparently either
11 nonfeasance or malfeasance has occurred, but
12 for what reason? Who would most benefit
13 from such a cash windfall? Did Fidelity
14 Bank ever question this Tax Office account?
15 Three years worth of consistently increasing
16 funds in a tax office account should have
17 been puzzling since the role of the tax
18 office is to collect taxes and annually
19 disburse them to governments.
20 Also, Mr. McDowell was asked to
21 attend a council caucus to discuss
22 procedures regarding the EMS tax, he never
23 attended. More at issue, he refused to
24 allow two tax office auditors to attend a
25 council caucus to discuss wage tax
1 collection procedures in 2007, just three
2 short months ago. I suspected problems in
3 the tax office and believed additional
4 revenue beyond the annual disbursements
5 could be realized, and to substantiate my
6 beliefs, I requested that these two
7 employees speak to council, but as I said,
8 Mr. McDowell forbid them to speak with us
9 and the mayor rather than supporting this
10 attempt to increase revenue in the city's
11 operating budget turned a deaf area. He was
12 more interested in passing his own budget
13 than considering my budget or any
14 suggestions I might propose.
15 Some of my council colleagues didn't
16 feel it was viable or pressing to pursue the
17 tax office concerns in December. Rather,
18 they predictably passed the mayor's budget
19 and into this new year we have begun to seek
20 accountability. Why wasn't the city's
21 controller's office provided the funds to
22 conduct annual audits of the tax office?
23 This is a much more significant priority
24 than political job creations and top level
25 salary hikes.
1 Finally, it seems coincidental that
2 the tax office windfall occurs at such a
3 fortuitous time. The mayor intends to
4 borrow approximately $11 million in May or
5 June, however, this would likely be very
6 difficult and costly since Standard and
7 Poors has withdrawn the Triple B rating for
8 the city and Scranton essentially has no
10 Further, it is difficult to perhaps
11 impossible to secure municipal bond
12 insurance because of the ongoing bankruptcy
13 crisis of municipal bond insurers, let alone
14 a city without a bond rating. Won't the tax
15 office windfall arrive just in time to help
16 solve the mayor's 2008 financial deficit or
17 perhaps he will pave some streets,
18 particularly, since the election fast
19 approaches and we the taxpayers and
20 residents haven't seen too much paving since
21 his last mayoral campaign.
22 Now, I did also receive some
23 responses to an issue I raised last week and
24 a letter that was originally directed to
25 Mr. Seitzinger on February 21. In the 200
1 block of Hollister Avenue Mr. Seitzinger
2 says that according to the inspector in that
3 area, Mr. Liptai, everything has been taken
4 out of their except for one van which is
5 partially on private property and the curb
6 line. So, they are working with the police
7 on this since it crosses over each of the
8 two departments. And as for the 700 block
9 of North Irving Avenue and the complaint of
10 the garage at the rear of 730 North Irving,
11 Mr. Seitzinger said this was condemned and
12 notification has gone out to rehab or raise
14 As for the 1400-block of Dickson
15 Avenue, the complaint of dust and dirt from
16 Keystone Block, Mr. Seitzinger is working on
17 this and will get back to us prior to next
18 week's meeting.
19 And as for the University of
20 Scranton student Center demolition without
21 permits, Mr. Seitzinger claims they did have
22 a permit. It's called a lead permit, where
23 they had to recycle some things from the old
24 building to put into the new building. It
25 was a 16-month demolition, interior demo
1 took some time due to the fact that they had
2 to gut and recycle and he states everything
3 was legitimate.
4 Also, back in October and then again
5 I believe on at least one other occasion,
6 possibly two, I have been asking
7 Mrs. Seitzinger and Mr. Brazil to address
8 the issues on Smith Place in West Scranton,
9 and I have been told at least once that they
10 will get out there, they will examine the
11 properties involved and something will be
12 done about it, but to date the residents of
13 the area have once again contacted me, and I
14 apologize to them because I believe this is
15 the fourth time they have had to contact me
16 and the fourth time I have had to extend my
17 apologies for no work having been performed.
18 In fact, I don't believe anyone has even
19 been out there to inspect any of the
20 problematic areas and so I'm hoping that
21 please one or both of these gentlemen will
22 get out there within the next week and get
23 some actions started on this area.
24 And, finally, I would like to wish a
25 very happy Easter to all and I would like my
1 council colleagues to seriously consider
2 what I have suggested this evening about an
3 investigation of the Single Tax Office. The
4 audit is certainly appropriate, but that's
5 only going to cover the disbursement of
6 funds. That there are many, many
7 significant issues here that are amiss and
8 this does require an investigation that I
9 don't believe city council should be
10 performing. I believe we need the powers of
11 the State Attorney General's Office or the
12 secret service who so admirably went into
13 Luzerne County to investigate a credit card
14 scandal. Well, I think that the situation
15 we are facing far supersedes Luzerne
16 County's financial problem at this time and
17 so, as I said, please consider this and I am
18 hoping that council in conjunction with the
19 Scranton School Board perhaps and Lackawanna
20 County would seek this independent
21 investigation as soon as possible. That's
23 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Evans.
24 Mrs. Gatelli.
25 MS. GATELLI: First, I would like to
1 congratulate the student at West Scranton
2 high school that made the First Team All
3 Stars for soccer, Matt Gavern, Jonathan
4 Taffio, Shane Davis, Billy Schultz and Mike
6 Also, we have a national merit
7 scholarship finalists, and I would like to
8 acknowledge her, her name is Sara
10 Also, if you read in the paper this
11 week one of our football players, Eric
12 Shrive, was featured in a story in the
13 Scranton Times. He is an offensive tackle
14 and he has been offered 24 college
15 scholarships. I think some of us at West
16 Side are hoping that he takes the one for
17 Notre Dame.
18 There will be an Easter egg hunts
19 this Saturday for children ages 2 to 10.
20 They are being sponsored by neighborhood
21 associations and sports groups. They will
22 be Saturday, March 22, at noon. They will
23 be held at Clover Field, Weston Park, Weston
24 field, Nay Aug Park and Connell Park and I
25 would just like to thank Mark Dougher and
1 Sam Yushinski for getting that altogether.
2 Volunteers are certainly welcome to help out
3 and the volunteers are asked to come at
5 I am continuing to work on the cones
6 to be put in the road on Davis Street. I
7 contacted John Pocius because he is very
8 active in St. Joe's back there and he has
9 offered to contact the pastor and the
10 groundskeeper there because someone has to
11 be responsible for the cones. Also, I put
12 in a request for the cones at West Scranton
13 High School because of the severe traffic
14 problem in the morning.
15 I would like to know if it's
16 possible to send a letter to Comcast, I have
17 noticed that if you don't have digital cable
18 they have taken off the TV Guide and they
19 have taken off an about 7 or 8 channels,
20 when you go to the channel there is just
21 snow there so, Kay, if we could possibly
22 find out why all of those stations are taken
23 off and there is no TV guide. The bill
24 didn't go down, but the stations are gone.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mrs. Gatelli, I
1 think you can still get the stations but
2 they give you a box.
3 MS. GATELLI: Yeah, and have to pay
4 more for that.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: Initially, they were
6 giving you that for free, but if you didn't
7 get it by a certain date then you are out of
8 luck. I think that's the way it worked.
9 MS. GATELLI: I got numerous
10 complaints on a property at 1520 Linden
11 Street where there was a picture of a fire
12 that occurred at this building in Jimmy
13 Money was the firefighter that was the
14 inspector and he stated in the paper that
15 there was a lot of garbage in the back of
16 the property and since then I have gotten
17 complaints from some of the neighbors that
18 it is a problem property and I talked to
19 Mr. Seitzinger and he is going to have a
20 full general inspection done on the
21 property, he has already requested police
22 reports concerning that property and the
23 D.A.'s Office was already notified for
24 considering it a possible nuisance property.
25 I would like to congratulate the CMC
1 nurses, they are fighting to make things
2 better at the hospital. As you know, they
3 have been trying to unionize for years and
4 improvements in staffing make sense when it
5 comes to patient care. Anyone that's been
6 in the hospital knows that they are very,
7 very understaffed, and hopefully, the
8 unionization of the nurses up there will
9 certainly help get patient care back where
10 it should be, and we received this notice
11 and it says that anyone that would like to
12 support the nurses if they could please
13 contact the acting CEO, John Milsan, at
15 I would just like to make a few
16 comments about the $12 million, also. I was
17 glad to have made a motion several weeks ago
18 to send a letter to the Tax Office
19 concerning the wage tax that has been talked
20 about here for many years since I am here by
21 Mrs. Krake and, you know, it finally came to
22 fruition that there was a problem and they
23 did answer us concerning that motion and
24 shortly after they made the discovery of the
25 money that's been there. I don't know who
1 is going to get all of the money and where
2 it's all accumulated, I know a lot of it is
3 people paying wage tax to out of town
4 municipalities, also, but I would agree with
5 Mrs. Evans that we need to find out what's
6 going on there and I will be in favor of
7 doing something of that nature, but I would
8 like to get a look at the forensic audit
9 first and see where that happens to lead us.
10 It's unfortunate and I hope we can get to
11 the bottom of it, and that's all I have and
12 Happy Easter to everyone.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Fanucci.
14 MS. FANUCCI: I just would like to
15 speak on a few of the questions that were
16 addressed to me last week about some of our
17 grant money and how it's dispersed. The
18 Growing Greener Program, I wanted to try to
19 help people understand, Growing Greener
20 sounds like, well, okay that means we are
21 just about communities maybe planting trees
22 and things like that, but, I need you to
23 understand there is like six different
24 phases of each program, sometimes it doesn't
25 mean just one phase.
1 During the Growing Greener grant
2 it's taken from one project to another to a
3 garage and that was the problem with the
4 Oppenheim Garage saying this is not a
5 development of green space or anything that
6 would be construed for the Growing Greener.
7 That is absolutely not the case. There is
8 six different phases. What they did was,
9 I'm just going to give you the outline of
10 the program, over five-year stint, Growing
11 Greener is growing our communities and
12 economy. Two-hundred and thirty- million
13 for the Department of Environmental
14 Protection actually to clean up rivers and
15 streams which you would absolutely think
16 that this is something that should fall
17 under that category. Two-hundred seventeen
18 point five million to the Department of
19 Conservation and Natural Resources for
20 parks, natural areas, open spaces, and local
21 recreation needs. Eighty million to the
22 Pennsylvania Department of Agricultural for
23 farming. Fifty million to the Department of
24 Community and Economic Development to
25 revitalize the communities through
1 investment and housing and redevelopment
2 projects. I believe that that might be
3 where we qualified for the garage. That
4 money has to be transferred, if it is a
5 community development project it's OECD
6 money which is still a Growing Greener
7 grant, it still has to be transferred to an
8 another economic development project. You
9 cannot take -- you know, if you applied for
10 the rivers and streams money, which is a
11 whole different department, which would be
12 through DCED or -- DCED would be the one who
13 would take care of that, if you apply
14 through them you have to keep that grant
15 under that same structure so that is why it
16 complied for that, and when I say you use it
17 or lose it because if there is not another
18 economic development project that goes with
19 that then they have to be able to trace that
20 money to the next economic development
21 project, so that's what they did.
22 And then there is another one that
23 can be the commission for repair for like
24 fish and gaming, so that's another one that
25 they have. And then another one is for the
1 gaming commission for habitat related
2 facilities and upgrades and repairs. So
3 under that all is Growing Greener, it's not
4 just one type of grant that you can use,
5 it's all different grants that fall under
6 the same program, so I just wanted to give
7 some information on that tonight.
8 Also, I do want to talk on the
9 $12 million, also. Obviously, I think we
10 are a little taken back, there is nothing
11 that can be said as far as I'm concerned
12 that would shed light on any of this. This
13 is not my department nor do I even act as if
14 I'm qualified to even discuss where the
15 money is or whose money it is. I definitely
16 support an investigation and an audit.
17 Whether or not I believe we can launch an
18 investigation, I believe that when that
19 happened in Wilkes-Barre I believe that it
20 was the DA got started the investigation so
21 I'm not sure if that happens here or not
22 happens here if has to be like a criminal or
23 if it was the city who did that. I'm not
24 sure how that started, but that might be
25 something we want to look into. I certainly
1 want to see where the money has come from
2 and how it could be dispersed. It's a lot
3 of money, and I can't say that to think
4 about the fact that it was sitting there is
5 not -- is a little disheartening considering
6 what we have already been through on trying
7 to just come to some type of conclusions on
8 where we can get funds, but I definitely
9 would support any type of progress to find
10 some type of a resolution to this problem.
11 So, I would definitely say that. And as for
12 me, have a happy Easter and that's all I
14 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Fanucci.
15 Mr. Courtright.
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: I'll start off with
17 a motion that I did last week, I would like
18 to make a motion that city council send a
19 letter to Mayor Christopher Doherty and the
20 Scranton Firefighter Union President, Dave
21 Schreiber, recommending to them to use and
22 outside agency or individual to conduct an
23 investigation into the allegations brought
24 to the Scranton City Council by the Scranton
25 Firefighters' Union against Chief Tom Davis.
1 MS. EVANS: Second.
2 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? I
3 would like to respond. As you probably
4 figured I have been opposed to this, as I
5 said, that I believe it's unnecessary, I
6 believe that the entire process has been, I
7 don't want to say unnecessary, but I think
8 it's gone in the wrong direction. Let me
9 present a scenario, the administrative staff
10 at city hall took a vote and they voted that
11 they have absolutely no confidence in
12 Attorney Tom Jennings to negotiate a
13 contract for the firefighters. They also
14 have a list of allegations that he has used
15 bad judgment, that he has been demeaning to
16 city officials and, consequently, they would
17 like to have him removed and they are going
18 to go to the union president and ask that
19 Mr. Jennings be removed as negotiator for
20 the firefighters. The union would
21 absolutely reject and find that laughable.
22 There is no way that they would even
23 consider that, but in retrospect, that's
24 primarily what the union has done in asking
25 for the dismissal of Chief Davis.
1 MR. GERVASI: Did anybody get killed,
2 Mr. McGoff?
3 MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me, Mr. Gervasi,
4 it's my turn --
5 MR. GERVASI: Did anybody killed by
6 -- that's a disgrace.
7 MR. SCHREIBER: Public safety isn't
9 MR. GERVASI: What a disgrace. What
10 a disgrace. Unbelievable.
11 MR. MCGOFF: You are out of order.
12 MR. GERVASI: I know I am. I
14 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.
15 MS. EVANS: If I -- oh, you are not
16 finished. I'm sorry, I thought thank you
17 was your conclusion.
18 MR. MCGOFF: No. I believe that
19 that's the scenario that's taken place. I
20 don't believe that -- there have been no
21 criminal -- the other thing to clear up here
22 is that the allegations that have been made
23 against Chief Davis in some ways it's made
24 to sound like that there are criminal in
25 nature, that we are going to conduct an
1 investigation into see if these allegations
2 are -- if he is guilty of these things. The
3 allegations that have been made against
4 Chief Davis deal with decision making and
5 management skills. The issues that have
6 been brought forward have been addressed,
7 they have been brought to the mayor. The
8 mayor has attempted to address them. By the
9 admission of all of the firefighters they
10 are not looking for recommendations for
11 Chief Davis to be removed, they don't think
12 that that's going to happen, what is the
13 purpose of conducting another investigation?
14 If there are recommendations to be made why
15 can't the firefighters themselves make these
16 recommendations to the mayor through the
17 committees that have been established?
18 The only thing that a further
19 investigation would do would be a
20 continuation of, I don't want to use the
21 word harassment, but a continuation of the
22 demeaning of the fire chief unnecessarily.
23 I think that due process has been followed.
24 I think that the issues that have been
25 addressed by the mayor and the firefighters
1 have received some resolution and I do not
2 believe that we need to continue this
4 MS. EVANS: I'd like to respond to
5 some of that. First of all, the comparison
6 that Mr. McGoff draws is an inadequate
7 comparison, we are comparing apples to
8 oranges. The attorney who would represent a
9 union is a legal matter, a matter of
10 representation, the issue that we have been
11 asked to consider rather is a matter of
12 public safety and that means specifically
13 the safety of the chief himself, the safety
14 of the men under and women under his charge
15 and ultimately the safety of the residents
16 of the City of Scranton.
17 Now, it's been said, too, that the
18 firefighters can make their recommendations
19 to the mayor and he can address these
20 situations and if, indeed, that is the case
21 and certainly it's an avenue to consider
22 then I would suggest the mayor receive the
23 60 some thousand dollar salary of the fire
24 chief because he is in effect in charge of
25 that department responding to their
1 concerns, addressing their concerns,
2 developing operating procedures. I fail to
3 see what the charges are then of the fire
5 But most importantly, even setting
6 all of Mr. McGoff's arguments aside and my
7 arguments as well, in good conscience and
8 from an ethical standpoint, Mr. McGoff, I
9 believe you have to recuse yourself from
10 this vote. You have stated publically that
11 you are a good friend, a close friend of
12 Chief Davis and there is a distinct conflict
13 of interest at play and I believe, as I
14 said, from an ethical standpoint you must
15 recuse yourself from voting on
16 Mr. Courtright's motion.
17 MR. MCGOFF: I don't think it's
18 unethical at all. I would ask that those
19 people who are political opponents of Chief
20 Davis then recuse themselves from the vote.
21 MS. EVANS: Are you suggesting me?
22 MR. MCGOFF: Yes.
23 MS. EVANS: Well, then you should
24 call me by name. But, I'm not a political
25 opponent of Chief Davis. I'm an elected
1 councilperson and I represent more than
2 Chief Davis, I represent all of the
3 residents of the city and I take their
4 security very seriously and even if it were
5 an issue of one individual being close to me
6 or opposed to me I can't place my feelings
7 toward that one individual above and beyond
8 the needs and the welfare of the citizenry.
9 MR. MCGOFF: I'll just respond that
10 I, too, am elected by more than Chief Davis
11 and what --
12 UNIDENTIFIED AUDIENCE MEMBER: By
13 the mayor.
14 MR. MCGOFF: And just because I
15 happen to be -- have a personal relationship
16 with the chief that is friendly, that does
17 not mean that it is unethical and that I
18 cannot vote to represent those people who I
19 feel are opposed to what is taking place. I
20 believe that there are numbers of people
21 that support Chief Davis and I am voicing
22 their opinions as well just as you claim to
23 be voicing the opinions of others.
24 MS. EVANS: Well, I do believe though
25 there are four people who are capable of
1 voting on this issue and four people who can
2 make these decisions aye or nay without
3 being so close to the individual at the
4 center of the controversy.
5 MS. FANUCCI: I'm going to state
6 something here, Mrs. Evans, you are getting
7 into very tough waters for yourself. I
8 mean, you are very close to all of the union
9 officials. I mean, you speak with them
10 before the meetings, you are very close to
11 them, also. Now, I believe --
12 MS. EVANS: I meet with them before
13 the meetings?
14 MS. FANUCCI: You are very, very
15 close and, in fact, you know --
16 MS. EVANS: But, please don't make
17 statements that are false.
18 MS. FANUCCI: That wasn't false.
19 MS. EVANS: That is false.
20 MS. FANUCCI: We can all -- I have
21 seen you sit and talk to them, I have seen
22 paperwork work go back and forth, we have
23 all seen it.
24 MS. EVANS: Prior to meetings? No,
25 the paperwork going back and forth is, for
1 example, the case of Mr. Schumacher
2 tonight --
3 MS. FANUCCI: No, no, no.
4 MS. EVANS: Who are city residents
5 and I'm answering questions, but please,
6 you're treading on very dangerous territory.
7 MS. FANUCCI: Oh, no, no, I'm not.
8 MS. EVANS: You are actually -- we
9 are on the question.
10 MR. MCGOFF: No, we are not.
11 MS. FANUCCI: Can I make a
13 MS. EVANS: Yes, we are. Mrs.
14 Fanucci says that I'm holding meetings with
15 union officials prior to council meetings.
16 MS. FANUCCI: That's fair.
17 MS. EVANS: You have not witnessed
18 that and that's impossible because that does
19 not occur.
20 MS. FANUCCI: Okay, but what I was
21 going to state was even though we know you
22 are friendly and you are friends, which is
23 fine --
24 MS. EVANS: Yes.
25 MS. FANUCCI: -- I believe that you
1 are still capable of separating your
2 feelings and making a judge -- and deciding
3 what's right or wrong. Now, you didn't even
4 let me get there without jumping on that,
5 but what I was saying was that even though I
6 know you that have friendship and as we all
7 do with everyone in this city pretty much,
8 you are still capable of sitting here and
9 deciding what is right for the taxpayers.
10 So, that's what I was trying to get to and
11 I'm sorry that you got so offended because
12 that's actually where I was going.
13 MS. EVANS: Well, I wanted to
14 straighten the record out and, secondly,
15 yes, I have great respect for the unions.
16 MS. FANUCCI: Right.
17 MS. EVANS: All the municipal unions,
18 but I can't say that we have close
19 friendships that mirror that of the
20 situation that I addressed a few minutes ago
21 and I can say I'm basing my decision on the
22 notes that I have received from both
23 meetings and the contrast between the two is
24 stark and to close your eyes and your ears
25 and pretend that none of this happened or
1 it's all a figment of someone's imagination
2 or it's a vendetta or it's a political ploy,
3 you know, I just don't know where we are
4 going in this city.
5 I don't know, sometimes I have to
6 wonder, people ask me, what do you get paid
7 to do? What does city council get paid to
8 do? Well, you know, I'm not so sure because
9 sometimes I think if we just went up to
10 Staples and brought some rubber stamps with
11 our names on it and just put them here and
12 didn't bother to show up we would do just as
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mr. McGoff, I had
15 absolutely no intention on speaking on the
16 question, I planned on making the motion and
17 just voting, but I take offense to the fact
18 that you say that I'm a political opponent
19 of Mr. Davis, I am not a political opponent
20 of Mr. Davis. I happen to be in charge of
21 public safety, allegations were brought to
22 me, I never said whether I was in favor of
23 Mr. Davis being removed or not being
24 removed. All I'm trying to do is what is
25 fair and what is correct. I -- I -- well,
1 I'm not going to leave it at that because I
2 don't want to say something I'll be sorry
3 for. Let's just vote.
4 MS. GATELLI: I would -- could I say
5 something? I know that no one likes me to
6 ask this question, but I'm going to ask the
7 solicitor if he thinks it's a conflict of
8 interest for Mr. McGoff to vote on this
10 MR. MINORA: No, it's clearly not.
11 Friendships are friendships. Everyone up
12 there has voted and has friendships. A
13 conflict of interest involves a financial
14 interest or some benefit to you of a vote,
15 so that's just not the case in this
17 MS. GATELLI: Thank you. I say we
18 just call for a vote instead of continuing
19 to argue.
20 MR. MCGOFF: All those in favor
21 signify by saying aye.
22 MS. EVANS: Aye.
23 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
24 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
1 MR. MCGOFF: All those opposed? No.
2 The ayes have it and so moved.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you. Kay, I
4 guess I have to say this to Mr. Seitzinger,
5 1158 and 1160 Hampton Street it's been
6 vacant for 15 years and I believe it's
7 condemned and I have had some residents
8 coming and telling me that the outside is a
9 mess and the building is deteriorating,
10 maybe Mr. Seitzinger might be able to take a
11 look at that I'd appreciate it.
12 The SIT clerks, that's bothered me
13 since day one since I have been on this
14 council, I always thought it was a wrong
15 decision, I always felt we would end up
16 paying that, I always wondered who advised
17 Mr. Doherty on that and I'm certainly not a
18 lawyer but I think it was plain to see we
19 are going to lose that. I didn't see where
20 the million dollars came from or in a
21 roundabout the SIT clerks received on this
22 so far, so if they could show me where we
23 got that money from, maybe we went through
24 it and I just missed it, I don't know, but
25 it seems pretty obvious from Mrs. Stulgis
1 said that there is more to come, so I would
2 like to know where we are going to get the
3 rest of the money to pay off the rest of
4 this SIT clerk award. I would appreciate if
5 we could find that out. It's awful lot of
7 And I'll get to the tax office now,
8 most of the questions have been asked and
9 answered, the one question I had was if I
10 was sitting there and I had $12 million why
11 do we leave it in an account that's just
12 like a regular savings account, you know?
13 Why don't we put it into US Treasury Bills,
14 T-Bills or, you know, why don't we put it in
15 three, six, nine, 12 month CD's which would
16 have certainly afforded us a lot more
17 interest, much, much more interest. I would
18 like to see if we can't -- I don't hold the
19 people in there responsible now, but I would
20 like to ask that question why is that money
21 just sitting in an account I believe it's
22 getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 1
23 percent where we have could have gotten
24 anywhere from 3.75 or better with the
25 treasury bills or CD's and obviously not
1 know the economy is not doing as well, but
2 back when this money was in there so if they
3 can even give me their best guess I would
4 appreciate it that.
5 And I don't know why we weren't -- I
6 don't know whose responsibility it was to
7 make us aware, and when I say "us" I mean
8 the citizens of the City of Scranton that
9 there was $12 million sitting there, but
10 somebody should have told us somewhere down
11 the line we got $12 million bucks and that
12 just didn't happen, and now right now one of
13 the important questions for me is what is
14 going to become of whatever money the city
15 has coming to us. Are we going to give back
16 some of the 25 percent tax increase that
17 the residents have? Are we going to use it
18 to pay for us, I would like to ask the
19 current administration and I would like for
20 this question to come from all of council,
21 if they wouldn't mind, the administration,
22 what is their intention on whatever sum of
23 money we get? Do they have, you know, any
24 of that money that would be coming earmarked
25 for anything in particular, just curious and
1 I'm sure the rest of the people in the city
2 are curious what's going to happen with that
3 money, whatever the dollar amount might be.
4 As far as the investigation goes, you
5 know, I think some of us have been sitting
6 on here a little but longer, but I'll just
7 since day there has been accusations made
8 about that office and I was happy
9 Mrs. Gatelli made that motion the other week
10 and I know Mrs. Evans has brought it up the
11 questions and there has been some questions
12 that I think that maybe we didn't give as
13 much credibility to or maybe we dismissed a
14 little bit because they might have seemed a
15 little bit out there, but I think in light
16 of what's happened now some of those
17 questions have credibility and so maybe what
18 we need to do as everyone else said maybe we
19 do need to have an investigation, sadly to
20 say, but I think everybody pretty much up
21 here feels the same way about that, so if
22 this council is in favor of moving forward
23 with something else I would probably go
24 along with that, and that's all I have.
25 Thank you.
1 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,
2 Mr. Courtright. First thing I'd like to do
3 or say is my apologies to Mr. Courtright and
4 to Mrs. Evans, I did not mean to indicate
5 that you were biased or could not make a
6 decision, I guess I was just trying to make
7 a point that we all have affiliations that
8 exist and were not asked to remove ourselves
9 from votes because of those affiliations,
10 and so my apologies. I did not mean to
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: I accept that.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Just a couple of
14 responses to some things that were brought
15 up this evening, Mr. McClough made some
16 mention of the smoking ban, and I'd like to
17 say that I know we have been, you know, this
18 has been an ongoing thing for over a year
19 now, and I don't think that there is
20 anything wrong with arguing against the
21 smoking ban, but I don't think it's
22 necessary to demean in any way the students
23 who proposed it. They were well meaning,
24 they wanted to become engaged in civic
25 activity, they were doing what all of us are
1 doing, proposing something, speaking on
2 something and I think they were very well
3 intentioned and I would hope that in the
4 future that on all of these arguments that
5 we not become personal in involving the
6 students who are, as I said, just trying to
7 complete a class project and work for the
8 benefit or what they feel to be the benefit
9 of this city.
10 I'm not going to go back to that,
11 I'm going to skip over that. On the audit,
12 of the Single Tax Office I, too, think that
13 something should be done. I think that for
14 the future an additional item should be
15 considered. I think that we should look
16 into -- I know that it says in the Home Rule
17 Charter that an annual audit should be
18 conducted by the Controller's Office. I
19 believe that we should look into expanding
20 that and some way so that the audit is
21 conducted by the three taxing bodies and
22 that it is done annually and that the cost
23 of the audit can then be -- rather than be
24 being placed in the hands of the city
25 controller's office or any single body that
1 the expense can be shared and that that
2 audit is conducted on an annual basis. As
3 this thing moves along, as I'm sure it will,
4 I think that this is something that maybe we
5 can discuss with the other taxing bodies and
6 see that if we can make some type of an
7 amendment to our Home Rule Charter and to
8 the process of dealing with the Single Tax
10 And I just wanted to, I knew I was
11 skipping something, Mr. Davis mentioned it's
12 only seven days until the vote, I think he
13 was speaking of registration. There is only
14 about a week left to register to vote and,
15 again, I know Mr. Davis was trying to
16 encourage people to do that, you only have a
17 week but there is a month plus until the
18 primary so there is time to before the
19 primary is held.
20 Again, a joyous Easter to everyone
21 and also a peaceful Passover to members of
22 the Jewish community and that is all.
23 MS. EVANS: Mr. McGoff, in the event
24 that we are not able to amend the Home Rule
25 Charter, I know that every so often, every I
1 don't know what the period of years would
2 be, individuals are elected to evaluate the
3 charter and propose changes, etcetera, and
4 then we are -- is it --
5 MS. GATELLI: Time is up.
6 MS. EVANS: Then we will doing that
7 shortly I suppose, but again, in the event
8 that that's not within our power I still
9 believe we could in a joint venture pursue
10 this and, you know, bring it to fruition
11 until such time as perhaps they will work it
12 into the charter. I don't think we should
13 abandon it if can be done in that way.
14 MR. MCGOFF: I agree and what I was
15 trying to say was that I think it's
16 something that has to be done annually and
17 it should be a shared responsibility of the
18 three taxing bodies and I'm sure that we can
19 work it out some way and I'm sure that the
20 school district and the county would be more
21 than willing to engage in that.
22 MS. EVANS: Share the costs --
23 MR. MCGOFF: Sharing the costs and
24 getting --
25 MS. EVANS: -- and the
2 MR. MCGOFF: -- an accurate audit of
3 the Single Tax Office on a regular basis.
5 MS. GARVEY: FIFTH ORDER. NO
6 BUSINESS AT THIS TIME. SIXTH ORDER. 6-A.
7 READING BY TITLE - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 16,
8 2008 - AN ORDINANCE - CREATING AND
9 ESTABLISHING SPECIAL CITY ACCOUNT NO.
10 02.229588 ENTITLED "CITY OF SCRANTON ARSON
11 TASK FORCE ACCOUNT" FOR RECEIPT AND
12 DISBURSEMENT OF GRANT FUNDS FROM THE
13 DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC
14 DEVELOPMENT (DCED) FOR THE CITY OF SCRANTON
15 ARSON TASK FORCE.
16 MR. MCGOFF: You have heard Reading
17 by Title of Item 6-A, what is your pleasure?
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: I move that Item 6-A
19 pass Reading by Title.
20 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
21 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
22 those in favor signify by saying aye.
23 MS. EVANS: Aye.
24 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
25 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
2 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
3 ayes have it and so moved.
4 MS. GARVEY: 6-B. READING BY TITLE -
5 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 17, 2008 - AN ORDINANCE
6 - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER
7 APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS OF THE CITY OF
8 SCRANTON TO ACCEPT AND DISBURSE GRANT FUNDS
9 FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AND
10 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (DCED) FOR THE CITY OF
11 SCRANTON ARSON TASK FORCE.
12 MR. MCGOFF: You have heard Reading
13 by Title of Item 6-B what is your pleasure?
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: I move that Item
15 6-B pass Reading by Title.
16 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
17 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
18 those in favor signify by saying aye.
19 MS. EVANS: Aye.
20 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
21 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
24 ayes have it and so moved.
25 MS. GARVEY: 6-C. READING BY TITLE -
1 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 18, 2008 - AN ORDINANCE
2 - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER
3 APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS OF THE CITY OF
4 SCRANTON TO ACCEPT AND DISBURSE GRANT FUNDS
5 FROM U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
6 FEMA GRANT.
7 MR. MCGOFF: You have heard Reading
8 by Title of Item 6-C, what is your pleasure?
9 MR. COURTRIGHT: I move that Item
10 6-C pass Reading my Title.
11 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
12 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
13 those in favor signify by saying aye.
14 MS. EVANS: Aye.
15 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
16 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
18 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
19 ayes have it and so moved.
20 MS. GARVEY: 6-D. READING TY TITLE -
21 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 19, 2008 - AN ORDINANCE
22 - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR NAD OTHER
23 APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS OF THE CITY OF
24 SCRANTON TO ENTER INTO LEASE AGREEMENTS WITH
25 VARIOUS LITTLE LEAGUE, TEENER LEAGUE, LEAGUE
1 ASSOCIATIONS FOR USE OF CITY OWNED PROPERTY
2 IN CONNECTION WITH APPROVED LITTLE LEAGUE,
3 TEENER LEAGUE, MISS-E LEAGUE, AND JUNIOR
4 AND/OR MIDGET FOOTBALL LEAGUE ACTIVITIES FOR
5 A THREE-YEAR PERIOD COMMENCING APRIL 5,
6 2008, AND ENDING APRIL 14, 2011.
7 MR. MCGOFF: You have heard Reading
8 by Title of Item 6-D, what is your pleasure?
9 MR. COURTRIGHT: I move that Item
10 6-D pass Reading by Title.
11 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
12 MR. MCGOFF: On the question.
13 MS. EVANS: Yes. I had requested a
14 prior lease which I did receive notice that
15 there was great similarity between the lease
16 of I believe 2006 and now 2008, however, the
17 legislation in 2006 failed on a 2 to 2 vote
18 by council, thus, I requested a lease that
19 was in effect prior to 2006 and I believe
20 that one is coming from 2003. I haven't
21 been able to read it completely, but from
22 what I have perused it appears to be very
24 I also realize that all of the
25 teener leagues, little leagues, etcetera,
1 don't receive their copy of the lease until
2 the legislation is passed by council,
3 however, I would ask all of those entities
4 if you had any problem or issue with the
5 lease of 2003 that would be of concern to
6 you today to please contact me prior to next
7 week's meeting at which time there will be a
8 final reading of this ordinance.
9 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else on 6-D? All
10 those in favor signify by saying aye.
11 MS. EVANS: Aye.
12 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
13 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
15 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
16 ayes have it and so moved.
17 MS. GARVEY: 6-E. READING BY TITLE -
18 FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 20. 2008 - AN ORDINANCE
19 - AMENDING FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 49, 2006,
20 ENTITLED: "AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE
21 MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS OF THE
22 CITY OF SCRANTON TO TAKE AL NECESSARY
23 ACTIONS TO IMPLEMENT THE CONSOLIDATED
24 SUBMISSION FOR COMMUNITY PLANNING AND
25 DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS (AS AMENDED) TO BE
1 FUNDED UNDER THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK
2 GRANT (CDBG) PROGRAM, HOME INVESTMENT
3 PARTNERSHIP (HOME) PROGRAM AND EMERGENCY
4 SHELTER GRANT (ESG) PROGRAM", BY
5 TRANSFERRING $239,156.45 FROM PROJECT NO.
6 95-003.2 AND $74,470.75 FROM PROJECT NO.
7 01-026 AND $30,000.00 FROM PROJECT NO.
8 01-96,1 and $85.82 FROM PROJECT NO. 05-215
9 AND $56,286.98 FROM PROJECT NO. 05-15 TO
10 PROJECT NO. 07-19 PURCHASE OF A FIRE TRUCK.
11 MR. MCGOFF: You have heard Reading
12 by Title of Item 6-E, what is your pleasure?
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: I move that Item 6-E
14 pass Reading by Title.
15 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
16 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
17 those in favor signify by saying aye.
18 MS. EVANS: Aye.
19 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
20 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
22 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
23 ayes have it and so moved.
24 MS. GATELLI: Motion to adjourn.
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
3 C E R T I F I C A T E
5 I hereby certify that the proceedings and
6 evidence are contained fully and accurately in the
7 notes of testimony taken by me at the hearing of the
8 above-captioned matter and that the foregoing is a true
9 and correct transcript of the same to the best of my
CATHENE S. NARDOZZI
14 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER