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            1              SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING

 

            2

 

            3

 

            4

 

            5                          HELD:

 

            6

 

            7                   Tuesday, July 29, 2008

 

            8

 

            9                        LOCATION:

 

           10                    Council Chambers

 

           11                 Scranton City Hall

 

           12              340 North Washington Avenue

 

           13                Scranton, Pennsylvania

 

           14

 

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           22

 

           23

                    CATHENE S. NARDOZZI, RPR - OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

           24

 

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            1

 

            2   CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:

 

            3

 

            4

                MR. ROBERT MCGOFF, PRESIDENT

            5

 

            6   MS. JUDY GATELLI, VICE-PRESIDENT

                (Not Present)

            7

                MS. JANET E. EVANS

            8

 

            9   MS. SHERRY FANUCCI

                (Not Present)

           10

                MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT

           11

 

           12   MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK

 

           13

                MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK

           14

 

           15   MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR

 

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            1                      (Pledge of Allegiance recited and

 

            2              moment of reflection observed.)

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF:  Roll call.

 

            4                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS:  Here.

 

            6                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI.  (Not present.)

 

            8                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI:  (Not present.)

 

           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.  For the record,

 

           15              Mrs. Gatelli informed us that she will not

 

           16              be attending today's meeting and also

 

           17              Mrs. Fanucci will not be in attendance.  She

 

           18              was here, but her daughter -- there was a

 

           19              family emergency and she will not be here

 

           20              either.

 

           21                      As a result of that I would like to

 

           22              make a motion at this time to appoint Mrs.

 

           23              Evans as temporary chair for finance.

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  All


 

 

                                                                       4

 

 

            1              in favor?

 

            2                      MS. EVANS: Aye.

 

            3                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF: Aye.  Opposed?  The ayes

 

            5              have it.  Also I would like to make a motion

 

            6              to temporary appointment for community

 

            7              development, Mr. Courtright, as temporary

 

            8              chair for community development.

 

            9                      MS. EVANS: Second.

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF:  On the question?  All

 

           11              in favor?

 

           12                      MS. EVANS: Aye.

 

           13                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: Aye.  Opposed?  The ayes

 

           15              have it and so moved.  Thank you.

 

           16                      MS. GARVEY: THIRD ORDER.  3-A.

 

           17              MINUTES OF THE NON-UNIFORM MUNICIPAL PENSION

 

           18              BOARD MEETING HELD ON JUNE 25, 2008.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

           20              If not, received and filed.

 

           21                      MS. GARVEY: 3-B. AGENDA FOR THE

 

           22              NON-UNIFORM MUNICIPAL PENSION BOARD MEETING

 

           23              TO BE HELD ON JULY 23, 2008.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

           25              If not, received and filed.


 

 

                                                                       5

 

 

            1                      MS. GARVEY: 3-C. MINUTES OF THE

 

            2              SCRANTON-LACKAWANNA HEALTH & WELFARE

 

            3              AUTHORITY BOARD MEETING GELD ON JUNE 19,

 

            4              2008.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

            6              If not, received and filed.

 

            7                      MS. GARVEY: 3-D. MINUTES OF THE

 

            8              POLICE PENSION COMMISSION MEETING HELD ON

 

            9              MAY 28, 2008.

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

           11              If not, received and filed.

 

           12                      MS. GARVEY: 3-E. MINUTES OF THE

 

           13              POLICE PENSION COMMISSION MEETING HELD ON

 

           14              JUNE 25, 2008.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

           16              If not, received and filed.

 

           17                      MS. GARVEY: 3-F. MINUTES OF THE

 

           18              COMPOSITE PENSION BOARD MEETING HELD ON JUNE

 

           19              25, 2008.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

           21              If not, received and filed.

 

           22                      MS. GARVEY: That's it for third

 

           23              order.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF:  Thank you.  Any

 

           25              announcements?


 

 

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            1                      MS. EVANS: Yes.  The Scranton Police

 

            2              Department is sponsoring it's Sixth Annual

 

            3              National Night out On August 5, 2008, at the

 

            4              Tripp Park Complex on Dorothy Street from 6

 

            5              to 10 p.m. National Night Out is a crime

 

            6              prevention event which promotes police

 

            7              partnerships.  I hope to see many of you

 

            8              there, however, if you are unable to attend

 

            9              you are asked to lock your doors, turn on

 

           10              outside lights and spend the evening outside

 

           11              with neighbors and police in recognition of

 

           12              this nationwide event.

 

           13                      St. Lucy's annual church picnic will

 

           14              be conducted on the church grounds in West

 

           15              Scranton from August 4 through August 9.

 

           16              This event offers great food, games and fun

 

           17              for all ages.

 

           18                      Last evening I attended a meeting of

 

           19              Minooka residents regarding improvements to

 

           20              the William Barrett park and playground.

 

           21              The meeting was organized by school director

 

           22              Chris Phillips, and was also attended by the

 

           23              mayor.  Residents presented us with a list

 

           24              of improvements they would like to see

 

           25              occur.  Although $100,000 was allocated in


 

 

                                                                       7

 

 

            1              2002 for this project, the money was spent

 

            2              elsewhere.

 

            3                      As a result, the mayor will put

 

            4              $100,000 of new money into the budget for

 

            5              this worthy and long overdue project.  In

 

            6              three week's time the basketball court will

 

            7              be removed, more trees will be trimmed and

 

            8              temporary lighting will be installed.

 

            9              Scranton police will also be assigned to

 

           10              patrol the area when the court is removed,

 

           11              that is according to the mayor.

 

           12                      In addition, graffiti removal

 

           13              equipment was purchased by the city and is

 

           14              available for use throughout our city parks.

 

           15              The Barrett Park project is tentatively due

 

           16              to begin construction in the Spring of 2009,

 

           17              and that's all I have.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.

 

           19              Mr. Courtright?  Citizens' participation.

 

           20              Andy Sbaraglia.

 

           21                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,

 

           22              citizen of Scranton.  Fellow Scrantonians,

 

           23              as you know I like to comment on actually

 

           24              the agenda and today I will do the same.  I

 

           25              want to comment on 3-C on the agenda,


 

 

                                                                       8

 

 

            1              minutes of the Scranton/Lackawanna County

 

            2              Health and Welfare Authority board meeting

 

            3              held on June 19, 2008, and here it says:

 

            4              "Lackawanna County College update:  Attorney

 

            5              Durkin advised that the board at the

 

            6              5:00 p.m. meeting TEFRA meeting convened and

 

            7              will run concurrent with the regular

 

            8              meeting.  This project is moving along

 

            9              nicely.  This project as a resolution for

 

           10              the county has been approved and returned.

 

           11              The resolution for the city has been

 

           12              introduced at the city council meeting on

 

           13              June 17 and will be approved hopefully at

 

           14              the next meeting on June 24.  The signing

 

           15              copy should be available by the end of June.

 

           16              Mr. Durkin asked if everything was included

 

           17              this and Mr. Judge indicated, yes, and hoped

 

           18              to close on or before August 1, 2008."

 

           19                      This meeting was held, and as you

 

           20              know in your original legislation it called

 

           21              for a public hearing.  Apparently the public

 

           22              hearing was held on June 19 long before you

 

           23              even approved it or before anybody in the

 

           24              city could go out and get any information on

 

           25              this project.  If you remember the original


 

 

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            1              legislation, they wanted to borrow money for

 

            2              everything but painting the green line down

 

            3              the street.  I just wondered if money was

 

            4              even being borrowed to buy Midtown

 

            5              apartments.  All these should have been held

 

            6              at a public meeting.  Apparently, they

 

            7              didn't want a public meeting, they held the

 

            8              public meeting long before the people of

 

            9              Scranton were even informed of what was

 

           10              going on.

 

           11                      What's wrong with this system?  Why

 

           12              do you put the cart before the horse?  It

 

           13              doesn't make sense, it never made sense and

 

           14              it will never make sense.  All it does is

 

           15              create a cloud, and that's all we have in

 

           16              this city, clouds over everything.  We had a

 

           17              cloud over the tax office, we got clouds

 

           18              over the administration, we got clouds over

 

           19              the police department, fire department,

 

           20              every department within the city there is a

 

           21              cloud over it.  What's wrong with the system

 

           22              where you don't inform the public in a

 

           23              timely manner so they could put input into a

 

           24              project?

 

           25                      Some people can care less.  I guess


 

 

                                                                      10

 

 

            1              most of the people can care less and most of

 

            2              the legislation that's passed you could care

 

            3              less.  You don't look at anything beyond

 

            4              what's in front of your noses.

 

            5                      I attended a meeting where they said

 

            6              maybe 30 firemen would be laid off, that's

 

            7              saving about two million or something like

 

            8              that, how true it is, I don't know, but I do

 

            9              know one thing, you have to look a lot

 

           10              further than the $2 million if that would be

 

           11              a saving.  For one thing you have to look at

 

           12              our fire insurance is going to go up.  Less

 

           13              firemen maybe we fall into a different

 

           14              bracket and our insurance can go up, and I

 

           15              was told many, many times when you give

 

           16              money, allocate money to all of these

 

           17              projects you tell me that, well, $1 in

 

           18              public funds usually generates $3 in input

 

           19              on the trickling effect.  What would happen

 

           20              if you take $2 million out of the local

 

           21              economy, what would that do?  Are we going

 

           22              to have more homes for sale?  Are we going

 

           23              to have more people that are put out in the

 

           24              streets?  How are we going to make up that

 

           25              $2 million because they pay taxes, so when


 

 

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            1              you start deducting what's going on with the

 

            2              taxes and so forth and so on money generated

 

            3              for homes that they may be forced out,

 

            4              increased fire insurance and what have you

 

            5              plus a trickle down effect, is it a good

 

            6              idea to lay off 37 firemen or 30 firemen or

 

            7              whatever thinking that you are going to get

 

            8              a $2 million cost instead you only may get

 

            9              $100,000 cost savings?

 

           10                      This administration doesn't look at

 

           11              anything, anything you ever see coming for

 

           12              them you know they don't look at anything.

 

           13              All you have to do is look at your nose and

 

           14              look in the mirror and see yourself.  It

 

           15              just isn't there.  You got to look further

 

           16              out on whatever you do and whatever you vote

 

           17              on.  We heading into very trouble times.

 

           18              People that can't make their payments on the

 

           19              first of April if they are in delinquency

 

           20              look at what's being imposed on them and

 

           21              what can be imposed on them.  I thank you.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,

 

           23              Mr. Sbaraglia.  Mr. Quinn.

 

           24                      MR. QUINN:  Ozzie Quinn, Taxpayers'

 

           25              Association.  Yes, the first thing I would


 

 

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            1              like to address is the reports and

 

            2              communications, you are receiving a report

 

            3              from the Single Tax Office what's not being

 

            4              done under the McDowell administration, have

 

            5              you been receiving these reports?  I never

 

            6              see anything in this saying that you have

 

            7              received reports which is one of the ways

 

            8              that you are going to be the watchdog of

 

            9              what's going on down there.  Have you been

 

           10              receiving these reports?

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: I'm sorry?

 

           12                      MS. EVANS: Yes.

 

           13                      MR. QUINN: You have, okay.  Thank

 

           14              you.  The second thing I want to talk about

 

           15              is the Recovery Plan and last week we had a

 

           16              Lieutenant David Gervasi address our group

 

           17              and he spoke about the Recovery Plan and

 

           18              it's not a finished deal as it was reported,

 

           19              and there is concern and one of my concerns

 

           20              is the fact that if you do eliminate "X"

 

           21              amount of firemen, 36 to 38 or whatever they

 

           22              do, I'm concerned about one other thing is

 

           23              the fact that there is a spin off effect

 

           24              with the fire department with the department

 

           25              boroughs such as Dunmore and I'm just


 

 

                                                                      13

 

 

            1              wondering if a fire was started in Dunmore

 

            2              would we be able to help them in the future,

 

            3              that's one of my concerns, and as Andy said,

 

            4              I don't know if anybody has looked into that

 

            5              because a lot of people don't look farther

 

            6              than their nose.

 

            7                      Okay, and now we have like August

 

            8              coming up, but I'm asking you people please

 

            9              for the taxpayers to please contemplate on

 

           10              the Doherty debt.  Mrs. Evans, since you are

 

           11              the finance chairperson temporary, I'm

 

           12              very -- we are very concerned about the fact

 

           13              that there is a $5.5 million payoff debt in

 

           14              December, we are going to borrow for that,

 

           15              and we don't know how much more we are going

 

           16              to have to borrow for the 2008 operating

 

           17              budget to balance that and we are concerned

 

           18              about the fact that cumulatively when we

 

           19              look at thumb are talking $11 million you

 

           20              don't know how much you are going to get

 

           21              from the Single Tax Office and you got to

 

           22              look at -- when you look at the big picture,

 

           23              again, you look at the school board they are

 

           24              principal $185 million in debt and they are

 

           25              negotiating with two unions right now, so


 

 

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            1              and they passed a resolution that they could

 

            2              increase our taxes in 2009 up to

 

            3              6.4 percent.  The county is $207,000,000 in

 

            4              debt principal, we are not looking at long-

 

            5              term and the 2006 budget we still have the

 

            6              2007 budget, do we, Mrs. Evans?  Have we

 

            7              received the 2007 budget yet?

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: You mean the audit?

 

            9                      MR. QUINN:  The audit, sorry.

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: No, we haven't received

 

           11              that as of yet.

 

           12                      MR. QUINN:  And that was due in May.

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: Yes.

 

           14                      MR. QUINN:  So, we don't know what

 

           15              the debt of the city is.

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: Correct.

 

           17                      MR. QUINN:  So we are talking maybe

 

           18              a half a billion dollars in principal, you

 

           19              know, and it scares me, it really scares me.

 

           20              You know, especially with the fact that we

 

           21              had, you know, again, I always say we have a

 

           22              median income in this area, it's very low.

 

           23              The unemployment if you saw this morning

 

           24              it's 5.9 percent, the second lowest in the

 

           25              state, the second highest in the state, and


 

 

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            1              you bring in the high cost of living right

 

            2              now, utilities and whatnot, and we are going

 

            3              to have a tough time when you are looking at

 

            4              meeting bills in January and receiving that

 

            5              tax bill you people who are looking at the

 

            6              revenue side of bringing this money, whether

 

            7              it's from the treasurer's department or

 

            8              what, I just see that a lot of people are

 

            9              going to hold back on paying their taxes and

 

           10              it concerns me.

 

           11                      The last thing I want to talk about

 

           12              is the fact that it appears that we have a

 

           13              Home Rule Charter that was mandated by the

 

           14              people, okay, and it's a law I understand,

 

           15              right?  We also have ordinances adopted yet

 

           16              I have pointed out and continue to point out

 

           17              that this administration is circumventing

 

           18              many times the Home Rule Charter and the

 

           19              ordinances.

 

           20                      I urge you to please anything that

 

           21              comes before the city council in the future,

 

           22              I don't know if you listen to me because not

 

           23              many people do, to please look at these

 

           24              resolutions or ordinances or anything that's

 

           25              been expended that you may know of if it's


 

 

                                                                      16

 

 

            1              in violation of anything.  We know, we saw a

 

            2              case in point was the fact of the mayor

 

            3              giving that $10,000 to East Scranton

 

            4              Business Association which in turn laundered

 

            5              it over to ECTV and that was in violation of

 

            6              the ordinance.  There is no doubt about it,

 

            7              you don't have to be a lawyer to know that.

 

            8              Thank you very much.

 

            9                      MS. EVANS: Mr. Quinn?

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: I'm sorry, if I could

 

           12              just clarify two things quickly, first of

 

           13              all, council does receive the minutes of

 

           14              meetings of commissions, boards, and

 

           15              authorities, but generally that would occur

 

           16              approximately a week before they would be

 

           17              presented for our approval at city council,

 

           18              so to the point that was made by

 

           19              Mr. Sbaraglia we wouldn't have received the

 

           20              minutes of that commission concerning a

 

           21              public hearing until about a week ago.  So,

 

           22              again, that would have occurred without our

 

           23              having known.

 

           24                      Secondly, I, too, am concerned about

 

           25              the borrowing.  The legislation was due to


 

 

                                                                      17

 

 

            1              come before council in June, but it has not

 

            2              been presented and I'm beginning to wonder

 

            3              if perhaps there might have been problems

 

            4              obtaining bond insurance or there may have

 

            5              been problems with the borrowing itself in

 

            6              the sense that, you know, the city is

 

            7              overextended and our bond rating has

 

            8              plummeted, but also the bond market right

 

            9              now is in serious trouble as well, so I

 

           10              think when you combine those two entities

 

           11              that might have explain why the legislation

 

           12              has not yet been presented.

 

           13                      MR. QUINN: Okay, thank you, and to

 

           14              follow up with that, I have never seen

 

           15              anything yet in regards to the Single Tax

 

           16              Office on any of these reports and that's

 

           17              why I question that, okay?

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.

 

           19                      MR. QUINN:  And the other thing is

 

           20              this here is the fact that she mentioned

 

           21              about, and I mentioned previously and she

 

           22              brought it up and I have to say, the fact

 

           23              that that audit, I don't know how you can

 

           24              borrow anymore money without that audit --

 

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


 

 

                                                                      18

 

 

            1                      MR. QUINN: -- in your hands.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Mr. Gilroy?

 

            3                      MR. GILROY:  Before I start to speak

 

            4              I have some pictures.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Could you please just

 

            6              state your name for the record.

 

            7                      MR. GILROY:  Rich Gilroy, Scranton

 

            8              resident.  I have some pictures before I

 

            9              start to speak, would you care to look at

 

           10              them?

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: Bring them up, please.

 

           12              Thank you.

 

           13                      MR. GILROY:  Can I start speaking

 

           14              now?  I'm here, I was here four times in

 

           15              regard to those garbage dumpsters,

 

           16              commercial, Village Park Apartments, there

 

           17              is still no lids on them, there is still

 

           18              birds flying and bird droppings all over the

 

           19              place, cats, skunks and they smell.  The

 

           20              vendor never changes them and we have been

 

           21              for a whole year.  My mom has been trying to

 

           22              get something done about that and there is

 

           23              still nothing done about it.  And I also I

 

           24              want to know about the fireworks, I brought

 

           25              the fireworks, them illegal fireworks with


 

 

                                                                      19

 

 

            1              me here last week, those rocket launchers

 

            2              that were shot at my mom's siding, burnt the

 

            3              fan, the exhaust fan on it and singed the

 

            4              steps and I was almost hit in the face with

 

            5              one of them.  I mean, they are illegal.  Why

 

            6              are they -- if there is supposed to be

 

            7              security at that Village Park Apartments,

 

            8              which there isn't, those fireworks would

 

            9              have never been shot off, but they were.  It

 

           10              was like a regular fireworks display at a

 

           11              stadium what they did and they are still

 

           12              shooting M-80's off, what is it, three weeks

 

           13              past the Fourth of July, still M-80's

 

           14              shooting them off and they are illegal, too.

 

           15                   And getting back to those dumpsters, is

 

           16              there an ordinance about picking garbage up

 

           17              like 4:00 in the morning?  Sometimes that

 

           18              driver picks the garbage up at 4:00 in the

 

           19              morning, 4:00 or 4:30, and that shouldn't

 

           20              be, wakes you right out of your sleep, and

 

           21              if you look at those pictures those

 

           22              dumpsters are not equipped to handle all of

 

           23              that garbage.  The garbage is laying all

 

           24              over the ground, I mean, it's a disgrace we

 

           25              have to look at there.


 

 

                                                                      20

 

 

            1                      I mean, there is drug dealing going

 

            2              on there.  Like I said the last week when I

 

            3              was there, back in '99 our road was blocked

 

            4              off for a year with a concrete barricade and

 

            5              the drug dealing is still going on.  We

 

            6              never forgot what happened in '99.  I mean,

 

            7              sir, all you have to do is go up and check

 

            8              with the neighbors and find out about that

 

            9              housing development and they will tell you

 

           10              how bad it is, it's bad.  Make a meeting

 

           11              with the neighbors up there and you will

 

           12              find out about it.

 

           13                      And about the those are other

 

           14              pictures about two blighted houses 106 and

 

           15              108.  The one the shed was all busted on the

 

           16              side and there was skunks and everything

 

           17              living under there, the shed is repaired,

 

           18              but the grass, the grass is over a foot and

 

           19              a half high in back of the fence, the fence

 

           20              is all busted, all rusted, I mean, the two

 

           21              properties, the city inspector was always

 

           22              there, there was always a problem with it.

 

           23                   And at the one house there was a drug

 

           24              house in '05 which we had to hire a lawyer

 

           25              because he couldn't get -- there were


 

 

                                                                      21

 

 

            1              pitbull dogs and they would attack you.

 

            2                      So, I mean, I would like it answer

 

            3              about those dumpsters though what she

 

            4              intends to do about it, and when I was here

 

            5              last week my mom received a phone call from

 

            6              this park manager screaming at my mom on the

 

            7              phone, it's a wonder she didn't have a heart

 

            8              attack.  She called her like 5:00 in the

 

            9              evening and she was really screaming at her.

 

           10              I mean, I have every right in the world to

 

           11              come here.  We got problems up there.  I

 

           12              mean, this is a free country, it's freedom

 

           13              of speech.  Why if there is something wrong

 

           14              then why can't I come here and speak about

 

           15              it.

 

           16                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Would you like me

 

           17              to answer you?

 

           18                      MR. GILROY:  Yes.

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  The dumpsters, the

 

           20              woman that runs the place called me and the

 

           21              dumpsters, the lids have been ordered for

 

           22              them, all right, that was maybe Thursday she

 

           23              called me I believe.  I spoke to the police

 

           24              department, Townhouse, I call it Townhouse,

 

           25              what is it, Village Park, they have


 

 

                                                                      22

 

 

            1              requested officers on Wednesdays, Thursdays,

 

            2              Fridays and Saturdays, two officers, so the

 

            3              police are telling me, yeah, they are there.

 

            4              I think where we have gotten into a problem

 

            5              I received a letter from Village Park

 

            6              apartments maybe we are not going be able to

 

            7              intervene anymore, they have got a written

 

            8              request from Village Park Administration

 

            9              from the residents, there's about 30 names

 

           10              on this, filing a complaint against you, so

 

           11              Village Park now is considering going to

 

           12              their attorney to file against you and once

 

           13              a lawsuit is generates, and I checked with

 

           14              Mr. Minora, I think we have to back out of

 

           15              it now.

 

           16                      MR. GILROY:  Mr. Courtright, my mom

 

           17              was advised to file a civil lawsuit, so much

 

           18              happened, even a guy exposed himself.

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I understand, but --

 

           20                      MR. GILROY:  Please let me finish.

 

           21              One of the tenants that are living there he

 

           22              is staying at that house, and this happened

 

           23              last year, there was numerous police reports

 

           24              filed about this person and she had a

 

           25              serious offense, too, and she shouldn't even


 

 

                                                                      23

 

 

            1              be living there and that housing development

 

            2              is government funded by HUD.  So, I mean,

 

            3              and we could get all of the neighbors though

 

            4              with the drugs and everything, we are the

 

            5              ones that should have the petitions, not the

 

            6              neighbors that live there for what we have

 

            7              to put up living there.  We are the ones

 

            8              that should have the petition.

 

            9                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I understand, I'm

 

           10              not saying that your problems aren't -- -

 

           11                      MR. GILROY:  Please let me finish.

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay.

 

           13                      MR. GILROY:  All you have to do if

 

           14              you want to meet with the homeowners, come

 

           15              up and meet with us and we'll let you know,

 

           16              we'll let you know what kind of a place it

 

           17              is and we will sign a petition against this

 

           18              place.  We are the ones that should sign the

 

           19              petition not the people that are living

 

           20              there.  My mother is putting up with hell

 

           21              living there.  We are the ones that should

 

           22              have the petition.  That's not right.

 

           23                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I'm not saying that

 

           24              your problems aren't legitimate, I'm saying

 

           25              once legal action takes place then --


 

 

                                                                      24

 

 

            1                      MR. GILROY:  Can I just finish?

 

            2              Even my mom's home was damaged with

 

            3              fireworks.  It's a disgrace and nothing has

 

            4              been done about it.  Thank you.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Just for the record,

 

            6              I'm not saying that this gentleman's -- I'm

 

            7              not -- I can't speak directly to you now

 

            8              because your time is up, I'm not saying this

 

            9              gentleman's accusations aren't true or are

 

           10              true, what I'm saying is if legal action

 

           11              takes place then we are out of the loop, we

 

           12              can't step in.  I consulted with Mr. Minora

 

           13              about that, you have every right to file

 

           14              your own suit, but if they file one and you

 

           15              file one I think we are pretty much taken

 

           16              out of the loop then.

 

           17                      MR. GILROY:  Well, you know, can I

 

           18              say one thing, meet with the neighbors,

 

           19              that's all.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.

 

           21                      MR. GILROY:  Talk with us and we

 

           22              will get a petition, we will file a civil

 

           23              lawsuit against them.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Nancy Krake.

 

           25                      MS. KRAKE: Good morning, Council.  I


 

 

                                                                      25

 

 

            1              had some questions for Mrs. Gatelli this

 

            2              morning even though she is not here and

 

            3              Mr. Quinn mentioned them, I feel they bear

 

            4              repeating.  Mrs. Gatelli, the finance chair,

 

            5              I would hope she would be wondering also

 

            6              what's happened to the legislation that

 

            7              would have allowed the 11 million in

 

            8              borrowing.  I believe it was part of the

 

            9              2008 budget and it was supposed to happen in

 

           10              June, so I had all of those questions for

 

           11              her.  Perhaps she can study up and after the

 

           12              break we will get some answers.

 

           13                      Also, I would like to answer some of

 

           14              the remarks she made last week.

 

           15              Mrs. Gatelli, Mr. McGoff and Mrs. Fanucci

 

           16              voted not once, but twice for the outrageous

 

           17              penalties and fines on delinquent real

 

           18              estate taxes.  Mrs. Evans and Mr. Courtright

 

           19              tried to amend that, they voted it down.  I

 

           20              would like to remind everyone that all of

 

           21              that money goes to Abrahamsen, Moran and

 

           22              Conaboy, a law firm that also owns Northeast

 

           23              Credit and Collection.  Apparently

 

           24              Mrs. Gatelli, Mr. McGoff and Mrs. Fanucci

 

           25              feel that this law firm is well deserving of


 

 

                                                                      26

 

 

            1              our hard-earned tax dollars.  That money

 

            2              that's collected by the law firm does not

 

            3              add a penny to the city coffers for anything

 

            4              we night need, public safety, road

 

            5              maintenance or any services.

 

            6                      Mrs. Gatelli is proud she voted

 

            7              twice for this legislation since it affects

 

            8              absentee landlords, not worried about all of

 

            9              the people who live here and couldn't pay

 

           10              the tax to begin with, never mind up to

 

           11              thousands of dollars in added fines which go

 

           12              to Abrahamsen, Moran and Conaboy.

 

           13                      Also, it wasn't mentioned about

 

           14              people who were helped with their taxes --

 

           15              or, excuse me, it was mentioned by her.  She

 

           16              also relayed back to us that she helps some

 

           17              folks.  I'm assuming this means removing

 

           18              penalties and fines.  I am in total

 

           19              agreement with that policy, in fact, I think

 

           20              everyone should enjoy help with their taxes.

 

           21              So, once again, I'm asking that this

 

           22              legislation being rescinded.

 

           23                      Mr. Quinn made an excellent point,

 

           24              this is very trying economic times that we

 

           25              are living in.  There is no need for three


 

 

                                                                      27

 

 

            1              people on council and a mayor to hurt people

 

            2              even more than they are already hurting.  I

 

            3              don't think that this legislation will be

 

            4              rescinded, but I'm asking anyway or maybe

 

            5              we'll continue to do political favors for

 

            6              the few while the rest carry the burden of

 

            7              full payment.  Thank you.

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: Mrs. Krake, you had been

 

            9              requesting at several previous meetings

 

           10              information concerning that and exactly what

 

           11              the amounts were --

 

           12                      MS. KRAKE: Yes.

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: -- that were going to

 

           14              Abrahamsen and Company, I have a copy of the

 

           15              letter that was sent and the response

 

           16              received and I'm going to ask that you would

 

           17              read this over and if this is not respond to

 

           18              you in the specific manner that you have

 

           19              requested --

 

           20                      MS. KRAKE: Yes.

 

           21                      MS. EVANS: -- would you please jot

 

           22              down on this for me exactly what else it is

 

           23              you seeking and I'll resubmit a letter

 

           24              looking for those exact figures for you.

 

           25                      MS. KRAKE: Thank you very much.


 

 

                                                                      28

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS: You are welcome.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: Mike Dudek.

 

            3                      MR. DUDEK:  My name is Mike Dudek,

 

            4              608 Depot Street, Scranton, PA, I live down

 

            5              in the Plot.  Last week I read in the

 

            6              newspapers that Attorney Solfanelli filed on

 

            7              behalf of Ken McDowell, the former tax

 

            8              collector, a rather unusual document,

 

            9              apparently, they are going to fight the

 

           10              subpoena that he had been served with, with

 

           11              a rather unusual legal doctrine that since

 

           12              he was elected by the people of the tax

 

           13              collector that he not answerable to them in

 

           14              some way.

 

           15                      Just for your information, it's my

 

           16              legal belief that as a custodian of the tax

 

           17              money he collects for your benefit, and part

 

           18              of your benefit is you have to try to make a

 

           19              budget, you or the mayor or the both of you

 

           20              try to make a budget you have to know how

 

           21              much money you have in your coffers, and if

 

           22              Mr. McDowell is holding back 7 or 9 or

 

           23              12 million dollars then you obviously have a

 

           24              means of finding out what's going on and

 

           25              getting that money and that means as a


 

 

                                                                      29

 

 

            1              subpoena, and he has to answer to it.  So,

 

            2              as to that legal theory that's going to go

 

            3              by the boards and that's -- and eventually

 

            4              he is going to appear before you.

 

            5                      When this meeting occurs I am making

 

            6              a very strong suggestion to the five members

 

            7              of city council.  My suggestion is that you

 

            8              not ask him any questions yourselves

 

            9              personally, prepare your questions and give

 

           10              them to your solicitor and let your

 

           11              solicitor handle the questions.  Why?

 

           12              Because Mr. McDowell raised the stakes when

 

           13              he decided he wanted to put this through a

 

           14              legal process.  He wanted to deal with

 

           15              lawyers?  Okay, let's let him deal with one

 

           16              of the best prosecutors this town has ever

 

           17              produced and he may have forgotten that

 

           18              Mr. Minora is a prosecutor.  Mr. Minora

 

           19              knows how to frame questions and he knows

 

           20              how to get answers.

 

           21                      Many cases in this country, whether

 

           22              it's a city council or congress, a

 

           23              legislative body, in a technical matter such

 

           24              as something like this, tax money, will get

 

           25              a professional to do the questioning and you


 

 

                                                                      30

 

 

            1              have the professional sitting right there to

 

            2              your right.  Let Mr. Minora frame the

 

            3              questions, submit your questions to

 

            4              Mr. Minora.  If I were sitting at city

 

            5              council, if I were one of the councilman,

 

            6              oh, man, I would love to want to question

 

            7              Mr. McDowell myself, but I myself wouldn't

 

            8              do it.  I would submit my questions to the

 

            9              solicitor and let the solicitor do his job

 

           10              on this.

 

           11                      Mr. McDowell wants to raise the

 

           12              stakes.  He didn't want to the informal sit

 

           13              down to exchange information to help you get

 

           14              it he decided he wants this legal process.

 

           15              For some reason he wants to deal with

 

           16              Mr. Minora and I say let's let it happen.

 

           17              Thank you.

 

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

 

           19              Brett McCloe.

 

           20                      MR. MCCLOE:  Good morning.  My name

 

           21              is Brett McCloe, I'm a Scranton taxpayer,

 

           22              homeowner.  I just wanted to say a couple of

 

           23              things before you guys go on your little

 

           24              vacation or your little time off, I hope

 

           25              your days of vacation actually find you


 

 

                                                                      31

 

 

            1              closer to the problems that face the average

 

            2              citizen of this city, closer to the

 

            3              solutions without the use of a carefully

 

            4              scripted manual or state sponsored program.

 

            5              Closer to kitchen table logic and the

 

            6              abandonment of ideology that quite often

 

            7              skews the vision of those who are in power.

 

            8              I hope that many will get on a city bus and

 

            9              go to neighborhoods you wouldn't ordinarily

 

           10              go to, seek out and engage dialogue with

 

           11              your perceived detractors.  Your leadership

 

           12              skills are not required and will most likely

 

           13              hindering you from seeking out and truly

 

           14              following the will of the people.  I just

 

           15              hope that you enjoy your vacations.  Thank

 

           16              you.

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. McCloe.

 

           18              David Dobson.

 

           19                      MR. DOBSON: Good morning, Council,

 

           20              Dave Dobson, resident of Scranton.  I would

 

           21              also like to comment on our ongoing

 

           22              differences between the city government and

 

           23              firemen and police contracts, they should

 

           24              just be settled already, it's six years,

 

           25              it's ashame that it's gotten this far and


 

 

                                                                      32

 

 

            1              from what I have been made aware of and

 

            2              suspected before then on my own

 

            3              considerations we may have a huge insurance

 

            4              increase when we are reviewed by the

 

            5              industry on our insurability on fire and so

 

            6              forth and it may not even be worth 50 bucks

 

            7              or something that it might cost us on taxes.

 

            8              Otherwise, there is -- there should be

 

            9              plenty of money there to settle with these

 

           10              people and it's ashame that a Democrat town

 

           11              has so much trouble with the labor union, I

 

           12              can't imagine the problem.

 

           13                      Now, on 6-A I would like to

 

           14              compliment Council on this motion.  Citizens

 

           15              have become acutely of aware of five tax

 

           16              bodies and not knowing who to complain to or

 

           17              about.  We should only be compelled on a

 

           18              criminal basis to answer to state and

 

           19              federal law uniform widely known and

 

           20              hopefully obey.  That's the last I'll say on

 

           21              that matter.

 

           22                      On swim and issues like Channel 61,

 

           23              and this is a before vacation wrap-up,

 

           24              another situation that have become

 

           25              contentious at times and that's why


 

 

                                                                      33

 

 

            1              democratic principals such as referendums by

 

            2              citizens applied, the decisions of the few

 

            3              can hurt many and cause hard feelings often

 

            4              long after the fact.

 

            5                      In the future, I feel that we should

 

            6              possibly have referendums as to whether a

 

            7              pool should be a pay only or whatever and

 

            8              these people from the Hill Section should

 

            9              have some kind of additional identification

 

           10              that they could get in and possibly swim for

 

           11              free.  If they want to restrict the sliding

 

           12              board then let them restrict the sliding

 

           13              board, but to have an eight or ten-year-old

 

           14              kid just the bus fare for him to get back

 

           15              and forth across town, him or her, would be

 

           16              in excess of what it would cost to them to

 

           17              get into the pool anyway and they are

 

           18              traveling and who knows where they are, all

 

           19              the way up in West Side or North Scranton or

 

           20              what have you.

 

           21                      And finally, again, I would urge

 

           22              council and the mayor and economic

 

           23              development officials to survey and begin

 

           24              the plan for industrial space in this town.

 

           25              We have a lot of brownfields and unused


 

 

                                                                      34

 

 

            1              land, rural development is unsustainable, it

 

            2              requires complete infrastructure and is

 

            3              unwise in an energy lean environment.  It's

 

            4              unsustainable and our entire federal

 

            5              government has been encouraging this and

 

            6              it's out of date.  It's way past this date.

 

            7              People have to resign themselves that if

 

            8              they don't need gasoline in large quantities

 

            9              then they won't have to pay the price for

 

           10              it.

 

           11                      Also, it's my feelings that many of

 

           12              these satellite industrial projects are just

 

           13              a big gift to outerlying communities so that

 

           14              they don't have to pay taxes some day on

 

           15              their properties to sustain roads and

 

           16              bridges and so forth.  So, please over the

 

           17              vacation try and look into possible

 

           18              industrial development and redirecting our

 

           19              funds.  Thank you.  Have a good day.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Dobson.

 

           21              Other speakers?

 

           22                      MS. FRANUS: Fay Franus.  I was

 

           23              reading the paper about this -- the tigers

 

           24              up at Nay Aug, do you have any control over

 

           25              that at all?  Nothing?  The mayor is the


 

 

                                                                      35

 

 

            1              only person?

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: For what, I'm sorry?

 

            3              The recreation Authority I believe.

 

            4                      MS. FRANUS:  Is that a done deal?

 

            5              Those tigers should not be up at Nay Aug.

 

            6              How would you like to be in a cage all day?

 

            7              They belong out in the wild.  So, something

 

            8              is going to have to be done, PETA has to get

 

            9              involved or something or protest or anything

 

           10              it takes.  Those tigers should not be at Nay

 

           11              Aug, they should be taken away immediately.

 

           12                   Another thing, the dog park, I think

 

           13              you better get in touch with Ally Duffy, the

 

           14              one that wanted it up there so much and get

 

           15              her little magic volunteers up there, I took

 

           16              my boy up there three times, three times I

 

           17              had to leave because nobody cleans up after

 

           18              their animals, so how am I supposed to play

 

           19              with my dog if he has to run through all of

 

           20              that, you know what I'm referring to.  There

 

           21              is no way.  There is no way at all.  Three

 

           22              times I tried and three times -- how could

 

           23              be throw a ball and let him run through that

 

           24              then what you are supposed to do with him?

 

           25              Knock on somebody's' door before you get in


 

 

                                                                      36

 

 

            1              your car and say, "Can I put my boy in your

 

            2              shower?"

 

            3                      I mean, something has to be done

 

            4              because it's disgraceful, so I suggest

 

            5              somebody call Ally Duffy or Judy Gatelli,

 

            6              since see was up there, and do something

 

            7              about this.  It's not -- let them put

 

            8              somebody up there.

 

            9                      I came here to ask Judy Gatelli some

 

           10              financial things, but I see she is not here.

 

           11              Why isn't she here today?  You don't know?

 

           12              Okay, Mr. McGoff, did she call you and tell

 

           13              you she wasn't coming?

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: The only thing that's

 

           15              required, not even required, but the

 

           16              courtesy was a letter was sent to the

 

           17              Clerk's Office that she would not be here.

 

           18                      MS. FRANUS:  But no reason?  I mean,

 

           19              I can't go over this, this is like the 300th

 

           20              time that Judy is not here.  As far as

 

           21              Mr. Fanucci, I don't know what the reason

 

           22              is, but it seems like every time one is gone

 

           23              the other one is gone.  They must be having

 

           24              a picnic someplace.  I mean, think about it.

 

           25              Look at it.  When one is gone the other one


 

 

                                                                      37

 

 

            1              is gone.  You never see one all of you gone.

 

            2              It's always those two and they always have--

 

            3              I would like to know why Judy Gatelli is not

 

            4              here.  I mean, I hope somebody finds out.  I

 

            5              don't think just a letter saying I'm not

 

            6              coming.  It's bad enough she is going to

 

            7              have the whole month of August off and then

 

            8              she is going to -- you sit there and smirk,

 

            9              Mr. McGoff, we are paying a lot of money for

 

           10              you people to sit here.  I should say we are

 

           11              money for you people not to sit there.

 

           12                   Judy Gatelli, when we was president of

 

           13              council, she missed 17 meetings or cancelled

 

           14              or adjourned, 17.  Now she is doing the same

 

           15              thing under your presidency and you sit

 

           16              there and let her do it.  Boy, you have a

 

           17              lot of backbone.  Where are the rules?

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me.

 

           19                      MS. FRANUS:  Yes?

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF: I don't need to be

 

           21              insulted.

 

           22                      MS. FRANUS:  Well, when the shoe

 

           23              fits, as I told you many, many times.  You

 

           24              have a job to do.  I think it's your job to

 

           25              tell these other council persons to be at


 

 

                                                                      38

 

 

            1              work.  If I didn't go to work I think I

 

            2              couldn't just write a letter and say I'm not

 

            3              going to be there, no reason, I have to have

 

            4              a reason and it would have to be a pretty

 

            5              darn good reason.

 

            6                      So, Judy Gatelli, God bless your

 

            7              little soul, she is leaving the summer

 

            8              vacation with a nice little missing in

 

            9              action again, same with Sherry.

 

           10                      Anyway, I wish you would do

 

           11              something about the dog park.  I was going

 

           12              to ask Judy some financial questions, but

 

           13              she probably wouldn't know them anyway

 

           14              because she took it by default financial

 

           15              head so she really doesn't want to be there.

 

           16              Please find something out about the dog park

 

           17              and I definitely want to hear something on

 

           18              this tiger.  I don't know who could do it,

 

           19              what we could do, but it has to be stopped

 

           20              just because certain people, whoever wants

 

           21              these tigers at Nay Aug certainly don't care

 

           22              about animals.  They do not care about

 

           23              animals because if they did they would never

 

           24              have them up there.  I say take the tigers

 

           25              out and put these people that want them


 

 

                                                                      39

 

 

            1              there in that cage and see how they like it.

 

            2              Thank you.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF:  Anyone else?

 

            4                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Hi, Jim.

 

            5                      MR. STUCKER:  Over at Providence

 

            6              Square right by the Taurus Club, now, the

 

            7              guy yesterday he picks up Mr. Stirna's place

 

            8              where they tore that building down next to

 

            9              Stirna's building and they put that redwood

 

           10              chips around the trees and stuff, why can't

 

           11              they do that and the Taurus Club get a bunch

 

           12              of guys out there, well, the city owns the

 

           13              parking lot, the city -- why don't the city

 

           14              get up there and do it?  It's all a bunch of

 

           15              grass and weeds around, around the clock,

 

           16              all around that beautiful nice black clock.

 

           17              There a bunch of weeds and grass growing

 

           18              there.  We were going to try and make the

 

           19              square look nice and the guy is just going

 

           20              to the bar and drink all day and night and

 

           21              don't go out there and do anything.  They

 

           22              should have a volunteer up there to do that.

 

           23              Get a bunch of volunteers from the Taurus

 

           24              Club to go up there and do that, pull the

 

           25              weeds out.


 

 

                                                                      40

 

 

            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Good idea, Jim.

 

            2                      MR. STUCKER:  And what about them

 

            3              signs for that Providence Square and Market

 

            4              Street, we need them there.  They are still

 

            5              parking -- they are still parking off the

 

            6              lot.  The city owns the laundry mat lot and

 

            7              there is people parking there on the

 

            8              sidewalk.

 

            9                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Jim, I'm going to

 

           10              have to sit down and explain this to you

 

           11              outside of here, I have tried to explain it

 

           12              to you, I don't think you understand what

 

           13              I'm telling you, so I'll talk to you later

 

           14              on about it, okay?

 

           15                      MR. STUCKER:  Okay.  On Market

 

           16              Street -- Oak Street where you come down

 

           17              that hill that van is still on the sidewalk.

 

           18                      MR. COURTRIGHT: The what?

 

           19                      MR. STUCKER: The van, a white van is

 

           20              parked on the sidewalk and they told the

 

           21              cops about it and they aren't doing nothing.

 

           22              You can't walk the sidewalk somebody is

 

           23              going to hit out in the road, like, I'm

 

           24              walking last night, I walked up to the bar

 

           25              last night and right away you got to walk


 

 

                                                                      41

 

 

            1              out in the street at night.  That van should

 

            2              not be there at all on the sidewalk.

 

            3                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Okay.  We'll look

 

            4              into that, Jim.

 

            5                      MR. STUCKER:  Somebody is going to

 

            6              get hit out there on that road.

 

            7                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Got you.

 

            8                      MR. STUCKER: All right?

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you very much,

 

           10              Mr. Stucker.

 

           11                      MR. STUCKER: Okay.  All right.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF:  Thank you.

 

           13                      MR. STUCKER: Have a good vacation,

 

           14              all three of you.

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Thanks, Jim.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.

 

           17                      MR. GERVASI: Good afternoon, City

 

           18              Council.  My name is Dave Gervasi.

 

           19              Mr. Courtright, I know you have been on top

 

           20              of this, I would like to ask the other two

 

           21              council members who are present here today,

 

           22              have any of you spoken to any police

 

           23              officers this week?

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: I have.

 

           25                      MR. GERVASI:  Mr. McGoff?


 

 

                                                                      42

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: This week?  No.

 

            2                      MR. GERVASI:  I had the opportunity

 

            3              to speak to two more, I'm sorry, three more

 

            4              officers in the last four or five days and

 

            5              you do guys realize how critical and what's

 

            6              going on is, I mean, last night

 

            7              approximately 7:30 they called a code red,

 

            8              not exactly sure what the situation was, my

 

            9              wife was listening to the scanner, and there

 

           10              was no cars available again.  I mean, it was

 

           11              lifted shortly after, I don't know what

 

           12              transpired.

 

           13                      MR. COURTRIGHT: The call was bats

 

           14              and pipes fighting up in South Side.

 

           15                      MR. GERVASI:  And there was no cars

 

           16              available to respond?

 

           17                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  They sent every car

 

           18              in the city, luckily I think Sergeant

 

           19              Sheridan was the command car and he called

 

           20              for every car in the city.  When they got

 

           21              there they dispersed or there wasn't

 

           22              anything going on.

 

           23                      MR. GERVASI: Mr. Courtright, I don't

 

           24              know if you are aware, you are also aware I

 

           25              was speaking to a couple of Dunmore police


 

 

                                                                      43

 

 

            1              officers, one guy has been there for years,

 

            2              never remembers going into Scranton, do you

 

            3              know they are being called to backup our

 

            4              police at times?

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: That I wasn't aware.

 

            6              I know with the fire we have a little bit of

 

            7              a reciprocal agreement, but I didn't know

 

            8              they were backing us up, no.

 

            9                      MR. GERVASI: It's my understanding

 

           10              that we are calling Dunmore guys when our

 

           11              guys are all tied up.  You know, I don't

 

           12              want to make a political statement out of

 

           13              this whole thing, but I'm going to.  You

 

           14              know, I remember back during the Recovery

 

           15              Plan when the police union and the fire

 

           16              union and the clerical union everyone was

 

           17              fighting the Recovery Plan because nobody

 

           18              knew exactly what the intent of the

 

           19              administration was.  There was past council

 

           20              people that were saying don't worry about

 

           21              it, that's not the mayor's intent.  Well, we

 

           22              have past council people now that are

 

           23              publically stating they are deceived what

 

           24              the mayor's intent was and what they are

 

           25              going to do to us.


 

 

                                                                      44

 

 

            1                      With raises aside and benefits aside

 

            2              and all of things that we're litigating and

 

            3              I think some are trying to negotiate and

 

            4              arbitrate, we knew that this was the intent

 

            5              of this administration.  They made it pretty

 

            6              clear right from the start what their intent

 

            7              was and their intent was to gain so much

 

            8              control to the point where no one had a say

 

            9              even if it came to public safety and this is

 

           10              one of the main concerns that the police

 

           11              union has been fighting and what the fire

 

           12              union has been fighting has to be try to

 

           13              protect the level of public safety that we

 

           14              have, and I'm not going to sit here and, you

 

           15              know, be doom and gloom and everyone is

 

           16              always saying that these are scare tactics.

 

           17                   It's a mess right now in the police

 

           18              force.  I'm hearing that there is ten more

 

           19              police officers trying to seek employment

 

           20              elsewhere.  I mean, what are we going to do?

 

           21              Are we going to keep hiring new guys every

 

           22              week or every year, train them, get them on

 

           23              the street and then we are going to be a

 

           24              training grounds for police officers

 

           25              elsewhere.  I mean, something has got to be


 

 

                                                                      45

 

 

            1              done here and somebody is going to get hurt

 

            2              and there is not much we can do.  I mean,

 

            3              the only thing that's going to settle this

 

            4              is public pressure.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Can I interrupt for

 

            6              just one second?  I'm going to speak on this

 

            7              when it's my turn to speak, I have been

 

            8              following it as closely as I can, and I

 

            9              don't want to take your time, but this

 

           10              council has supported me, everybody on this

 

           11              council in what I'm doing, so I think it's a

 

           12              joint effort here and I'll elaborate on it,

 

           13              I don't want to take up your time.

 

           14                      MR. GERVASI: Well, that's refreshing

 

           15              to hear.  That's all I've got to say because

 

           16              people have to how critical the situation

 

           17              is.  We are going to burn these police

 

           18              officers out, there is not enough help,

 

           19              somebody is going to hurt if they need

 

           20              backup, I'm sure I'm going to up here, you

 

           21              know, screaming about what their intention

 

           22              is with us the next few months in the fire

 

           23              department, but I'm very, very, very

 

           24              concerned with our police officers and I

 

           25              think, you mow, constant pressure is the


 

 

                                                                      46

 

 

            1              only thing that's going to change it.  Thank

 

            2              you.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Gervasi.

 

            4                      MR. DAVIS:  Salaam aleikum.  We know

 

            5              that as police protection goes down people

 

            6              at the bottom of the ground, those who have

 

            7              the least economically speaking, tend to get

 

            8              the worst treatment, tend to be the ones who

 

            9              are sort of forgotten in the way of things.

 

           10              We spend a great deal of our time, those of

 

           11              us at that are my age and things like that,

 

           12              teaching our young boys and teaching our

 

           13              young kids to be aware.  When there is a

 

           14              problem get away from the problem, don't be

 

           15              caught in the middle of a problem because

 

           16              most of the officers that you are going to

 

           17              run into will not understand what you are

 

           18              talking about, they will not understand how

 

           19              to handle you properly because we know from

 

           20              our experiences, okay?  Scranton has always

 

           21              been a very tough town for nonwhites as far

 

           22              as police are concerned.  Always, always has

 

           23              been.

 

           24                      But that's not what I'm here for,

 

           25              I'm here because I keep asking you about Nay


 

 

                                                                      47

 

 

            1              Aug Park.  I ask you about rescinding the

 

            2              order to charge money up there, and I don't

 

            3              even hear a response in your part of the

 

            4              meeting.  When you respond to what has been

 

            5              said I don't hear anybody on the panel, I

 

            6              don't hear anybody on the council saying,

 

            7              well, maybe we should do this or maybe this

 

            8              is a hardship for most of the people that

 

            9              live in Scranton.

 

           10                      You know what the salaries, you know

 

           11              what the income of the people who live in

 

           12              Scranton are, you have been told it by many

 

           13              people, but yet and still you don't seem to

 

           14              differ with what's being done and said by

 

           15              the mayor.  What are we -- are we just -- we

 

           16              are just dupes?  We are -- you are treating

 

           17              us like we are not -- like we have no

 

           18              sensibilities.  You are treating us like we

 

           19              have no ability to understand what's being

 

           20              done or what's being said to us.  You are

 

           21              telling us what are we here for?  What are

 

           22              we talking to you about the problem that you

 

           23              had no -- you can't change.  Is that what

 

           24              you are saying?  That you are helpless in

 

           25              your -- you are helpless in your situation,


 

 

                                                                      48

 

 

            1              you cannot change it?  Oh, how horrible.

 

            2                   That's not what you were elected for.

 

            3              You were elected to represent us or

 

            4              represent our problems, I know some of our

 

            5              problems are very silly and some of them

 

            6              are-- they don't gather water, but this one

 

            7              when you know what the kids -- you are from

 

            8              Scranton, you know what the kids from

 

            9              Scranton can afford and still we still

 

           10              penalize them.  It's $3.50 to ride a slide

 

           11              that we have already paid for.  It was paid

 

           12              for by tax dollars out of Scranton.  So

 

           13              therefore, I don't understand why it's so

 

           14              difficult for you to just rescind the order

 

           15              and say, yeah, let the kids swim.  Even if

 

           16              it's just for one weekend a week a month,

 

           17              but let them swim free for a weekend, but

 

           18              nothing happens.

 

           19                      Maybe my conversation -- maybe I'm

 

           20              saying the wrong things at the wrong time,

 

           21              but I really feel this is being -- you are

 

           22              ignoring us and ignorance is not even

 

           23              blissful at this point in time, it almost

 

           24              makes us angry.  Something, you know, and I

 

           25              congratulate the SPCT or the new television


 

 

                                                                      49

 

 

            1              station, it's a beautiful show, they really

 

            2              do.  I sat and I have watched it for many

 

            3              hours and I think that the photography, the

 

            4              composition is well done and I congratulate

 

            5              them for taking over and doing something

 

            6              about it.  You have done a beautiful job, I

 

            7              have seen the transition happen and I'm very

 

            8              happy with it, so we can do things.

 

            9                      We have the ability to change.  We

 

           10              know that we have the ability to change and

 

           11              we know that you have the ability to change,

 

           12              but we are refuse to do it.  We let things

 

           13              that really -- it's just skirts under the

 

           14              skin, why are you charging these kids that

 

           15              can't afford to really -- they need to swim,

 

           16              but they can't swim.  All right.  Thank you

 

           17              for the bell.

 

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

 

           19                      MR. DAVIS: And do something, please.

 

           20                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Marie Schumacher,

 

           21              city resident, member of the taxpayers'

 

           22              group.  I'd like to start of by emphasizing

 

           23              what Ozzie said today on the debt and also

 

           24              weave in what Dave Gervasi brought forward

 

           25              with the financials that they had prepared.


 

 

                                                                      50

 

 

            1              It does show, and the financials of the city

 

            2              show, that revenues exceed expenditures and

 

            3              then we are also told as reported by several

 

            4              people that our collections of the wage tax

 

            5              are up $4 million this year over last year.

 

            6              So, I question whether or not we really need

 

            7              to borrow any money and I guess at this time

 

            8              I would say I'm disappointed that you are

 

            9              taking all four weeks of August off, I think

 

           10              there is so many major issues that need to

 

           11              be addressed.  I don't know how in good

 

           12              conscience you can walk away from it for

 

           13              four weeks and then come back and try to

 

           14              gear up again when you are going to have two

 

           15              budgets when you come back.

 

           16                      The bonded debt has gone in 2000 it

 

           17              was $80.94 per capita.  In 2005, the last

 

           18              year for which numbers are available, it was

 

           19              $989.66.  That's quite a change and I don't

 

           20              think we need to make that number any

 

           21              larger.

 

           22                      Back in April I asked about when

 

           23              city inspectors go out and make a citation

 

           24              if they provide materials to the person as

 

           25              to their rights.  I was informed by I


 

 

                                                                      51

 

 

            1              believe Mrs. Gatelli that, indeed, they

 

            2              were.  I asked if I could see a copy of

 

            3              those and you all were kind enough to send a

 

            4              letter asking that that material be

 

            5              provided.  There was a follow-up to that and

 

            6              the materials hadn't been received.  It's

 

            7              three months have passed, have those

 

            8              materials been received yet?

 

            9                      MS. EVANS: No.

 

           10                      MS. SCHUMACHER: And now to the

 

           11              future.  Again, we still do not have an

 

           12              audit.  Now, a couple of years ago there was

 

           13              some reason for not having an audit because

 

           14              you all hadn't selected who the auditor

 

           15              would be, but now I would suggest you need

 

           16              to start looking forward and you need to

 

           17              start an investigation so you can subpoena

 

           18              if that's what it's going to take department

 

           19              heads who have not responded to the auditors

 

           20              to come in here and explain what the problem

 

           21              is.  When they are requested to provide

 

           22              information in the month of February and

 

           23              here we are in the month of August and

 

           24              people still have not responded to the

 

           25              auditors you need to investigate.  You need


 

 

                                                                      52

 

 

            1              to find out why.  I would hate to think that

 

            2              it would take a subpoena to do that, but,

 

            3              gosh darn it, that's what you are going to

 

            4              have to do.  We have got to start looking

 

            5              forward and not just backward.

 

            6                      I would also like to reiterate that

 

            7              what Nancy has asked, we need to revisit

 

            8              those onerous penalties and fines on the

 

            9              property owners.  I'm sure the city tax data

 

           10              is old, but it's all that's available out

 

           11              there and currently -- and it says we have

 

           12              4,000 unoccupied homes in the City of

 

           13              Scranton, that's a lot.  I don't think

 

           14              that's an accurate figure, but it still --

 

           15              it's still gives perspective.  We are going

 

           16              to keep adding to those, we are going to

 

           17              keep adding to blight, and as I said before,

 

           18              maybe we will get the number of homes down

 

           19              to the number of residence at some point and

 

           20              if that's the goal then I think we need to--

 

           21              we need to be honest about it and buy up

 

           22              some of these homes and we have got cars

 

           23              parking because we don't have room, we got

 

           24              cars parking on sidewalks all over, it's

 

           25              increasing.  It's terrible for pedestrians


 

 

                                                                      53

 

 

            1              and particularly for the disabled.  Maybe we

 

            2              need to make neighborhood parking lots out

 

            3              of some of those and require people to park

 

            4              off street, but something.

 

            5                      I would also like to ask why the

 

            6              City of Scranton does not do any recycling

 

            7              of organic materials.  Why everything has to

 

            8              go to the dump, grass clippings and things

 

            9              that people cut from their yards.  Smaller

 

           10              boroughs around the area collect those

 

           11              things separately and they go to a

 

           12              composting place.  I've got lots more but I

 

           13              will be back in September maybe.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs.

 

           15              Schumacher.  Anyone else?  Mrs. Evans?

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: Good morning.  Once

 

           17              again, I wish to return to the $10,000 the

 

           18              mayor gave to the East Scranton Business

 

           19              Association to give to ECTV.  I spoke with

 

           20              our council earlier today and Attorney

 

           21              Minora stated that he will forward his

 

           22              documented responses later today.  I'd also

 

           23              like a copy of your opinion, Attorney

 

           24              Minora, on the right of a mayor to spend

 

           25              federal funds without the knowledge and


 

 

                                                                      54

 

 

            1              consent of council and to give these funds

 

            2              to one organization to give to another

 

            3              organization.

 

            4                      Kay, did council receive a response

 

            5              from OECD regarding the date of blight

 

            6              determination and reasons for such at 933

 

            7              Prescott Avenue?

 

            8                      MS. GARVEY: No.

 

            9                      MS. EVANS: Thank you.  Please send,

 

           10              Kay, a second letter to OECD on behalf of

 

           11              city council requesting a response on or

 

           12              before August 15, 2008.  Is that agreeable?

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Fine.

 

           14                      MS. EVANS: Thank you.  Attorney

 

           15              Minora, what is the update on the McDowell

 

           16              subpoena?

 

           17                      MR. MINORA: I'm preparing an answer

 

           18              and could we talk about that after the

 

           19              meeting?  I'll be glad to -- it's in the

 

           20              middle of litigation and I --

 

           21                      MS. EVANS: That's fine then.

 

           22                      MR. MINORA: --  don't want to

 

           23              broadcast what I'm doing with another

 

           24              lawyer, I'm glad to tell you, I'd just

 

           25              rather do it after the meeting if you don't


 

 

                                                                      55

 

 

            1              mind.

 

            2                      MS. EVANS: Thank you.  Last week

 

            3              council unanimously approved a motion to

 

            4              reinstitute a Home Rule Charter Commission.

 

            5              Although I feel it is beneficial to

 

            6              undertake a review every five years, I also

 

            7              know that such a review entails a required

 

            8              process.  For example, a specifically worded

 

            9              Home Rule Charter review question must be

 

           10              placed on the ballot for the residents of

 

           11              Scranton to decide if they want a charter

 

           12              review to be conducted.  At the same time, I

 

           13              believe, potential commission members must

 

           14              be listed on the ballot and elected by the

 

           15              voters to serve on the Home Rule Charter

 

           16              Commission if it is approved by a majority

 

           17              vote.  Thus, council's motion can

 

           18              demonstrate it's approval of a charter

 

           19              review, but much needs to be done to place

 

           20              the question on the ballot.

 

           21                      Attorney Minora, another job for

 

           22              you, would you research what steps must be

 

           23              taken in this process and inform council

 

           24              during August so that we can determine a

 

           25              time table for the proceedings?


 

 

                                                                      56

 

 

            1                      MR. MINORA: Of course.

 

            2                      MS. EVANS: Thank you.  And, Kay,

 

            3              please send a letter to Mr. Brazil and

 

            4              Mr. Doherty on behalf of council requesting

 

            5              if any of the $69,000 in recycling grant

 

            6              money can be used to purchase recycling

 

            7              receptacles for the citizens or will the

 

            8              entire amount be used for the mayor's

 

            9              anti-littering campaign and we ask for a

 

           10              response on or before August 15, 2008.

 

           11                      Last Thursday, a report released by

 

           12              a policy think tank, specifically, Policy

 

           13              Link, out of Oakland, California, was

 

           14              covered in the newspaper.  It's author,

 

           15              Radika Fox, is an associate director at

 

           16              Policy Link who based her conclusions for

 

           17              this report solely on interviews with

 

           18              Mr. Doherty.  The report praises Mr. Doherty

 

           19              for balancing the city's budgets, raising

 

           20              it's bond rating and borrowing money.  It

 

           21              seems, however, that Mr. Doherty neglected

 

           22              to tell Ms. Fox that Standard and Poors

 

           23              lowered our bond rating in 2007 for

 

           24              excessive borrowing and failure to control

 

           25              costs.


 

 

                                                                      57

 

 

            1                      Scranton's bond rating is

 

            2              significantly down from it's I believe

 

            3              double "A" rating received six years ago by

 

            4              purchasing $1 million in bond insurance.  In

 

            5              fact, it has dropped so notably that in

 

            6              concurrence with the state of the bond

 

            7              market it appears it may be very difficult

 

            8              for Scranton to obtain bond insurance and to

 

            9              yet again borrow millions of dollars at this

 

           10              juncture in time.

 

           11                      Mr. Doherty further forgot to

 

           12              mention that he raised taxes over 25 percent

 

           13              and created a long-term debt of

 

           14              approximately $270 million in a city with a

 

           15              high population of senior citizens and the

 

           16              working poor.  Ms. Fox admits that her

 

           17              report isn't meant to be scientific or

 

           18              quantitative, thus, it offers us, the

 

           19              citizens of Scranton, no validity and no

 

           20              reliability.  It is merely the spin of a

 

           21              mayor facing his reelection campaign and

 

           22              seeking free publicity.

 

           23                      At last week's council meeting,

 

           24              Mr. Courtright informed the public of a

 

           25              police staffing decline.  Two weeks ago at a


 

 

                                                                      58

 

 

            1              council meeting I spoke about the

 

            2              implementation of phase one of the Recovery

 

            3              Plan within the police department and the

 

            4              reductions in staffing that occurred as a

 

            5              result.  Both Mr. Courtright and I had

 

            6              personally spoken to police personnel to

 

            7              determine the accuracy of reports we

 

            8              received.  All five council members were

 

            9              very concerned for the safety of the public

 

           10              and our police personnel.

 

           11                      Thus, council requested a full list

 

           12              of manning figures from the date of the

 

           13              initiation of the Recovery Plan to last

 

           14              week, however, Chief Elliott declined to

 

           15              release these figures which raising a

 

           16              blazing red flag.

 

           17                      Further, this administration insists

 

           18              of counting desk officers and transport duty

 

           19              officers as patrol officers and states that

 

           20              next year's shifts will be assigned on peek

 

           21              crime hours.  It appears that during the

 

           22              next a five months of 2008, however, the

 

           23              City of Scranton may well continue to be

 

           24              understaffed.  Under the current contract

 

           25              the department required the same number of


 

 

                                                                      59

 

 

            1              officers regardless of shifts.

 

            2              Unfortunately, crime doesn't work that way,

 

            3              Chief Elliott said in response to the

 

            4              manning clause in the Saturday, July 26,

 

            5              2008, edition of the Scranton Times.  Like

 

            6              everyone here, I hope that we experience

 

            7              staffing improvements and increased safety

 

            8              next year, but what happens now?  Why

 

            9              jeopardize the safety of our police

 

           10              department and our people from now until

 

           11              2009?

 

           12                      I respond to Chief Elliott in his

 

           13              own words, unfortunately, crime doesn't work

 

           14              that way.  Criminals will hardly agree to

 

           15              scale down their activities until after the

 

           16              police department bids for next year's

 

           17              shifts in the fall.  Also, I hope these bids

 

           18              follow a contractually established process,

 

           19              otherwise, subjectivity may certainly invade

 

           20              the shift assignments.  The public needs to

 

           21              remain aware of the status of public safety

 

           22              in Scranton and to make it's wishes known

 

           23              clearly and emphatically.  Citywide patrols

 

           24              of three or four cars per shift are

 

           25              unacceptable and they are dangerous.


 

 

                                                                      60

 

 

            1                   Finally, I'd like to wish everyone a

 

            2              very safe and enjoyable summer.  Council

 

            3              will recess for the month of August and

 

            4              return to it's regularly scheduled meetings

 

            5              at 6:30 p.m. in September.  It is my hope

 

            6              that when we reconvene at the first

 

            7              September meeting city council will be

 

            8              broadcast live once again, and that's it.

 

            9                   Oh, I'm sorry.  I'm sorry,

 

           10              Mr. Courtright, I am so sorry.  I have to

 

           11              postpone you for a minute.  I forgot about

 

           12              my citizens' requests for the week and then

 

           13              that's it.  First, 1307-1309 North

 

           14              Washington Avenue, the house was condemned

 

           15              and bushes in front of the property are

 

           16              overgrown.  Neighbors report that there are

 

           17              huge piles of trees and bushes as well as

 

           18              skunks, a cat family, and possums in the

 

           19              corner of the backyard.  The animals travel

 

           20              through neighboring yards to reach their

 

           21              destination behind the condemned property.

 

           22              Please address as soon as possible since

 

           23              residents can't use their own yards

 

           24              currently and provide a written response to

 

           25              council on or before August 25, 2008.


 

 

                                                                      61

 

 

            1                      Neighbors in the area request that a

 

            2              house backing 621 and 623 Cedar Avenue be

 

            3              inspected for it's deplorable condition.

 

            4                      Please send the street cleaner to

 

            5              the 500 block of Willow Street, rain storms

 

            6              cause dirt, rock and debris to collect.

 

            7                      Residents of South Side once again

 

            8              request that DPW employees place trash cans

 

            9              at properties and refrain from throwing

 

           10              them.  Numerous citizens report damages to

 

           11              their trash cans.

 

           12                      The 1500 block of Rosen Court,

 

           13              please trim overgrown trees that are

 

           14              entangled in utility wires.  Also, residents

 

           15              request the installation of one streetlight

 

           16              for their safety and security in the 1500

 

           17              block of Rosen Court.

 

           18                      The 1400 block has such lights yet

 

           19              there are none in the 1500 block.  Please

 

           20              provide a written response to council on or

 

           21              before August 29, 2008.

 

           22                      114 RidgeView Drive, this is a third

 

           23              request and it's kind of like the saying

 

           24              three strikes you are out, council would

 

           25              like Mr. Brazil and a city engineer to


 

 

                                                                      62

 

 

            1              examine this area.  On one side of the

 

            2              street water run off causes dirt and rocks

 

            3              to collect in front of this property after

 

            4              every rainy event.  On the other side of the

 

            5              street, there is a very deep opening large

 

            6              enough for a child to fall into.  Again,

 

            7              caused by continual water runoff. The

 

            8              residents of 114 RidgeView Drive are senior

 

            9              citizens and they are not able shovel and

 

           10              remove the debris that collects at their

 

           11              property regularly nor should they have to

 

           12              could such work considering the very high

 

           13              taxes that they pay in Fawnwood.  I will not

 

           14              forget their problems and will continue to

 

           15              pursue a solution from the engineer and the

 

           16              DPW director until I learn from the home

 

           17              owner that his problem has been addressed by

 

           18              these city employees.

 

           19                      Council requests that an abandoned

 

           20              lot at 134 South Merrifield Avenue is

 

           21              cleared by the DPW during August and this is

 

           22              a second request.

 

           23                      Wattress Avenue off the 2200 Of Ash

 

           24              Street, please fill potholes, that is a

 

           25              second request.


 

 

                                                                      63

 

 

            1                      And council requests guidelines that

 

            2              are given to homeowners by LIPS inspectors

 

            3              and I believe that, too, is the second

 

            4              request, and that's it.  Mr. Courtright.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: May I add something to

 

            6              the end of your list?

 

            7                      MS. EVANS: Oh, please, do.

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: I got a call just before

 

            9              I came to the meeting, shrubbery and weeds

 

           10              blocking the line of site at the corner of

 

           11              Harrison Avenue and Olive Street.  The

 

           12              property is 548 Harrison Avenue where the

 

           13              overgrowth is located.  Apparently it's very

 

           14              difficult to see either up or done Harrison

 

           15              Avenue at that point and someone was just

 

           16              requesting if something could be done to at

 

           17              least trim those or remove them.  Thank you.

 

           18              Mr. Courtright?

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay.  In light of

 

           20              the newspaper article written last week, the

 

           21              response I got from Dave Elliott, the police

 

           22              chief, and the many, many people that have

 

           23              contacted me about the manning of the police

 

           24              department, I was at St. Joe's picnic and

 

           25              that was probably the only thing anybody


 

 

                                                                      64

 

 

            1              talked to me about.  I'm going to read

 

            2              again, because they are saying I didn't give

 

            3              them anything specific, but I'm going to

 

            4              read again what the shift was on July 20 of

 

            5              this year, the second shift.

 

            6                      Central city there was one vehicle,

 

            7              that vehicle came in service at 3:00, was

 

            8              taken out of service and sent to St. Ann's

 

            9              Novena until 9:00.  At 9:00 when he done at

 

           10              St. Ann's Novena he was sent to the crime

 

           11              scene until 11:00, so there was no car

 

           12              assigned to central city the entire night.

 

           13                   North Scranton had one vehicle the

 

           14              entire night so there is one car, I don't

 

           15              know what kind of math this guy is doing.

 

           16              Greenridge had one car all night.  That's

 

           17              two car.  South Side had two cars, so that's

 

           18              four cars so far, but of the two cars in

 

           19              South Side the one car from 3 to 5 was at

 

           20              the crime scene and then the other car from

 

           21              5 to 9 was at the crime scene, so I'm going

 

           22              to give them the benefit of the doubt there

 

           23              is four cars.  West Side had one car

 

           24              assigned and that car was pulled to go to

 

           25              St. Ann's from 3 to 9, so no car in West


 

 

                                                                      65

 

 

            1              Side from 3 to 9.  Car 18, Car 18 is a

 

            2              transport vehicle and I'll speak a little

 

            3              bit more about that later on, it's not --

 

            4              it's purpose isn't to respond to calls.

 

            5                      And the desk guy.  This has got to

 

            6              be the most ridiculous, ludicrous statement

 

            7              I have ever heard in my entire life that the

 

            8              desk guy counts in the rotation.  The desk

 

            9              man answers calls from citizens such as

 

           10              yourself that calls in.  He answers calls

 

           11              that are transferred over from the COMCenter

 

           12              to him.  He answers calls from police

 

           13              officers that are out in the field, they

 

           14              need a plate run, they need to search and

 

           15              see if there is any wants or warrants on

 

           16              somebody, he calls for cars to come into the

 

           17              building if there is a person that walks in,

 

           18              what do you call it, he runs the plates and

 

           19              he gets the towers come out and tow cars, he

 

           20              has a whole host of things and when Car 18,

 

           21              which tis the transport vehicle is tied up,

 

           22              he needs to watch the screen and makes sure

 

           23              that if there's a prisoner that is held that

 

           24              they are not something they shouldn't be

 

           25              doing.  I can't understand for the life of


 

 

                                                                      66

 

 

            1              me how anybody could make that statement

 

            2              that the desk guy is included in the

 

            3              rotation that is just ludicrous.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS: Mr. Courtright, is that

 

            5              the officer who monitors the security

 

            6              cameras?

 

            7                      MR. COURTRIGHT: We haven't

 

            8              determined yet who is going to do that yet,

 

            9              I don't think.  They're not up and running

 

           10              yet I don't believe fully.

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: They are not working.

 

           12                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Now, the other

 

           13              thing is the man doesn't have a vehicle how

 

           14              is he going to respond to a call, get out

 

           15              and run to it?  I mean, this is just -- I

 

           16              don't understand this at all, all right?

 

           17              And I'm going through things that were in

 

           18              the letter and from the article, the PACE

 

           19              unit.  As far as I know the PACE unit is not

 

           20              responding on Sundays, they are not working

 

           21              on Sunday I should say the PACE unit to the

 

           22              best of my knowledge, and I also don't

 

           23              believe, and they can correct me if I'm

 

           24              wrong, that they are in the rotation.  When

 

           25              I say in the rotation the COM Center would


 

 

                                                                      67

 

 

            1              dispatch them to calls.  The PACE unit is a

 

            2              proactive unit, they go out and basically

 

            3              create calls, they are looking for crime, so

 

            4              they are not in the rotation to the best of

 

            5              my knowledge.

 

            6                      Com-D officers, this is another

 

            7              ridiculous statement, I think they need to

 

            8              speak to Lieutenant Dan Duffy, he runs the

 

            9              COM-D program, you can't dispatch calls.

 

           10              The COM Center cannot dispatch calls to a

 

           11              Com-D officer, it's against the law we would

 

           12              lose our grants if we starting using them in

 

           13              the rotation, so I don't know where they are

 

           14              coming up with the amounts of cars.

 

           15                      I got four so far and there was a

 

           16              sergeant who was acting as a command car,

 

           17              usually there is a lieutenant if the

 

           18              lieutenant is not there, there is a

 

           19              sergeant, and there was an East 6 car, he

 

           20              would be a corporal.  I'm not in favor of a

 

           21              command car responding to calls.  If there

 

           22              is an emergency he has got to control what's

 

           23              going on in the shift, has got to control

 

           24              all of the other guys.  If he is out on an

 

           25              accident with injuries and a gun call comes


 

 

                                                                      68

 

 

            1              in and there is a shooting what he is going

 

            2              to do, leave the accident with injuries?

 

            3              Chaos is going to happen.

 

            4                      The article in the newspaper,

 

            5              Captain Graziano says, and I have a lot of

 

            6              respect for Captain Graziano, "Meanwhile it

 

            7              appears that changes could be wearing on

 

            8              some officers, Captain Graziano says."

 

            9                      That's what I said last week.  You

 

           10              can't run these guys from call to call, it's

 

           11              going to wear them thin.  "He and Bob

 

           12              Martin, union president, both say they are

 

           13              hearing safety concerns from the ranks that

 

           14              the officers are hurried and stretched thin.

 

           15              Captain Graziano said officers needed to do

 

           16              more with less is never a good thing."

 

           17                      All right?  Now, that's the captain

 

           18              of all the patrol.  Is he a veteran, he is a

 

           19              good officer, he knows what he is talking

 

           20              about.  Also, in the letter from the police

 

           21              chief he is saying that there has been no

 

           22              greviances filed for officer's safety.  I

 

           23              called Detective Sergeant Martin, he is the

 

           24              president of the union.  He says he is in

 

           25              the process or already has filed grievances


 

 

                                                                      69

 

 

            1              for manning which the safety would come

 

            2              under, he is concerned for officers and

 

            3              police safety.

 

            4                      Also, from the police department

 

            5              Dave is saying that he cannot -- "The

 

            6              request for all details along with

 

            7              breakdowns of cars, patrol officers and

 

            8              supervisors would be too much work to pull

 

            9              our staff away from their daily duties and I

 

           10              feel this is not beneficial to the public to

 

           11              look into more nonspecific complaints."

 

           12                      I think there might have been a

 

           13              total six days we asked for give or take a

 

           14              few.  All that is each day is three sheets

 

           15              of paper, if it's seven days 21 sheets of

 

           16              paper, if it's such a burden if they leave

 

           17              them at the desk I'll go and copy them.  Why

 

           18              don't they want us to see the manning?  I

 

           19              know what the manning is, the guys tell me,

 

           20              I want it in writing so that you know.

 

           21                      I challenge Dave Elliott or anybody

 

           22              in the administration to dispute what I have

 

           23              just said.  I put this to them to dispute

 

           24              anything that I just said.  If I'm incorrect

 

           25              I will stand corrected.  I will admit that I


 

 

                                                                      70

 

 

            1              am incorrect, but I don't believe I'm

 

            2              incorrect on any one of those points there.

 

            3              I have talked to many, many people about

 

            4              this.

 

            5                      I would ask that Director Hayes do

 

            6              this, get the police captain and the

 

            7              lieutenants on a one-on-one basis without

 

            8              anybody, the chief or the mayor or anybody

 

            9              in there, and ask them off the record what

 

           10              do you think, do you think this is a good

 

           11              practice?  They never had the police chief

 

           12              determine whether overtime was warranted or

 

           13              not.  It was always the commander of the

 

           14              shift would determined if he needed to call

 

           15              guys in, now it's switched to where it's the

 

           16              police chief.  I don't think, and this is

 

           17              just my opinion, that is my understanding,

 

           18              the only one who can do it is the chief, if

 

           19              he is not available Captain Graziano, I

 

           20              don't think you would see Captain Graziano

 

           21              run the shifts as short as they were if that

 

           22              was his sole responsibility if he was

 

           23              responsible.  I think Captain Graziano would

 

           24              have more people on the street.

 

           25                      You know, I asked many of the


 

 

                                                                      71

 

 

            1              people, obviously, I get a little bit more

 

            2              calls on public safety than the rest of

 

            3              council just because of the fact that's it's

 

            4              my committee.  Now, I have asked some of the

 

            5              people why don't you come to council and

 

            6              express your concerns or why don't you write

 

            7              a letter to the editor, a lot of them want

 

            8              to remain anonymous, they don't want to be

 

            9              on TV, they don't want to have their name in

 

           10              the paper and I can understand that and I'm

 

           11              not complaining about getting the requests

 

           12              because I believe that it's the five of us

 

           13              up here it's our job to speak on your

 

           14              behalf, that's what you elected us for and

 

           15              is there a safety concern?  I absolutely

 

           16              believe there is a safety concern.

 

           17                      But, I would think the other members

 

           18              of council because this is one of the few

 

           19              times I have ever seen us all band together

 

           20              and agree that something needs to be done,

 

           21              so I will continue to watch what is

 

           22              happening and I will continue to report to

 

           23              you and, again, I challenge them to dispute

 

           24              what I just said and that's all I have.

 

           25              Thank you.


 

 

                                                                      72

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you,

 

            2              Mr. Courtright.  Just a couple of items,

 

            3              first on a little bit lighter note, I would

 

            4              like to congratulate the Connell Park South

 

            5              Scranton/East Scranton Junior League All

 

            6              Stars.  Junior League is the 13, 14 year old

 

            7              component of little league.  They went as

 

            8              the Scranton All Stars to a state tournament

 

            9              and they tied for fifth in the state

 

           10              tournament.  It just so happens that my

 

           11              grandson is on the team and that's why I am

 

           12              mentioning it, but --

 

           13                      MS. EVANS: Congratulations.

 

           14                      MR. MCGOFF: But they played very

 

           15              well and represented the city very well.

 

           16              Also, I have asked council members if they

 

           17              would resubmit the appointments that they

 

           18              made to the oversight committee for ECTV and

 

           19              we will have that on the agenda when we

 

           20              return in September so that that committee

 

           21              can be formalized and the members -- or the

 

           22              members appointed formally to that committee

 

           23              and should then become active in September.

 

           24                   Just a response on the dog park issue,

 

           25              there is no supervision of the dog park, it


 

 

                                                                      73

 

 

            1              is supposed to be it was designed, it was

 

            2              always intended to be self-regulatory.  It

 

            3              was up to the dog owners who frequented the

 

            4              park to maintain the control of their animal

 

            5              and also to I guess provide for the

 

            6              cleanliness of their particular animal.  I

 

            7              know that there are at times people that go

 

            8              there and collect trash, do some, you know,

 

            9              wash the area and so on, but there is not

 

           10              any -- there is no one there, you know, on a

 

           11              regular basis to regulate the dog owners and

 

           12              the dogs.  I don't know of too many, and

 

           13              I'll I guess maybe investigate a little bit,

 

           14              but I think that most dog parks tend to be

 

           15              self-regulatory and if there are problems it

 

           16              really is created by or caused by the dog

 

           17              owners themselves who are not being

 

           18              responsible for taking care of their animal

 

           19              and, hopefully, people will abide by the

 

           20              rules.  There are rules posted for the dog

 

           21              park and hopefully people will if they are

 

           22              made aware of, you know, breaking those

 

           23              rules or that they themselves are not

 

           24              behaving properly then perhaps hearing some

 

           25              of these complaints will prompt people to


 

 

                                                                      74

 

 

            1              regulate themselves and make for a better

 

            2              situation at the dog park and at Connell

 

            3              Park.

 

            4                      With that said, I will talk to

 

            5              Mr. Dougher and see if, you know, perhaps

 

            6              maybe a more frequent, you know, run by

 

            7              since we have number of crews, you know,

 

            8              part-time workers for the summer through

 

            9              parks and recreation perhaps we can make

 

           10              some more frequent visits to the dog park as

 

           11              far as maintenance and clean up.

 

           12                      One of things Mrs. Evans you

 

           13              mentioned was the recycling containers, I'll

 

           14              check on that, I thought that at some point

 

           15              in time within the past year that we

 

           16              provided -- that there was legislation for

 

           17              the purchase of recycling containers.  I

 

           18              will check back and I'll also contact DPW,

 

           19              but I know a number of months ago I went and

 

           20              asked for a recycling container and there

 

           21              were, you know, numbers of them available,

 

           22              so --

 

           23                      MS. EVANS: I know I have had

 

           24              requests for those, not for myself, but for

 

           25              individuals who had contacted me who had


 

 

                                                                      75

 

 

            1              said when they called the DPW they were told

 

            2              that none were available and so when I

 

            3              procured them I gave them to these

 

            4              individuals, but that's what had caused me

 

            5              to have this concern because so many

 

            6              residents had been contacting me that they

 

            7              were in need of new recyclables which is a

 

            8              good sign that they are recycling.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Yes, and hopefully if,

 

           10              in fact, they are, which I believe they are

 

           11              available, perhaps we can do something to

 

           12              even if it's through Channel 61 to run a

 

           13              little thing, you know, where containers are

 

           14              available and how they can be obtained since

 

           15              we won't be here for a couple of weeks.

 

           16                      And I hope it doesn't appear that we

 

           17              are being rude or inconsiderate to

 

           18              Mr. Gilroy when he has come here.  When

 

           19              Mr. Gilroy first appeared before council

 

           20              with his complaints I know that almost

 

           21              immediately inspectors, police, whoever went

 

           22              to those places and looked into the

 

           23              complaints almost on a daily basis after his

 

           24              first visit and we as council had talked

 

           25              about some, you know, speaking with him and


 

 

                                                                      76

 

 

            1              trying to remedy some of the problems, so we

 

            2              are not being inconsiderate, we are not

 

            3              ignoring what Mr. Gilroy said, I think he is

 

            4              looking for a more immediate solution than

 

            5              is available and I know that sometimes you

 

            6              can run out of patience with issues that are

 

            7              personal to you.  Hopefully, we are looking

 

            8              into some of these situations and some of

 

            9              them will be resolved, but we are not

 

           10              ignoring the situation and that is all that

 

           11              I have for today.

 

           12                      MS. GARVEY: FIFTH ORDER.  NO

 

           13              BUSINESS AT THIS TIME.  SIXTH ORDER.  6-A.

 

           14              READING BY TITLE - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 35,

 

           15              2008 - AN ORDINANCE - REPEALING FILE OF

 

           16              COUNCIL NO. 64, 2006, (AS AMENDED), AN

 

           17              ORDINANCE, ENTITLED "ORDINANCE OF THE CITY

 

           18              OF SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY,

 

           19              PENNSYLVANIA, ESTABLISHING THE CLEAN INDOOR

 

           20              AIR WORKER PROTECTION LAW WITHIN THE CITY,

 

           21              PROVIDING FOR PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF

 

           22              SUCH SMOKING RESTRICTIONS AND ESTABLISHING

 

           23              AN EFFECTIVE DATE" DUE TO THE PASSAGE OF ACT

 

           24              27 OF 2008 BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE

 

           25              COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA.


 

 

                                                                      77

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: You have heard Reading

 

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

 

            3                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I move that Item 6-A

 

            4              pass Reading by title.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS: Second.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?

 

            7                      MS. EVANS: Yes.  The statewide

 

            8              smoking ban is certainly not perfect by any

 

            9              means, but at least Scranton business owners

 

           10              are placed on fairer ground than they were

 

           11              under the local ordinance.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?  All in

 

           13              favor signify by saying aye.

 

           14                      MS. EVANS: Aye.

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Aye.  Opposed?  The ayes

 

           17              have it and so moved.  At this time I would

 

           18              like to make a motion to move 6-A to Seventh

 

           19              Order for the final reading.

 

           20                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?  All in

 

           22              favor?

 

           23                      MS. EVANS: Aye.

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.

 

           25                      MR. MCGOFF: Aye.  Opposed?  The ayes


 

 

                                                                      78

 

 

            1              have it and so moved.

 

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

 

            3              CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON FINANCE -

 

            4              FOR ADOPTION - FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 34, 2008

 

            5              - AN ORDINANCE - AMENDING FILE OF COUNCIL

 

            6              131 OF 2007 ENTITLED "SALE OF TAX DELINQUENT

 

            7              PROPERTY AT GRAND AVENUE/BATLUCK STREET,

 

            8              ALSO DESCRIBED AS LOT NO. 134, SCRANTON

 

            9              PENNSYLVANIA, TO KEVIN AND FRANCINE

 

           10              FITZGERALD, 309 BATLUCK STREET, SCRANTON,

 

           11              PENNSYLVANIA, 18505, FOR THE SUM OF

 

           12              $1,357.00" TO CORRECTLY IDENTIFY PROPERTY

 

           13              INFORMATION AS LOT NO. 152, MAP NO.

 

           14              15719-030-047.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: What is the

 

           16              recommendation of the temporary chairperson

 

           17              for the Committee on Finance?

 

           18                      MS. EVANS: As temporary chair for

 

           19              the Committee on Finance, I recommend final

 

           20              passage of Item 7-A.

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?  Roll

 

           23              call.

 

           24                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

           25                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.


 

 

                                                                      79

 

 

            1                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

            2                      MS. GATELLI.  (Not present.)

 

            3                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI:  (Not present.)

 

            5                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

            6                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

            7                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

            9              7-A legally and lawfully adopted.

 

           10                      MS. GARVEY: 7-B. FOR CONSIDERATION

 

           11              BY THE COMMITTEE ON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT --

 

           12              FOR ADOPTION - RESOLUTION NO. 50, 2008 -

 

           13              ACCEPTING THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE

 

           14              HISTORICAL ARCHITECTURE REVIEW BOARD

 

           15              ("HARB") AND APPROVING THE CERTIFICATE OF

 

           16              APPROPRIATENESS FOR HEMMLER + CAMAYD, 409

 

           17              LACKAWANNA AVENUE, SCRANTON FOR ADDITION OF

 

           18              ADA RAMP TO THE SIDE PORCH AND INSTALLATION

 

           19              OF LOUVER SCREENING AT THE REAR OF THE

 

           20              ESTATE BUILDING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF

 

           21              SCRANTON, MONROE AVENUE AND RIDGE ROW,

 

           22              SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA.

 

           23                      MR. MCGOFF: What is the

 

           24              recommendation of the temporary Chairperson

 

           25              for the Committee on Community Development?


 

 

                                                                      80

 

 

            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT: As temporary

 

            2              Chairperson for the Committee on Community

 

            3              Development, I recommend final passage of

 

            4              Item 7-B.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS: Second.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question.  Roll

 

            7              call, please.

 

            8                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            9                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

           10                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

           11                      MS. GATELLI.  (Not Present.)

 

           12                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

           13                      MS. FANUCCI:  (Not Present.)

 

           14                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

           16                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

           18              7-B legally and lawfully adopted.

 

           19                      MS. GARVEY: Before reading Item 7-C

 

           20              there is one more opportunity for anybody to

 

           21              speak on it before final passage.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: Yes, we probably should,

 

           23              I'm sorry.  We need to do that.  If anyone

 

           24              would care to speak on 7-C prior to passage

 

           25              -- or prior to voting I should say.  Please


 

 

                                                                      81

 

 

            1              indicate that there are no speakers.

 

            2                      MS. GARVEY: 7-C, which was formerly

 

            3              6-A - FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON

 

            4              RULES - FOR ADOPTION - FILE OF COUNCIL NO.

 

            5              35, 2008 - REPEALING FILE OF COUNCIL NO. 64,

 

            6              2006, (AS AMENDED), AN ORDINANCE, ENTITLED

 

            7              "ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF SCRANTON,

 

            8              LACKAWANNA COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA,

 

            9              ESTABLISHING THE CLEAN INDOOR AIR WORKER

 

           10              PROTECTION LAW WITHIN THE CITY, PROVIDING

 

           11              FOR PENALTIES FOR VIOLATIONS OF SUCH SMOKING

 

           12              RESTRICTIONS AND ESTABLISHING AN EFFECTIVE

 

           13              DATE" DUE TO THE PASSAGE OF ACT 27 OF 2008

 

           14              BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE COMMONWEALTH

 

           15              OF PENNSYLVANIA.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: As Chairperson for the

 

           17              Committee on Rules, I recommend final

 

           18              passage of Item 7-C.

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF:  Roll call, please.

 

           21                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Evans.

 

           22                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

           23                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

           24                      MS. GATELLI.  (Not present.)

 

           25                      MR. COOLICAN:  Ms. Fanucci.


 

 

                                                                      82

 

 

            1                      MS. FANUCCI:  (Not present.)

 

            2                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. Courtright.

 

            3                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

            4                      MR. COOLICAN:  Mr. McGoff.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

            6              Item 7-C legally and lawfully adopted.

 

            7              Motion to adjourn.

 

            8                      MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.

 

            9                      MS. EVANS: Second.

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF:  Please enjoy the month

 

           11              of August and we'll see you in September.

 

           12              Thank you.

 

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                                                                      83

 

 

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            2                     C E R T I F I C A T E

 

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            4        I hereby certify that the proceedings and

 

            5   evidence are contained fully and accurately in the

 

            6   notes of testimony taken by me at the hearing of the

 

            7   above-captioned matter and that the foregoing is a true

 

            8   and correct transcript of the same to the best of my

 

            9   ability.

 

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                                    CATHENE S. NARDOZZI, RPR

           13                       OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

 

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