1 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
7 Tuesday, July 8, 2008
10 Council Chambers
11 Scranton City Hall
12 340 North Washington Avenue
13 Scranton, Pennsylvania
CATHENE S. NARDOZZI, RPR - OFFICIAL 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 (NOT PRESENT)
MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
15 MR. AMIL MINORA, ESQUIRE, SOLICITOR (NOT PRESENT)
MR. JOHN WILLIAMS, ESQUIRE, SOLICITOR
1 (Pledge of Allegiance recited and moment of reflection
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, and just for the
15 record, City Clerk, Kay Garvey, is not with
16 us today and also Attorney John Williams is
17 acting as solicitor in the absence of
18 Attorney Minora. Third Order.
19 MR. WILLIAMS: THREE. REPORTS AND
20 COMMUNICATIONS WITH MAYOR AND HEADS OF
21 DEPARTMENTS AND INTERESTED PARTIES AND CITY
22 CLERK'S NOTES: NO BUSINESS AT THIS TIME.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. Any
25 MS. EVANS: Yes. The Lackawanna
1 County Taxpayers' Association will sponsor a
2 day of free swimming at Nay Aug Park Swim
3 Complex on Wednesday, July 9, for Sister
4 Adrian Barrett's group of children Friends
5 of the Poor, and on Saturday and Sunday July
6 12 and 13 from 12 to 6 p.m. for all children
7 15 years of change and under. Mr. Bill
8 Jackowitz and Mr. Andy Sbaraglia have
9 generously spearheaded the Kids Swim Free
10 Program each year. Checks can be made
11 payable to "Kids Swim Free" and all
12 donations can be mailed to Mr. William
13 Jackowitz, 1416 South Webster Avenue,
14 Scranton, PA, 18505. Please help this
15 worthy cause. And I hope the children of
16 Scranton will enjoy a wonderful weekend of
17 free swimming.
18 Also, on Sunday, July 13, St. Peter
19 and Paul Russian Orthodox church will
20 sponsor a chicken barbecue from 12 to 2.
21 It's one of the best summer dinners in our
22 area and takeouts will also be available.
23 On Saturday, July 26, there will be a
24 benefit for Kelly Osborne from 1 to 6 p.m.
25 at the Minooka Legion. Kelly, a graduate of
1 Scranton high school and a wonderful young
2 woman, is in need of our help to pay for
3 serious medical expenses. Tickets are $10
4 and can be purchased at the door or from
5 members of the Minooka Lion's Club. Please
6 come out and help Kelly and her family on
7 Saturday, July 26.
8 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?
9 MS. EVANS: One more item, I'm sorry.
10 I announced this last week, but there is an
11 update on this, in regards to the 2004
12 Windstar van that Mr. Allen Rubenstein would
13 like to donate to a local nonprofit. The
14 transmission work will not be necessary.
15 I'm going to provide that for the vehicle,
16 so if there is any nonprofit who is in need
17 of transportation please contact the office
18 of city council for the donation of a 2004
19 Ford Windstar van.
20 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. Citizens'
21 participation. Andy Sbaraglia.
22 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,
23 citizen of Scranton. Fellow Scrantonians,
24 somebody dropped off I guess it was a report
25 probably from the federal government on
1 Daron Industries up there, which I read, but
2 there was one glaring oversight in that
3 whole piece of I guess you could call it
4 legislation, well, it wasn't legislation,
5 but results of their findings, one was there
6 was no long-term soil samples taken for the
7 length that business has been up there or
8 there was no long-term air quality given to
9 this project up there at all when the
10 complaints came in, that's the first thing
11 that should have been done. They should
12 have had air quality monitoring and they
13 should have had soil monitoring and the
14 report also states that if you get cancer it
15 takes from 10 to 20 years for it to occur
16 with this type of pollution, so somewhere
17 along the line that site should be monitored
18 after Daron leaves in 2008 to make sure that
19 there is no contamination to the soil or to
20 the surrounding soil around that site.
21 That's important to the people that live
22 there. It's, unfortunate if you want to
23 protect your children.
24 If it was my child I would be out
25 there getting somebody to give me some kind
1 of an air monitoring system that's approved
2 and every piece of dust that fell on my car,
3 on my window sill, would be placed in an
4 envelope and marked when it is so you have
5 something to fall back on 10 or 20 years
6 from now when people in that area may be
7 getting cancer or may not be getting cancer,
8 but at least you have some evidence that
9 went on at that site.
10 Okay, your "C", 5-C. It has to do
11 with you appointing an advisory capacity.
12 Now, if I'm wrong don't we have a cable
13 advisory board somewhere along the line
14 which Mr. Spano held? How come that's not
15 brought in at all? They wanted to --
16 actually, they were cut out of the whole
17 deal. I remember Mr. Spano saying when you
18 want to look for this new TV station to read
19 these proposals that they wanted to be
20 involved in it, but they weren't. This is
21 Doherty's TV station. He is going to give
22 them the money, he is going to do whatever
23 it takes to get that station up. Why? I
24 don't know why, maybe he has political
25 ambitions. What better way to propose your
1 political ambitions other than having your
2 own TV station putting up the skill, but
3 that's going to happen.
4 Okay, I'm not going to get into the
5 $90,000 because I think that's a done deal.
6 I think it was a done deal when Mr. Doherty
7 says, "I'm looking for someone else to
8 provide TV service. I believe it was a done
9 deal then, I believe it's a done deal now,
10 and nothing that happened afterwards changed
11 my mind. In fact, it's certain. With the
12 $10,000 what went up around and back again
13 or this other $90,000, this is Doherty TV
14 station is he going to use it for political
15 spiel more than anything else. He don't
16 like the negatives and this city is full of
17 negatives, not that we want to be negative,
18 we love this city, we wouldn't be here.
19 I lived here all my life, I never
20 wanted to live anywhere else. I love
21 Scranton, I love the hills, I love the area
22 and I love the people, but I don't like to
23 see what's happening to the people. You are
24 driving them out of their homes.
25 You don't even know what to look
1 forward to when these people have to pay
2 $4.00 or $4.50 a gallon for oil. They use
3 about 1,000 gallons of oil in the heat
4 assistance I guess in this area, that's like
5 four to 5,000 bucks. A lot of elderly
6 aren't going to be able to do it, but you
7 already made it so when that happens they
8 lose their home because we already got all
9 of these other penalties that's going to be
10 pushed on them and you don't believe this
11 was contrived?
12 I don't know. I believe you follow
13 the dots. They used to say follow the money
14 trail, I say follow the dots. People know
15 what's going to happen, I knew what was
16 going to happen so they knew what was going
17 to happen. When you sold off them
18 delinquent notes all the way along the line
19 you knew a lot of people were going to
20 suffer, but you care little about it. You
21 did it anyway. So it's going to fall in and
22 I don't know what's going to happen to those
23 people, especially what's happening down in
24 Wilkes-Barre even with taxes. The taxes are
25 going sky high down in Luzerne County and if
1 you follow what happened and they are the
2 same people that did Scranton. I thank you
3 very much.
4 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,
5 Mr. Sbaraglia. Ozzie Quinn.
6 MR. QUINN: Ozzie Quinn, Taxpayers'
7 Association. Thank you. Mrs. Evans, I
8 wanted to thank you for that donation and
9 anybody else that gave a donation to the
10 Kids Swim for Free, I know that Mrs. Evans
11 just gave it that's why I noted her
12 contribution and I do want to mention the
13 fact that I appreciate you announcing those
14 dates, but if you didn't get it you can go
15 to ScrantonTaxpayers.org and you can get the
16 address from there, okay?
17 Now, I just want to mention the
18 facts that we are talking about, I read this
19 morning about the Recovery Plan and about
20 the mayor is going to cut jobs and so on,
21 now, let's not fool ourselves, this mayor is
22 circumventing what's going on here. I have
23 here for the Sewer Authority they have over
24 $1 million in salaries put on their since
25 Mayor Doherty has taken office. For
1 instance, the managers, top manager is
2 82,640. Next, 70,000, 59,000, 59,000,
3 59,000, 40,000, 48,000. This one is a
4 school board director, 47,500. 39,000.
5 38,000. Chief plant operator, 46,000, I'm
6 rounding them out. Pool system capacity
7 technician, 48,000. Master electrician,
8 42,000. Senior laboratory technician,
9 41,000. Assistant plant operator/utility
10 operator, 41,000. Equipment operator,
11 41,000. Equipment operator, 41,000.
12 Operator A, 41,000. Laborer, 40,000.
13 Senior laboratory techniques, 40,000.
14 Vehicle mechanic, 40,000. Chief cashier,
15 40,000. Assistant plant operator, utility
16 operator, 38,000. Equipment operator
17 collection line, 38,000. Equipment operator
18 collection line, 38,000. Equipment operator
19 "B", 38,000. Laboratory assistance, 38,000.
20 Laborer, 38,000. Laborer, 38,000.
21 Assistant chief cashier, and I believe this
22 one is the school board's wife or sister,
23 38,000. Groundskeeper/inventory clerk,
24 37,000. Laborer, 37,000. Laborer, 37,000.
25 Laborer, 37,000. Laborer, 37,000. Janitor
1 36,000. Laborer, 36,000. Laborer, 46,000.
2 Laborer, 46,000. Laborer, 36,000. Laborer
3 and collection line, 36,000. Labor and
4 collection line, 37,000. Assistant vehicle
5 mechanic, 37,000. Lab assistant, 36.000.
6 Laborer, 36,000. Laborer, 36,000.
7 You know, you know where that money
8 comes from, your sewer rate increase and
9 this is what happened back in May of 2007
10 when Mayor Doherty with Anglican-American
11 circumvented the Home Rule Charter and went
12 down and gave the Sewer Authority the
13 autonomy to raise the rates of the sewer --
14 of the homeowners, the property owners in
15 the City of Scranton without coming before
16 city council. The results over $1 million
17 without health benefits, I didn't include
18 that, and there he is making a big deal in
19 the Scranton Times this morning that he is
20 going to have a Recovery Plan, well, we now
21 that he is circumventing everything.
22 Now, let's go back, this was on
23 WILK, okay, where I got some of this
24 information on the radio, let's go back to
25 March 9, '06: "MRS. GARVEY: FOR
1 CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE OF COMMUNITY
2 DEVELOPMENT," this is verbatim off of your
3 -- okay, on-line, "FOR ADOPTION, FILE OF
4 COUNCIL NO. 20, 2006, AN ORDINANCE,
5 AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE
6 CITY OFFICIALS TO ALLOCATE AMOUNTS NOT TO
7 EXCEED $577,000 FROM ACCOUNT 91400,
8 REPAYMENT OF URBAN DEVELOPMENT ACTIONS
9 GRANTS FOR VARIOUS ELIGIBLE PROJECTS.
10 MS. GATELLI: What is the
11 recommendation of the chairman on community
13 MRS. NEALON-FANUCCI: As chairman for
14 the committee on community development, I
15 recommend final passage of Item 7-B.
16 MR. MCTIERNAN: Second."
17 Now, he took that $10,000 out of
18 that you UDAG money that you see here, okay,
19 and he gave it the East Scranton Business
20 Association. He laundered it down to ECTV
21 without coming before city council. Should
22 he? Let me read it verbatim. I wanted to
23 see -- okay, this here, "MR. MCTIERNAN:
24 Attorney Minora, can I ask you a question,
25 please, and I think I know that --" may I
1 finish this, it's only two seconds?
2 MR. MCGOFF: Please.
3 MR. QUINN: Thank you.
4 "But, I'll ask it.
5 MR. MINORA: Shoot.
6 MR. MCTIERNAN: After this is
7 approved and there are projects that are
8 worthy projects of this, do these loans or
9 projects have to come before council for
10 final approval?
11 MRS. GATELLI: Yes, they do.
12 MR. MINORA: They do.
13 MR. MCTIERNAN: So none of this money
14 will be spent without our approval down the
16 MRS. GATELLI: No.
17 MR. MINORA: That's correct."
18 Now, something has gone amiss some
19 place. Thank you very much.
20 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Quinn.
21 Barb O'Malley.
22 MS. O'MALLEY: Barbara O'Malley. At
23 the July 1 council meeting it was revealed
24 that the East Scranton Business Association
25 gifted ECTV $10,000. The source of the
1 money according to the East Scranton
2 Business Association was OECD. It is
3 unclear how the money was approved until the
4 mayor said he provided the money from
5 $577,000 that council approved for his usage
6 on March 9, 2006.
7 At that meeting council approved the
8 $577,000 after a detailed discussion of what
9 the money could be used for and if any
10 projects or loans needed further approval
11 from the Scranton City Council. The
12 transcript reads: "MR. MCTIERNAN: Attorney
13 Minora, can I ask you a question please and
14 I think the I know the answer but I will ask
15 it anyhow.
16 MR. MINORA: Shoot.
17 MR. MCTIERNAN: After if this is
18 approved and there are projects that are
19 worthy of projects of this do those loans
20 and projects have to come before council for
21 final approval?
22 MRS. GATELLI: Yes, they do.
23 MR. MINORA: They do.
24 MR. MCTIERNAN: So, there is none of
25 this money will be spent without our
1 approval down the road?
2 MRS. GATELLI: No.
3 MR. MINORA: That's correct."
4 After further discussion the
5 ordinance passed legally and lawfully
6 adopted. So, here we are down the road and
7 the mayor, according to the Scranton Times
8 in a radio interview, says the $577,000 was
9 approved for his use and he decided that the
10 $10,000 was needed to eliminate blight at
11 the church ECTV is using for it's studios.
12 Did Attorney Minora, then council president
13 Mrs. Gatelli, and Councilmen McTiernan
14 provide incorrect information thus
15 misleading their fellow council members and
16 the public or did Mr. Doherty just do his
17 own thing and bypass city council? I hope
18 this quandary will be addressed by
19 Mrs. Gatelli and Attorney Minora, but,
20 unfortunately, he is not here.
21 How did Mr. Doherty get $10,000 into
22 the hands of ECTV without council's
23 approval? Apparently, through the East
24 Scranton Business Association. The money
25 that the association gifted to ECTV came
1 from UDAG funds, taxpayers' money. How did
2 the mayor transfer money to the East
3 Scranton Business Association to ECTV? Is
4 there a paper trail open to the public?
5 It is my understanding that federal
6 funds cannot be handed out by OECD or the
7 mayor without an application stating what it
8 would be used for and proper documentation.
9 Did the East Scranton Business
10 Association file an application with OECD
11 stating the money would be used to eliminate
12 blight at the church at 933 Prescott Avenue?
13 At the March 9, 2006, meeting Mrs. Gatelli
14 referenced her former employment at OECD
15 when discussing the OECD funds in question.
16 The transcript reads: "MRS. GATELLI: When
17 you work in OECD and you have a pool of
18 money you don't know what the projects are
19 until the people come and ask you for the
20 money. It's not like you have money and
21 say, oh, I've got this money, now I'm going
22 to give it to Janet Evans, Sherry Fanucci,
23 Judy and Bill and Bob because they are my
24 friends and they are going to do a project.
25 It doesn't work that way."
1 Well, it certainly appears to me
2 that in the case of ECTV that is exactly how
3 it worked.
4 Now, onto 933 Prescott Avenue the
5 reported blighted property where ECTV has
6 it's studios. This property, a stately
7 well-maintained brick church was purchased
8 in January 2007 for $250,000 by Lackawanna
9 Institute. Lackawanna Institute and it's
10 principal are very well-known for the
11 acquisition, improvement and upkeep of
12 properties throughout the Hill Section. It
13 seems highly unlikely that Lackawanna
14 Institute would request funds from the East
15 Scranton Business Association for blight
16 removal from this property or any other for
17 that matter.
18 According to my research, HUD
19 provides federal funding for eligible
20 projects that address blight on a spot basis
21 if the rehab is limited to those conditions
22 which are detrimental to public health and
23 safety. The church at 933 Prescott Avenue
24 is not and never was blighted by this
25 definition or any other definition. I urge
1 all of you to take a ride to the former
2 church at 933 Prescott Avenue then compare
3 it to the deteriorating building at say
4 Cedar and Elm in South Scranton, now that's
5 blight. Again, the red flags are abundant
6 when it comes to ECTV from the mayor
7 disregarding council's authority to the
8 trumped up blight case. Why is it so
9 important for Mayor Doherty to personally
10 ensure Scranton Today's demise and ECTV's
11 success? Does anybody really believe that
12 the selection funding of ECTV has been an
13 above board process? I urge you to end this
14 charade by not approving the additional
15 $90,000 for the mayor's deal.
16 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,
17 Mrs. O'Malley. Sam Patilla.
18 MR. PATILLA: Good afternoon, Mrs.
19 Evans and Mr. Courtright. I, too, want to
20 speak on Channel 61 ECTV. You know, me
21 personally, this is just my opinion, okay,
22 that it is as stated earlier the mayor's TV
23 station, okay? When I first started
24 appearing before council, you know, I had to
25 listen to taxpayers being called the Legion
1 of Doom and yada, yada, yada and everything
2 else underneath the sun, as a bunch of
3 malcontents. Well, evidently these
4 malcontents have been speaking the truth
5 because one time the cameras in this
6 chambers were removed. Now, we have an
7 organization that wouldn't cow-tow down to
8 this mayor and a blatant attempt to control
9 what the taxpayers have access to in regards
10 to this city council.
11 Now, as I stated before, I don't
12 know whether the owner of ECTV has liens
13 against him present or past or whatever the
14 case may be, but I do know that this
15 administration has a history of taking
16 moneys that can be used to assist our
17 children, our elderly, and our poor. I
18 haven't gotten all of the information on the
19 Friendship House yet, but I guarantee you
20 that that $90,000 could be put better to use
21 by what they intended to use that money for
22 than an organization that came to city
23 council with an empty hands requesting city
24 taxpayer money.
25 You know, I just can't understand
1 this. I know personally that this thing is
2 going to get passed, I know it, so do
3 98 percent of the people viewing this and
4 those in the audience, we already know this,
5 but that doesn't make it right. You know,
6 people don't take into consideration when a
7 government officials, what are the effects,
8 the economy outside of that municipality,
9 outside of the locale that's going to have
10 on your residents? When that $300,000 was
11 used in that dog park nobody foresaw the
12 increases in oil, in gas. This $90,000 used
13 to take over that television station nobody
14 is taking into consideration when the cap
15 comes off PPL, all right? This city, this
16 area is predominantly seniors and low to
17 moderate income people and children, all
18 right? You don't have a lot of rich people
19 in this city because if you did you wouldn't
20 be taking money from poor people and the
21 seniors, you wouldn't have to, you would use
22 your own money.
23 You know, Daddy Warbucks here, all
24 right, every time I turn around he is taking
25 money from the poor, from the kids, from the
1 elderly, it's sickening. You know,
2 sometimes you just have to stand up and say
3 enough is enough. I'm not going to be a
4 party to that. I don't care what the
5 repercussions are I have values, I have
6 morals, I'm not going to do it. Now, like I
7 said, I haven't gotten the backup on this
8 Friendship House yet, but I guarantee you
9 that they have a better use and a better
10 purpose for that money than somebody that
11 can't pay their own bills. I thank you for
12 your time.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Patilla.
14 Rich Gilroy.
15 MR. GILROY: Rich Gilroy, resident of
16 Scranton. I'm here because my mom is a
17 homeowner up in North Scranton and she
18 shares her house with a Village Park
19 Apartments, it's a housing development.
20 There is a dumpsters there with no lids on
21 them, we are waiting a year for them to be
22 on them. Nothing. All garbage all over and
23 I have pictures here, blighted houses, out
24 of town landlords, there is two houses next
25 to my mom, out of town landlords. The grass
1 is never cut. The one is running an illegal
2 garage fixing cars, all you hear is motors
3 running in there, compressors, you smell
4 paint fumes and they are getting away with
5 it. In the house next to my mom is a busted
6 shed. There is all garbage in there, the
7 grass is never cut, and another thing is
8 there was a drug house there a couple of
9 years ago and we had to go to a lawyer
10 because we couldn't get them out of there
11 and we left a message with the safety
12 director who would in the answer the call
13 until we hired a lawyer about it, so
14 something has got to be done about those
15 places up there. If you would care to look
16 at these pictures I have them right here?
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: Where did you say
18 it was at, what project?
19 MR. GILROY: Village. Townhouse.
20 MR. COURTRIGHT: Townhouse.
21 MR. GILROY: It was a drug place at
22 one time. There is no security up there at
23 all at that housing development, it's
24 ashame. My mom is 20 years next month and
25 it's like living in hell living there, you
1 wouldn't want to live there to see what goes
2 on there. There is a gangs out there
3 drinking liquor, they are defecating by the
4 dumpsters, you have to see what it's like to
5 live up there, it's a shame and my mother is
6 elderly, that's why I'm here on her behalf,
7 it's a very rotten shame what we have to put
8 up up there, no security or nothing, and
9 that's why I'm here.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Sir, did they do
11 away with the cop? Did they do away with
12 the cop going out there?
13 MR. GILROY: Saturday there might be
14 Carrie Iaaavazzi is the park manager and she
15 said on Saturday they might have security
16 there from maybe until 12, but they are out
17 all hours of the night where you see bottles
18 of liquor, beer, be sitting in cars, sitting
19 on curbstones, it's terrible. You wouldn't
20 want to live up there. My mom --
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: They used to have a
22 Scranton police officer there. They don't
23 have it anymore; correct?
24 MR. GILROY: Well, she says on
25 Saturdays, she hires one on Saturdays. We
1 never see any security up there at all.
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: I know her, I'll
3 talk to her for you.
4 MR. GILROY: My mom had damage from
5 the fireworks. They shot those rocket
6 launchers and it was like World War II when
7 the Russians were going to Berlin, they had
8 that noise on them. They were out and shot
9 them off the roof, I was sitting on the
10 steps and I got almost hit in the face, it
11 missed me, sparks flying all over the place,
12 and they damaged the -- they burnt the wood
13 on the steps. They melted where the fan is
14 on the side of the house, they melted that
15 and there is a like a little indentation on
16 the bottom where I guess where it hit it,
17 and it landed on the -- there is a park
18 bench under the steps, it landed under
20 But, as they were coming from all
21 directions, from the project in the back and
22 where they're running that illegal garage
23 and there was rocket launchers, they were
24 just going "Zroop", right over where our
25 roof, the garage, and there is all trees and
1 everything in the yard. It's a shame. Like
2 I said, it's a shame, you wouldn't want to
3 live up there. It's like living in hell
4 living there. Plus with all the blight, the
5 road is all a mess, you can't even get a
6 pothole taken care of. We are waiting three
7 weeks for a pothole and I talked to one of
8 the guys down I think it's in -- I can't
9 think, I forget his name, I was shopping in
10 Dunmore Saturday, last Saturday, and there
11 was a DPW truck up at Big Lots, two guys
12 were in there, the truck was parked right
13 there. The guy, Mr. Matthews, that's what
14 his name was. He said, "We can't do
15 anything because we were understaffed."
16 I said, "What about those two guys
17 that were in Dunmore shopping last Saturday
18 with the DPW truck?"
19 They are understaffed, give me a
20 break. That's all I have to say. Thank
22 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Gilroy,
23 and I do have the list you gave to me.
24 Brett McCloe.
25 MR. MCCLOE: Good afternoon. My name
1 is Brett McCloe, Scranton taxpayer, and I
2 want to talk about some things that were
3 said last week from you folks up there, and
4 I had a conversation in the park and the
5 gentleman came up to me while my children
6 were playing at one of our city playgrounds
7 and asked me a very important question,
8 "Don't you guys have anything better to do
9 with your time than to criticize the
10 progress of this mayor and the progress that
11 this mayor and the city council has made for
12 the city?"
13 My reply became rather quickly and I
14 said, "Depends on what you call progress."
15 I said to him, "Would you allow me
16 to take your credit card to buy some new
17 clothes and a very expensive car that you
18 don't need at all and all in the name of
19 progress because it is better to look good
20 than to be good? Would you be happy with me
21 taking credit for all your so-called
22 progress as I leave it up to you to pay the
24 He laughed. And my second point
25 was, no, there is nothing better to do than
1 to take one or two hours out of every week
2 or so and come down here to council chambers
3 and to give my thoughts and my opinions as a
4 citizen to all the citizens. I not only
5 tell you what I think, I will tell you why I
6 think what I do. After 15 minutes of
7 political banter it became very clear that
8 he was connected. He had the right look,
9 the right name, he lived in the right
10 neighborhood, owned and operated the right
11 business. He said, "The Lord helps those
12 who help themselves."
13 I said, "I'm quite sure you have
14 helped yourself quite a bit without help
15 from the Lord. You must be one of those who
16 believe our local government can walk on
18 He bragged, that's what the beauty
19 of political contributions and 3-2 votes.
20 He became very angry when I confronted him
21 with his own humanity and lack of economic
22 compassion. The inevitable conclusion to
23 our conversation was summed up by his
24 parting statement, "Blank the people," to
25 which I replied, "That's my point exactly."
1 That statement alone is why people
2 come to these council meetings to combat
3 legislation that reeks of impropriety and is
4 fueled by this blank the people mindset.
5 Was this one of the other people in the
6 city who people say they represent? I hope
7 this is not the time of constituent any of
8 you or any elected official would base the
9 needs of this city upon. We all know one of
10 these other people in this city, and except
11 for the possible warped sense of community
12 these people are fairly honest and good
13 people, but there does need to be a constant
14 open dialogue between citizens of this city
15 not just between here and there, to each one
16 speak to one. We have to change the
17 psychology and the way we feel about each
18 other in order for us to truly progress.
19 Mr. McGoff, as a former teacher you
20 above all should understand the importance
21 of the history of this city and the
22 psychology of the people who live in it.
23 This has always been a city where back room
24 deals were made and where most citizens turn
25 their back on malfeasance and the appearance
1 of impropriety in order to safeguard their
2 jobs, their livelihood and their social
3 standing. Generation after generation has
4 survived and thrived off of political slight
5 of hand.
6 Unfounded allegations and character
7 assaults are a natural result of a
8 rightfully cynical society with instant
9 access to information. Unfortunately,
10 sometimes misinformation, mistrust,
11 misbehavior, and a lack of decorum go
12 hand-in-hand with the abolishment and
13 dismantling of Scranton's very old 150 year
14 old fueled system and the creation of a
15 democracy where democracy existed before.
16 I guess I don't know much about the
17 mechanics of how the city government works,
18 but I am trying to learn. It's the people
19 ourselves who have to change first because
20 we will become them. They are not going to
21 be there forever, we will all -- some of us
22 will be getting voted into those seats in 5,
23 10, 15 years. Thank you.
24 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you Mr. McCloe.
25 Les Spindler.
1 MR. SPINDLER: Morning, Council. Les
2 Spindler, city resident, homeowner.
3 Mr. McGoff, two weeks ago you stated that
4 someone from the University of Scranton told
5 you the people that play soccer down at the
6 South Side complex did not pay. Well, what
7 did you think they were going to tell you?
8 Did you think they were going to tell you
9 the truth? Did you go down and ask the
10 people that are actually paying? Did you go
11 down to the complex and ask the people down
12 there if they are paying? I did,
13 Mr. McGoff, go talk to the people that are
14 playing. They pay to play on Sunday and if
15 the University does own that complex where
16 is the rest of the money they owe the city
17 for it? And where is the lighted ballfield
18 they were supposed to build for the city?
19 Did the cat get your tongue, Mr. McGoff?
20 MR. MCGOFF: I didn't realize they
21 were questions, no.
22 MR. SPINDLER: Forget about it then.
23 They are just all lies that the University
24 told you. Go ask the people that play there
25 on Sunday if they play or not. I did.
1 Maybe it's too much out of your schedule to
2 go down there on a Sunday.
3 MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me. I gave you
4 an answer to the questions that you had.
5 MR. SPINDLER: Okay, and I'm telling
6 you the answer I got from the people that
7 pay. I'd like to read something from an
8 article from the Doherty newsletter last
9 week, something the mayor said about the
10 fire and police unions. The mayor said, "We
11 don't want to jump the gun and cost the
12 taxpayers anymore money."
13 Is he joking? He doesn't want to
14 cost the taxpayers any more money? He must
15 have cost them millions in arbitration
16 appeals already and now he doesn't want to
17 cost the taxpayers anymore money? I can't
18 believe this guy. He is a joke.
19 And then a day or two later I read
20 something else in the Doherty newsletter,
21 "TV switch has more to offer," and I had a
22 lot of respect for Stacy Brown until I read
23 this article, I'm just going to read bits
24 and pieces of it. It starts off, "A
25 colorful screen bursting with fireworks and
1 chocked full of information."
2 Stacy, the fireworks weren't real.
3 From help lines to hot lines to happenings,
4 that were placed in there which viewers of
5 public access Channel 61 and 62 have
6 recently grown accustomed to."
7 Scranton Today showed all of those
8 things and more. And, lastly, it also says
9 that cable access television is more than
10 just showing city council meetings. Well,
11 Stacy, you and the mayor should have seen
12 the pie chart that Scranton Today gave and
13 it's RFP. It showed only 28 percent of
14 their programming was government meetings,
15 72 percent of their programming was other
16 coverage, so these people should get the
17 facts straight because the mayor said he
18 picked ECTV because Scranton Today only
19 showed government meetings. That's a lie
20 and their pie chart proves it.
21 Also, about that $10,000. I think
22 there should be an investigation on that.
23 There might be money laundering, the mayor
24 had to come before council and get that
25 money approved. He didn't do it, he
1 circumvented council to get an outrageous
2 sewer authority raise of almost double, then
3 he circumvents council to get $10,000 to
4 whoever he wants to, this mayor gets what he
5 wants, all right, he is like a little kid
6 that wants to take the ball and go home if
7 he doesn't get what he wants. This council
8 gives the mayor whatever he wants and
9 something has to be done now. There should
10 be an investigation, this $10,000 was given
11 to ECTV illegally and something has to be
12 done. Thank you for your time.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Spindler.
14 Ron Ellman.
15 MR. ELLMAN: Yeah, Ronnie Ellman,
16 homeowner, member of the Taxpayers'
17 Association. I've just had a terrible two
18 weeks and I just feel like taking it out on
19 you all, but I won't, but my insurance is
20 just driving me crazy this Hartford. I
21 guess you catch enough dickens today.
22 I'm going to tell you a real kick
23 story why I am so impassioned about this
24 money being taken from Friendship House. I
25 told you that my father was in politics in
1 Tennessee in the 50's and 60's and 70's, and
2 that's about the time that Danny Thomas was
3 trying to establish St. Jude Hospital and my
4 father was very honored to have met him
5 several times on business and that's when I
6 was an x-ray technician and he took me down
7 there one night to meet Mr. Thomas and I
8 asked him for a job working at Danny Thomas,
9 this is about six months or a year before
10 they opened, and I went over a few days
11 later to wander around and get familiar and
12 I lasted to lunch time, and I ate my free
13 lunch and I told this Dr. Bassett I'm not
14 man enough to work around these children.
15 It's just heartbreaking and then for years I
16 just felt guilty. These people they needed
17 staff members and all and I didn't stay to
18 help them, so I have always supported Danny
19 Thomas as much as I could and St. Jude's
21 Every time, I'm not saying this to
22 -- I don't know how to say it without
23 sounding like a phony or something, when I
24 see a little baby's picture in the paper in
25 the obituaries or somebody from St. Joseph's
1 it's just heartbreaking to me. Young people
2 they just don't, you know, haven't lived
3 their life.
4 This thing, the paper I phoned -- I
5 phoned this last Monday before I came and I
6 was told what was in the yesterday's paper
7 that money was collected for that specific
8 purpose of building a new wing. Now, you
9 listen to the big lie from the mayor, there
10 is no way we can pay this man, we don't have
11 any business taking it, I just don't -- I
12 just don't see how they get away with it. I
13 have been on the phone all week and I got a
14 complaint form from the Attorney General's
15 Office to fill out about when I told them
16 what was going on. I am going to do
17 everything I can to let this state know what
18 Friendship House, they are not in the
19 banking business, if they have so much money
20 then they can loan it to the city, they
21 shouldn't be out there getting
23 I have never given them anything,
24 but the next thing you know what is the
25 mayor going to ask St. Joseph for some of
1 their money, you know, or Catholic services,
2 the Red Cross? He doesn't have any business
3 taking money from people that are donating
4 it for a specific purpose. He just doesn't
5 have any feelings for his fellow man.
6 You know what, you are like this
7 one. When I'm at the Taurus Club, every
8 time I go to the men's room and talk to
9 someone I have found out that mayor Doherty
10 has lost a lot of support with his own crowd
11 of professionals I guess is the word. He
12 just can't go on like this. He is
13 alienating the people he needs. I'm not
14 really mad at him, I told you, the park was
15 beautiful when I was down there for the car
16 show, but he just -- you know, the people of
17 this city just must make some contributions
18 to the city and that's voting. What we
19 need maybe some public forum or something to
20 see what's going on and how the people feel,
21 see how they feel about the mayor, and maybe
22 I'm wrong, and see how they feel about you
23 guys. I don't see anything wrong in having
24 a public forum, but we can't go on just
25 borrowing. They will be out right now
1 asking for donations and people are taking,
2 let's just say $1,000 donation, and they are
3 taking it off their income tax donating it
4 to their for a specific purpose of a
5 building fund and it's being given to us.
6 Now, that can't be legal. There is
7 something wrong somewhere. Thank you very
9 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Ellman.
10 Liz Hubbard.
11 MS. HUBBARD: Morning, Council. Liz
12 Hubbard, Scranton resident and taxpayer.
13 According to the Council minutes of 3-9-06 I
14 know this has all been said before, but the
15 money coming out of that $577,000 had to be
16 approved by council according to Mr.
17 McTiernan's questions and Mrs. Gatelli and
18 Mr. Minora's answers. On that, if these
19 minutes are correct, when was the $10,000
20 given to the East Scranton Business
21 Association and what project was it approved
22 for? Can anybody answer that?
23 MS. FANUCCI: You are aware it did
24 not come here? I mean, we didn't vote on
25 that. But, I can tell you what it was --
1 what it is designated for. It was
2 designated for cleanup and for rehab in the
3 basement facility of that church.
4 MS. HUBBARD: When was it given to
6 MS. FANUCCI: I don't really know. I
7 don't know that date. I have no idea. I
8 know it was a few months, but I don't know
9 the exact date.
10 MS. HUBBARD: Why was council
12 MS. FANUCCI: Well, I do know as far
13 as UDAG funds are concerned, under a certain
14 amount does not have to pass through
15 council, so that has always been. That's
16 been --
17 MS. HUBBARD: How very convenient
18 for --
19 MS. FANUCCI: Well, it's been
20 convenient for all of the mayors. That is
21 something that's being going on forever.
22 This isn't new, this isn't something that
23 just happened, that has been going forever.
24 UDAG is pretty much disbursed by the mayor
25 to do pet projects like the treehouse and
1 things like that.
2 MS. HUBBARD: Pet projects being the
3 key word.
4 MS. FANUCCI: Yes, being the key
6 MS. HUBBARD: Doherty said on the
7 radio that it was for cleaning up blight,
8 i.e., cleaning the basement of an old
9 church. How does cleaning up the basement
10 of an old church that is owned by a wealthy
11 businessman who pays no taxes on any of the
12 properties he owns because it's a nonprofit,
13 how does that constitute blight?
14 MS. FANUCCI: It is a nonprofit. It
15 doesn't matter who owns what, the fact is
16 it's a nonprofit organization.
17 MS. HUBBARD: No, ho, what I'm
18 saying, if the $10,000 was to clean up the
19 weeds in the yard or the facade of the
20 building, okay, that might be classified as
21 blight, but the 10,000 was to clean up the
23 MS. FANUCCI: Well, blight can be
24 anything from -- -
25 MS. HUBBARD: Who sees the basement?
1 MS. FANUCCI: Well, wait, blight can
2 be anything from code to not code. Blight
3 can be, you know, electrical problems.
4 Blight can be anything. Blight isn't just
5 weeds, so it would fall under blight.
6 MS. HUBBARD: Yeah, Mayor Doherty
7 said it was specifically for cleaning the
8 basement. Well, how about I'd like to get
9 some money to clean my basement.
10 MS. FANUCCI: Well, file a nonprofit
11 and we will see what we can do. I don't
12 know what to tell you.
13 MS. HUBBARD: I mean, this is
14 bordering on the ridiculous that this money
15 is being funneled to these people and you
16 said in the morning paper I believe that the
17 programming is wonderful. I haven't seen
18 any programming.
19 MS. FANUCCI: Have you been watching?
20 MS. HUBBARD: Every time I turn it
21 on I get little blight hotline numbers and
22 all of that stuff. I haven't seen anything.
23 MS. FANUCCI: What did you get last
24 time in the old station? I mean, come on,
25 they are only a few weeks old.
1 MS. HUBBARD: The old station until
2 they ran out of money.
3 MS. FANUCCI: Listen, I'm entitled to
4 think that the graphics are wonderful and
5 I'll stand on that. I think that what I
6 have seen so far has been really good.
7 MS. HUBBARD: All right, well, I
8 mean, to watch graphics, what can I tell
10 MS. FANUCCI: You should.
11 MS. HUBBARD: I would like to have
12 seen some of this money that's apparently
13 going for cleaning up blight, some of it to
14 go toward the flood siren that you people,
15 all of you unanimously voted on that.
16 MS. FANUCCI: I actually checked on
17 that for you, I checked on that for you
18 recently, and the reason that you did not
19 get your flood siren and you will not be
20 getting your flood siren is because when
21 they tested all of the flood sirens they
22 felt that they still can hear them from your
24 MS. HUBBARD: Really? Because I
25 didn't see anybody on my front porch
2 MS. FANUCCI: It happened.
3 MS. HUBBARD: Well, I didn't hear any
4 flood sirens.
5 MS. FANUCCI: Well, it happened and
6 they tested them, and it was actually awhile
7 ago, and so they decided that you actually
8 are in earshot. They used whatever the
9 meter is that this used to measure the
10 sounds, yeah.
11 MS. HUBBARD: Okay. Maybe the birds
12 can hear it, but the people can't.
13 MS. FANUCCI: But the good thing is,
14 the good thing is that 30 houses were ripped
15 down in blight with the money that we did
16 give out.
17 MS. HUBBARD: Well, you know what I
18 figured, 10,000 could clean out a lot of
19 skunks and other critters in the city.
20 MS. FANUCCI: Well, see, that's good.
21 MS. HUBBARD: Because to me they are
22 more of a problem than a dirty basement of a
23 church that's a nonprofit.
24 MS. FANUCCI: Everybody has their
25 cause, which is nice.
1 MS. HUBBARD: I'm sorry, the money
2 goes to all of these places in the city and
3 there is so many problems that never get
4 addressed that it's disgusting. Anyway,
5 have a nice day.
6 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Hubbard.
7 Stephanie Galla.
8 MS. GALLA: Stephanie Galla, city
9 resident. I'm here because I'm frustrated
10 with the new station, it's not showing the
11 council meetings, I don't get to see them, I
12 work for a living, so they need to start
13 airing them at night. I realize in the
14 evenings when they start again we will get
15 them, but they haven't been conducive to
16 those of us who work, it's ridiculous.
17 The other things are city business,
18 the mayor again is getting ready to put us
19 in danger because he is getting ready to cut
20 more firemen. I don't know what he doesn't
21 get that they need some backup and cutting
22 the staff more is putting my home, my live
23 and everybody else's life in danger and he
24 needs to not do this, and I don't know what
25 you as a council can do, but somebody has
1 got to get this man under control because he
2 is just out of control. You know, he is
3 trying to blame them for the taxes, well, I
4 don't know how he can because they haven't
5 gotten a raise, they work for nothing at
6 this point because the cost of everything
7 else has gone up so much. I don't know how
8 they expect them to keep going. You know, I
9 wouldn't mind paying a little more if I was
10 getting the services, but how can I get
11 services when I don't have the manstaff? It
12 doesn't even make sense to me.
13 He agreed to the arbitration, he
14 hasn't lived up to it, we all know that. He
15 keeps going to Court and he keeps costing us
16 more money, we all know that, that's not
17 anything new. He has taken away baseball
18 fields on us, he is not replacing them. He
19 is taking fields like Weston field that had
20 two baseball fields, he put soccer fields
21 in. Well, it's nice that other people like
22 to place soccer but I thought this was
23 American, this was baseball, apple pie and
24 Chevrolet, you know, that's what I grew up
1 I would like some accountability on
2 the $10,000. Now, I do understand that we
3 are supposed to be checking into that now,
4 did I read that in the paper this morning?
5 As I read in the paper that he is getting
6 ready to ax more people.
7 I would like to know, you know, like
8 I don't understand how we let Scranton Today
9 go. I don't understand that. They got
10 shafted so bad and I think it needs to be
11 investigated and something should be double
12 checked. There was something wrong with
13 this process totally. If the mayor wants to
14 continue to spend money to improve the city
15 it would more wise to improve the streets.
16 Now, I realize some of them are state
17 streets, but, I mean, a lot of the streets
18 are not and if we want the tourist to come
19 in we should have decent roads to ride on.
20 Now, I mean, I understand we are doing
21 something with 100 block of Lackawanna
22 Avenue that they just shut down, but, I
23 mean, that was that for way, way too long.
24 You know, now there is a section of
25 Jefferson, I think belongs to the state, bu
1 that section right there by the "U" between
2 Mulberry and Linden that's always a mess,
3 can somebody, you know, maybe get the state
4 to take care of that? It's been a big
5 pothole for as long as I can remember.
6 MS. FANUCCI: There has been a lot
7 of fighting, not fighting, but back and
8 forth on that road because of the PennDOT
9 and they wanted to make it a passing three
10 lane where people can pass and the residents
11 of the Hill and also --
12 MS. GALLA: No, this is -- when I'm
13 talking Jefferson Avenue I'm talking down by
14 the University.
15 MS. FANUCCI: Right. Right. The
16 problem is that they were trying to make it
17 into like those passing lanes and the
18 feeling was that if you make cars go faster
19 on the avenue that it could actually be
20 worse for the residents, so that's been
21 going on for a long time between PennDot and
22 trying to do planting there.
23 MS. GALLA: The other spot that
24 concerns me a lot because I do drive around
25 the city a lot I get stuck at it lot at
1 Mulberry Street as you are coming into the
2 city right at Wyoming it used to have the
3 arrows to what lane you are supposed to be
4 in, again, I'm pretty sure that's state, but
5 it would be great if --
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: They are doing a
7 study on that, we are looking into it.
8 MS. GALLA: Okay. All right, because
9 that's just hazardous.
10 MS. FANUCCI: That is.
11 MS. GALLA: And if they don't want to
12 put it down on the road, put it up on a pole
13 so you know what lane you are supposed to be
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: They are doing a
16 study to do a left-hand turn signal.
17 MS. GALLA: Oh, okay. Oh, excellent.
18 That would be great.
19 MS. FANUCCI: Yes, it would be.
20 MS. GALLA: Now, I understand that
21 Fay Franus spoke at council a couple of
22 weeks ago and she asked Mrs. Gatelli --
23 spoke to -- this was stated at council that
24 she had talked to Judy on the phone and that
25 Judy was going to possibly bring up the
1 subpoenas and then she decided to wait on
2 it. Okay, that's my time. Thank you.
3 MS. GATELLI: We will be doing them
4 today. We will be getting the subpoenas.
5 MS. GALLA: I mean, I don't
6 understand like we asked you a couple of
7 weeks to do it but then you were kind of
8 skiddish about it, what changed.
9 MS. GATELLI: No, I wasn't skiddish
10 at all, the tax collector stated that he
11 wasn't coming so I didn't see the necessity
12 of going through all the legalities to get
13 this, but we are now at our limit and I will
14 be making that motion today.
15 MS. GALLA: Okay, thank you.
16 MS. GATELLI: You are welcome.
17 MR. MCGOFF: Marie Schumacher.
18 MS. SCHUMACHER: Good morning. Marie
19 Schumacher. First, I would ask Mrs. Gatelli
20 to report the status of the inputs to the
21 auditors during motions today and how many
22 of those delinquencies reported several
23 weeks ago have been satisfied and what
24 current delinquencies are.
25 Second, as to this $10,000, I heard
1 the mayor on WILK and I have to question his
2 logic. I heard him say something to the
3 effect that he had to give that $10,000 to
4 ESBA to give to ECTV because the East
5 Scranton Business Association was an
6 established entity, yet at the same time he
7 was asking you all and us taxpayers to foot
8 the bill for $90,000 to this unknown entity
9 other than what we know from their proposal,
10 so I really question the mayor's logic and
11 also on that $10,000 if those UDAG funds can
12 be used for code violation repair I think it
13 would have been really nice if the city had
14 made that poor man whole who came here at
15 this podium I believe that lived on Dickson
16 avenue where his pipes froze and flooded
17 because the city had his power shut off, and
18 I think that would be an appropriate use of
19 those UDAG funds if, in fact, that is how
20 they are to be used.
21 Now, as to the resolution and
22 ordinance to provide 90,000 precious tax
23 dollars to ECTV, I want to reiterate several
24 fallacies used the primary fallacy used as a
25 basis for gifting these funds to ECTV as the
1 creation of three low to moderate income
2 jobs. As two jobs are being eliminated at
3 Scranton Today there is only one net job
4 being created by ECTV and 90,000 is simply
5 to much for a distressed city to pay for the
6 creation of a single job.
7 Now, let's move on again as I did
8 last week I want to reiterate, move onto the
9 inflated proposal submitted by ECTV. Within
10 the last two weeks ECTV has admitted or
11 their personnel have admitted that
12 individuals included in the proposal for
13 ECTV operations were not even aware of their
14 inclusion. Chris Balton's role apparently
15 was fulfilled when the inflated proposal was
16 submitted. The ECTV inflated proposal also
17 included over $50,000 of HD equipment. The
18 likelihood is that by the time HD reaches
19 the public access channels any equipment
20 bought now would be outdated. Cable
21 companies are not required to offer HD
22 bandwidths for peg channels and until and
23 unless that ever happens precious HD
24 bandwidth will be used elsewhere.
25 The proposal requested us taxpayers
1 or we taxpayers to pay for the utilities for
2 the ECTV studios, again, wasn't that clever
3 of Mr. Mansure to give this tax --
4 nonproperty tax paying huge entity this big
5 empty church to ECTV for the rental of only
6 a dollar a year knowing that we sucker
7 taxpayers would also be paying to heat up
8 that huge church and keep his property from
9 deteriorating. Very clever.
10 Mr. Tom Welby, who seems to be the
11 selection committee spokesman, has been on
12 talk radio and has said SCTV was eliminated
13 due to past performance. Now, I ask you
14 again, which is worse, SCTV doing a great
15 job with extremely limited resources or ECTV
16 winning with a highly inflated proposal,
17 again, I would ask you to let your
18 conscience be your guide. Thank you.
19 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs.
20 Schumacher. Mr. Dobson.
21 MR. DOBSON: Good morning, Council.
22 Dave Dobson, citizen of Scranton, Taxpayer
23 Association associate. On Channel 61 I feel
24 it's ashame that people on both sides who
25 once were such good friends and possibly
1 happily employed find themselves at odds
2 over another's whim. Now, on the coverage,
3 an oversight committee, I can't believe that
4 anyone could be happy with two days a week
5 during the day coverage. I think that it
6 should be expanded that people of all shifts
7 and should be covered on a rebroadcast
8 schedule, and possibly maybe a weekend to
9 run ads, free ads from the ad council isn't
10 necessarily improvement. And once again,
11 it's ashame because I see people on both
12 sides of this issue arguing with each other
13 and in disagreements and basically it's over
14 the whim of one person.
15 Now, on our economic development, I
16 feel once again we need to move to
17 industrial park development, we have an
18 excess of former of coal land called
19 Brownfield. These lands should be returned
20 to grade, basic infrastructure dealt with
21 and industries solicited. In surrounding
22 communities, business park development has
23 caused Big Bass Lake and other lakes in
24 these areas to become polluted and raised
25 issues with the residents. In Waverly we
1 have a big TCE problem and I might add than
2 years back I talked to a federal official on
3 disposal of these and during the 70's it was
4 perfectly legal to dump it into the soil,
5 the trichlormethine causes liver cancer and
6 a number of other maladies and it's in
7 people's wells. In our city we have the
8 infrastructure to deal with these.
9 Also, we have the source of
10 population density and it would make mass
11 transit more profitable and available work
12 force in an energy starved environment it
13 could actually flourish. Please work on
14 policy changes to help society make these
15 changes, these advantages are possibly as
16 valuable or more than Mideast oil. Where is
17 the oil from Iraq that we were all hearing
18 about a couple of years ago? Did they think
19 they were just going to drive in there and
20 steal it? I don't think so. It sounds very
21 legal to me.
22 But one parting thought on these
23 firemen, what's it's going to do to our
24 insurance when we are reviewed by insurance
25 agencies and so forth are we going to wind
1 up for what might be $50 extra on our
2 property tax bill to turn around and
3 possibly pay 300 or 400 more on our fire
4 insurance, that's a definite possibility.
5 Now, I have been asked to ask this by
6 someone else, and I believe it's right, are
7 we happy with what we are seeing on ECTV?
8 Are we happy that the public who works 9 to
9 5 can't see city council because the
10 rebroadcast schedule of ECTV, 2:30 p.m. and
11 9:30 a.m. Why isn't meetings being
12 broadcast in the evening?
13 Once again, I feel it's an awful
14 shame. I don't know, it's probably gone too
15 far for anybody to shake hands and makeup at
16 this time, but it's ashame that's the one or
17 two people or the three people on a
18 committee can decide what everybody else. I
19 would think being a paying customer of
20 ComCast I should have been asked who I want
21 as a broadcaster and how much money I want
22 donated. Thank you and have a good day.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Dobson.
24 Kevin Murphy.
25 MR. MURPHY: Good morning, Council.
1 Kevin Murphy, 547 Lincoln Street. I stand
2 her before you with a unique perspective, I
3 sat on the dais there as a council person
4 and as a council president and now today I
5 speak before you as a taxpayer. The ECTV
6 issue, it's not -- doesn't seem to be a
7 money issue. Now, I understand from serving
8 on council that certain monies that are
9 allocated through OECD can be recycled after
10 three years to be used for various projects
11 that don't have to meet the same criteria
12 that an initial application for OECD funding
13 are required to meet. So, I don't really
14 want to dwell on the funding, although, I
15 think it should be looked into because
16 although you can use that recycled UDAG
17 money for various projects, as I said, I
18 don't believe that you could be given to the
19 Scranton Business Association and them to
20 unilaterally make the decision to give it to
21 another entity. I think there may be a
22 problem there, but my primary focus and what
23 I want to speak to you about is the
24 accessibility of government and governmental
25 body meetings and the municipal meetings
1 here in Scranton and Lackawanna County.
2 Now, I want to also congratulate Scranton
3 Tomorrow and Scranton Today for the nine
4 years of service and for operating here in
5 these chambers and throughout the city in
6 Lackawanna County, I think they did an
7 excellent job, and as I said, from my
8 perspective as a councilman sitting up there
9 and council president at one point I know
10 how difficult it is, and I respect everyone
11 that sits up there who is running for office
12 and trying your best to serve the public and
13 I would hope that when people come to speak
14 before council as when I sat where you are
15 sitting now that they are respectful and
16 that they make their point and we're able to
17 agree to disagree without too much
19 But, anyhow, that having been said,
20 and I know that's not only the case, but
21 what I want to talk to you about is the
22 accessibility of these meetings and we have
23 a very diverse working community out there.
24 There is people that work first, second,
25 third shifts in this economic crises that we
1 are currently in. There is people working
2 two or three jobs, so I think if you
3 contemplate whether or not you are going to
4 allocate the $90,000 in funding for ECTV,
5 and I want to preface this by saying I think
6 Scranton Today did a fantastic job, ECTV,
7 I'm not affiliated with them either, so I'm
8 bipartisan in that regard, but what I want
9 you to consider is you have the same
10 accessibility of these meetings, to planning
11 commission meetings, to the zoning board
12 meetings, to the Sewer Authority meetings
13 that you had under Scranton Today because I
14 think they did an excellent job of getting
15 the message out there. I think the
16 taxpayers and the people that are sitting
17 and watching in their homes that can't
18 attend a meeting down here at city hall or
19 go to these other meetings can watch it and
20 follow their money because right now more
21 than ever with the gas prices over $4.00 a
22 gallon, property taxes going up, the
23 reassessment there is a lot of critical
24 financial issues that people are facing in
25 their homes and different times, they are
1 here right now. So now it's mo9re important
2 than ever for them to follow their tax
3 dollars to make sure they are getting the
4 most for their money, so I think that's the
5 critical issue.
6 So I think before you contemplate or
7 as you are contemplating about allocating
8 that money to ECTV I think you should talk
9 to them first and make sure that the
10 accessibility to these meetings and other
11 governmental body meetings meets the same
12 standard as Scranton Today met, and I think
13 they did an excellent job and I think that's
14 something that you really have to consider
15 because the discourse back and forth and the
16 public exchange between an elected official
17 and regular citizen I think it goes a long
18 way. It goes a long way in making sure that
19 the integrity of what public access is all
20 about is maintained, and that's letting
21 somebody sit in the comfort of their own
22 home, watching what's going on with their
23 taxpayer dollars and deciding for themselves
24 who is full of hot air, who is not, who has
25 their own agenda, who doesn't, and I think
1 if you trust the people to make their own
2 determinations based on what they see on
3 their own TV I think they are more than
4 fair, but if I could be of any assistance to
5 you and answer any questions I would be more
6 than happy to do so, but I think that's the
7 critical issue here right now is
9 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you very much,
10 Mr. Murphy.
11 MR. MURPHY: Thank you. Thank you
12 very much.
13 MS. EVANS: I'm sorry, I do agree
14 with your presentation today and I feel
15 strongly about the importance of government
16 meetings being viewed by city taxpayers,
17 however, I believe that perhaps one of the
18 stipulations for the change from one
19 manager/operator to another was that the
20 rebroadcasting of government meetings would
21 cease. In other words, a live broadcast and
22 perhaps one rebroadcast because apparently
23 that seemed to be one of the issues that the
24 mayor had with Channel 61 under the
25 management of Scranton Today, so though I do
1 agree with you, I think it may be a
2 difficult task to accomplish in order to be
3 able to provide the same number of
4 rebroadcasts that had previously been
6 But while I have you, I just wanted
7 to ask you one question, if I might. I
8 noticed in today's paper some movement,
9 shall we say, on the Recovery Plan and as a
10 councilman who voted for the implementation
11 of the Recovery Plan I know you advocated
12 strongly for the Recovery Plan during your
13 tenure on council, what quickly is your
14 perspective on these proposed staffing cuts
15 in the city?
16 MR. MURPHY: Well, I didn't come
17 here to prepared to speak about this, but
18 since you asked the question I will be happy
19 to address it. I think as you sit there and
20 you gather information to make decisions
21 that are in the best interest of the
22 taxpayers of the city as I did when I sat
23 there, you make your best decision based on
24 the information that you are given at that
1 Now we are six years down the line
2 from 2002 when the Recovery Plan was
3 initially adopted and the Recovery Plan was
4 adopted for several different reasons: One
5 very important reason was we were under
6 state sanction at the time because we didn't
7 have -- we hadn't adopted a Recovery Plan,
8 but we had money, liquid fuels money from
9 the government and the state that was being
10 withheld for roads and bridges and repairs,
11 so we had to make sure that we were going to
12 do the responsible things for the taxpayers
13 because we didn't want any rate increases,
14 we didn't want any tax increases and that
15 was another thing that was thrown out there
16 at the time when the Recovery Plan was
17 adopted, there was going to be a looming 8
18 percent tax increase at that time and with
19 the distressed city status and with the
20 sanctions, the PEL who was involved in the
21 this entire process along with the
22 administration and with council, everyone
23 understood that the Recovery Plan was not
24 something that was written in stone. As
25 long as you worked within the financial
1 parameters of that Recovery Plan you could
2 do many different things.
3 I think one critical thing that has
4 happened that I was very unhappy with over
5 these subsequent years is that there has
6 been some hypocritical decisions that seemed
7 to be unfair and don't seem, but are, in
8 fact, unfair because when you are trying to
9 implement a financial recovery plan and at
10 the same time you are creating new jobs and
11 when you are giving huge pay increases to
12 administrative officials and there is only
13 one group sharing the burden I don't think
14 that's right, so in retrospect I believe the
15 decision at that time was the right
17 I don't believe the stewardship of
18 the plan has been properly carried out. I
19 think you have to make sure that if you are
20 going to implement a Recovery Plan and
21 especially if you are going to implement the
22 Recovery Plan in a manner in which public
23 safety maybe jeopardized, I don't want to
24 see layoffs for firemen, I don't want to see
25 layoffs for police officers, this is a
1 critical time, our community is changing
2 rapidly and we have gone a long way from
3 2002 to 2006, so some of these decisions
4 that have to be made they have to be made
5 with public safety in mind and I think you
6 always have to be willing to revisit
7 something, look at it and make sure that in
8 the end you are doing the right thing and I
9 think there is some different ways that we
10 could do that, too, and I think Act 47, you
11 know, if amended would help ensure that
12 there is a specific time frame in which to
13 implement the Recovery Plan in a matter
14 which is fair to not only the administration
15 and management, it's also fair to labor,
16 union and the taxpayers because subsequent
17 to 2002 you had a 24 percent tax increase as
18 you are all aware, so was it hypocritical, I
19 believe it was.
20 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: Mr. McGoff, can you
22 just give me a little bit of latitude, I
23 want to ask you a question, Mr. Murphy, and
24 if you don't want to answer it and I can
25 understand, you can just walk away because
1 it's kind of a tough question, all right,
2 and I don't want to put you on the spot?
3 MR. MURPHY: Well, that wasn't an
4 easy one right there.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: This is probably
6 tougher. If you were voting right now right
7 today at this minute for the Recovery Plan
8 that you voted for several years ago would
9 you vote yes or no, and all I ask is a yes
10 or no answer.
11 MR. MURPHY: Yes, I do respect your
12 question and I do have the advantage of
13 hindsight, but I would say, no. No. I
14 wouldn't favor the plan as it stands.
15 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you for
16 answering. I know that's a tough question.
17 MR. MURPHY: But initially, as I said
18 when I came up here to speak about ECTV, I
19 think the primary thing that we want to make
20 sure is we don't have restrictive coverage
21 and restrictive coverage is a form of
22 censorship so I think you have to be careful
23 with that, so revisit that and hopefully
24 they can make those accommodations to have
25 these meetings retelevised then I think the
1 taxpayers will benefit from that and I think
2 we will all be in a better place. Thank you
3 very much.
4 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Murphy.
5 Any other speakers?
6 MR. LYMAN: Raymond Lyman. Mrs.
7 Evans, can I ask you a question? Would you
8 do me a favor?
9 MS. EVANS: I could try.
10 MR. LYMAN: Would you write a letter
11 to the Supreme Court for a question? How
12 could Mayor Doherty circumvent the
13 constitution to allow ECTV to be put on the
14 air violating the law because Scranton
15 Today's rights were violated because, number
16 one, how could he do that for the people of
17 Scranton, they should have been voted on to
18 do that because ECTV they don't run city
19 council meetings, they only ran it once at
20 2:30 and they didn't run it after that
21 because when I was watching it they cut it
22 off three times when I was watching it at
23 2:30, they ran it when Sam Patilla and then
24 it went off, and then it came back on the
25 air and then after Bill Courtright was
1 speaking then it went off again and then
2 when McGoff was threatened about a lawsuit
3 against me then it went off again and the
4 voice was so low I couldn't even hear it.
5 And, Mr. McGoff, my friend told me if
6 you threatened me with a lawsuit I will sue
7 your pants off, violation of my civil rights
8 because every time I come to these meetings
9 my lawyer told me violation of my civil
10 rights were violated because you never
11 threatened these people here. Every time I
12 come up here my five minutes was never up
13 because I tape these meetings because it's
14 never five minutes, so shut your mouth.
15 MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me.
16 MR. LYMAN: I got an envelope here.
17 Remember last week you said I had to give
18 you --
19 MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Lyman.
20 MR. LYMAN: -- an envelope --
21 MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Lyman.
22 MR. LYMAN: This is my five minutes.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Well, it's going to be
24 cut short if you continue.
25 MR. LYMAN: Point of order.
1 MR. MCGOFF: Exactly.
2 MR. LYMAN: Just like Fay Franus says
3 every time. Shut your mouth.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: Oh, Ray.
5 MS. FANUCCI: Ray.
6 MR. MCGOFF: Please leave the podium.
7 MS. FANUCCI: You are going to have
8 to leave.
9 MR. LYMAN: Let me speak.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Please leave the podium.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: Ray.
12 MR. LYMAN: No, let me speak. Just
13 like when Fay Franus --
14 MR. MCGOFF: Ray, you are not doing
15 yourself any favors here. Please leave the
17 MR. LYMAN: No, I want to speak.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: Raymond, can I just
19 say something to you?
20 MR. LYMAN: I want to speak.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay, I'LL hold
22 your time for a minute, don't tell him to
23 shut up or anything like that.
24 MR. LYMAN: No, I'm not --
25 MR. COURTRIGHT: You can't do that
1 and they are going to have to remove you and
2 everyone is going to be all upset. Nobody
3 wants the officer to remove you, try to
4 remain calm, you can't tell him to shut up,
5 you can't do that, all right? Please. Try
6 to be decent and everybody will allow you to
7 speak, but you can't -- whether you like it
8 or not he is a council person and you can't
9 tell him to shut up.
10 MR. LYMAN: When I became mayor.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: When you become
12 mayor that will be wonderful, but, please.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Please leave the podium.
14 When you can speak more responsibly then you
15 can return.
16 MR. LYMAN: I'm not fighting with
17 you, I'm sorry.
18 MR. MCGOFF: Your time is up. Thank
20 MR. LYMAN: I have a couple of
21 questions I just want to ask.
22 MR. MCGOFF: Your time is up. Thank
24 MR. LYMAN: Well, my five minutes
25 ain't up.
1 MR. MCGOFF: Yes, it is.
2 MR. LYMAN: I didn't hear the bell.
3 MR. MCGOFF: Your time is up.
4 MR. LYMAN: Okay, I'll just sue your
5 pants off, violation of my civil rights.
6 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.
7 MR. LYMAN: We'll see you in Court,
8 Mr. McGoff. I'll see you in Court.
9 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. My apologies
10 for the comments. Mr. Ungvarsky.
11 MR. UNGVARSKY: Good morning, city
12 council, I'm Tom Ungvarsky and I'm a member
13 of the Scranton Lackawanna County Taxpayers
14 Association. It's still unclear to me how
15 this process of evolved that we selected
16 ECTV and perhaps you can answer a few more
17 questions for me. Do we know how many
18 meetings the three-member panel had and how
19 much time they devoted to selecting ECTV?
20 MS. EVANS: No.
21 MR. UNGVARSKY: Now, are there any
22 follow-up questions -- yes, ma'am.
23 MS. EVANS: No.
24 MR. UNGVARSKY: No, were there any
25 follow-ups to any of the other bidders for
1 this Channel 61? Were the proposals
2 submitted by the others?
3 MS. FANUCCI: You mean, Mr. Ozzie
4 Quinn and that proposal, the one that Ozzie
5 Quinn put in? There was follow-up and I
6 believe that that was basically funding by
7 -- they were looking for funding also by
8 government and also private entities.
9 MR. UNGVARSKY: Were there any
10 face-to-face meetings with them?
11 MS. FANUCCI: With them?
12 MR. UNGVARSKY: With anyone.
13 MS. FANUCCI: I'm not sure. That
14 would be the committee's process.
15 MR. UNGVARSKY: Wan anyone proposed
16 to take over the channel, were there any
17 face-to-face meetings with them?
18 MS. EVANS: I don't know.
19 MR. UNGVARSKY: Were there any
20 follow-up questions, I mean, when somebody
21 puts a proposal on the desk I'm sure there
22 is questions that someone would have, did
23 they ask, did this three-member panel ask
24 anyone, any other follow-up questions?
25 MS. EVANS: I don't know.
1 MR. UNGVARSKY: It seems to me as
2 though everything here was done in a vacuum
3 and was there own one meeting and was that
4 in the mayor's office?
5 MS. EVANS: I don't know.
6 MR. UNGVARSKY: Well, maybe before
7 you even vote on this you could find out
8 those answers, also. Mrs. Fanucci, ten
9 weeks ago I asked you a question about a
10 SECCAS, LLC if they were going to be coming
11 to town or if they were just looking for the
12 best offer from someone. I understand that
13 they got $2 million from the State of
14 Pennsylvania or it was proposed that they
15 get $2 million. Have we heard anything more
16 about that, you were supposed to find an
17 answer out for me.
18 MS. FANUCCI: I was supposed to find
19 an answer on it, and I did not find out
20 anything more on that, but I will still look
21 into that for you. Yeah, I did not find
22 anything more on that.
23 MR. UNGVARSKY: So perhaps they are
24 just looking for the best bid then I guess.
25 MS. FANUCCI: I'm not sure, but
1 nobody is coming out and giving me that as a
2 final answer either, but I will continue on
3 that for your.
4 MR. UNGVARSKY: Okay, maybe you can
5 ask some of those questions in your motions.
6 Thank you.
7 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,
8 Mr. Ungvarsky. Anyone else?
9 MS. KRAKE: Good morning, council.
10 The mayor and his administration are now
11 playing a very dangerous game shooting from
12 the hip and with no plan in place the mayor
13 will be deciding who gets police and fire
14 coverage and who doesn't. Will the mayor
15 close fire stations in rich neighborhoods or
16 poor? Take a look at his record for the
17 past seven years and it's obvious some
18 people count in this city and some people do
19 not. We all note there is no economic
20 savings when this administration cuts jobs.
21 I think the past councilman that just stood
22 at this podium is well aware of that. The
23 clerical union lost 30 plus jobs and the
24 mayor gobbled up that money and more for his
25 patronage middle management jobs. This is
1 about control and ultimately the abuse of
2 taxpayers' moneys.
3 Our city budget has grown nearly
4 $30 million since Doherty has been in
5 office. None of that excessive bloat went
6 to raises for clerical, police and fire.
7 Now, to be honest, the clerks did get a
8 small raise in this year's budget. Five
9 million of it and more went to raises for
10 the administration. You can't forget the
11 27 percent tax increase or the over 220
12 million in long-term debt. Any further
13 reduction in workers would only impact the
14 safety of the citizens in Scranton.
15 The unions have already given and
16 given and given. Fire lost 50 jobs in '93
17 and police have lost at least that many
18 since we have been distressed. If the
19 Recovery Plan were to being enacted a
20 handful of consultants and lobbyists
21 basically bureaucrats in Harrisburg will
22 decide the distribution of our city's
23 resources just like Chris Doherty when he
24 was councilman went to DCED and demanded we
25 be distressed, I would like to invite
1 council people to come with us and address
2 DCED and demand we are taken out from under
3 the distressed status and out from the
4 Pennsylvania Economy League and their
5 oppressive control as they run and ruin our
6 lives and our city. It's time. It's time
7 now before this goes any further to give the
8 city, it's resources and our lives back to
9 everyone, all of the citizens. Thank you.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Krake.
11 MR. GERVASI: Good morning, City
12 Council, my name is Dave Gervasi and I'm the
13 vice president of the firefighter's union
14 and a resident of the City of Scranton. I
15 guess you probably know why I'm here today.
16 There was some more inaccurate information
17 put out by the Scranton Times in this
18 administration this morning and it said that
19 the mayor just got the right to cut 38
20 firefighters. That is completely and
21 unequivocally not true. That hearing that
22 happened yesterday was on the police
23 department, unfortunately, on the police
24 department. The only thing that was brought
25 up at this hearing about the fire department
1 was the city's legal representation, this is
2 according to my attorney, the city's legal
3 representation, mentioned the fire
4 department and said that we have no plans
5 for the fire department at this time. That
6 decision came down yesterday exclusively on
7 the police officers, not the fire
8 department, so what you read in the paper
9 today is once again false.
10 Now, we did file for a stay when the
11 city was talking about implementing the
12 Recovery Plan before the cases settled. The
13 fire department and the police in concert
14 filed for a stay. We lost that part of it,
15 but nothing was discussed about the fire
16 department, so don't believe what you read
17 in the paper again.
18 Unfortunately, for the police
19 officers they want to cut the longevity pay
20 of those officers which for any officer that
21 was hired after January 16, 2003, very
22 unfortunately, one-third of the police
23 officers that are working at this time were
24 hired after the January 1st of 2003 since
25 the mayor chased all of our experienced
1 officers out the door back in 2002. To make
2 matters worse, these same police officers
3 have been living without any cost of living
4 adjustments in the last seven years and that
5 third is going to lose a few percentage
6 points in their salaries. They are going to
7 take a cut in pay. I don't know if you are
8 real concerned about this, but I believe, if
9 I'm correct, I believe 12 officers have
10 already left the police department for
11 greener pastures because when you have wage
12 freezes and less than cost of living raises
13 over and over and over again since 1992
14 right now just in the fire department we are
15 $15,000, our salaries, $15,000 under the
16 median salary of a comparable city in the
17 City of Pennsylvania and cities within our
18 own region in the northeast, $15,000 and the
19 police are in about the same boat we are.
20 So, I don't know if you people really
21 care, I know some of you do, but do you
22 really care that we are going to lose our
23 finest police officers? There are some
24 great officers. Sergeant Paul Duffy who I
25 personally know very, very well, he is
1 actually married to one of my relatives, one
2 of the finest officers to ever walk this
3 beat in the City of Scranton, he is gone.
4 He can't take it anymore. It's unfair.
5 It's disgusting and this Recovery Plan is
6 Draconian and it was nice to see Councilman
7 Murphy here today tell the truth about if he
8 had to vote on it today would he vote on the
9 Recovery Plan. The people were misinformed
10 about the Recovery Plan and the word
11 couldn't get out because the newspaper kept
12 it out and kept protecting this
13 administration from day one. The plan is
14 Draconian, it's disgusting, it's unworkable,
15 parts of it our illegal and it never should
16 have been voted on, but I can understand the
17 residents when you are threatened with a tax
19 One other thing I would like to
20 bring up about why we are going to make
21 these police officers suffer and maybe in
22 two months make the fire department suffer
23 when we hit that stage of this Court case,
24 we had a woman with a PhD in economy do a
25 financial analysis of our city's finances
1 based on the true numbers, not what you read
2 in the paper about their deficits, the true
3 numbers within our end of the year audits,
4 our financial audits, independent audits.
5 The city right now according to this PhD in
6 economy who I think is much more qualified
7 than anyone that works for the city,
8 especially in this administration, we are
9 sitting on a $11.7 million surplus for the
10 end of 2006 and the mayor should know that,
11 raised your taxes, our taxes, 25 percent
12 when it wasn't necessary and now he wants to
13 knock off 37 firefighters if happens in
15 Well, just so everyone knows that 38
16 firefighters is going to add up to
17 approximately $2.4 million in savings if it
18 happens, you are probably going to have
19 engine company closures, I don't know which
20 neighborhood is going to suffer over that
21 and increase response times, but they never
22 had to raise your taxes, we know this as a
23 fact, never had to your raise your taxes and
24 they don't have to cut the police department
25 or the fire department, they don't have to
1 make these police officers suffer now, which
2 we heard they are going to try to do to
3 them, it's all been a lie and it's all been
4 a lie that's been repeated in the paper
5 every single day and I'll give you any
6 documentation you want to see to back up
7 what I just said today. Thank you for your
9 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Gervasi.
10 MR.: Hello, Bill.
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: Hi, Chris.
12 MR.: Billy, one thing, there is
13 crime in the city, we need the police to
14 provide the protection in the city, we just
15 can't allow to let anymore go. Thank you.
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay, Chris.
17 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else? Mrs.
19 MS. EVANS: Thank you. Good morning.
20 Since our last council meeting several
21 beneficial announcements have occurred. The
22 long vacant Sunoco station on Mulberry
23 Street will be transformed into a Dunkin
24 Donuts Shop. Also, Mr. Oleski, deputy
25 director of public safety is embarking on a
1 cleanup of 70 abandoned lots throughout the
2 city with the help of the DPW employees, of
3 course. City residents have complained of
4 these eyesores in their neighborhoods
5 throughout my five years as a councilwoman,
6 so I am pleased that many blighted
7 properties finally will be addressed.
8 Last Friday, July 4, I attended the
9 annual Independence Day celebration at the
10 Nay Aug Park Swim Complex. This beautiful
11 event sponsored by the American Flag
12 Committee included representation by
13 military veterans of all wars and conflicts.
14 I'd like to particularly recognize Mr. Frank
15 Tyron, event organizer, the Ringhold band
16 under the direction of Ted Riggy, and the
17 outstanding soloist, Mary Rita Stuckard, for
18 their roles in making these celebrations so
20 I'm also pleased that the Southern
21 Union building will be occupied in the near
22 future. I'll be own more pleased when it
23 goes back on the tax rolls.
24 Yet another beneficial announcements
25 for this area is the $4 million allocation
1 and approval for the Commonwealth Medical
2 College. The location of this institution
3 in our city will address local health
4 concerns by hopefully replenishing the
5 dwindling number of physicians and
6 specialists and by offering a level of
7 health care that will make us competitive
8 with institutions outside of our area,
9 thereby, decreasing the need of our citizens
10 to seek medical treatment in New York or
11 Philadelphia, etcetera.
12 Next, let's turn out our attention
13 to questionable issues of crucial concern to
14 the taxpayers. Last week the mayor
15 announced that he had given $10,000 in UDAG
16 funds to the East Scranton Business
17 Association in order that this association
18 could then give that same $10,000 to ECTV.
19 He further elaborated that on March 9, 2006,
20 $577,000 in UDAG funds was approved for
21 various city projects by three members of
22 council, thereby, giving him the right to
23 spend these federal funds in any way he
24 decides. According to the minutes of the
25 March 9, 2006, council meeting, however, any
1 project funded by the $577,000 UDAG monies
2 must receive council approval.
3 Now, I had planned on asking
4 Attorney Minora these questions, Attorney
5 Williams are you employed in his law firm?
6 MR. WILLIAMS: I am.
7 MS. EVANS: Then, perhaps you could
8 pass these questions onto him.
9 MR. WILLIAMS: I would be happy to
10 do that.
11 MS. EVANS: Do these UDAG funds
12 require the knowledge and consent of city
13 council before they can be given out by the
14 mayor and if Mr. Minora determines that,
15 indeed, this is appropriate and legal
16 process I ask that he put his opinion in
17 writing and I also ask for a copy of any
18 source to document his opinion. Thank you.
19 Since these funds are taxpayers' money
20 they should decide if this $10,000 grant
21 passes the smell test. Some have stated
22 that I am anti-ECTV and this is not true. I
23 attended the ECTV open house because I
24 wanted to be open minded and learn about
25 ECTV firsthand. As I toured the basement of
1 933 Prescott Avenue with Mr. Balton, the
2 area was in such good condition that I
3 thought perhaps the renovations had already
4 begun. When I asked Mr. Balton if the work
5 was already underway, he answered that, no,
6 no renovations had yet begun, ECTV was
7 waiting for it's appearance the following
8 week before the city's zoning board for a
9 variance before it would begin any
11 Mayor Doherty also stated last week
12 that he gave the UDAG funds to the East
13 Scranton Business Association to give to
14 ECTV to he eliminate blight in the basement
15 of 933 Prescott Avenue, the location of
16 ECTV's studio and offices.
17 Consequently, I ask when the
18 basement of this church at 933 Prescott
19 Avenue or the property itself was declared
20 blighted. I would also like an explanation
21 of how it was blighted. Therefore, with
22 council's approval I would like to send a
23 letter to OECD requesting written responses
24 to these questions on or before July 21,
25 2008? Is that agreeable? Thank you.
1 On another topic, Council received a
2 letter from Attorney David Solfanelli
3 yesterday stating that council's request for
4 Mr. McDowell to appear and public comments
5 relating to his tenure as tax collector are
6 purely for political purposes rather than
7 the pursuit of any legitimate inquiry. He
8 goes on further to say that these actions
9 make it apparent that council does not
10 desire an informative meeting with McDowell.
11 In order to put such accusations to
12 rest, I move to begin an investigation into
13 the 12.2 million dollars that was discovered
14 in an account of the Single Tax Office and
15 the performance of the duties and
16 responsibilities as prescribed by law of the
17 former tax collector, Kenneth McDowell, as
18 they relate to the City of Scranton.
19 MS. FANUCCI: I just have a question,
20 how are we -- what are we going to do to do
21 that? What's the process that you are
22 looking for, that's what I think should be
23 involved in the motion. You know,
24 investigate, who is investigating, how is to
25 be investigating and what are we actually
1 saying, so I think if you include that it
2 might be helpful.
3 MS. EVANS: Well, I can tell you that
4 I'm making the motion to begin the
5 investigation in order that Mrs. Gatelli,
6 our finance chair, is able to make her
7 motion for subpoenas today.
8 MS. FANUCCI: So, we are all -- okay.
9 All right. Then, yes, I will second that.
10 MS. EVANS: Yes, because we according
11 to Pennsylvania Code, and I believe --
12 MS. FANUCCI: We are allowed to
13 investigate, but I wasn't sure that she was
14 going to -- maybe we should do it all in
16 MS. GATELLI: I was going to make
17 both of them, I think that's why she --
18 MS. FANUCCI: Why don't we do it at
19 all once? Can we pull it all at once and
20 we'll make it and send it right --
21 MS. EVANS: Well, actually, I think
22 you need the motion for the investigation
23 first so that you are on the record
24 documenting that --
25 MS. FANUCCI: Okay.
1 MS. EVANS: -- an investigation has
2 been initiated.
3 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question, I
5 would just like to say this, I believe that
6 Mr. Minora had stated to us in the past in
7 order for us to subpoena that we did have to
8 have an investigation, so this motion would
9 enable Mrs. Gatelli to make her subpoena --
10 or the investigation will enable
11 Mrs. Gatelli to make her subpoenas.
12 MS. EVANS: And, again, these rights
13 and authorities are granted by not only
14 Scranton's Home Rule Charter, but by the
15 Pennsylvania Code as well and I believe the
16 Pennsylvania Code provides that city council
17 may issue subpoenas for testimony and books,
18 records, etcetera, in any pending
19 investigation, inquiry or impeachment case.
20 MS. FANUCCI: Right.
21 MR. MCGOFF: I would just like to
22 ask, what do you feel we can accomplish by
23 this investigation? The tax office and the
24 Mr. McDowell had been investigated, I
25 believe there have been three
1 investigations, and while I do believe that
2 Mr. McDowell does, you know, perhaps should
3 answer some questions, I just don't know
4 what the intent of an investigation would be
5 and what purpose it would serve.
6 MS. FANUCCI: Well, I'm going to say
7 you, I seconded it, and my problem is not
8 exactly the investigation that's ongoing
9 with just him, but we have not been able to
10 get any answers within the current office.
11 They have not been forthright and
12 forthcoming with what we need and for some
13 reason there has been lot of very bad
14 attitude and very negligent answers. They
15 are not even responding to us asking them to
16 respond. So, to me obviously there is some
17 reason and if it takes this to get whatever
18 answers we need then that's how it's going
20 We did give many opportunities for
21 them to come here and speak to us and try to
22 find out exactly what we needed during that
23 time and the first appearance was wonderful,
24 obviously, we had tons more questions that
25 were still not addressed. And, you know, I
1 understand the investigation with the FBI
2 and that is a separate issue as far as I'm
3 concerned, a very separate issue.
4 MS. GATELLI: It is separate from the
5 12 million and I, too, feel that they are
6 not being forthright. A large amount of
7 that I believe is part of the City of
8 Scranton's money and I am counting on that
9 money for next year's budget. The forensic
10 audit hasn't been started yet, that's been
11 waylaid for whatever reason and from my
12 conversations with Attorney Minora
13 concerning Mr. McDowell for some reason they
14 had to get permission from the current tax
15 collector for him to come here.
16 The 12 million is not part of the
17 FBI investigation, it is separate, and
18 without the forensic audit and a subpoena
19 from us to answer some questions that we
20 would see relevant I think it's absolutely
22 MS. FANUCCI: And I'm going to
23 comment, they are dragging their feet.
24 There is no reason that that audit should be
25 taking this long to even get started, let
1 alone to be, I mean, it would be one thing
2 to, okay, give the person the time to do the
3 audit, but to be able to go out and make the
4 audit happen is taking entirely too much
5 time. And I have to make decisions based on
6 voting for the people in the city and taxes
7 and money and I can't do that unless I know
8 exactly what we are entitled to out of that
9 money, if any, so, to me, yeah, it is very
10 important from where I sit to be able to
11 make these decisions.
12 MS. GATELLI: Also, I received a
13 response from Stu Renda concerning the
14 independent audit and many of the questions
15 are for the Single Tax Office, so they are
16 even as we speak not answering the audit and
18 MS. FANUCCI: Questions, yeah.
19 MS. GATELLI: So, that also has been
20 the problem with our independent audit.
21 MS. EVANS: But, again, that was the
22 case for each of the past years under the
23 prior tax collector. The office was not
24 rapidly forthcoming in providing information
25 to Rossi and Sons in any of the last three
1 years at least, but I believe Mr. McDowell
2 holds the key to the situation. This was
3 his elected office. He oversaw the account
4 into which 12.2 million dollars was
5 deposited. He holds the answer as to why he
6 would comingle funds rather than keep them
7 separate according to state tax laws. There
8 are many laws that were not followed under
9 his tenure and --
10 MS. FANUCCI: Those deposits were
11 made even prior to him, so what does that
12 mean? How come we can't get these answers?
13 It seems almost absurd that we can't find
14 out with today's technology exactly what we
15 need to know. We are not asking for the
16 FBI's information because this is a totally
17 separate issue. So, to hide behind that
18 seems almost irrelevant at this time. We
19 are at the stage now --
20 MS. EVANS: I think it's important
21 though, I'm sorry.
22 MS. FANUCCI: Go ahead, it's your
24 MS. EVANS: I think it's important to
25 note that Mr. McDowell's attorney seems to
1 feel that the current tax collector and her
2 solicitor have created this problem.
3 MS. FANUCCI: Right. Right.
4 MR. EVANS: Not Mr. McDowell.
5 MS. FANUCCI: Which is amazing, so
6 who is right and who is wrong? And this is
7 what we need to know and I don't think any
8 of us don't agree, I mean, I'm not speaking
9 for everyone, but I certainly think that is
10 something that is extremely major as far as
11 the taxpayers are concerned.
12 MR. MCGOFF: Could you just repeat
13 the motion so that we are sure again?
14 MS. EVANS: Certainly. I move to
15 begin an investigation into the 12.2 million
16 dollars that was discovered in an account of
17 the Single Tax Office and the performance of
18 the duties and responsibilities as
19 prescribed by law of the former tax
20 collector for Kenneth McDowell as they
21 relate to the City of Scranton.
22 MS. FANUCCI: And I seconded it.
23 MS. GATELLI: She seconded.
24 MR. MCGOFF: It was seconded. All
25 those in favor signify by saying aye.
1 MS. EVANS: Aye.
2 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
3 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
5 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
6 ayes have it and so moved.
7 MS. EVANS: Thank you. I also have
8 citizens' request for the last week. 112
9 Ridgeview Drive, just above this property
10 there is a road problem that causes storm
11 water to fail to travel to the gully and the
12 pipes on this street. As a result, the road
13 is beginning to deteriorate and the water
14 and debris collected in front of 114
15 RidgeView Drive. I ask that Mr. Brazil and
16 the city engineer examine this location to
17 determine a possible solution as soon as
18 possible. Amd pave Cooper Avenue on to
19 Gordan Place.
20 And, finally, vehicles have resumed
21 parking on the sidewalk at 916, 918, 820 and
22 932 1/2 Greenridge Street. According to
23 residents of Greenridge Street violators
24 were previously warned, I know that to be
25 the case because I have been keeping an eye
1 on that area and I did see the problem clear
2 for two or three weeks, but it has returned,
3 so please address this safety hazard
4 appropriately, and that's it.
5 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Evans.
6 Mrs. Gatelli.
7 MS. GATELLI: Yes. To answer
8 Mrs. Schumacher I did receive a response
9 from my request last week to Mr. Renda and
10 he said that the office maintains their
11 focus to complete the audit, however,
12 noticed that four items listed on the recent
13 report are dependent on related parties,
14 authorities and the Single Tax Office, so I
15 would ask, Kay is not here, Neil, are you
16 taking the requests? Ask her to please
17 contact Mr. Renda and find out which
18 authorities need to answer and the Single
19 Tax Office and send them a letter to give
20 their information to Mr. Rossi as
21 expediently as possible as council is
22 becoming anxious to receive our audit.
23 We had another complaint, I think it
24 was Mr. Spindler, I don't see him here now
25 about the University of Scranton. We did
1 actually receive correspondence from the
2 University of Scranton. The University of
3 Scranton allowed the International
4 Spanish Soccer League to play at the complex
5 on Sundays in 2007 and again in 2008 free of
6 charge. The University has not charged the
7 soccer league to play there. The University
8 continues to make the facility available for
9 public use. The fall softball league was
10 offered the fields free of charge in 2007,
11 it opted not to use them.
12 And anybody is welcome to see this
13 correspondence from the University of
14 Scranton. I'm not saying that I don't
15 believe you, but I don't know if they would
16 be putting it in this writing that they are
17 not charging anybody. If someone is being
18 charged maybe they can contact us and tell
19 us who they are paying and we can
20 investigate further, but we can only go by
21 documents that we receive, you know,
22 official documents from the University.
23 MS. EVANS: Mrs. Gatelli, while you
24 are on that, I think somewhere in that
25 letter it is stated that the field is open
1 to the public or can be available for public
2 use, I'd like to ask the University of
3 Scranton then why they refused the softball
5 MS. GATELLI: Okay.
6 MS. EVANS: That I do know for a fact
7 as well, not just in summer but last summer
8 as well.
9 MS. GATELLI: Just the summer leagues
10 because it says they offered them to the
11 fall, the fall leagues were offered. You
12 want to know about the summer leagues? The
13 next thing is the vacant lots that being
14 cleaned up by Mr. Oleski, I have seen some
15 of the workers out cleaning the lots, but I
16 want to make people aware that Mr. Gerry
17 Langan of the Goodwill Industries on the
18 corner of Prospect Avenue and Maple Street
19 has called and the community service they
20 have offered to cut and clean some of the
21 lots in the nearby vicinity of their
22 facility over on Prospect Avenue, so I would
23 like to publically thank him for his
24 commitment and hopefully by hearing this
25 announcement other businesses that have
1 access to lawnmowers and weed whackers
2 around their businesses maybe will offer to
3 clean some of the city owned public lots
4 that are overgrown and I certainly would
5 encourage that as a community service.
6 The Friendship House, my friend, Ron
7 Ellman, who hasn't picked me up on the
8 motorcycle yet just so you know that, was
9 talking about the Friendship House and I
10 think that he misunderstood the money of the
11 Friendship House. He said that the
12 Friendship House donated money to the city
13 and was taking it back. It is not money
14 that was given by the Friendship House, it
15 was OECD money of a project that we had
16 approved. The Friendship House will not be
17 ready to do that project for several more
18 years so they felt it unfair to tie up that
19 money when they are, in fact, are not ready
20 to use it, so I just wanted to clarify that
21 Friendship House money.
22 As far as the $577,000 that was put
23 into an account of UDAG to be used for
24 various projects, yes, I was under the
25 impression the projects would come to city
1 council as I stated at that meeting, not all
2 of them. The dog park never came before us,
3 although, we knew it was happening. The
4 tree house didn't come before us. All of
5 the properties that were demolished I don't
6 believe came before us, and my only concern
7 is, yes, I still believe they should come
8 before us. I would like to see the projects
9 that are being approved even though it is
10 UDAG money. I can't remember when I was
11 there if we did any without council's
12 approval, I would have to go back along way.
13 I hope that we did when we are there get
14 approval from council, but, you know, maybe
15 we didn't either, so I don't want to be too
16 hard on them if it was done in the past.
17 My other concern about that is if it
18 can't be done and it shouldn't be done why
19 does Roseann Novembrino sign the vouchers
20 for those projects to be done, so apparently
21 the original legislation is enough for her
22 to sign all of the vouchers because they
23 have all been signed by her, and I know
24 Roseann is very prudent in checking out the
25 funds, so maybe we can also send a note to
1 her, Neil, if she has done that in the past
2 and have her solicitor also look at it and
3 see what the deal is there. Maybe when we
4 get all of the information we can do some
5 type of a motion that we do require it if it
6 is not already required and just being
7 circumvented because I, too, would like to
8 have a say in the money that's gone through
9 UDAG money.
10 The firemen. I was not happy to
11 read about the fire department in the paper
12 today or the police department. As you
13 know, I've always been an advocate for the
14 police department, as a neighborhood leader
15 that's what you want in your neighborhood is
16 more police always, you never have enough
17 police officers and almost every call that I
18 contact the mayor for is a police issue. I
19 just talked to him yesterday about a problem
20 in an housing development near my house
21 where neighbors were complaining about the
22 fireworks until 3:30 in the morning and the
23 boom boxes that rattle your windows which we
24 have to deal with at 3:00 and 4:00 in the
25 morning, so police issues are very much on
1 the forefront.
2 And as far as the fire department,
3 they tried to close my firehouse several
4 times of which Mr. Gervasi knows I have it,
5 I could bring it in, I have 10 or 12,000
6 signatures that Mayor Connors and I went
7 around South Side in Minooka and obtained,
8 so I won't be happy if my firehouse is
9 closed, I'll tell you the truth about that.
10 I won't be a happy camper.
11 But, I'm going to say this, everyone
12 needs to sit down. It has come to this
13 level because people are not sitting down
14 together. We have a contract in the school
15 district coming up. We know nothing about
16 it as the workers. Our leader is meeting
17 with the school negotiators. We don't know
18 what they are negotiating about and we won't
19 know that until it is brought before us, but
20 they are sitting down and they are trying to
21 cooperate and compromise and sometimes you
22 win a little piece and sometimes you lose a
23 little piece, but I think this is has gone
24 on long enough. Six years is a long time
25 and I think that everybody needs to sit
2 Like Mr. Dobson said about Channel
3 61, it's all about getting along and it's
4 all about you give me a glass of water and
5 I'll give you a half a glass and let's talk
6 about it and let's try to settle it.
7 Fighting about it is not getting anybody
8 anywhere. Everybody is hanging onto their
9 own turf and rightfully so, I'd hang onto
10 mine, too. I'm a public employee. I want
11 to hang onto mine as much as you want to
12 hang onto yours, but you got to sit down and
13 you have to make an effort and I think that
14 would go a long way.
15 I think a lot of this is, oh, I
16 don't want to say scare tactics because I
17 think that could really happen, anybody can
18 win in Court. The mayor could win and the
19 firemen can win, but you are tossing that
20 coin up to the air and you don't know if the
21 head or the tail is going to come down when
22 you go to Court. I would much rather see
23 people get together and you get a little
24 piece and I get a little piece and everybody
25 is happy. So, I would encourage Mr. Gervasi
1 and whoever to, you know, try to talk to
2 somebody if you need any help anybody up
3 here would be willing to support you, I'm
4 sure, and the police officers. The clerical
5 already got their contract, but any one of
6 us up here are supportive of the police and
7 fire and we would be willing, I would be
8 willing to setup something with the mayor
9 with two of us, three of us can't meet, but
10 two of us can meet and try to see if we
11 can't settle this before bad things happen.
12 I don't want them to happen and I don't
13 think anyone else does either.
14 And my last thing is I would like to
15 make a motion for Mr. Minora to prepare the
16 subpoenas for Mr. McDowell to come before us
17 and answer questions.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
19 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
20 MS. EVANS: I just wanted to add that
21 regarding any information that Mr. McDowell
22 might require to respond to council he
23 should request that information himself from
24 the Single Tax Office.
25 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else? All those
1 in favor signify by saying aye.
2 MS. EVANS: Aye.
3 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
4 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
6 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
7 ayes have it and so moved.
8 MS. GATELLI: That's all I have,
9 Mr. McGoff.
10 MS. FANUCCI: I have nothing at this
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Neil, I guess I'll
13 have to get a couple of these things to you.
14 I got a call about a catch basin at the
15 corner or Prescott and Mulberry, if they
16 could take a look at that one. This article
17 in the paper of Mr. Oleski has caused my
18 phone to ring a great deal and one specific,
19 I tried to call him yesterday I know he was
20 on vacation, but I called his office and
21 left a message and he didn't call me back
22 yet, so, Neil, maybe we could send this
23 down, there is a lot at the corner of
24 Hampton Street and Sixth Avenue, I believe
25 it's 602-604 Hampton, since I have been on
1 council the people in that neighborhood have
2 been trying to get the city to clean that
3 one up and, boy, when they saw this thing in
4 the paper they called me and I believe it
5 was one of the last ones that Mary Alice
6 Burke had torn down so I know it's a city,
7 the city -- anyway, the city tore it down, I
8 don't know if they are possession of the
10 Realistically, I think everybody
11 knows there is possibly enough votes for
12 $90,000 to go through, maybe not, and I
13 think most know that I'm not in favor of the
14 $90,000, but if I was one of the people that
15 were in favor of giving the $90,000 I think
16 I would be a little bit upset because I
17 don't believe that any anyone on council
18 knew about this $10,000 until maybe the day
19 before we got it. I didn't know until the
20 day of the meeting, so if I am one of the
21 guys helping out the mayor to give this
22 $90,000 I would have thought that he would
23 have given me the courtesy to tell me, I'm
24 backdooring another ten, but evidently he
25 didn't, so I would be a little bit upset,
1 you know.
2 Mrs. Garvey sent a letter, I believe
3 it was on my behalf, I'm not sure or council
4 to Linda Aebli about the 10,000. I don't
5 know if it's not -- maybe it's legal, maybe
6 he found a legal way to do it, but I don't
7 think it's morally correct at all that he
8 sent money to the neighborhood association
9 and then they turned it over to ECTV,
10 whether it's legal or not I don't know and
11 hopefully Mr. Minora will find it for us,
12 and a lot of times the public doesn't want
13 to take Mr. Minora's answer, you know, they
14 say he doesn't know what he is doing, which
15 I'm not -- what I think I'm going to do is
16 I'm thinking maybe I'll put together a
17 letter and maybe I'll ask HUD if, in fact,
18 whether the mayor is allowed to do this. I
19 just think it's wrong.
20 This TV station has gotten off on
21 such a bad foot here, I mean, it's put a bad
22 taste in a lot of people's mouths, people
23 that originally weren't concerned one way or
24 another and now are very upset and I think
25 rightfully so. I think one thing they have
1 got to change and change it immediately
2 today is when they are broadcasting this
3 meeting. I mean, for whatever reason they
4 can't broadcast us live, I hope that
5 changes, there are lot of people upset about
6 that, but 2:30 in the afternoon and then
7 9:30 in the morning when the average person
8 is working the dayshift can't watch it, once
9 again, it makes you look like, and I say
10 you, ECTV, it makes you look like you are
11 trying to hide government from the people.
12 Whether you are or not isn't the
13 question, it makes it looks like you are, so
14 I would suggest to you whoever is there,
15 whether it's Mr. Darcy I believe who I have
16 never met I don't think, change it today,
17 right now, so that the people have access to
18 what's going on in here. You are making
19 yourself look terrible, terrible and all you
20 have to do is just rectify that and I think
21 you would give yourself a big boost up
22 there, and I'll get off that subject.
23 MS. GATELLI: Bill, why don't you
24 make a motion that we send a letter for them
25 to at least air it every shift.
1 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right. I'll
2 make a motion that we send a letter to ECTV
3 asking them to air city council meetings not
4 only live, but one of all of the three
5 working shifts it would be 7 to 3:30, three
6 working shifts hours would be my motion.
7 MS. GATELLI: I'll second that.
8 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
9 those in favor signify by saying aye.
10 MS. EVANS: Aye.
11 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
12 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
14 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
15 ayes have it and so moved.
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: Thank you. One
17 other one, Neil, on Bromley Avenue, I don't
18 have the exact address but it's in the 100
19 block of South Bromley Avenue, oh, I think
20 it was during the last election that's how
21 long it's been they tore down a building on
22 that, a very large building called the
23 Yeager building and the residents have been
24 maintaining it up until now and they are
25 sick of it. You know, they keep going over
1 there and cutting the grass, if that's one
2 that Mr. Oleski could put on his list, it's
3 a rather large lot, and I did check into I
4 don't have an official letter or anything,
5 but I did check into my understanding is the
6 gas company is going to be tearing up the
7 road for the full length of Washburn Street,
8 so once they complete their work the road
9 will be paved and that road really needs to
10 be paved. I'm going to ask the gas company
11 if they can tear up Meridan Avenue, that
12 needs to be paved. It seems that's the only
13 way we are getting streets paved.
14 I won't comment on the fire
15 department because as Mr. Gervasi said what
16 went down yesterday was basically for the
17 police department so I'll comment on that
18 and I'll reserve my comments on the fire
19 department if and when something happens
21 I would like the people to take a
22 look and say, for instance, you are a city
23 police officer that came on the job in 2005,
24 all right, you haven't had a raise since
25 2005 and whatever longevity pay you are
1 getting was now taken away from you so now
2 you are losing money, okay, how attractive
3 is that going to be to people who want to be
4 a police officer in this area? I know there
5 is articles in the paper saying we have a
6 ton of people that applied and more so than
7 ever, I think not. I think I know as much
8 about that as anybody in this city, and I
9 talked to the people that are going to
10 become police officers, some of them that
11 are on the jobs right now whose names I
12 obviously I won't mention, I don't want to
13 jeopardize their job, they told me they were
14 coming here short-term, you know, just until
15 they get something better.
16 I think we need to take a look
17 around and look at the municipalities around
18 us that are similar size and makeup as ours
19 and pay our people accordingly, both police
20 and fire so that we can get quality people
21 and people that want to stay here. When you
22 have a lot of people leave that have left
23 here in the recent past in the police
24 department anyway, they have knowledge that
25 you just can't learn through school and that
1 you learn from working each and everyday, so
2 I would really like to see that happen that
3 we start to pay them at the very least what
4 other municipalities around us are paying so
5 we don't lose them.
6 One concern, and it's a major
7 concern of mine, is there was a -- there is
8 language in there about manning, and I
9 understand that they are going to try to use
10 supervisors for manning and possibly I'm
11 hearing anyway that maybe even the
12 detectives would be pulled to answer a call
13 if all of the people were called up, but I
14 will be watching closely as I know other
15 people told me how many times does the
16 ComCenter come over the air and say,
17 "Command car, we have no cars available,"
18 and that's in the daytime, all right, and
19 that's what we have now.
20 So, I will wait and see what happens
21 because I don't think anybody knows for sure
22 how they are going to do it, but if it
23 appears that we are running very short of
24 people on the road then I will ask Dave
25 Elliott to give me a list each and every
1 week of how many men man each shift and I
2 want a realistic list, not a list that we
3 have "X" amount of officers but three of
4 them are sitting in an office somewhere, I
5 want to talk about people that are on the
6 street doing the job. I don't think there
7 is I anybody up here that obviously, you
8 know, we are not always on the same side,
9 but everybody always seems to agree we need
10 people on the street, and if this Recovery
11 Plan or whatever you want to call this is
12 going to take people off the street, and I
13 mean really take people off the street, I'm
14 not talking about we always seem to get into
15 the numbers here, "Well, we got this many
16 officers, and we got this many officers,"
17 let's tell the truth and say who is out
18 there doing the job, who is out there
19 answering the calls, not somebody that's
20 sitting in an office, not somebody that
21 possibly can answer the call, who is
22 answering the calls and it really, really
23 concerns me, so I will keep my mouth shut
24 until I see what happens and if I see it
25 going the wrong way then I will become very
2 And one last thing, this will be the
3 last time I do this, it's been almost I
4 believe three years I have been asking about
5 the project on Main Avenue from Jackson
6 Street to Luzerne Street, the mayor refuses,
7 he doesn't want to answer my letters he told
8 somebody, I don't want to get that person in
9 trouble, the last time I saw him he said,
10 "If he wants to talk to me let him call me,"
11 so I called him and he didn't answer the
12 phone and the last time I talked to him I
13 think it was maybe about a year ago he said
14 that we are going to use state money, there
15 might be money in the state budget coming.
16 He didn't want to go the route that we had
17 been going with Mr. Kanjorski, so I will
18 call him and ask him, "Are you going to do
19 this project on Main Avenue in West
20 Scranton, yes or no," and that will be the
21 last time and hopefully he will give me a
22 yes or no answer. I'm really getting
23 irritated and that's all I have. Thank you.
24 MS. GATELLI: Excuse me just for one
25 second, but I told you once before and it
1 might help you to call Dr. Barry Minora.
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: I've dealt with
3 Dr. Minora at the very beginning.
4 MS. GATELLI: He got some grants I
5 think and other kinds of grants.
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: That was the very
7 first thing I did, Mr. McTiernan was on the
8 council at the time and we met,
9 Mr. McTiernan and myself and Chris Doherty
10 and we met and I told him Dr. Barry Minora
11 was very willing to help us to show us where
12 the money and everything and this and that
13 and he didn't seem to open to that, the
14 mayor so we went the route of Congressman
15 Kanjorski, Congressman Kanjorski came up, we
16 walked Main Avenue, he said -- he even
17 wanted to do more than what I was asking, he
18 wanted to do underground utilities and then
19 the last conversation I had with the mayor
20 was that money was going to becoming through
21 the state somehow, I believe he mentioned
22 possibly using Mr. Van who is no longer
23 there I think he might have been working as
24 a consultant or something, but nothing
25 since, and I'm the guy that's getting hit
1 with the questions every week when I walk
2 down the avenue, you know, what is going on
4 So I will make the call. If that's
5 what it takes if he wants a call I'll make
6 the call, I just thought it was easier if
7 you sent a letter, he could send it back, I
8 believe he says he throws my letters in the
9 garbage somebody told me, so I won't waste
10 the paper anymore. That's all I have.
11 Thank you.
12 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. Attorney
13 Williams, you are back to work.
14 MR. WILLIAMS: Thank you.
15 MR. MCGOFF: 5-B.
16 MR. WILLIAMS: 5-B. FOR INTRODUCTION
17 - AN ORDINANCE - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND
18 OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE AND
19 ENTER INTO AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF
20 SCRANTON AND LACKAWANNA HERITAGE VALLEY
21 AUTHORITY FOR A PRIVILEGE AND EASEMENT FOR
22 THE CONSTRUCTION AND DESIGN OF THE
23 LACKAWANNA RIVER HERITAGE TRAIL TO BE
24 LOCATED ON THE TRAIL AREA.
25 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll
1 entertain a motion that Item 5-B be
2 introduced into it's proper committee.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
4 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
5 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
6 those in favor signify by saying aye.
7 MS. EVANS: Aye.
8 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
9 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
11 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
12 ayes have it and so moved.
13 MR. WILLIAMS: 5-C. FOR INTRODUCTION
14 - AN ORDINANCE - CREATING AN OVERSIGHT
15 COMMITTEE TO ACT IN AN ADVISORY CAPACITY
16 ONLY TO OVERSEE THE MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC
17 ACCESS CHANNELS 61 AND 62 BY ELECTRIC CITY
18 TELEVISION ("ECTV") THROUGH THE COMCAST
19 CABLE SYSTEM.
20 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll
21 entertain a motion that Item 5-C be
22 introduced into it's proper committee.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
24 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
25 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
1 those in favor signify by saying aye.
2 MS. EVANS: Aye.
3 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
4 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
6 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
7 ayes have it and so moved.
8 MR. WILLIAMS: 5-D. FOR INTRODUCTION
9 - AN ORDINANCE - AMENDING FILE OF COUNCIL
10 NO. 140, 2007, AN ORDINANCE "ENTITLED
11 GENERAL CITY OPERATING BUDGET 2008" BY
12 TRANSFERRING $50,000.00 FROM ACCOUNT NO.
13 01.080.00081.4010 (STANDARD
14 SALARY-DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS-BUREAU OF
15 ENGINEERING) TO ACCOUNT NO.
16 01.080.00081.4201 (PROFESSIONAL
17 SERVICES-DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS - BUREAU
18 OF ENGINEERING) TO PROVIDE FUNDING TO COVER
19 CITY ENGINEERING PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
20 PAYMENTS TO PENNONI ASSOCIATES.
21 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll
22 entertain a motion that Item 5-D be
23 introduced into it's proper committee.
24 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
25 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
1 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
2 MR. COURTRIGHT: On the question, we
3 need a city engineer, so I'll be voting,
4 yes, but I want to make it known that we are
5 spending another $50,000 additional than
6 when we had to do in the past, all right,
7 so, I'll be voting, yes, because we need a
8 city engineer, but I'm not happy about it.
9 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
10 those in favor of introduction signify by
11 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 MR. WILLIAMS 5-E. FOR INTRODUCTION -
19 A RESOLUTION - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND
20 OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO GRANT A
21 SPECIAL ENCROACHMENT PERMIT TO FARLEY'S
22 EATERY AND PUB, TO OPERATE AND OUTDOOR
23 RESTAURANT AT 300-302 ADAMS AVENUE,
24 SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA.
25 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll
1 entertain a motion that 5-E be introduced
2 into it's proper committee.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
4 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
5 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
6 those in favor signify by saying aye.
7 MS. EVANS: Aye.
8 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
9 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
11 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
12 ayes have it and so moved.
13 MR. WILLIAMS: 5-F. FOR INTRODUCTION
14 - A RESOLUTION - APPOINTMENT TOF RYAN
15 MCGOWAN, 735 NORTH BROMLEY AVENUE, SCRANTON,
16 PENNSYLVANIA, 18504, TO THE POSITION OF CITY
17 TREASURER EFFECTIVE JUNE 30, 2008. MR.
18 MCGOWAN WILL BE REPLACING DOUG HEIN WHO
20 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll
21 entertain a motion that Item 5-F be
22 introduced into it's proper committee.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
24 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
25 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
1 those in favor signify by saying aye.
2 MS. EVANS: Aye.
3 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
4 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
6 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
7 ayes have it and so moved.
8 MR. WILLIAMS: SIX. Consideration
9 OF ORDINANCES - READING BY TITLE. 6-A.
10 READING BY TITLE - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 28,
11 2008 - AN ORDINANCE - AMENDING FILE OF
12 COUNCIL NO. 123 OF 2007, ENTITLED, "AN
13 ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER
14 APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS OF THE CITY OF
15 SCRANTON TO TAKE ALL NECESSARY ACTIONS TO
16 IMPLEMENT THE CONSOLIDATED SUBMISSION FOR
17 COMMUNITY PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS,
18 (AS AMENDED) TO BE FUNDED UN THE COMMUNITY
19 DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) PROGRAM, HOME
20 INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP (HOME) PROGRAM AND
21 EMERGENCY SHELTER GRANT (ESG) PROGRAM", BY
22 TRANSFERRING $90,000.00 FROM PROJECT 02-234
23 INVESTMENT IN GROW SCRANTON FUND TO PROJECT
24 NO. 08-248 ELECTRIC CITY TELEVISION.
25 MR. MCGOFF: You have heard Reading
1 by Title of Item 6-A what is your pleasure?
2 MS. FANUCCI: As Chairperson for the
3 Committee on Community Development, I
4 recommend final passage of Item 6-A.
5 MS. GATELLI: Second.
6 MR. MCGOFF: No, we didn't move it
8 MS. GATELLI: What do you mean we
9 didn't move it?
10 MS. FANUCCI: I'll move it.
11 Mr. Chairperson, first I move that 6-A pass
12 Reading by Title.
13 MS. GATELLI: Second.
14 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
15 those in favor signify by saying aye.
16 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
17 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
18 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed?
19 MR. COURTRIGHT: No.
20 MS. EVANS: No.
21 MR. MCGOFF: The ayes have it and so
23 MR. WILLIAMS: 6-B. READING YT TITLE
24 - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 30, 2008 - AN
25 ORDINANCE - AUTHORIZING AN EASEMENT ON
1 CITY-OWNED LAND TO THE SCRANTON SCHOOL
2 DISTRICT FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW
3 WEST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL.
4 MR. MCGOFF: You have heard Reading
5 my Title of Item 6-B what is your pleasure?
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: I move that Item 6-B
7 pass Reading by Title.
8 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
9 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
10 MS. EVANS: At last week's meeting I
11 had requested that if any residents had
12 concerns regarding this legislation if they
13 would be please contact the office of city
14 council prior to today. I know that I
15 received no e-mails or phone calls regarding
16 this piece of legislation and so I'll be
17 approving it.
18 MR. MCGOFF: And I know I had a
19 question about some of the wording and I did
20 not hear from anyone and my fault I did not
21 contact anyone at the school district to ask
22 for clarification, but since are no
23 complaints by residents I assume it --
24 MS. GATELLI: I think that we talked
25 about this before and that some of the
1 residents did meet with the school district
2 and it was rectified. That was my
4 MS. EVANS: Yes, that's true, but
5 this legislation involves an easement onto
6 the land that they had previously discussed,
7 and in the original ordinance I believe the
8 easement was to be used only for access and
9 egress --
10 MS. GATELLI: For emergency vehicles.
11 MS. EVANS: -- for emergency vehicles
12 to the proposed new school. Now, however,
13 they are asking for a broadening of the use
14 of that easement I think in order to bring
15 through equipment and such that are required
16 in the construction.
17 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else, 6-B. All
18 those in favor signify by saying aye.
19 MS. EVANS: Aye.
20 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
21 MS. GATELLI: Aye.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
24 ayes have it and so moved.
25 MR. WILLIAMS: Seven. FINAL READING
1 OF RESOLUTIONS AND ORDINANCES -
2 CONSIDERATION FOR ADOPTION. 7-A. FOR
3 CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON COMMUNITY
4 DEVELOPMENT - FOR ADOPTION - RESOLUTION NO.
5 35, 2008 - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER
6 APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS FOR THE CITY OF
7 SCRANTON TO ENTER INTO A LOAN AGREEMENT AND
8 MAKE A LOAN FROM THE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
9 BLOCK GRANT LOAN PROGRAM, PROJECT NO. 08-248
10 IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $90,000.00 TO
11 ELECTRIC CITY TELEVISION TO ASSIST AN
12 ELIGIBLE PROJECT.
13 MR. MCGOFF: What is the
14 recommendation of the Chairperson for the
15 Committee on Community Development?
16 MS. FANUCCI: As Chairperson for the
17 Committee on Community Development, I
18 recommend final passage of Item 7-A.
19 MS. GATELLI: Second.
20 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
21 MS. EVANS: Yes. An item that I find
22 bothersome is that obviously the mayor will
23 give ECTV $90,000 directly, that means
24 specifically by means of legislation placed
25 before city council for it's approval or
1 denial, yet, the mayor takes $10,000
2 indirectly and passes it to one nonprofit to
3 give to another, gives it to one nonprofit
4 to give to ECTV and this just doesn't seem
5 appropriate, ethical. If you can't present
6 7-A directly I see no reason why the $10,000
7 couldn't have been given directly to ECTV.
8 Why funnel it through another nonprofit?
9 Now, I don't think it's good enough to
10 say, well, this very may well have occurred
11 in the past and so we are going to accept it
12 today. No, it's not acceptable. If it were
13 done in the past it wasn't right and that
14 doesn't excuse today's improprieties.
15 In addition to that, you may say,
16 well, it's a minimal amount of money, well,
17 you could take $577,000 and create maybe 50
18 minimal projects all of which could be
19 administered behind closed doors without the
20 knowledge of the public without the approval
21 of city council.
22 Now, my last word on this is going
23 to be this isn't Monopoly money just because
24 it's not coming out of the city's operating
25 budget doesn't mean this is, you know,
1 nonexistent funding. It's not going to hit
2 you in the pocket. Well, yes, it is because
3 these are tax dollars, but most particularly
4 these are federal tax dollars and I don't
5 know that the federal government is going to
6 approve the manner in which the City of
7 Scranton through it's Office of Economic and
8 Community Development much shuffles federal
9 tax dollars, so I will not in good
10 conscience approve what I believe is
11 entangled in very, very inappropriate
12 mismanagement of public funds.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else? Roll call,
15 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
16 MS. EVANS: No.
17 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
18 MS. GATELLI. Yes.
19 MR. COOLICAN: Ms. Fanucci.
20 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
21 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: No.
23 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
24 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. I hereby declare
25 Item 7-A legally and lawfully adopted.
1 MR. WILLIAMS: 7-B. FOR CONSIDERATION
2 BY THE COMMITTEE ON RULES - FOR ADOPTION -
3 RESOLUTION NO. 41, 2008 - REAPPOINTING DAVID
4 CARDEN, 248 WILBUR ST., SCRANTON,
5 PENNSYLVANIA, 18508, AS A MEMBER OF THE
6 BOARD OF ZONING APPEALS FOR THE CITY OF
7 SCRANTON. MR. CARDEN'S TERM EXPIRES ON JULY
8 1, 2008 AND HIS NEW TERM WILL EXPIRE ON JULY
9 1, 2011.
10 MR. MCGOFF: As Chairperson for the
11 Committee on Rules, I recommend final
12 passage of Item 7-B.
13 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
14 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? Roll
16 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
17 MS. EVANS: Yes.
18 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli.
19 MS. GATELLI. Yes.
20 MR. COOLICAN: Ms. Fanucci.
21 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
22 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
23 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
24 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
25 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. I hereby declare
1 Item 7-B legally and lawfully adopted, and I
2 would like to thank Mr. Williams for his
3 fine work and ask for a motion to adjourn.
4 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
5 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
6 MS. EVANS: And a job well done.
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, RPR
12 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER