1 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
7 Tuesday, April 15, 2008
10 Council Chambers
11 Scranton City Hall
12 340 North Washington Avenue
13 Scranton, Pennsylvania
CATHENE S. NARDOZZI- COURT REPORTER
2 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:
MR. ROBERT MCGOFF, PRESIDENT
6 MS. JUDY GATELLI, VICE-PRESIDENT
MS. JANET E. EVANS
9 MS. SHERRY FANUCCI
MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT
12 MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK
MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
15 MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR
1 (Pledge of Allegiance recited and
2 moment of reflection observed.)
3 MR. MCGOFF: Roll call, please.
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, Third order.
15 MS. GARVEY: THIRD ORDER. 3-A.
16 CONTROLLER'S REPORT FOR THE MONTH ENDING
17 FEBRUARY 29, 2008.
18 MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?
19 If not, received and filed.
20 MS. GARVEY: 3-B. APPLICATIONS AND
21 DECISIONS RENDERED BY THE ZONING HEARING
22 BOARD MEETING HELD ON APRIL 9, 2008.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?
24 If not, received and filed.
25 MS. GARVEY: That's it for Third
2 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I would
3 like to make a motion to remove item 6-A
4 from tonight's agenda at the request of the
5 law office.
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
7 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
8 in favor?
9 MS. EVANS: Aye.
10 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
11 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
14 ayes have it and so moved. Are there any
15 announcements that anyone has? Mrs. Evans.
16 MS. EVANS: Yes. The Friends of the
17 Scranton Knights are planning their annual
18 night at the races on Saturday, April 19,
19 that would be this Saturday at Holy Rosary
20 Center at the corner of West Market and
21 Wayne Avenue, Scranton, from seven to
22 eleven, tickets are $10 and I encourage all
23 to go out and support this worthy endeavor.
24 Also, April 2, 2008, is Earth Day and I
25 believe members of the Sierra Club are
1 asking that we all consider reducing
2 pollution and greenhouse emissions in order
3 to prevent global warming. They are also
4 asking that you turn off your lights and any
5 nonessential electric items between
6 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. on Earth Day,
7 April 22, 2008, and this information was
8 actually passed along to me by a friend of
9 mine who is a science teacher at Scranton
10 High School and I certainly do think this is
11 a worthy endeavor and I hope even though
12 it's election day you will all remember to
13 try to turndown the electricity between 8:00
14 and 9:00 next Tuesday.
15 Also, please remember in your
16 prayers this week Mr. John Kennedy, Senior,
17 and Mr. Nick Ross, two hard-working
18 compassionate and honorable gentlemen who
19 recently passed away and their families and
20 friends who will dearly miss them and all of
21 those who have died in our city in the last
23 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else? Mike
25 MR. OSBORNE: Good evening. My name
1 is Mike Osborne, city residents and also a
2 member of the cable advisory, council
3 appointee to that panel.
4 I wanted to address a couple of
5 issues concerning 61 and 62. The first one
6 was a couple of weeks ago Lee Morgan asked a
7 question about how someone would go about
8 requesting one of the channels that the city
9 is eligible for under the current franchise
10 agreement. Mr. McGoff answered or provided
11 an answer, but I don't think it really
12 answered his question. He pretty much
13 provided which is really technically true of
14 what the current situation is which is there
15 are two peg channels. By letter of
16 agreement I believe Channel 61 is controlled
17 or managed by Scranton Today. Channel 62
18 was the University and Marywood, but their
19 program was supplemented I think originally
20 by request of Adelphia because they weren't
21 providing enough programming, so Scranton
22 Today was kind enough to supplement that
23 program so that they would meet the minimum
24 requirements and I think that's what
25 Mr. McGoff answered to his --their problem
1 being currently especially now considering
2 the state of the contracts or agreements
3 about who is going to run the stations there
4 wouldn't currently be enough programming to
5 go to additional channels even though the
6 city is eligible for more channels under the
7 current agreement, but I think Mr. Morgan
8 wanted to know how he would go about maybe
9 applying for one of those channels. And the
10 answer to that question is there is no
11 procedure in place for that. No one ever
12 looked at it, there is nothing covered under
13 federal regulations, there is nothing in the
14 franchise agreement that addresses that
15 which leaves me to me second point or my
16 second topic is and I have e-mailed council
17 about this in the past, there really should
18 be a procedure in place not only for that
19 but the entire management of the station.
20 Other cities that have peg stations have
21 done that. They have created an ordinance
22 that dictates how the stations are managed,
23 how the management is chosen, equipment
24 ownership, studios, I mean, you can pretty
25 much put into it anything you want, but I
1 think that's the route we need to go because
2 right now, I mean, what happened in the last
3 several months has been, you know, very
4 haphazard and really you can see on the
5 programming on Channel 61 the Scranton Today
6 has been put in a very sad position that
7 they don't know what their future is other
8 than ECTV has been chosen, but there is
9 really no details in place, no one knows
10 when there is going to be agreement or when
11 it goes into effect, when the funding is
12 going to be there, how the funding is going
13 to be accomplished. I mean, they have asked
14 for a pretty significant amount of funding
15 which the city has never done in the past
16 and the first nine years the city gave
17 Scranton Today nothing and over the last
18 12 months there has been two separate grants
19 of 11 or $13,000 and then $20,000 that you
20 voted on last week, but they are looking for
21 a commitment of up to $313,000 for the first
22 year to get underway and there is really
23 no -- I'm not sure how that's going to
24 happen. I mean, there is nothing in the
25 budget to cover that. I mean, I don't see
1 how that's going to happen before the next
2 budget year, but I think the programming
3 suffering we really need a process in place.
4 I think now is the time to do is. There has
5 been enough experience over the last ten
6 years to kind of have a good grasp of what
7 things are and in Mr. Morgan's case, I mean,
8 if someone -- just not Mr. Morgan, but
9 anyone and who is to say what ideas someone
10 can come up with, someone can come up with
11 something completely original and if they
12 had an idea that would fulfill eight hours
13 of programming a day there should certainly
14 be a means to approach the city, present
15 their ideas and get an answer on whether
16 they can go to Comcast and request the
17 additional channel. But, again, I think the
18 only way to do that is to create an
19 ordinance that addresses those issues.
20 That's all I have. Thanks.
21 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you very much,
22 Mr. Osborne. Bill Jackowitz.
23 MR. JACKOWITZ: Good evening,
24 Mr. President. City council members, Bill
25 Jackowitz, South Scranton resident, member
1 of the Taxpayers' Association. Rules of
2 council, I have asked this question before,
3 do the Rules of Council apply to council
4 members or just speakers? I hope to get an
5 answer tonight so I can obey by the rules,
6 during motions please. When I speak at
7 council I provide as much information for
8 council to read so that they have a better
9 understanding of what I am saying. I try
10 not to say anything that I cannot back up.
11 Tonight I provided council with copies of my
12 retirement orders plus my DD-Form 214 which,
13 by the way, clearly states that I retired
14 under honorable conditions.
15 In the past I have criticized and
16 complimented city council. Councilman
17 Pocius, McTiernan, DiBileo, Courtright and
18 McGoff, also Attorney Minora. Councilwoman
19 Gatelli, Evans and Fanucci. Also
20 recommended a raise for Kay Garvey which she
21 did receive, good for you, Kay. I try not
22 to show any favorites. If I agree with you,
23 I say so. If I disagree with you, I also
24 say so. After thinking about it, I now
25 agree with President McGoff, we all have the
1 right to react to statements that are made
2 by speakers and also by council members.
3 The only difference that I see is when the
4 speakers try they are ruled out of order
5 while council members can go on and on
6 without any or interruptions from the chair
7 unless you happen to be Councilwoman Evans
8 which was proven on 8th April 2008.
9 Council members are allowed to
10 interrupt speakers or to makeup what if
11 stories about the speakers. Again, no
12 interruptions from the chair. Two weeks ago
13 on April 2008 is a perfect example.
14 Councilwoman Fanucci addressed me after I
15 had finished speaking. She stated,
16 "Mr. Jackowitz claims to be this wonderful
17 Army graduate or whatever he claims to be.
18 What if I said to him, 'I think he was
19 discharged from the Army dishonorably. I
20 think there is a problem here, this is not
22 My final minute time limit had
23 expired so I had to stand there without
24 having any chance to rebut what she was
25 saying, so I will tonight. Councilwoman
1 Fanucci, you are partially correct. I do
2 have wards and letters from the Army, which
3 I can prove. I have never been in the Army
4 only the Air Force for 20 years of active
5 military service. I have provided proof of
6 that tonight. If any council member still
7 has doubt I have many more documents in my
8 vehicle. I totally support Councilwoman
9 Fanucci's right to free speech, what I do
10 not support is the fact that she used my
11 military career as a stepping-stone to
12 discredit certain speakers who speak at city
13 council. She had no problem addressing me,
14 so why not address the speakers that she has
15 a problem with. She went on during the
16 speech to say that I am always respectful
17 and she has no problems with me, but as far
18 as I am concerned the damage was already
19 done when she mentioned my name along with a
20 dishonorable discharge. Council president
21 allowed this to go on.
22 Furthermore, I also agreed with
23 Councilwoman Gatelli that her family or
24 anybody's family should not be talked about.
25 When I say that you were not elected to get
1 family members and friends jobs I mean that.
2 Too many elected officials, family members
3 and friends have jobs now with the local
4 government. This is a fact. I also agree
5 with the statements that not everything
6 speakers say are accurate. I may add that
7 not everything council members say are
8 accurate either such as, "I will never vote
9 for any more borrowing, no vacant store
10 fronts in downtown Scranton, parks bring new
11 business to the city, I have no political
12 aspirations," and so on.
13 So as you can see it goes both ways.
14 Nobody is perfect, but I guess I am
15 wonderful. When I say that Scranton
16 unemployment rat is at 5.7 percent and we
17 are ranked third from the bottom in the
18 state, that is a fact. When I say that
19 93 percent of the firefighters voted and
20 91 percent voted no confidence in the chief
21 that is a fact. When I say the city has
22 been distressed for 60 years that is a fact.
23 When I say that there are more than 50 empty
24 store fronts in downtown Scranton, that is a
25 fact. When I say that kids should free swim
1 in city-owned pools, I believe that. When I
2 say that council members vote on issues not
3 knowing what they are voting on that has
4 been proven. When I say it is the economy,
5 stupid, look around, remember a guy named
6 Ross Perot, he was correct. The Clintons
7 and Bushes were wrong.
8 President McGoff has stated that
9 council members can either react verbally or
10 physically to comment on what speakers say
11 about them. I disagree. Maybe I am wrong,
12 but I hold elected officials to higher
13 standards. Going back in time to the late
14 60's, early 70's during the Vietnam
15 demonstrations and race riots I stood on
16 many of the riot control lines being spit
17 on, called a baby killer like millions of
18 MF's. I did not like it, but I took it.
19 Why, because I swore and oath of enlistment
20 just like elected officials swear an oath of
22 I have never asked anyone to vote
23 for me, nor have I accepted money to be
24 voted into an office to work for the people.
25 There are my opinions and facts, not what
1 if's. Clearly the official city council
2 record tonight and when you speak about a
3 person's career either past or present at
4 least choose your words correctly. You want
5 respect then earn that respect, speak to
6 whom you are speaking about.
7 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,
8 Mr. Jackowitz. Gary DiBileo.
9 MR. DIBILEO: Good evening, city
10 council. How are you tonight? As an
11 interested observer of meetings of late I
12 just wanted to come tonight and make a
13 couple of observations about a couple of
14 topics, and I think it would be a real shame
15 if the programming and the operations of
16 Channel 61 are taken away from Scranton
17 Today. I think that they have done an
18 excellent job over the last ten years for
19 virtually no cost to the taxpayers at really
20 educating the electorate and providing
21 public access TV. Now, as you know, cable
22 money has to be put -- is put into the
23 budget and it's used for paying the bills,
24 the light bill, and the cable company has to
25 provide a public access channel. Now, I
1 just don't understand how you or Mr. Doherty
2 could justify spending 1 million dollars of
3 taxpayer money at giving it to a new TV
4 company. Their proposal calls for taking
5 $300,000 out of the budget and giving it to
6 this company to build a TV studio which
7 doesn't exist right now and then over the
8 next four years giving them $200,000 per
9 year, so over the course of the next five
10 years that's $1 million of taxpayer money.
11 It's really not about education, it's about
12 public access and for anybody that has cable
13 TV there are 100 channels in some cases
14 maybe 200 channels of entertainment
15 programming, so I don't think the public
16 access TV station needs to be about
17 entertainment. So, you were elected to
18 protect the taxpayers and I think it's your
19 job to make sure that taxpayer money isn't
20 taken out of the budget to give to a company
21 to build a TV studio.
22 So, I ask you if you would do the
23 right thing and if someone tonight possibly
24 could make a motion to let Mr. Doherty know
25 that you don't approve of spending a million
1 dollars of taxpayer money to set up a new TV
2 station. Scranton Today is just a fabulous
3 company run by fabulous people and they can
4 do it virtually for a fraction of the cost.
5 Now, I don't know for sure, but I would say
6 that since they have received so little
7 money over the years that 10 percent of what
8 this new company is supposed to get might be
9 enough for Scranton Today to continue to
10 operate. So, no panel that's appointed by
11 Mr. Doherty should be able to spend taxpayer
12 money. I think that's responsibility and I
13 wish that you would look at this closely and
14 consider making a motion and protecting the
16 Another thing I'm very happy to see
17 is that the medical school is progressing
18 very well. I think that's going to be a
19 great thing for our community Thanks to
20 Senator Mellow and Governor Rendell and I
21 wish you would keep it going as best you
22 can, but let's make sure that nobody gets
23 hurt in the process and the thing is I would
24 hope that someone alternative low income
25 housing can be provided and recreational
1 facilities can be provided for anyone who is
2 going to be affected by the medical school,
3 but, of course we need the medical school
4 and I can't wait for it to come.
5 Lastly, election day is just one
6 week away and I would hope that everyone
7 exercises their right to vote for next
8 Tuesday, I encourage that, and on the local
9 level it seems that in talking to some
10 people that some voters seem to be
11 discouraged, that they say that, for
12 example, politicians say one thing yet do
13 another, they say that it seems that
14 politics is for the wealthy and not the
15 average person and they even say that it
16 seems like FBI raids on public facilities,
17 public offices are becoming commonplace in
18 our area these days so they wonder if it's
19 worth voting, so I would just encourage that
20 everyone vote, the only way to effect change
21 in this town and in this country is to vote,
22 keep on voting and vote in even greater
23 numbers and I thank you and have a good
25 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. DiBielo.
1 Mike Ferguson.
2 MR. FERGUSON: Good evening, Council.
3 My name is Michael Ferguson, I'm a Scranton
4 taxpayer and resident. Our city has seen
5 college students come and go, most students
6 from the University of Scranton, Marywood
7 University, go into out of area or
8 out-of-state employment to further their
10 As semesters from both the
11 universities wind down we can expect yet
12 another population decline. It seems that
13 our city is surviving off or our students
14 population. Where would Scranton be without
15 our universities and night clubs? Scranton
16 has six well-respected night clubs in our
17 downtown and now Scranton leaders voted to
18 establish a smoking ban. Why enjoy
19 something and just destroy it. What part of
20 illegal do council members not understand?
21 Haven't you learned your lesson the first
22 time around?
23 According to MySpace.com
24 Pennsylvania residents have signed a
25 petition to stop the ban. As of April 9,
1 2008, 472,000 people including residents
2 from Ohio has signed the petition. I find
3 it laughable that the same high school
4 students that claim they brought the idea to
5 city council first are the same ones that
6 have the highest percentage of smokers.
7 Smoking can't be that bad, can it, Mr.
9 Our city needs to pay attention to
10 those who matter the most. Our men and
11 women of the Scranton Fire Department. For
12 far too long our council has played to the
13 tune of Mr. Doherty's trumpet. Council
14 members must put their political lives on
15 the line and press Mr. Doherty to sit down
16 with unions and agree to the new contract.
17 How hard is it to sit down and listen and
19 I must applaud Mr. Doherty, however,
20 for putting $10 million into our zoo. Our
21 zoo was once on the worst zoos in the
22 nations list. It is time to bring it back
23 from the dead.
24 Our downtown roads are far worse
25 than roads in most cities like Allentown
1 which was rated as the most deplorable roads
2 in the state. I hope this sends a message
3 to the mayor, DPW and especially city
5 Finally, let's take care of the
6 establishments we do have, particularly our
7 night clubs. Remember what I said before,
8 we couldn't be electric without our spark.
9 Night life brings business, business brings
10 tourism, catching on yet? We need to
11 rebuild our night life with our without a
12 smoking ban. Our downtown is changing,
13 which is good, but our night life is dying.
14 If we don't save our night life we could
15 safely say the 200 to $300 million
16 Mr. Doherty brought into Scranton was for
18 As 2009 nears I can envision a new
19 mayor, three new council members and a new
20 tax collector. Right, Mr. Courtright?
21 Thank you.
22 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Ferguson.
23 Reverend Simmons.
24 MS. SIMMONS: Good evening, Council
25 members and Junior Council members. I'm
1 Reverend Katherine Simmons of Florence
2 Midtown Crime Watch and I have come tonight
3 to talk to you about an issue that
4 apparently has been overlooked by this
5 council for this past year. I know that
6 when the announcement of a local medical
7 school was issued many were excited and
8 accepting of a new future for this area.
9 However, if a positive plan is not done
10 appropriately then the true cluster of evil
11 begins to rear it's head, and so it is
12 happening here. I have known for a long
13 time that those replaced in the political
14 seats of this beloved city are not really
15 concerned with the maintenance of the black
16 culture or the rise of the economically
17 disadvantaged to a more liveable status, but
18 I never believed that those elected would be
19 so arrogant as to say to a total
20 neighborhood community, and I quote, "You
21 have absolutely no business here, get out."
22 In the area known as Florence Midtown
23 apartments we were promised some 30 years
24 ago that if we allowed the destruction of
25 the then neighborhood we would receive a
1 newer, safer and more protected community.
2 Now, we are being told that what little
3 cultural history we have left is again to be
4 destroyed and we are to be sent on our way.
5 This has me very emotional, as you can tell.
6 The other day someone told me that we are
7 not the only neighborhood in the city to be
8 torn down and we built. Well, I say here
9 tonight, my arrogant friend, we are not
10 being rebuilt just destroyed. This
11 community is a loving complex with good
12 neighbors and areas left to teach our
13 children about their past. If you walk up
14 Adams Avenue through the complex you will
15 hear the voices of the Williams, the
16 Parkers, the Greenes, the Wilsons, etcetera.
17 Now there is to be nothing left and we have
18 no participation in any attempt to save at
19 least part of it. We at Florence Midtown
20 are not against a medical school, never have
21 been. We are against the way it is being
22 done and we will fight to the end to make
23 sure you do not destroy the very souls this
24 school is to try and heal.
25 I know that city council is not
1 representative of the minority citizens, the
2 economic disadvantaged or union members.
3 Proof, a union rally three weeks ago and not
4 one soul from this council came to support
5 the nurses, but yet you want a medical
6 school built. Not one of you have contacted
7 myself or Mr. Scelara concerning the
8 problems facing our tenants if this complex
9 is indeed sold. No one has approached the
10 African American community, the biracial
11 community or the Indian community to discuss
12 the total destruction of this historical
13 area that was left from the last attempt to
14 rid the city of minorities and poor. I
15 would keep this for future reference.
16 Yes, our cultural history is
17 different, our economic status is different,
18 but we have one thing in common, we vote,
19 and you may need our votes some day to
20 maintain your seats, perhaps it is time that
21 a truly culturally diverse, economically
22 literate and unionized council take seat and
23 really represent this city.
24 As I go to my seat let me say, I
25 keep hearing what a wonderful addition this
1 medical college will be to this area.
2 Pardon me if I ask a question this evening,
3 if an area surrounded by high-rises that
4 house the elderly and the disadvantaged both
5 sides of a shelter that houses homeless, why
6 is this area so important, but pardon me if
7 I answer this myself, they do need cadavers,
8 don't they?
9 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Reverend
10 Simmons. The next name, John Scelara.
11 MR. SCELARA: Good evening, ladies
12 and gentlemen, council members. My name is
13 John Scelara, I'm a life-long resident of
14 Scranton presently residing at the Midtown
15 Florence apartment complex on Adams Avenue.
16 I am also the current president of the
17 Midtown Florence tenant council, but even
18 more important than that I am a veteran of
19 the Vietnam and a disabled veteran of the
20 Desert Storm. Throughout our history, the
21 returning veterans was told he or she would
22 have some choices with regards to where a
23 veteran decides to reside. Other veterans
24 along with our families live to call Midtown
25 Apartments home. We all made the choice
1 because of affordable housing and location.
2 Now we are being told that a medical school
3 is being built in our backyard. The school
4 will either replace the building I reside in
5 with classrooms and labs. The mayor has
6 said this is good for Scranton, this is
7 progress. My questions are this: How is
8 putting any veteran and a family out of a
9 dwelling and neighborhood good for Scranton?
10 How is it that maybe another veteran --
11 making another veteran homeless can be
12 called progress? While growing up as a
13 young boy and then a young man I listened to
14 our city leaders and others say how much
15 need there was for low income housing and
16 today there is still not enough low income
17 housing for our aging Korean War and Vietnam
18 conflict vets. Some of our Desert Shield,
19 Desert Storm veterans have reached their
20 late 50's and are fast approaching 60's.
21 No, I say again, no. Members of council, we
22 do not need to be tearing down the Midtowns
23 of our town, they are needed. Thank you.
24 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. Andy
1 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,
2 citizen of Scranton, fellow Scrantonians, I
3 know you are going to table 6-A, but it
4 brings up an important question and the
5 question just like the question last week
6 with the social security numbers, how did
7 this get on the agenda? How did it get
8 there? Who called up? I was told that the
9 president of the Lackawanna County College
10 called he said the article in the paper said
11 that and not anything to do with actually
12 the medical school, and this is important to
13 find out who called up and got this piece of
14 legislation on the agenda, that's where you
15 have to investigate. Social security
16 numbers, the FBI will take care of that and
17 the D.A., too, but this is important. Who
18 has that much political pull to call up and
19 have something put on the agenda without
20 even telling the people involved that they
21 were going to do it? There is something
22 wrong in this city and if you don't see it,
23 you are blind. You got your head in the
24 sand, you had it in the sand, you are
25 destroying this city. There is 300 families
1 there. When this first came up I said the
2 place to put this was over at the
3 University. As this progressed, it's still
4 no longer anything really, it's a premed
5 school two years and then they go somewhere
6 else. That's it. It's a two-year school
7 now and then it goes out somewhere else. It
8 could have been placed on the University,
9 but then they wouldn't have control of the
10 money and probably control of the project.
11 This is a money game. It has nothing to
12 with a medical school, it's a money deal,
13 spending government money, your and I,
14 everybody's money what little or no
15 advantage to the city.
16 But really a medical school should
17 have been placed at the university and
18 pre-med should have been there anyway. You
19 have nothing to with the school board, but
20 if you went up there and looked at the
21 playground there is a million dollars worth
22 of development on that ground that they sold
23 for a million dollars, plus it's a kid's
24 park but why care about the children of
25 Scranton? We want them to pay to go
1 swimming, we want them to do everything.
2 All they have to do now is just be here,
3 that's it. We are going to destroy their
4 parks. This administration has a process of
5 destroying all of the city parks other than
6 Nay Aug. We lost the South Side Complex
7 essential housing area. Them little kids
8 could play in the river, why not? The worst
9 they can do is drown, who cares then, right,
10 they are only little kids, but you sat --
11 you didn't do it, but the council before
12 you, I think two before you sat there and
13 did that with no regard to the children of
14 the city and this playground that they are
15 taking away from the children you have no
16 regard again for the kids that live in that
17 neighborhood probably because they are poor,
18 why should we care about the poor, they
19 don't pay taxes all they do is exist.
20 This administration does not care
21 about the poor of this city, they showed
22 that when they stopped that project in town
23 for drywall not being placed where it should
24 have been placed and nobody knows if that
25 was legal or not legal, but the main thing
1 is they wanted the people out there. There
2 is somebody that wants to acquire all of
3 that land that has tremendous political
4 power in this city and they are using their
5 influence to drive out the poor. Who it may
6 be, I don't know, but whoever it is you got
7 to find out who put this piece of
8 legislation before you. It made you look
9 like fools. It actually did, to put
10 something like that before you and then they
11 pull the rug out of you.
12 Let's go with the 7-G before I get
13 hearing too much about that because this is
14 important, too. You got to follow the money
15 chair. If this is going to the SRA for
16 one million you got to follow -- if you
17 approve his there is two things you got to
18 do, you got to see how much the SRA actually
19 paid the city, how much we got, and when
20 they sold the contracts to NCC entities that
21 are there how much they received from that
22 entity because this could be a shell game
23 and this administration is very good on
24 shell games, moving money one place to
25 another place to another place, selling the
1 DPW sites continually just so they can build
2 up a reserve found and pay off these bonds,
3 well, eventually it is going to collapse and
4 you have appointed it. I just hope they
5 pass a law down in Harrisburg that holds all
6 public officials responsible for their
7 actions. Then half these things would never
8 come before you because you know you would
9 liable for them. Thank you.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,
11 Mr. Sbaraglia. Ozzie Quinn.
12 MR. QUINN: Ozzie Quinn, President
13 of the Scranton/Lackawanna County Taxpayers'
14 Association. Good evening. Tonight you
15 went through "B" applications, decisions
16 rendered by the Zoning Hearing Board held on
17 April 9, 2008, without even a wink. If you
18 were at that zoning board you would know
19 that they did something that is going to
20 cause a lot of havoc in the City of
21 Scranton. They approved three to two,
22 Mrs. Cook voted against it, she was one of
23 them, 3 to 2 to allow a variance in a 1-A,
24 R-1-A zone. You just don't do it. You just
25 don't put a business in an R-1-A zone unless
1 it's in exceptional condition. Now, I
2 called Harrisburg, Harrisburg told me that's
3 insane. So, this is what you are doing with
4 ECTV, you are taking them and you are
5 putting them in a R-1-A zone. I was around
6 and Judy you was around when the Hill
7 Neighborhood Association and what was going
8 on up in the hill and what the planned zone
9 was that from Vine Street up would be 1-A so
10 people could not use commercial enterprises,
11 people could not take single homes and make
12 them into multi-family, that way they could
13 stop that residential blight from keeping on
14 increasing in the Hill Neighborhood.
15 Now, ECTV asks for an unnecessary
16 hump, they said they wanted a variation -- a
17 variance and they said because of a
18 hardship, okay? Well, it's an unnecessary
19 hardship, you know, they put it upon
20 themselves by asking to go up there, by
21 doing that they are not allowed a variance.
22 Mr. Neveroski and Mr. Ungvarsky spoke about,
23 Mr. Ungvarsky is a member of the Hill and
24 they spoke about how it's going to ruin the
25 neighborhood, which I said by allowing that
1 variance. Once you set that precedent, and
2 Attorney Minora will tell you, in law you
3 have set something that's going to keep on
4 going and going again and you are going to
5 back to the old zoning, you are going to
6 have spot zoning all over the city.
7 Now, I believe that this ECTV along
8 with Mayor Doherty, okay, is a conspiracy
9 along with city council members, some city
10 council members, three of you, the zoning
11 board and Mr. Monsure to get Scranton Today
12 the hell out of here, there is no doubt in
13 my mind. They have approved with an RFP
14 which you never saw before in the history of
15 the City of Scranton presented by the mayor
16 that gives them in their proposal the mayor
17 approved $1 million as a previous speaker
18 said. That $1 million has to come from
19 Comcast monies, 25 percent they are asking
20 of Comcast money each year. Now, I want to
21 explain something, that money has to be
22 transferred then by the city council; am I
23 correct? And it has to be transferred from
24 Comcast over to ECTV, please do not do it,
25 okay? We got something up there that we are
1 paying not a red cent by the taxpayers and
2 you want to put $1 million on a city that is
3 so far in debt, over a quarter of a million
4 dollars in long-term debt, you want to give
5 them $1 million. What a conspiracy. What a
6 way to get rid of Scranton Today. You ought
7 to be ashamed of yourself and the way that
8 you are presenting this here to the people
9 of the city and you are expect to ram it
10 down their throats. It's ashame,
11 it's unbelievable that you can do that and
12 I'm sorry that Mr. Monsure is part of this.
13 He is running a nonprofit and he wants to
14 get them in that building so they will eat
15 and keep is winterized all winter and he
16 won't have to pay for that. Okay? They
17 want high-tech, high digital equipment
18 without any bid, okay? Would Comcast carry
19 that type of electronic equipment? High
20 digital and HD, okay, and they won't allow
21 that, and why should they go out and just do
22 this without any bids? What do we forget?
23 We forget about bids in the City of
24 Scranton? It's ashame and, city council,
25 you got to put a stop to this as the
1 previous speaker said. You got to put a
2 stop to it. You three people got to stand
3 -- not you, Bill, you three people got to
4 stand up and say, "It's the end of it.
5 Mayor Doherty you are killing Scranton."
6 You don't have to be a financial
7 wizard to know that you are doing things to
8 get rid of Scranton today for his election.
9 He does not like what's going on through
10 that 61 camera, it's obvious.
11 Sorry. On the other thing here is
12 7-F you do not need a solicitor in Human
13 Relations Commission. I do not know that
14 attorney, I'm sure he is a great attorney,
15 but $95 an hour just for not winning cases I
16 don't know what's going on. Thank you.
17 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Quinn.
18 Les Spindler.
19 MR. SPINDLER: Good evening, Council,
20 Les Spindler, city resident. I'm so glad
21 Mr. DiBileo came tonight because he
22 enlightened me about something I was unaware
23 of, Chris Doherty wants to give the new
24 company a million dollars over five years,
25 well, our firefighters and police men and
1 woman haven't had a raise for six years and
2 he has a million dollars to throw into this
3 TV station and Ozzie Quinn is right, it's
4 just a conspiracy because he doesn't want us
5 talking here while he is running for
6 reelection next year. This is nothing but a
7 conspiracy, but, again, we have a million
8 dollars to throw in a TV station, but not a
9 penny for firefighters and policemen.
10 That's wake up, Council, and do what's right
11 for a change, all right, and not listen to
12 what Chris Doherty tells you to do. I'm not
13 talking to Mr. Courtright or Mrs. Evans
15 Okay, last week, Mrs. Fanucci, I
16 asked if you went to the fundraiser if you
17 had paid for it and you said do I go to a
18 bar and pay for my drinks. What does one
19 thing have to do with to another? I'm not
20 an elected official. If you get invited to
21 a fundraiser you are expected to pay and on
22 that subject again you are all Democrats up
23 there. It was a Democrat fundraiser why
24 were only three people invited? That reeks
25 of impropriety and I think it might even be
1 an ethics violation because you people
2 receive gifts not -- you people that's like
3 a gift going to a fundraiser and not paying
4 and if I can get the phone number for the
5 Ethics Board I will be giving them a phone
7 MS. FANUCCI: I'll be happy to give
8 it to you after the meeting, Mr. Spindler.
9 MR. SPINDLER: I won't be staying
10 that long. Next thing, last week I was
11 driving by the Robeson house and I saw about
12 30 people fixing it up, later on I learned
13 it was off-duty firemen doing what Captain
14 Robeson started, they were finished
15 remodeling his house. I think that was a
16 very honorable thing they did and I just
17 commend the firefighters on their work and
18 it shows the comradery they have in their
19 union and they deserve a raise.
20 Next thing, last Saturday a citizen
21 came up to me and he said he rides his bike
22 up on the upper Lackawanna Avenue bridge,
23 the one past the U-Haul and he said he can't
24 ride, the sidewalks are caved right in,
25 Mr. Courtright, I don't know if you go up
1 that way or not, when I went by it's
2 disastrous. The sidewalks are broken in
3 half, they are caved in, I don't know if
4 that's PennDOT or if that's the city but
5 something has to be done with those
6 sidewalks. It's a really safety hazard.
7 The next thing, Mrs. Evans, thank you
8 for having that hole fixed on Franklin
9 Avenue, but they didn't do it correctly.
10 Already you can see a little depression how
11 it's sinking in, all they did was fill it
12 in, fill it in. There is a void underneath
13 there, until that void is filled in that's
14 going to keep sinking and I said that, hey,
15 I said, there is a void underground you can
16 see right in it. So, if we can maybe have
17 them look into that again.
18 MS. EVANS: Okay.
19 MR. SPINDLER: Thank you.
20 Mr. McGoff, last week you gave Mrs. Evans a
21 hard time about speaking, but you let
22 Mrs. Fanucci interrupt Mr. Williams and
23 didn't say a word to her. So, you have to
24 stop discriminating, Mr. McGoff, and treat
25 everybody up there equally. Thank you.
1 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Spindler.
2 Brett McCloe.
3 MR. MCCLOE: Good evening. My name
4 is Brett McCloe, Scranton taxpayer,
5 homeowner. Next Tuesday Pennsylvania
6 primaries will be held and I encourage
7 everyone who is registered to vote to
8 realize the importance of doing so. We must
9 all go out to vote. It's important to
10 believe that your vote counts. It's
11 important also to believe that America
12 starts here because as the saying goes all
13 politics is local. This fact has been
14 demonstrated this weekend by Mr. Doherty and
15 others who all of a sudden decided to
16 champion the everyday hard-working,
17 overtaxed and underpaid citizens of
18 Scranton. I applaud them all for their
19 hypocrisy, your gesture will be duly noted
20 with every piece of oppressive legislation
21 you will pass this year. Despite
22 Mr. Doherty's objection to Mr. Obama's
23 perceived insensitive statements about small
24 town America, elitism is alive and well in
25 Scranton, Pennsylvania, it always has been
1 and Mr. Doherty's vision of Scranton's
2 future depends on bringing in elites to fill
3 up these conduits in downtown Scranton.
4 Better, not bitter, is just a fanciful
5 slogan. We need to be bitter about
6 nepotism. We need to be bitter about
7 cronyism, classism, economic racism.
8 Elitists are here in Scranton. Elitists are
9 a part of our local government. To all of a
10 sudden believe that somehow our mayor is not
11 an elitist is insane. The same insanity
12 that allows us to vote for the same people
13 over and over again and expect different
14 results. I'm not going to say what
15 Mr. Obama said was right or the way he said
16 it was acceptable, but what I will say is
17 Mr. Doherty was very hypocritical and wrong
18 to champion the cause of the everyday man
19 and woman of Scranton, Pennsylvania. Like
20 bowling on gravel I'm not expecting my
21 message to get a strike, I'm not expecting
22 the essence of my message will get through
23 because most people have seem to have
24 already made up their minds and demonize
25 bitter truth.
1 I guess all I really want to say is
2 just take a look around, all politics is
3 local. Look for the truth within the insult
4 and above all vote. Thank you.
5 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. McCloe.
6 Gerry Knight.
7 MS. KNIGHT: Good evening,
8 Mrs. Evans, how are you tonight? I'm here
9 tonight on a problem that I received this
10 afternoon while I was out on my recorder, on
11 my telephone. I got a threatening call from
12 someone in this place that I am not allowed
13 to come here anymore and I should shut my
14 big mouth and they don't like me. Well,
15 it's too darn bad. You don't like me, you
16 don't have to like me. I don't ask you to,
17 but I'll be dammed if I'm not going to speak
18 my freedom first, so you keep your mouth
19 shut, Courtright.
20 MR. MCGOFF: I'm Mr. McGoff.
21 MR. KNIGHT: You just shut up, it's
22 my five minutes. If there is any man in
23 this room that has the backbone --
24 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Knight -- Mrs.
25 Knight, you need to address council not --
1 MS. KNIGHT: And anybody in this room
2 that is the man or the thing, the lowest
3 crawling creepiest thing that called me
4 today that didn't even leave his name and
5 said to me I better watch out, I have to be
6 afraid. I'm not afraid of any man in this
7 whole God Damn world.
8 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Knight --
9 MS. KNIGHT: I know God damn is not
11 MR. MCGOFF: Please --
12 MS. KNIGHT: But I'm not tired of
13 this. That you have to -- you have to be --
14 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Knight,
15 Mrs. Knight, again, you have a right to
16 address council.
17 MS. KNIGHT: I'll counsel you. You
18 don't know what it is to counsel, that's
19 your whole darn problem. You three think
20 it's funny and you, Sherry, you are the one
21 that brought it up the other week, we are
22 supposed to be a happy family here, but when
23 somebody talks about you, you rip into them
24 like you want to tear them apart and you,
25 too, Judy, you are the same way, you both
1 got the same attitude, but Mr. McGoff when
2 they act up you don't pound your hand down
3 or point your finger.
4 MS. GATELLI: Yes, he does.
5 MS. KNIGHT: And I'll tell you one
6 thing, whoever called me today he better
7 stand up because I want him to --
8 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Knight --
9 MS. KNIGHT: -- face me face to face
10 and tell me exactly what he means. If he
11 has got the bones, back bones to do it and
12 if not he is the most lowest piece of --
13 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Knight, you made
14 your point.
15 MS. KNIGHT: I made my point. I
16 don't think I made my point because if this
17 man was big enough he would stand up and my
18 phone number is unlisted so I'd like to know
19 how the heck this man got my phone number,
20 so it didn't come from somebody in council
21 that might have had some connection -- yeah,
22 talk to him, talk to him, Sherry.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Knight.
24 MS. KNIGHT: You write him notes back
25 and forth, you are like two little kids off.
1 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Knight, we are
2 getting off city business.
3 MS. KNIGHT: Oh, you don't even know
4 how to run council yet.
5 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.
6 MS. KNIGHT: And I wish the hell they
7 could revote the vote the whole three of you
9 MR. MCGOFF: Please. Candace
11 MS. MCCOLLIGAN: Candace McColligan,
12 Scranton resident. Elliott Brown of the New
13 York Sun was happy to report that in 2007
14 New York City's bond rating increased to AA,
15 the third highest rating available and a
16 record high for that city. This was a huge
17 turn around from the late 1970's when the
18 city had no bond rating at all and nearly
19 went bankrupt? Sound familiar. It took
20 prudent fiscal planning and outstanding
21 management of finances to turn that city
22 around and for it to recover from a time
23 when the city was swimming in debt. The
24 problems arose from administrations who
25 relied on debt to finance operations which
1 only supported the downward spiral that that
2 city was facing. Again, sound familiar?
3 In Scranton this situation is all
4 too close to home except we are doing the
5 exact opposite of what New York has been
6 able to accomplish. Our bond rating is not
7 increasing, it has continued to diminish
8 under this mayor, being downgraded even
9 further recently. How can we look to this
10 mayor and feel that he is doing what is best
11 for this city when the world foremost
12 provider of independent credit ratings has
13 shown no competence in the financial
14 management found here.
15 If this mayor is doing such a great
16 job, why isn't our bond rating increasing as
17 one would expect under excellent leadership?
18 I suspect the bond rating is an accurate
19 reflection of what is really happening, too
20 much spending, no priority placed on paying
21 down debt, and decision making based on
22 political gain, rather than in the interest
23 of the taxpayers, whose numbers I might add,
24 are dwindling, yet another confusing sign
25 for a city that is supposedly becoming more
1 not less attractive. Unfortunately, it does
2 at appear that the people of this city,
3 whose eyes are opened to the problems around
4 them, have anyone on their side who can or
5 will do what is right and put it an end to
6 too much borrowing and too much spending.
7 When I last spoke about the problems
8 I see in the actions of the mayor and how
9 they violated the wording of the Recovery
10 Plan it appears that the answer was that PEL
11 says it's okay. Since when does anyone need
12 PEL to define what is right and wrong,
13 ethical or moral? I certainly don't. If
14 each of you reads the Recovery Plan and
15 looks openly at the raises given by this
16 administration, it's obvious that this mayor
17 doesn't even hold respect for a plan he had
18 a hand in writing. How much respect should
19 we expect him to have for anything if that's
20 the case? If he is willing to blatantly
21 violated his own language and do so with no
22 remorse for his actions is there anything
23 that he will follow, anything we could
24 possibly believe we could trust him with or
25 will he do whatever he wants because he
1 knows this council will not stand up and
2 expose his wrongdoing?
3 Just because DCED or PEL, who are
4 being paid for their opinion, will not stand
5 up doesn't mean that the rest of you should
6 turn a blind eye. No one should do what is
7 right solely for a fear of punishment
8 otherwise and no one should do what is wrong
9 solely because they know they will not be
10 held accountable for those actions. You
11 cannot expect legal standards to replace
12 ethical ones. You cannot expect that if you
13 say you are doing what is best for us we
14 will believe you when your actions so
15 obviously show otherwise. You will never
16 get respect if your actions are not
18 If you can't think independently
19 then don't parade yourself as a public
20 servant because most of you are doing many
21 things, but few of them seem to be motivated
22 by serving public interests. We expect more
23 of our government officials because that is
24 what they owe to us, and that is what Mayor
25 Chris Doherty owes us and that is what you
1 owe us and nothing less. Thank you.
2 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs.
3 McColligan. David Dobson.
4 MR. DOBSON: Good evening, Council,
5 Dave Dobson, resident of Scranton, Taxpayer
6 Association Associate and a final comment, I
7 don't see anything on here as to the
8 proposals that were entered last week on
9 Channel 61's behalf and Scranton Today, but
10 much has been said tonight so I'll make that
11 part brief.
12 Much of the equipment that has been
13 proposed and purchased of this equipment is
14 over qualified and over quality for the
15 application. It's very expensive and very
16 few people will benefit for a number of
17 years and, furthermore, it may be obsolete
18 before most of the viewers can benefit.
19 It's all high definition equipment and it's
20 basically you won't see a high definition TV
21 in most households for years.
22 On 7-C, very concerning, certainly
23 taxes need to be paid and collected, in
24 realizing that please review and correct
25 back collection practices, amend them, so
1 that the penalties are more equitable for
2 all. In the past comments have been made
3 that were overbuild, I heard it by
4 officials, and this is a reckless statement,
5 his opinion is obsolete. High population
6 densities are more fuel efficient, more
7 suitable for mass transit and eventually the
8 suburbs will wither, 50-mile commutes are
9 causing the greater energy consumption and
10 greenhouse gases, let's be ready for an
12 Down at the Scranton Library there
13 is a great deal of wonderful documentaries
14 on some of these subjects, "The
15 Corporation," Extreme Wealth" and "Death to
16 the Suburbs" to mention just a few and if
17 you ever obtain these DVD's and tapes and
18 view them you will plainly see that the
19 future is in the city, but we have to
20 realize that as Scrantonians and start to
21 invest and keep our closets clean so that
22 when the influx comes we are ready for it
23 and can be a positive influence on the city.
24 Thank you and have a good night.
25 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Dobson.
1 Charlie Newcomb.
2 MR. NEWCOMB: Good evening to all
3 council members. I just wanted to touch on
4 two topics. First topic I want to talk
5 about I was sitting at home last week and I
6 seen the discussion that was brought up to
7 you the Single Tax Office and the only thing
8 I would like to say about that I am appalled
9 as a taxpayer, the only person I feel that
10 should -- anything should be done to right
11 now is if there was some wrongdoing with the
12 checks that were brought in front of you,
13 I'm sure that will taken care of at a later
14 time with the FBI or something else, but I
15 will tell you what, I want to call, I want
16 to use the word mole, I want to use the word
17 whatever you want to use, whoever faxed that
18 paperwork over to Mr. Williams I feel it
19 violated the law, should definitely be fired
20 and maybe put in prison that's what I would
21 like to say about that and end that.
22 And I think Mrs. Gatelli mentioned
23 it a couple of weeks ago, there is lot of
24 people that come to the podium here and
25 claim to be taxpayers and homeowners, but if
1 you do some investigation you will find out
2 that they are neither, but I want to clear
3 up a little bit about this 25 percent tax
4 increase that we have been hearing for year
5 after year after month after month after
7 In front of myself I have mine, I
8 repeat my own tax bills, and I'm just going
9 to go back a little bit here from -- I'm
10 going to start with 1999, we purchased our
11 home, our home was built in 1982. My first
12 tax bill that was $1,200 when I bought the
13 home, I'm not going to go through all of the
14 years, but I'm just going with '07 and '08,
15 I just gave you '99 the first year, $1,200.
16 In 2007 my total taxes were $2,044 and
17 in 2008 for this year my real estate bill
18 was $2,139,98. My whole city tax is
19 $247.55. For my land tax, my city
20 improvement is $215.35 for a total of
21 $462.90, that had one increase of my
22 25 percent increase when we issued it and it
23 caused by taxes to go up $74.40 which was my
25 My whole Lackawanna County tax,
1 which we did have a 48 percent tax increase
2 there a few years ago, my whole county tax
3 is $437.98. Last year's school tax was
4 $1,064.16, this year's school tax for 2008
5 was$1,197.60. All of these increases for
6 all of these years all come from the school
7 district. My taxes average like $96 a year
8 as I bought the house that went up. The
9 City of Scranton's taxes are very, very low
10 when you look at, I mean, no one appreciates
11 a 25 percent tax increase, but I wish the
12 taxpayers would realize out there it's not
13 the City of Scranton, most of your money is
14 paid to the school districts.
15 And just a little bit on that end,
16 whoever negotiated that contract for our
17 taxes for the school district for the
18 teachers paying $8,000 a year I think we are
19 going to be in trouble next year or so which
20 nobody should ever pay $8,000, whoever
21 negotiated that contract was a very, very
22 bad union official, but just take into
23 consideration in your taxes that I just gave
24 you these figures, next year I believe they
25 said in June of this year unless there is
1 something held we should be getting our
2 Lackawanna County Reassessment bills with an
3 average, so next year maybe your Lackawanna
4 County tax will go up, but I just wanted to
5 clear up this 25 percent increase and I
6 don't -- people should be down there
7 screaming at the school board meetings more
8 than, like I said, my taxes were $1,200 in
9 1999, they are $2,100 in 2008, and only $74
10 and $106 of that were raised between the
11 county and the school, all -- I'm sorry, the
12 county and the city, all the rest of these
13 taxes are paid to the Scranton School
14 District, so I think the council is getting
15 a lot of abuse for something that is very,
16 very trivial and people should really be
17 looking at their school taxes because that's
18 what -- if we don't get money from the
19 gambling down the road our taxes are going
20 to be a lot higher than what they are now,
21 so everybody please look at that and
22 everybody comes up here and screaming and
23 blaming the same three council people for
24 the 25 percent tax increase, you should be
25 at the school board meetings because,
1 believe, me every year you pay more than
2 25 percent. Thank you.
3 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Newcombe.
4 Jim Stucker.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: Jim, before you say
6 something can I just say something? Last
7 week when I said I would look for money for
8 you, people e-mailed me and people came to
9 me and gave me money for you because they
10 said week after week you came and you said
11 you cut the mayor's hedges and he didn't pay
12 you, so they want to give you some money, so
13 I'm going to give it to Neil, all right, and
14 so -- not all of it, but it's what they
15 gave, okay?
16 MR. STUCKER: All right. No problem.
17 Thank you.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: You are welcome.
19 MR. STUCKER: I have little problems
20 where I live, across the street on the top
21 the hill there is a white church, there is a
22 house there, big rats in the back, a guy has
23 a truck up there, a pickup, he seen rats and
24 you see a lot of skunks up there, they are
25 not doing nothing with that building and
1 there is a couch, a bunch of cars, I walked
2 around there the other day, up at alley and
3 they seen it all and beyond that my own
4 landlord he bought that lot across the
5 street, but where he is at he had people --
6 people had parties up on the top, by the
7 wooden fencing, Joe the maintenance guy tore
8 it up, throw it back in the yard so he
9 bought the hall out, John Massa, and there
10 is -- behind the pizza shop yesterday they
11 cleaned that up back there, remember I told
12 you about it, they cleaned it up yesterday,
13 all the leaves and grass, the brush and
14 everything back there, so I have been
15 looking around for a lot of goings on, you
16 know, and expect things so I come back and
17 tell you.
18 MR. MCGOFF: We appreciate your
19 efforts, Jim.
20 MR. STUCKER: I'm moving in two
21 weeks, so maybe I don't know how long I will
22 be moving, so I'll be in the City of
23 Scranton on Adams and Mulberry.
24 Mrs. Fanucci, you have the right to do what
25 you want. It's your money, if you want to
1 go to the bar and have a beer. No, it's
2 your business.
3 MS. FANUCCI: Thank you.
4 MR. STUCKER: Yeah. All right?
5 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Jim.
6 MR. STUCKER: Thank you. I'm
7 waiting for my ride for Pat, I called him up
8 Parrot Avenue he told me leave it on his --
9 on his phone, he is supposed to come and
10 pick me up between 8:30, I don't know what
11 time he is going to be pick me up, he said
12 he was.
13 MR. MCGOFF: I'm sure he will be here
15 MR. STUCKER: He told me to leave it
16 on TV, he's a hard worker, he works at the
17 airport, the Wilkes-Barre airport. He is up
18 there working everyday, so -- I'll be
19 working for John Masure a little bit and I
20 worked up in Dunmore for that guy at the
21 drugstore, Joe his name is. I worked up
22 there cleaning his yard Saturday, he paid me
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: Good. Good, Jim.
25 MR. MCGOFF: All right.
1 MR. STUCKER: In the middle of that
2 -- in the middle where the laundry mat is
3 they didn't pick them leaves up yet the
4 city, will you please take pictures of that
5 and have the city over there do that,
7 MR. MCGOFF: Someone will contact
8 DPW and look into that.
9 MR. STUCKER: And behind the bar
10 where the bar is in the back the paper and
11 glass is still there, bottles and everything
12 there, all right.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Jim.
14 MR. STUCKER: Have a good night.
15 MR. MCGOFF: You, too. Other
17 MS. SCHUMACHER: Marie Schumacher,
18 resident of Scranton and member of the
19 Scranton Lackawanna County Taxypayers'
20 Association. I'd like it start off by
21 saying thank goodness for Nelson who noticed
22 what nobody else on council seemed to have
23 noticed regarding the Midtown apartments,
24 that will result in that ordinance being
25 tabled tonight I trust.
1 Two weeks ago Mr. Courtright
2 suggested I write to Solicitor Minora
3 regarding why the Home Rule Charter Section
4 312 does not mean what it says and, in fact,
5 investigations cannot be performed. I wrote
6 him a letter on the 4th of April and with
7 your permission, Mr. McGoff, I'd like to ask
8 Mr. Minora when I could expect a response?
9 MR. MCGOFF: Yes, you may.
10 MR. MINORA: I never received your
11 letter. Where did you send it?
12 MS. SCHUMACHER: I sent it in care
13 of Kay Garvey, city clerk, as per
14 Mr. Courtright's instructions.
15 MS. GARVEY: It's probably in the
17 MR. MINORA: I'll take a look at it.
18 MS. SCHUMACHER: Thank you. Next,
19 it's been a month since a special emergency
20 meeting was called by the Scranton school
21 board regarding the pot of gold that was
22 found at the Single Tax Office or actually
23 more specifically in Dunmore at Fidelity
24 Bank, I would like to know, I have checked
25 the paper, has a forensic auditor been hired
1 to perform this audit that was --
2 MS. EVANS: Would you like a
4 MS. SCHUMACHER: Yes, please.
5 MS. EVANS: Not that I know of, we
6 are trying to schedule a public meeting with
7 Attorney McGovern and Mrs. Vitale, we are
8 running into some problems there in that
9 Attorney McGovern is not anxious to become
10 involved in a public caucus of city council,
11 but it's my feeling at least that that is
12 how the meeting should be conducted because
13 this is the people's money, so Mr. McGoff is
14 going to be pursuing that for us.
15 MS. SCHUMACHER: Okay. Thank you.
16 And then I'd like to know if there is a code
17 inspection and real property condemnation
18 policy and procedure, I have searched every
19 place I can on the city website, I have
20 searched other places, and I can't find
21 anything. For instance, when a complaint is
22 made against a homeowner's property for over
23 a code violation, for instance, as was
24 several weeks ago that somebody had 40 cats
25 in their home, must that complainant be
1 identified and must the homeowner provide
2 immediate access to the inspector?
3 MS. GATELLI: No.
4 MS. SCHUMACHER: Does access to one
5 inspector open the door to all other kinds
6 of inspectors?
7 MS. GATELLI: Yes.
8 MS. SCHUMACHER: If code citations
9 are made is there a statutory right with
10 specific length of time to make connections?
11 MS. GATELLI: Um-hum.
12 MS. SCHUMACHER: Are homeowners
13 advised of their rights in writing at a time
14 of such an inspection and are homeowners
15 advised of taxpayer funded agencies
16 available to help resolve these problems?
17 You know, the list goes on. Is there a
18 policy and a procedure and where can the
19 average taxpayer find that?
20 MS. GATELLI: I believe it's in the
21 BOCA Code.
22 MS. SCHUMACHER: The BOCA Code is
23 not on the site. That only deals with the
24 codes, it does into the deal with the
1 MS. GATELLI: Yeah, but it tells the
2 rights of the owners and, yes, there is due
3 process and there is an appeals board if you
4 don't agree and all of these things are in
5 place at one time, I just assume they are
6 still in place.
7 MS. SCHUMACHER: I would certainly
8 like to see that in writing and something
9 provided to homeowners and I think a review
10 of the policy to shut off electricity when
11 temperatures are below zero needs to be
12 reviewed as well. That maybe a policy to
13 force changes or to force fixes in
14 electrical problems, but shutting off
15 someone's power in the middle of winter is
16 -- I think it may be policy but it doesn't
17 have a lot of common sense behind it.
18 MS. GATELLI: I don't think it is
19 policy. I think there are extenuating
20 circumstances --
21 MS. SCHUMACHER: I was told by an
22 inspector --
23 MS. GATELLI: -- to what you are
24 referring to, you don't know the whole
1 MS. SCHUMACHER: But, I was told by
2 an inspector that is policy.
3 MS. GATELLI: Well, I don't believe
4 that. You can't turn the power off in the
5 winter, PPL won't do it either.
6 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs.
8 MS. EVANS: Kay, could we please try
9 to obtain a copy of whatever policies are in
10 place with regard to what Ms. Schumacher
11 requested and if all of council could
12 receive copies, please, and the information
13 also regarding the appeals board.
14 MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Hubbard.
15 MS. HUBBARD: Good evening, Council.
16 Liz Hubbard, Scranton resident, taxpayer,
17 voter, whatever. I just have a couple of
18 questions. Was anybody ever investigated
19 for tossing all of those cards with the
20 personal information to the alley behind
21 city hall?
22 MS. EVANS: Not to my knowledge.
23 MS. HUBBARD: Nobody from the Human
24 Resources Department was called into the
1 MS. EVANS: Not to my knowledge.
2 MR. HUBBARD: Interesting. I mean,
3 the only one they seem to be after at the
4 time was Ann Marie Stulgis and all she was
5 doing was picking them up so some identity
6 thief didn't come along and get them. I
7 find that very bizarre that they are now
8 investigating Mr. Williams.
9 Okay, second question, the Human
10 Relations Commission what does that do? Who
11 is on it --
12 MR. MCGOFF: We have a --
13 MS. EVANS: Yes, last week I read the
14 of names of the membership of the committee
15 which I don't have with me this evening, but
16 apparently there is a link on the city's
17 website, go to OECD and there will be a link
18 there for the Human Relations Commission
19 that shows you a brochure about them.
20 MR. HUBBARD: Okay.
21 MS. EVANS: And I can tell you this,
22 and I will then be quiet, this was formed so
23 that anyone who lives or works in the city
24 is given a local body to go to with their
25 problems and if need be it can be taken back
1 to the Pennsylvania Commission.
2 MR. HUBBARD: You mean, if I have a
3 problem I can go to these people? I'm
4 surprised they are not inundated.
5 MS. EVANS: I agree.
6 MR. HUBBARD: I'm back to skunks
7 again. What can you people -- what can the
8 city do? Can you put it into the budget? I
9 mean, this is ridiculous. I have to take my
10 dog out at night on a leash when I have a
11 running tie on, but it goes too far into the
12 dark. I'm not out there in the freezing
13 cold in my night shirt so my dog doesn't get
14 skunked because there is one prowling
15 around. So, I mean, can't you guys try to
16 do something? And, I mean, I'm not the only
17 one with the problem, it's all over the
18 city. And I think it's the city's
19 responsibility to take care of it. They are
20 worried about people having 40 cats in their
21 house, well, how about the 40 skunks in my
22 neighborhood? You know what I mean?
23 Okay, next thing, awhile back Mrs.
24 Fanucci said that when companies are coming
25 -- looking to come into town they look at
1 the parks.
2 MS. FANUCCI: Parks and recreation
4 MR. HUBBARD: Parks and recreation, I
5 would think they would be looking for
6 industrial parks, but once they got a ride
7 over some of our streets I think that they
8 would be looking in another state. I have
9 never in my life seen roads in as bad as
10 condition as the streets in Scranton and
11 don't blame it on the winter because they
12 were like that last fall. Some of them were
13 impassable and I drive an SUV. I mean, if
14 you have a little car you would be losing it
15 in the potholes, so instead of spending all
16 of this money improving the parks they
17 should be fixing the roads. Okay, that's
18 all I have for tonight. Please do something
19 about these skunks.
20 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs.
22 MS. KRAKE: Good evening, Council.
23 My name is Nancy Krake. I would first like
24 to ask council to find out exactly how much
25 money the law firm of Abrahamsen, Moran and
1 Conaboy has made in the past year. I know
2 that is public information and I would also
3 like that directly contrasted to the amount
4 of money the city has taken in, face value
5 of the tax and the penalty, so it would just
6 be a small spreadsheet.
7 MS. EVANS: Mrs. Krake, you are
8 referring to the delinquent tax --
9 MS. KRAKE: Yes, I am.
10 MS. EVANS: -- collection obviously
11 and in direct relationship to the amounts
12 you have allowed them to charge per the
13 ordinance you passed.
14 This Friday, this past Friday, the
15 Pennsylvania Economy League testified here
16 in council chambers that the city is worse
17 off now than they were 16 years ago. The
18 questioning here revealed how the
19 Pennsylvania Economy League has fallen on
20 it's own sword and the sad part about that
21 is, is that we are also all on that sword.
22 Before we were declared distressed and fell
23 under the dictatorship of the Pennsylvania
24 Economy League who are by the way only
25 consultants, Harry Miller said we had a
1 $6 million structural deficit. Now we have
2 a $11 million structural deficit. It is not
3 because of the employees. We have not
4 received raises, and each step of the way
5 there were choices to be made. Every piece
6 of legislation that was passed for a
7 previous council and this council was a
9 Unfortunately, you all chose, the
10 majority of you, not Mrs. Evans or
11 Mr. Courtright, Mr. DiBileo and the past
12 councils, did not choose to take the mayor's
13 word as law. We have had a junk bond rating
14 given to us that was testified here also by
15 financial expert from PNC Bank and also we
16 dramatically worsened our status over the
17 past three years. These are two financial
18 experts that the mayor refers to, with their
19 testimony that is, when justifying his huge
20 tax increases, and huge borrowing in the
21 budgets that have been passed by this
22 council, Mrs. Evans budgets did not contain
23 that borrowing. Oh, he also uses these when
24 he is negotiating with the workers.
25 However, at the state of the city
1 address the mayor talks out of the other
2 side of his mouth and tells us how great the
3 city is doing, in fact, I hear that from
4 Mrs. Fanucci quite a bit also and what a
5 great job he personally has done, so it
6 truly is the tail of two cities. It just
7 depends on what side of the tracks you are
9 Harry Miller, also has a double
10 identity thing going on or amnesia, however
11 you want to look at it, when asked when he
12 wasn't monitoring the city's financial
13 downward spiral, which is his job, our
14 downward spiral, excessive raises, borrowing
15 and spending on the mayor's pet projects,
16 his answer was, "I don't recall."
17 In fact, he said that probably 10 or
18 15 times during his testimony. So from 2002
19 to 2008 he can't remember. They actually
20 have a contract with the state yearly, I
21 think it should be cancelled. This is all
22 about the choices the mayor has chosen and
23 how he has chosen to spend our money. He
24 has chosen to spend it on nonvital services,
25 personnel and pet projects while expecting
1 citizens to take cuts in public safety and
3 This council also participates in
4 the process of choosing how our money will
5 be spent, in fact, you are going to do it
6 again tonight. It's ashame that the
7 overseer from the state has turned a blind
8 eye to this administration's financial
9 mismanagement and it's truly a shame that
10 this council has chosen to do the same
12 And I'm sorry, Mrs. Evans, I forgot
13 to ask you to run for mayor last week, so
14 I'm asking you to please consider running
15 for mayor. Thank you.
16 MR. ELLMAN: Ronnie Ellman,
17 taxpayer, member of the Taxpayers'
18 Association. I got something here
19 someplace, I think I should have left the
20 club a couple of hours earlier. Here it is.
21 I just got a mish-mosh of a couple of things
22 I wrote down. Shame on all five of you for
23 the vote last week. I remember six,
24 eight years ago, ten years ago, whatever it
25 was I think, it was Mr. Hazzouri sat up
1 there and said, "If I had read it I wouldn't
2 have voted for it."
3 You voted on something that concerns
4 700 people and taken 50, 55 houses off the
5 tax rolls like it's nothing. That's not
6 right. You should have a lot of concern and
7 study before this was done. Now, yesterday
8 the paper says they are going to take
9 another 16 acres off which is four or five
10 houses an acre. Mr. McGoff, where are we
11 going to get money for all of this stuff
12 that's coming up, all of these houses?
13 Where is it going to come from? You are
14 talking about a hundred, $200,000? What's
15 going to make it up? I want to see the
16 medical school, but it doesn't have to be
17 and displace 700 people. I'd like to see,
18 you know, the trade for the armory, but we
19 don't have to tear down a whole neighborhood
20 for them. There is -- I said last week you
21 got to stop somewhere with all of this taken
22 everything after the tax rolls. I had a
23 fellow tell me Sunday there is a new yard
24 ornament in the city, it's called a "For
25 Sale" sign. Every place you look there they
1 are stuck in the ground and he is right and
2 he is trying to buy a house -- well, not in
3 the city, he has been looking at property,
4 he is trying to buy a house and every time
5 he watches this program and reads the paper
6 he gets chased out of town. I don't know.
7 I'm not an advocate for the poor or the
8 homeless something but these people they
9 need some help, it's not right to just
10 displace 700 people that don't need to be
11 displaced. It's the same exact thing like I
12 said last week, you did without now it's
13 just a waiting game to see if you are going
14 to give it to Lackawanna College or
15 whatever. That property should have been
16 fixed up immediately and I have had several
17 people that are in the construction business
18 said it wouldn't have been anything to have
19 repaired. It needed sheetrock to make it a
20 fire resistant, you know, but nobody cared.
21 Nobody cared about all of these people that
22 are scattered all over the place, they heard
23 the same cock and bull story from everybody.
24 You know, I have talked to them and
25 Mr. Davis comes up here and he never got a
1 home back, nobody pays a bit of attention
2 when he says but he comes up with some
3 thoughts sometimes for you people. You
4 know, I remember when Mr. Bolus was running
5 and the newspaper just couldn't wait to say
6 something adverse against him, but I
7 guarantee you this city wouldn't be in this
8 kind of shape if Mr. Bolus had made mayor, a
9 businessman. He's probably forgotten more
10 about how to run a big business than Doherty
11 will ever know.
12 Borrowing is an addiction for crying
13 out loud. It's as bad as smoking and
14 gambling and everything else people get
15 addicted to and Mr. Doherty has got an
16 addiction to borrowing. He can't control
17 himself, he can't stop himself. It just
18 goes on and on and on. You can't imagine
19 how big many people have come up to me in
20 the past few years when I'm in the grocery
21 store or somewhere and talk about this.
22 They are losing property and it's just
23 terrible. Right across the street, like
24 I have said before, that place before, four
25 little old ladies that wanted to stay in
1 their house, they are healthy, they just
2 couldn't afford the insurance and the taxes
3 and I'm talking about houses that were paid
4 for. They just couldn't keep the upkeep.
5 I got a bill yesterday from the
6 gas -- the water company. My water has been
7 cut off, you know, they keep sending me
8 bills. I got -- I paid $200 in February and
9 $300 last month for gas, I don't have any
10 gas in my house. I don't know they come and
11 investigated it and said my meter is going.
12 It can't be going, I don't have no water,
13 there is houses sitting there empty.
14 Well, you all were talking about it,
15 there is some people that the governor
16 allowed the utilities of this state, he just
17 gave them cart blanc to do what they want.
18 There is no advocate for people like me to
19 go to fight them. Thank you.
20 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Ellman.
21 MR. ANCHERANI: Good evening. Nelson
22 Ancherani, resident and taxpayer, city
23 employee and financial secretary of the FOP.
24 First Amendment rights, voicing my opinion.
25 Quote, Ms. Gatelli from 4 April '08 council
1 meeting: "I'm going to address
2 Mr. Ancherani's comments. I know that you
3 have a point to make. I want you to be
4 aware if I vote for a tax increase doesn't
5 mean that I'm voting against the unions.
6 You know, maybe you feel that that's the end
7 result but, um, if a union contract comes
8 before me and there is a significant raise
9 in it I certainly would vote for it. I
10 certainly would vote for another tax
11 increase so the unions could get a raise.
12 I'm afraid to do that."
13 Ms. Gatelli, I believe you are
14 missing the point, the unions want to be
15 treated fairly and with respect. I don't
16 think that is too hard of a request. The
17 unions have been against tax increases and
18 BS, borrowing and spending, from the
19 beginning of this mayor's administration.
20 We have spoken out against them. This mayor
21 has given out raises to his favorites and
22 hired new employees, 59 of them, to the tune
23 of $15 million since he took office. He has
24 also eliminated at least 30 clerical
25 workers. If the mayor followed past
1 practice, and I am emphasize past practice,
2 his favorites would have gotten raises over
3 the last seven years, that would have been
4 based on the clerical worker's raises, but,
5 no, he gave out exorbitant raises to his
6 favorites and this council, namely, Miss
7 Fanucci, Mr. McGoff, and yourself,
8 Mrs. Gatelli, along with previous councils,
9 by voting for his budgets went along with
10 these raises and new hires, some new
11 positions and their wages. One new deputy
12 director, licenses and inspection, $50,000.
13 Ten new employees in the business
14 administrator's office with the combined
15 wage total over 1.5 million, over $500,000
16 in a public safety office. Mrs. Gatelli,
17 please don't vote for a tax increase to pay
18 union raises, this could be done without tax
19 increases. You gave up two chances to make
20 the playing field even by ignoring Mrs.
21 Evans' proposals for budgets that would have
22 negated tax increases.
23 So, Mrs. Gatelli, taxes do not have
24 to be raised. All that has to be done is
25 get the 12.2 million plus from the secret
1 accounts. We now have $400 million in
2 long-term debt, and that's not because of
3 the unions. There was a speaker who said
4 his 25 percent taxes voted on by Ms.
5 Gatelli, Ms. Fanucci and Mr. McGoff were
6 raised I believe $100. He has now seen that
7 25 percent tax increase cumulatively double.
8 Ms. Hubbard, guaranteed the streets
9 will be paved for the election next year and
10 if you don't want to hit a pothole go to Nay
11 Aug. How about this hullabaloo over the tax
12 office, social security numbers, maybe now
13 we will find out if anyone isn't paying
14 their fair share of taxes like us peons.
15 Ms. Fanucci, was arguing with Jim Williams
16 last week about social security numbers, all
17 of those index cards that were in the court
18 behind city hall and in the dumpster were
19 retrieved so that none of us employees would
20 have had identity theft, but I didn't see an
21 investigation after that.
22 The City of Scranton has decided not
23 to fund Scranton Today. That's what's
24 running across their screen, programs will
25 be curtailed, yet we can fund ECTV with
1 hundreds of thousands, maybe a million.
2 This is it like déjà vu only with the
3 soldiers who served in Iraq and who haven't
4 been made whole since returning from Iraq.
5 This is a shame. We can't give $20,000 to
6 our soldiers, but we will be shutting down
7 Channel 61 just in time for the elections
8 that will be taking place next year. Shut
9 it down and muzzle the people. Thank God
10 for the Internet and Dohertydeceit.com.
11 Thank you very much.
12 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,
13 Mr. Ancherani.
14 MR. SLEDENZSKI: Hello, Bill.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: Hi, Chris. Up a
16 little bit?
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah, pick it up.
18 MR. SLEDENZSKI: Billy, you got --
19 the site on the fields now for that little
20 league, so, Bill, let's put the kids on it
21 this Saturday, right, Billy?
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: 0kay, Chris.
23 MR. SLEDENZSKI: Thank you.
24 MR. MCGOFF: Thanks, Chris. Anyone
25 else? Mrs. Evans.
1 MS. EVANS: Good evening. I wish to
2 return to the three topics which were
3 discussed at our last council meeting.
4 First, a speaker presented evidence of
5 wrongdoing within the Single Tax Office.
6 The evidence presented to council contained
7 no confidential taxpayer information, to my
8 knowledge only Attorney Minora received
9 confidential information on April 8 which he
10 correctly refused to handle.
11 Since then, the DA has been
12 investigating the release of that
13 information, but equally important it seems
14 that no one is too concerned about the
15 misabuse of public funds. Apparently,
16 someone recognized the wrongdoing and tried
17 to bring it to the attention of public
18 officials, elected officials. When that
19 failed, it was brought to the attention of a
20 member of the public an ultimately to you,
21 the public.
22 Today the hunt is on to locate the
23 whistleblower who wrongly released two
24 taxpayers information to verify the
25 authenticity of the party payment, but no
1 light shines on the misuse of public monies.
2 Perhaps the money for the Stadium Club was
3 repaid by the guilty party, but the true
4 outrage must be the arrogance of using
5 taxpayer money to pay a personal bill. If
6 anything, the only listen learned from the
7 situation seems to be that whistle-blowers
8 are punished, wrongdoing and crime are not.
9 It's been neatly swept under the rug. It
10 certainly makes one wonder what else has
11 occurred that you and I will never know.
12 How much occurs regularly in each government
14 Second, council discussed Channels
15 61 and 62 at our previous meeting. I want
16 council and the public to be aware that
17 ECTV's proposal states that it will be fully
18 operational within three months of being
19 informed by the committee announcement, and
20 three months within receiving Phase I funds
21 for equipment and operational expenses,
22 thus, I don't know if the funding has yet
23 been released, and until that occurs the
24 three-month clock has not begun to tick.
25 If council agrees I would like to go a
1 copy of the letter of agreement between ECTV
2 and the city from city solicitor Patterson
3 as soon as it is completed. Is that
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: Sure.
6 MS. EVANS: Thank you. Meanwhile, I
7 hope that legislation is introduced at
8 council's next scheduled meeting to provide
9 funding to Scranton Today -- or, yes,
10 Scranton Today TV to continue live coverage
11 of all government meetings.
12 Third, the legislation to amend the
13 zoning board ordinance for the area of
14 Midtown apartments was introduced last
15 Tuesday and was removed from the agenda
16 earlier tonight. I question the area of the
17 city this ordinance affected prior to the
18 vote last week to clarify the legislation
19 since I had no map available. I only
20 intended to approve legislation for the land
21 sold by the school district for the medical
22 school headquarters. Legislation including
23 this ordinance is drafted by the city's
24 legal department at either the mayor's
25 request or at least with his approval, yet,
1 officials of the medical school, residents
2 of Midtown apartments, and council members
3 know nothing of the plans of the mayor and
4 Lackawanna College.
5 In most work places and homes such
6 an action would be termed trying to pull a
7 fast one or trying to get other over on
8 someone else and, sadly, in our city such
9 machinations have been fairly regularly and
10 many folks have grown to expect it, and
11 worse, accept it. That is what is
12 inappropriately called progress in Scranton,
13 moving forward. I believe the better way in
14 which to affect progress and move forward is
15 to present your plans openly, publically,
16 include all affected parties, provide for
17 the needs of the people who are affected by
18 your plan and then together we move forward.
19 Thus, for as much I support the
20 location of the medical school in Scranton I
21 won't support legislation to evict residents
22 without their knowledge and approval and
23 replacement housing for them nor will I box
24 in officials of the medical school without
25 their knowledge and consent. I also
1 have some updates and requests. The
2 residents are thrilled that the cars on
3 South Cameron and South Merrifield were
4 removed and they were finally able to clean
5 the curb areas and the street in front of
6 their homes.
7 The potholes on DeSalle's Avenue
8 were filled and the people there are
9 thrilled as well.
10 April 19 through May 3 is the
11 "Great Pennsylvania Cleanup" and I encourage
12 you to enjoy the string weather and join
13 with the few neighbors and family members
14 help to spruce up your neighborhood, if you
15 are able of course.
16 Also, as I mentioned before next
17 Tuesday April 22, is not only primary
18 election day in Pennsylvania, but also Earth
19 Day, and I do hope everyone will make an
20 attempt to conserve resources on that day
21 whether by saving electricity from 8:00 to
22 9:00 p.m. or carpooling to work, walking or
23 taking the bus to your destination,
24 recycling, etcetera. And I thank a very
25 nice woman and her mother for Tripp Park for
1 making us aware of these dates. I'd also
2 like to see the DPW pursue a street sweeping
3 schedule during the time period of the
4 "Great Pennsylvania Cleanup."
5 I also have a wonderful letter from
6 a Boy Scout, Ray Posluski, whose Eagle Scout
7 project is to resurface East Scranton Soccer
8 Field on April 19 and 20. He needs topsoil,
9 seed, and assistance in hauling away trash
10 and rocks that will be removed from this
11 field. I hope the City of Scranton DPW can
12 help this young man this weekend. So, Kay
13 if you would please call and send a memo to
14 Mr. Brazil and Mr. Dougher tomorrow --
15 MS. GATELLI: I just want to
16 interrupt for a minute because I talked to
17 this Boy Scout and they are helping him.
18 MS. EVANS: I'm thrilled.
19 MS. GATELLI: And also the county
20 commissioners have donated the seed, the
21 soil, they gave him a dumpsters, between all
22 of them so it's all taken care of.
23 MS. EVANS: Excellent.
24 MS. GATELLI: Saved you a letter,
1 MS. EVANS: He is well on his way,
2 fortunately. I also have some citizens'
3 request for the week. Theodore Street
4 between Return Avenue and Brick Avenue and
5 traveling up toward North Scranton Little
6 League on the left-hand side, please clear
7 the garbage and litter from these areas.
8 Euchlid Avenue off Main Avenue
9 traveling toward the Village at Tripp Park,
10 please pick up tires and litter. The corner
11 of Ferdinand Street and North Keyser Avenue,
12 businesses in the area report that a
13 business at this address is selling vehicles
14 without a license and that the location is
15 not zoned properly for this type of
16 business. Please investigate this and
17 provide a written response to council on or
18 before April 28.
19 A letter to Attorney Patterson which
20 I mentioned before regarding the copy of the
21 letter of agreement between the city and
22 ECTV and I'll also add a speaker's request
23 this evening, Kay, I believe you took the
24 information down earlier concerning the law
25 firm of Abrahamsen, Moran and Conaboy and
1 what dollar amount they have received from
2 the collection, the pursuit and collection
3 of delinquent taxes, and we would like to
4 compare that to the actual dollar amount
5 received by the City of Scranton.
6 And, finally, I just wanted to
7 address one point, city taxes, I agree
8 certainly are lower than those of the school
9 district and a 25 percent tax increase is
10 nominal depending on who is paying the bill
11 and making that statement. It may not be a
12 backbreaker for me or for anyone up here or
13 for some of you in the audience, in the
14 listening audience, we are fortunate.
15 However, that amount of money is vital to
16 senior citizens who social security didn't
17 see a 25 percent increase, whose pensions
18 didn't see a 25 percent increase, but whose
19 cost of living has seen at least a
20 25 percent increase in terms of utility
21 increases and costs, the co-pays for
22 Medicare and drugs and all of the
23 necessities of life as you advance in age,
24 so I think it's very important whenever we
25 are looking at a topic not to simply focus
1 on how does it affect only me, will it have
2 affects, ramifications for others and
3 particularly in Scranton which is a city of
4 a high percentage of senior citizens we are
5 talking about a group, a large group who is
6 very negatively impacted by tax increases,
7 and I think it behooves all elected
8 officials to remember the people they serve.
9 That's it.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Evans.
11 Mrs. Gatelli.
12 MS. GATELLI: Last week someone
13 asked about the leaves behind the
14 amphitheater at Nay Aug, indeed, they are
15 going to be used for mulch again this year
16 as they were last year.
17 I would like to reiterate a few of
18 the announcements I had last week. The
19 spaghetti at the Dante Club on April 26 and
20 the school play at West Scranton High School
21 is this weekend, Friday, Saturday, and
23 I would also like to announce a
24 commendation for two of our employees who
25 made the Sunday paper, Jim Lunney, who was a
1 fire inspector and Marty Monahan, who is a
2 detective and they worked together in an
3 arson and they were successful, so I think
4 council should congratulate them.
5 I would also like to congratulate
6 Joe Madsen, anyone who travels in the lower
7 South Side knows that his market was
8 affected by a storm and the roof caved in
9 over a year ago and he has reopened and we
10 wish him the best of luck, he is one of the
11 few neighborhood grocery stores left in our
12 community, so we wish Joe a lot of luck.
13 And the last thing I have is I would
14 like to make a motion, Telespond Senior
15 Services on Saginaw Street provides adult
16 DayCare and respite services to people in
17 our community and they are applying for a
18 grant at the Weinberg Foundation and they
19 need a letter of recommendation from a
20 governmental body, and they have asked if
21 city council could please give them a letter
22 of recommendation. Anyone who has had
23 anything to did with Telespond Senior
24 Services knows the advantage they serve our
25 elderly in this community and their
1 families, so I would make a motion that we
2 send a letter on behalf of city council in
3 favor of Telespond receiving a grant from
4 the Weinburg Foundation.
5 MS. EVANS: Second.
6 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
7 in favor?
8 MS. EVANS: Aye.
9 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
10 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
12 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
13 ayes have it and so moved.
14 MS. GATELLI: That's all I have.
15 Thank you.
16 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Gatelli.
17 And are you getting 10 percent of all the
18 tickets sales? Mr. Fanucci.
19 MS. FANUCCI: I do have a few
20 comments. Candace got up tonight and spoke
21 about the bond rating and I myself am sad
22 that we did lose the bond rating, but,
23 unfortunately, we started off with not
24 having a bond rating when this
25 administration took over. It was
1 reinstated, and you are not going to be
2 happy with the answer, because of plans and
3 the recovery they gave us the chance to be
4 able to receive a bond rating. Because none
5 of that has taken place and obviously with
6 the way that this has played out what they
7 said this week, it's not going to happen, so
8 because the Recovery Plan has not been
9 followed our bond rating has gone. So, I
10 too, feel very sad for that.
11 As for being a respectable public
12 servant, I certainly am, I follow my own
13 path. It might not be your path because you
14 have your own motives as I do, my motives
15 are the same, to make the city as great as
16 it can be just like your motives are to get
17 up every week, but please don't question
18 being respectable. I understand that your
19 personal agenda is very strong, but I can
20 guarantee you that I am very respectable and
21 very strong on what I believe in and when I
22 vote on something I vote because I honestly
23 believe it's the best thing for the City of
25 And I'm also going to speak on
1 Mr. Jackowitz. Mr. Jackowitz, I am sorry
2 that you believe that you were put forth as
3 not -- as being dishonorably discharged, but
4 I'm going to say something, I was using an
5 example. You are defending people, speakers
6 who got up and were speaking of things that
7 were not factual, information that was
8 detrimental to not only myself and my
9 family, but others and you were defending
10 them and what I did was used an example
11 saying how would you feel or how would this
12 be and, in fact, in the statement said, we
13 know it's not true, but still how would you
14 feel. And, unfortunately, you felt the
15 brunt of that and I proved my point, it is
16 not a great position. You have spent two
17 weeks obviously in turmoil when you could
18 have been working on something that was a
19 little more productive. I know that
20 feeling, it is not a good feeling and for
21 that I am sorry, but I certainly did not put
22 forth that you were not a honorable,
23 honorable person who served our wonderful
24 state, wonderful country, and everything
25 else, so I do want to say that.
1 As for last week, I find it hard to
2 believe that I actually became the bad guy
3 for Mr. Williams coming up and presenting
4 the paperwork here. Actually, I don't find
5 it hard to believe I find it pretty, how do
6 I want to say, pretty obvious that that
7 would happen, but I'm going to say in light
8 of that it's funny that certain, you know,
9 you fight for rights, you fight for things
10 in your own respect, but then when it turns
11 the table and it's not quite what you want
12 or for the rights of everybody else the
13 taxpayers who actually would be suffering if
14 their personal information got out to the
15 public. Identity theft right now is the
16 easiest crime that is committed, it happens
17 all over, but for some reason that's okay in
18 this situation. It is not okay. You want
19 something that doesn't pass the smell test,
20 that does not pass the smell test.
21 I believe those dots need to be
22 connected and I find it absolutely appalling
23 that in the middle of such a bad situation
24 you are in looking to find our $12 million
25 how it got there, who has it, who desevers
1 it, that this goes on. So, no, I am not
2 going to -- because I yelled at the
3 situation, I thought the situation was
4 absolutely appalling and I'm going to
5 continue that. Now, I am going to blame the
6 guy and shoot the messenger who brought it,
7 no, but at certain points everyone is
9 And, also, I think that actually
10 might be it. Yeah, I want to talk about us
11 being declared distressed. That is still
12 something that I believe that we should
13 always fight for and we don't want to be
14 distressed. I don't think that the city is
15 benefiting right from our distressed label
16 either, but we still need to get out of it
17 and the way I read it, unfortunately, hasn't
18 changed, so I do believe that we need to do
19 what we can do and, unfortunately, I believe
20 that when you pay a lot of money out for
21 Blue Cross it's still considered a raise and
22 an increase, $12 million capped we still
23 paid a lot more money than that, so I know
24 myself when you have a bigger by in,
25 Mr. Ancherani is already getting his pen,
1 God Bless us and save us, so, you know, that
2 to me is still considered an increase. It
3 is something that was not -- that is one of
4 the negotiations. But, yes, should we sit
5 down and get it over with? Absolutely. Get
6 your raises, let's move on, let's do what we
7 can do, but as far as being the person who
8 keeps raising the taxes I feel like I've
9 raised them 65 times or 75 times now, until
10 we have money coming that is more than going
11 out we still have to function, and that is
12 all I have.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs.
14 Fanucci. Mr. Courtright.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah, I spoke on
16 this couple of times since I have been on
17 council, and I'm bringing it up again
18 because of the medical school legislation,
19 most of the time, not all of the time, but
20 most of the time when we get an ordinance
21 that comes through most of the time I vote,
22 yes, to introduce it in Fifth Order because
23 that's what it's for introduction, so that
24 whoever committee it will if it's introduced
25 into their committee they will go and
1 research it and hopefully get back to us,
2 and I'm not saying just table it, but it is
3 their committee and then we decide because
4 we have two or three meetings. I think
5 that's what's happened this week. We passed
6 it, last week we passed it, you know, to be
7 introduced and then we found out it wasn't
8 what we thought it was going to be. I don't
9 think we were voting yes on things we didn't
10 know about, that's the process that it
11 takes. So, like I said, most of the time I
12 vote for introduction, but that's just what
13 it is, it's introduction, and it gives us an
14 opportunity to look at it and if we don't
15 believe it then we can vote it down.
16 And I just have one other thing, and
17 I don't know, I'm going to ask Kay if she
18 can send something, I'm going to ask Mr. Stu
19 Renda if he can answer this, I think he may
20 be the best one to answer this, since I have
21 been on this council just about everyone
22 that has come to this podium and spoke about
23 PEL doesn't care for PEL, doesn't believe
24 they are worth the money and doesn't believe
25 they have done anything for this city, and
1 that's been the common cry since I have been
2 here. So, I would ask Mr. Renda if he could
3 find for me and for council or for the
4 public if you he would be able to research
5 just how much money the state is paying PEL
6 since they have been on the payroll and what
7 it is that maybe Mr. Renda since he is the
8 business administrator believes that they
9 have done for the City of Scranton, and does
10 he think it's worth having them still
11 because I just -- I don't know that anybody
12 comes since I have been here that thinks
13 they have done anything that's worth the
14 money we are paying them. We are still
15 distressed, so if he can answer those
16 questions for me I would appreciate it. If
17 he can't if he would direct me to who would
18 be able to answer those questions about PEL
19 I would certainly appreciate that.
20 MS. EVANS: Mr. Courtright, I agree
21 with what you are saying and I'm certainly
22 very far from an advocate of PEL, I also
23 believe we are much more distressed today
24 than we were in not only when council voted
25 to enter distressed status approximately
1 15 years ago, we are more distressed today
2 than we are in 2002, however, I don't
3 believe that it's as simple as Mr. Renda's
4 opinion or council wanting to lift that
5 status, I think the city or council would
6 have to petition DCED for the lifting of
7 distressed status and as a result we would
8 have to prove why we should have that
9 designation lifted from us and, frankly, you
10 know, I don't know -- I don't know what we
11 have to defend that.
12 You know, on the one hand as someone
13 said earlier tonight if you listen to the
14 state of the city address which is delivered
15 to businesses it certainly sounds as if all
16 is well as prospering and, you know, we have
17 recovered and when you look at the financial
18 statements and, you know, you look at the
19 audits and you listen to what PEL actually
20 has to say when they will open their mouths
21 and speak, you know, you don't have to have
22 a PhD to know that the city is truly buried
23 in debt.
24 So, I think as much as I agree with
25 you, I absolutely do, I don't know what it's
1 going to take to be able to get that monkey
2 off your back at any time soon because now,
3 as I said, we are in so much debt. We are
4 going to be paying this off for 30 years,
5 so, you know, that 25 percent we are going
6 to be looking at increase after increase
7 after increase over the next at least
8 28 years, we are looking at having to borrow
9 another 111 million this year to add to that
10 grand total. That money has to be paid back
11 unlike the City of Scranton who likes to
12 forgive loans, no bank, you know, no one is
13 going to come to the city and say, "We
14 forgive you."
15 Why? Because your full faith and
16 credit was pledged for every one of those
17 borrows. So, you know, you are it, you are
18 the answer to all of the problems we just
19 raise your taxes and raise them and raise
20 them and raise them and until all of the
21 debt service is paid down unfortunately.
22 I'm sorry, Mr. Courtright.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: I would just like
24 to see what Mr. Renda's answer is because he
25 would speak on behalf of the administration
1 and I'm curious to see if the administration
2 agrees with the speakers that come here week
3 after week, month after month with their
4 claims about PEL, and if the administration
5 agrees with the speakers then maybe this
6 council can get together with the
7 administration and see if there is something
8 we could do about it because we hear it all
9 the time. I have heard it five years now
10 and it seems like we can't do anything, but
11 maybe possibly if the administration the
12 reason speakers that this time council the
13 administration can work together to try and
14 get it lifted. But, as you said, they are
15 saying we are in worse shape now than we
16 were when we first became distressed so I
17 don't know if that's a possibility, and
18 that's all I have. Thank you.
19 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,
20 Mr. Courtright. First thing I'd like to
21 make mention of is I received a letter from
22 the American Cancer Society concerning the
23 Relay for Life which is to be held on
24 June 21 and 22. More information I'm sure
25 will be provided as we get closer to the
1 date, but they are having a planning
2 breakfast which I will hopefully attend and
3 I'll find out more about the Relay for Life.
4 I participated in it when I was in the
5 Poconos working at Pocono Mountain and it's
6 certainly a worthy cause and can be a useful
7 and enjoyable experience.
8 Also, I received a letter, we all
9 received a letter from Dr. O'Malley, Jack
10 O'Malley from the University of Scranton,
11 they are conducting an American Sport
12 Education Program instructor training
13 workshop. The purpose of it is to have
14 qualified teachers instruct volunteer
15 coaches, those who coach little league and
16 bitty basketball, that type of thing so that
17 children may benefit from volunteer coaches.
18 The program is one that is conducted in a
19 number of areas and they have invited a
20 variety of people to attend this workshop
21 and also the parks and recreation staff of
22 the city and the county I believe to be
23 participants in the program once it's up and
24 running; and, also, there is going to be the
25 creation or they are going to propose the
1 creation of the Joe Bocchicio Sports
2 Foundation in honor of Joe Bocchicio who was
3 a teacher in the City of Scranton or in the
4 Scranton School District and a soccer coach
5 for many years. I will also hope to attend
6 this program and provide more information
8 We did receive a response from
9 Attorney McGovern at the Single Tax Office
10 about the public caucus and I will get back
11 to him concerning that. Mr. McGovern when I
12 spoke to him previously was cautious about a
13 public caucus. Due to the number of the
14 investigations and the number of issues that
15 are currently involved at the Single Tax
16 Office, he was I'm going to use the word
17 cautious about a public caucus. He was
18 willing to come and speak to council in a
19 closed caucus, some members of council felt
20 that that was not enough and I will
21 further -- I will ask him, you know, again
22 if we can meet in a more public manner, but
23 he was not -- I should say he was not
24 reluctant to meet it was just a cautious
25 attitude that he had as far as being public.
1 Also, in dealing with -- Mrs. Evans
2 asked on behalf of I believe Mrs. Krake for
3 some figures about the delinquent taxes,
4 have we ever received a complete accounting
5 of the finances I would say from the
6 delinquent taxes as to who has received what
7 and how much money it was?
8 MS. EVANS: There is a line item in
9 the budget, but then again -- I'm sorry, but
10 then again I was saying there is a line item
11 in the budget, in the city's annual
12 operating budget, but having never hired and
13 been involved in a contract for third party
14 collector of delinquent real estate taxes
15 before, I don't believe, you know, such a
16 comparison would ever have been drawn
17 because this is a new situation.
18 MR. MCGOFF: I was just going to
19 suggest that the possibility of rather than
20 just finding out piecemeal that perhaps we
21 could receive from NCC and, you know, and
22 maybe the Redevelopment Authority, you know,
23 a complete accounting of how that process
24 has taken place and of money that has been
1 And a response to Mr. Jackowitz,
2 yes, the Rules of Council apply to all of
3 the council members as well and I hopefully
4 make an attempt to do that.
5 MS. GATELLI: Yes, you do.
6 MR. MCGOFF: As far as the invitation
7 to meet President Clinton at Mr. Doherty's
8 house, I do want to -- when the invitation
9 was offered I have not ever had an
10 opportunity to personally meet a president
11 of the United States, I was not going to
12 decline the invitation, it was an invitation
13 that I thought was a significant, you know,
14 thing to do. It was extended and accepted
15 just as I might accept an invitation to a
16 dinner party at someone's else's house.
17 There was no ticket price for the event, it
18 was simply an invitation to meet the
19 president which I did and very pleased for
21 Mrs. Schumacher, I will try on find
22 out where we are in the process or where the
23 Single Tax Office is in the process of
24 hiring the auditor for the investigation. I
25 am not sure where it is at this point in
1 time, but when I speak to Mr. McGovern
2 concerning the caucus I will ask him where
3 we are in that process, and that is all that
4 I have.
5 MS. EVANS: Mr. McGoff, I'm sorry, I
6 have just one last item and this was a
7 little note that was delivered from Attorney
8 Minora, a speaker tonight said that
9 Mr. Liptai went to North Main Avenue last
10 week, Mr. Liptai is a city inspector, and
11 had a cleanup and a towing of a car
12 accomplished and he wants to thank
13 Mr. Liptai very much for a job well done.
14 We all thank Mr. Liptai for a job well done.
15 Thank you.
16 MS. GATELLI: I just have one more
17 thing, I just want to tell you that I also
18 met Barack Obama. I got a ticket to that
19 too, so anyone who is interested I have his
20 picture and Hillary's picture on my desk. I
21 wasn't prejudiced to either one, I met both
22 of them, and that was a free ticket, too.
23 Thank you.
24 MS. EVANS: And me, I just must be
25 out of the loop because I didn't get invited
1 to either.
2 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. Mrs. Garvey.
3 MS. GARVEY: FIFTH ORDER. NO
4 BUSINESS AT THIS TIME. SIXTH ORDER. 6-A,
5 that has been withdrawn, so we will move to
6 6-B. 6-B. READING BY TITLE - FILE OF COUNCIL
7 NO. 22, 2008 - AN ORDINANCE - ESTABLISHING A
8 "NO PARKING" ZONE ALONG THE WESTERLY SIDE OF
9 HARRISON AVENUE (S.R. 6011) FROM MULBERRY
10 STREET SOUTH 265 FEET TO ALLOW FOR SIGHT
11 DISTANCE FOR A PROPOSED DRIVEWAY BY MR.
12 EUGENE O'NEIL FOR A PROPERTY LOCATED AT
13 319-321 HARRISON AVENUE.
14 MR. MCGOFF: You have heard Reading
15 by Title of Item 6-B what is your pleasure?
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: I move that Item
17 6-B pass Reading by Title.
18 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
19 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question,
21 very briefly, Mr. McGoff, I'm still waiting
22 for information from the law department to
23 make sure that we don't need an engineer's
24 table and as soon as I get that information
25 to me in before final passage.
1 MS. GARVEY: You probably didn't get
2 a chance to see it because I just received
3 something from Attorney Patterson that she
4 got from the engineer, just late this
5 afternoon, maybe about 5:30 she brought it
6 by so that is in your packet, you probably
7 didn't read it yet.
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: I didn't see it.
9 Thank you.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else? All those
11 in favor signify by saying aye.
12 MS. EVANS: Aye.
13 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
14 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
16 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
17 ayes have it and so moved.
18 MS. GARVEY: SEVENTH ORDER. 7-A. FOR
19 CONSIDERATION FOR THE COMMITTEE ON RULES -
20 FOR ADOPTION - RESOLUTION NO. 21, 2008 -
21 ACCEPTING THE GIFT OF A POLICE VEHICLE VIN
22 NUMBER 2G1WF55K059191621 FROM POLICE OFFICER
23 JOSEPH J. HARRIS FOR USE IN THE CITY'S FLEET
24 PURSUANT TO A LEAST AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE
25 CITY AND OFFICER HARRIS.
1 MR. MCGOFF: As chairperson for the
2 Committee on Rules, I recommend final
3 passage of Item 7-A.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
5 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? Roll
6 call, please.
7 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
8 MS. EVANS: Yes.
9 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
10 MS. GATELLI. Yes.
11 MR. COOLICAN: Ms. Fanucci.
12 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
13 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
15 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
16 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. I hereby declare
17 Item 7-A legally and lawfully adopted.
18 MS. GARVEY: 7-B. FOR CONSIDERATION
19 FOR THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION -
20 RESOLUTION NO. 22, 2008 - AUTHORIZING THE
21 MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS
22 TO EXECUTE AND ENTER INTO A LEASE/POLICY
23 AGREEMENT WITH OFFICER JOSEPH L. HARRIS
24 GOVERNING THE USE OF OFFICER HARRIS'
25 "PRIVATE CRUISER" AS DEFINED HEREIN."
1 MR. MCGOFF: As Chairperson for the
2 Committee on Rules, I recommend final
3 passage of Item 7-B.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
5 MR. MCGOFF: On the question. Roll
6 call, please.
7 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
8 MS. EVANS: Yes.
9 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
10 MS. GATELLI. Yes.
11 MR. COOLICAN: Ms. Fanucci.
12 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
13 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
15 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
16 MR. MCGOFF: Yes.
17 MS. GARVEY: 7-C. FOR CONSIDERATION
18 FOR THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION -
19 RESOLUTION NO. 23, 2008 - ACCEPTING THE GIFT
20 OF A POLICE VEHICLE, VIN NUMBER
21 2G1WF55K349356334 FROM POLICE OFFICER
22 RICHARD IANNUZZO FOR USE IN THE CITY'S FLEET
23 PURSUANT TO A LEAST AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE
24 CITY AND OFFICER IANNUZZO.
25 MR. MCGOFF: As chairperson for the
1 Committee on Rules, I recommend final
2 passage of Item 7-C.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
4 MR. MCGOFF: On the question. Roll
6 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
7 MS. EVANS: Yes.
8 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
9 MS. GATELLI. Yes.
10 MR. COOLICAN: Ms. Fanucci.
11 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
12 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
14 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
15 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. I hereby declare
16 Item 7-C legally and unlawfully adopted.
17 MS. GARVEY: 7-D. FOR CONSIDERATION
18 FOR THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION -
19 RESOLUTION NO. 24, 2008 - AUTHORIZING THE
20 MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS
21 TO EXECUTE AND ENTER INTO A LEASE/POLICY
22 AGREEMENT WITH OFFICER RICHARD IANNUZZO
23 GOVERNING THE USE OF OFFICER IANNUZZO'S
24 "PRIVATE CRUISER" AS DEFINED HEREIN.
25 MR. MCGOFF: As chairperson for the
1 Committee on Rules, I recommend final
2 passage of Item 7-D.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
4 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? Roll
6 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
7 MS. EVANS: Yes.
8 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
9 MS. GATELLI. Yes.
10 MR. COOLICAN: Ms. Fanucci.
11 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
12 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
14 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
15 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. I hereby declare
16 Item 7-D legally and unlawfully adopted.
17 MS. GARVEY: 7-E. FOR CONSIDERATION
18 FOR THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC WORKS - FOR
19 ADOPTION - RESOLUTION NO. 25, 2008 -
20 AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE
21 CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE AND ENTER INTO A
22 SUPPLEMENTAL REIMBURSEMENT AGREEMENT NO.
23 040809-E WITH THE COMMONWEALTH OF
24 PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION,
25 REGARDING THE LACKAWANNA AVENUE BRIDGE
1 PROJECT FOR THE PURPOSE OF INCREASING THE
2 COMMONWEALTH'S INCURRED COSTS FOR
3 CONSTRUCTION, UTILITIES AND RIGHT-OF-WAY.
4 MR. MCGOFF: What is the
5 recommendation of the chairperson for the
6 Committee on Public Works?
7 MS. EVANS: As chair for the
8 Committee on Public Works, I recommend final
9 passage of Item 7-E.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
11 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? Roll
12 call, please.
13 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
14 MS. EVANS: Yes.
15 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
16 MS. GATELLI. Yes.
17 MR. COOLICAN: Ms. Fanucci.
18 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
19 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
21 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
22 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. I hereby declare
23 Item 7-E legally and lawfully adopted.
24 MS. GARVEY: 7-F. FOR CONSIDERATION
25 FOR THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION -
1 RESOLUTION NO. 26, 2008 - AUTHORIZING THE
2 HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF
3 SCRANTON TO ENTER INTO A CONTRACT FOR
4 PROFESSIONAL SERVICES WITH MARK T. MCGRATH,
5 ESQUIRE, TO ACT AS ITS SOLICITOR FOR ONE (1
6 YEAR BEGINNING JANUARY 1, 2008 THROUGH
7 DECEMBER 31, 2008 AT THE RATE OF NINETY-FIVE
8 ($95.00) DOLLARS PER HOUR.
9 MR. MCGOFF: As chairperson for the
10 Committee on Rules, I recommend final
11 passage of Item 7-F.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
13 MR. MCGOFF: On the question.
14 MS. EVANS: Yes. The Human Relation
15 Commission was established in 2003, it is
16 now 2008 evidently, and for a period of at
17 least four years it appears as though this
18 commission has functioned without benefit of
19 an attorney. I believe they meet only
20 quarterly. I would suggest perhaps they
21 could share the solicitor of another
22 commission who doesn't meet monthly or
23 weekly. I know that the commission is
24 describing situations that involve the
25 necessity of legal advice for individuals
1 who come to them with problems, but I think
2 as they have done in the past they could
3 refer those individuals to the Pennsylvania
4 Human Relations Commission or perhaps to an
5 attorney who does pro bono work or in some
6 cases if necessary the Public Defender's
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question,
9 Mr. McGoff. Kay, do they have litigation,
10 I'm under the understanding they have
11 litigation going on?
12 MS. GARVEY: They been presented with
13 a case, yes.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: That's why they
15 need an attorney.
16 MS. EVANS: It seems a discrimination
17 case, but I would think in that event, you
18 know, they can obtain legal representation
19 hopefully free or at a reduced cost
20 elsewhere or perhaps the state commission
21 would step in, but, I mean, if that's the
22 first discrimination case that they have
23 handled in over four years it's -- I don't
24 know, it would seem not to be a very active
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: I don't know, would
2 that be possible, Mr. Minora, do you know if
3 that would be possible for them?
4 MR. MINORA: To obtain legal advice.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: To obtain free legal
7 MS. EVANS: Or share a solicitor,
8 maybe the Civil Service Commission.
9 MR. MINORA: Even if they shared
10 another lawyer that lawyer would charge his
11 fee, so I don't understand the savings
12 behind that idea. Whether or not they could
13 obtain free legal advice or not, I don't
14 know, but if they are in the middle of
15 litigation and they need a lawyer somebody
16 is suing they need a lawyer.
17 MS. EVANS: Maybe they could obtain
18 the services of an attorney already in our
19 employ who would take the position at a
20 lower hourly rate maybe for example a $60
21 per hour right since he would be receiving
22 extra work from the city.
23 MR. MINORA: I can't speak to that,
24 all I know is that, you know, somebody doing
25 a job would certainly want to get paid
1 that's -- defending a lawsuit is a
2 significant undertaking, it's not just
3 writing a couple of letters, it's a
4 significant undertaking and it requires
5 hours and hours of one's time. If you are
6 asking me do I think somebody would take
7 that for free, I guess the way I answer that
8 is I wouldn't want be to represented by the
9 guy who would take it for free.
10 MS. GATELLI: Is there a possibility
11 to table this and we can have Mike Hanley
12 come in, he was the one --
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: I think that might
14 be a good idea.
15 MS. GATELLI: I make a motion that we
16 table it for a week.
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
18 MR. MCGOFF: There is a motion to
19 table Item 7-F. On the question? All those
20 in favor signify by saying aye.
21 MS. EVANS: Aye.
22 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
23 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
25 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
1 ayes have it and Item 7-F is tabled.
2 MS. GARVEY: 7-G. FOR CONSIDERATION
3 FOR THE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE - FOR ADOPTION
4 - RESOLUTION ON. 27, 2008 - AUTHORIZING THE
5 SALE OF THE 2007 TAX CLAIMS AND THE
6 ANTICIPATED 2008 TAX CLAIMS TO THE
7 REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF
8 SCRANTON, AND AUTHORIZING THE EXECUTION OF
9 AN AGREEMENT OF SALE AND PURCHASE RELATING
10 THERETO; AUTHORIZING THE CONTINUED RETENTION
11 OF MUNICIPAL REVENUE SERVICES, INC AND THE
12 LAW FIRM OF ELLIOTT, GREENLEAF AND BALABAN
13 RELATING THE TRANSACTION.
14 MR. MCGOFF: What is the
15 recommendation of the chairperson for the
16 Committee on the Finances?
17 MS. GATELLI: As chair for the
18 Committee on Finance I recommend final
19 passage of Item 7-G.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
21 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
22 MS. EVANS: We did receive responses
23 to the questions I posed, the original
24 contract was signed November 28, 2007. So,
25 indeed, just few short months ago. Mr. Doug
1 Hein also indicates the length of the
2 contract with MRS runs the duration of the
3 collection program. In other words, if
4 collections come in quickly the program
5 could if the city so opted be ended in three
6 years as long as the note with the bank is
7 paid off. There would be no liability to
8 either the city or SRA for this. If
9 collections come in more slowly, the
10 contract would end with the bank note which
11 is four years in length.
12 Now, my concern with this is that
13 this legislation goes hand-in-hand with the
14 ordinance that increased the cost,
15 penalties, fines, and fees for the
16 collection of delinquent real estate taxes
17 for the taxpayers of the City of Scranton,
18 and it isn't something that is set locally,
19 this is a state law. If you want to employ
20 an agency such as MRS, a municipality must
21 draft and approve a company legislation that
22 provides for these additional fees, costs
23 and etcetera.
24 Now, what was enacted by this
25 administration at or with the approval of
1 the majority of council has been in my mind
2 a Draconian procedure and we have seen
3 countless cases already where a very small
4 amount of money has ballooned, you know,
5 from, for example, $400 up to $2,000 and I
6 tried to amend that particular ordinance to
7 make it more fair to the people of this city
8 who find themselves in very, very much
9 difficult financial situations and that
10 ordinance puts them in fairly rapid danger
11 of a sherif's sale and losing their homes.
12 And, so, because that ordinance was not
13 amended it stands on the books as originally
14 drafted I really can't continue any contract
15 with Municipal Revenue Services, although, I
16 do believe that the service they offer is
17 certainly worthwhile for a city, but the
18 city has just been unreasonable in the
19 drafting of the legislation that goes
20 hand-in-hand, so I will be voting, no.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question,
22 Mr. McGoff, I guess what I have to say is
23 somewhat similar to what Mrs. Evans said, I
24 was opposed to MRS, I was opposed to the
25 rates that the SRA has set and they weren't
1 changed, so that's what my position lies now
2 with MRS with the rates.
3 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?
4 MS. GATELLI: I would just ask you
5 to please contact the school district
6 because I know they sell their liens, too,
7 if you can get up some information of how
8 they sell their liens, too, you know, for
9 next week.
10 MR. MCGOFF: It's in seventh now.
11 MS. GATELLI: I just want it for
13 MR. MCGOFF: Roll call, please.
14 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
15 MS. EVANS: I'm sorry, no.
16 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
17 MS. GATELLI. Yes.
18 MR. COOLICAN: Ms. Fanucci.
19 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
20 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: No.
22 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. I hereby declare
24 Item 7-G legally and lawfully adopted.
25 Prior to adjournment, by prior agreement and
1 discussion next week's meeting will be
2 cancelled for election day. Motion to
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
1 C E R T I F I C A T E
3 I hereby certify that the proceedings and
4 evidence are contained fully and accurately in the
5 notes of testimony taken by me at the hearing of the
6 above-captioned matter and that the foregoing is a true
7 and correct transcript of the same to the best of my
CATHENE S. NARDOZZI
12 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER