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            1              SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING

 

            2

 

            3

 

            4

 

            5                          HELD:

 

            6

 

            7                   Tuesday, March 31, 2009

 

            8

 

            9                        LOCATION:

 

           10                    Council Chambers

 

           11                 Scranton City Hall

 

           12              340 North Washington Avenue

 

           13                Scranton, Pennsylvania

 

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           23

                    CATHENE S. NARDOZZI, RPR - OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

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            1

 

            2   CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:

 

            3

 

            4

                MR. ROBERT MCGOFF, PRESIDENT

            5

 

            6   MS. JUDY GATELLI, VICE-PRESIDENT

 

            7

                MS. JANET E. EVANS

            8

 

            9   MS. SHERRY FANUCCI

 

           10

                MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT

           11

 

           12   MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK

 

           13

                MS. SUE MAGNOTTA, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK

           14

 

           15   MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR

 

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            1   (Pledge of Allegiance recited and moment of reflection

 

            2   observed.)

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF:  Roll call, please.

 

            4                      MS. MAGNOTTA:  Mrs. Evans.

 

            5                      MS. EVANS:  Here.

 

            6                      MS. MAGNOTTA:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

            7                      MS. GATELLI:  Here.

 

            8                      MS. MAGNOTTA:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

            9                      MS. FANUCCI:  Here.

 

           10                      MS. MAGNOTTA:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Here.

 

           12                      MS. MAGNOTTA:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF:  Here.  Dispense with

 

           14              the reading of the minutes.

 

           15                      MS. GARVEY: 3-A. AGENDA FOR THE

 

           16              NON-UNIFORM MUNICIPAL PENSION BOARD MEETING

 

           17              HELD ON MARCH 25, 2009.

 

           18                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

           19              If not, received and filed.

 

           20                      MS. GARVEY: 3-B. MINUTES OF THE

 

           21              NONUNIFORM MUNICIPAL PENSION BOARD MEETING

 

           22              HELD ON FEBRUARY 25, 2009.

 

           23                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

           24              If not, received and filed.

 

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


 

 

                                                                       4

 

 

            1              FIREMEN'S PENSION COMMISSION MEETING HELD ON

 

            2              FEBRUARY 25, 2009.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

            4              If not, received and filed.

 

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

 

            6              SCRANTON POLICE PENSION COMMISSION MEETING

 

            7              HELD ON FEBRUARY 25, 2009.

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

            9              If not, received and filed.

 

           10                      MS. GARVEY: 3-E. AGENDA FOR THE

 

           11              ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING TO BE HELD ON

 

           12              APRIL 8, 2009.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?

 

           14              If not received and filed.

 

           15                      MS. GARVEY: That's it for Third

 

           16              Order.

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Garvey.

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI:  This Saturday,

 

           19              April 4th, at 12 noon there will be four

 

           20              Easter egg hunts for children ages 2 to 12.

 

           21              It will start at noon at Weston Field,

 

           22              Weston Park, Connell Park and Cloverfield.

 

           23              The corresponding neighborhood associations

 

           24              will be sponsoring and assisting with the

 

           25              this event along with the South Side


 

 

                                                                       5

 

 

            1              Stealers and the West Side Jets.  Additional

 

            2              sponsors for this event are McDonald's and

 

            3              Harper Collin's publishers.

 

            4                      On Sunday, April 26, at 6:00 p.m.,

 

            5              there will be a fun walk for the children's

 

            6              advocacy center up at Nay Aug.

 

            7                      Once again, the Scranton Knights are

 

            8              having their night at the races on Saturday,

 

            9              April 18, at Holy Rosary from 7 to 11, and

 

           10              West Scranton High School is also having a

 

           11              night at the races for their baseball club,

 

           12              on April 18 at 7:00 at Keyser Valley

 

           13              Community Center.

 

           14                      I would just like to recognize some

 

           15              of the students and send them a letter for

 

           16              the All-Regional Team for wrestling, Sean

 

           17              Jace, Elliot Zakowski, Corey Hendry, and

 

           18              Frank Baron, Jr.

 

           19                      The West Scranton Choir Club under

 

           20              the direction of Karen Lutz has been

 

           21              accepted to perform in Disney World on May

 

           22              2.  The students and chaperones will be

 

           23              flying to Orlando on April 30, staying

 

           24              inside of the park at the Disney All-Star

 

           25              Music Resort.  Their performance will be on


 

 

                                                                       6

 

 

            1              May 2.  Thousands try out each year and West

 

            2              Scranton this year has a privilege of being

 

            3              selected to participate in this musical

 

            4              event.  We would like to send a letter also

 

            5              to Mrs. Lutz and wish them luck.

 

            6                      Also, on April 18, it's a busy day,

 

            7              I don't know if everybody is going to be

 

            8              able to go to all of the events, it must be

 

            9              because it's Earth Day, but also on Saturday

 

           10              April 18 at 10:00 in the morning that will

 

           11              be a cleanup at the Connell Park Dog Park.

 

           12              They will picking up trash and planting

 

           13              pansies.  That's sponsored by the friends of

 

           14              the Dog Park Association.

 

           15                      Also, on April 18, and I have some

 

           16              flyers for Mr. Burton and for Kay to give to

 

           17              Channel 61, to announce that on April 18

 

           18              from 8 to 1, there will be two cleanups, one

 

           19              will be at Penn Security Bank in South

 

           20              Scranton near Birch Street and the other one

 

           21              will be in Fellows Park in West Side on Main

 

           22              Avenue and that is going to be cosponsored

 

           23              by 1-800-GOTJUNK.  They have volunteered to

 

           24              help our community do a cleanup on that day.

 

           25              Anyone is welcome to come and help.


 

 

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            1                      Also, the house at 972 Johns Street

 

            2              was boarded up.  Potholes were filled in

 

            3              Kurtz Court.  The tires were picked up at

 

            4              Mountain Lake and the recycling containers

 

            5              have been placed at Nay Aug.  The street

 

            6              sweeper will be in South Scranton this week,

 

            7              Tripp's Park next week and we'll give you

 

            8              the schedule from there forward.

 

            9                      And we just got a notice from --

 

           10              another notice from Rich Beasley about the

 

           11              planned work with the trees and the spraying

 

           12              and if Mr. Dobson would like to see this

 

           13              report I know he is interested in it.  We'll

 

           14              save it for him for later, and that's you

 

           15              will I have.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Evans?

 

           17                      MS. EVANS: And I would just add that

 

           18              the information that we received from

 

           19              Mr. Beasley was the very same information

 

           20              that was disseminated the night of the

 

           21              meeting that was held at a home of a Matthew

 

           22              Avenue resident last week.

 

           23                      Also, a bake sale and basket raffle

 

           24              will be held this Saturday, April 4, before

 

           25              and after the 4:00 mass and on Sunday,


 

 

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            1              April 5, before and after the 11:00 mass at

 

            2              Saints Peter and Paul Church Hall, 1309 West

 

            3              Locust Street in West Scranton.

 

            4                      Mr. Mike Murphy, who is coordinating

 

            5              the community garden program in Scranton to

 

            6              grow food for the poor and homeless invites

 

            7              all volunteers to attend a meeting this

 

            8              Saturday, April 4th at 9:30 a.m. at

 

            9              Greenridge Assembly of God church located on

 

           10              Greenrdige Street.

 

           11                      Also, if anyone is interested in

 

           12              donating money for the purchase of much

 

           13              needed equipment and seedlings or can

 

           14              contribute pickup truck transportation of

 

           15              materials, please contact Mr. Murphy at

 

           16              604-7867.  Saint's Peter and Paul Russian

 

           17              Orthodox Church, 1728 Academy Street, will

 

           18              conduct a baked haddock dinner on April 10

 

           19              Good Friday, from 4 to 6 p.m. Tickets are

 

           20              8:00 and takeouts are available.

 

           21                      And, finally, I have some very good

 

           22              news for all of the residents of Scranton.

 

           23              Just today council received a response from

 

           24              Mayor Doherty with regard to the closing of

 

           25              engine companies and I asked him these


 

 

                                                                       9

 

 

            1              questions two weeks ago, and I know

 

            2              Mr. Courtright asked for a follow-up last

 

            3              week through Mr. Hayes, and it's my

 

            4              understanding that this letter would also

 

            5              represent Mr. Haye's response, it's very

 

            6              brief?

 

            7                      "In regards to the letter dated

 

            8              March 25, the City of Scranton is not

 

            9              closing any engine companies or trucks.  The

 

           10              City of Scranton will be adding five more

 

           11              firemen per shift because of shift changes.

 

           12              This will allow the City of Scranton to

 

           13              provide better fire protection to it's

 

           14              citizens."

 

           15                      Now, I think that's very good news,

 

           16              as I said for everyone, but I would caution

 

           17              you not to misunderstand that the manpower

 

           18              would be increased.  It will not.  The

 

           19              current manning level from what I understand

 

           20              is what the mayor intends to maintain, and

 

           21              that's it.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: I would just like -- I

 

           23              would just like to make mention of one

 

           24              thing, we mentioned here a number of times

 

           25              the Jason Mehalchick Memorial Fund and pasta


 

 

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            1              dinner, it was held this past weekend -- or

 

            2              this past Sunday they served over 1,000

 

            3              people, so a thank you to all of those who

 

            4              helped in this very rewarding effort.  Thank

 

            5              you.  Citizens' participation.  Bill

 

            6              Jackowtiz.

 

            7                      MR. JACKOWITZ: Good evening, council

 

            8              president, council members, Bill Jackowitz,

 

            9              South Scranton resident, members of the

 

           10              Taxpayers' Association, all taxes paid, two

 

           11              parking tickets paid.

 

           12                      ECTV, you are doing a good job, keep

 

           13              showing council members as speakers are

 

           14              speaking.  Bionic, believe it or not I care.

 

           15              Confidence.  Last week we wee told to have

 

           16              confidence in Stu Renda and the

 

           17              administration.  I have as much confidence

 

           18              in the mayor and the administration as I

 

           19              have that I will get a date with Halle

 

           20              Berry.

 

           21                      Eighty DiBileo signs stolen and now

 

           22              firefighters' signs being taken, that's

 

           23              desperation in my condition opinion.  Signs

 

           24              do not vote, voters vote.  Whosoever is

 

           25              stealing the signs I hope you get caught and


 

 

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            1              I hope you get prosecuted to the fullest.

 

            2              We had one sign stolen in Old Forge and

 

            3              charges were filed.  As of now, we have at

 

            4              80 stolen in Scranton so whoever is stealing

 

            5              the DiBileo signs I hope you get caught.

 

            6                      For the fifth time, what is the

 

            7              backup plan if the $5.5 million is not

 

            8              there?  It appears as I speak that the

 

            9              $5.5 million will not be there.  This is the

 

           10              fifth time that I have asked city council

 

           11              this question.  I hope tonight during

 

           12              motions someone, possibly the finance chair

 

           13              or the president, gives me what city

 

           14              council's plan is in case the money is not

 

           15              there.  It was budgeted into the budget and

 

           16              as a taxpayer I would like to know what's

 

           17              going to happen if the budget cannot be

 

           18              fulfilled.  This is my fifth time asking

 

           19              this question.

 

           20                      8.6 percent local unemployment rate,

 

           21              the highest in the state, tied with

 

           22              Williamsport, we're back up to number one

 

           23              again.  Again, I would like to know, why has

 

           24              council not invited the mayor and Austin

 

           25              Burke into city council to speak on this?


 

 

                                                                      12

 

 

            1              This has been going on forever and ever and

 

            2              ever.  I speak on it as often as I can, I

 

            3              requested Austin Burke be invited.  I

 

            4              requested that the mayor be invited.  I have

 

            5              been ignored.  I'm a taxpayer.  I'm a

 

            6              citizen.  My taxes are paid up-to-date and

 

            7              my parking tickets are paid up-to-date.

 

            8              Please quit ignoring me.  You may not like

 

            9              me, but don't ignore me.

 

           10                      I would like to commend the local

 

           11              Democrat party for their endorsement of the

 

           12              challenger, Mr. DiBileo.  As far as city

 

           13              council:  Incumbents, run on your own

 

           14              record, okay, not your gender.  Gender does

 

           15              not matter anymore.  It doesn't matter if

 

           16              you are a male or if you are a female.

 

           17              Gender does not matter.  Your record is what

 

           18              matters, so I respectfully request that all

 

           19              the incumbents run on their record, all the

 

           20              challengers run on the incumbent's record,

 

           21              also.  If they voted to increase taxes let

 

           22              the people now that.  If they voted to put

 

           23              all of these ridiculous fines and fees on,

 

           24              let people know that.  If they voted for an

 

           25              illegal smoking ordinance, let the people


 

 

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            1              know that.  But, incumbents, gender does not

 

            2              matter.  That's backroom politics and those

 

            3              days are long, long gone, okay?

 

            4                      The tax office.  The briefing last

 

            5              week they told us nothing except that we

 

            6              have incompetent leadership of the tax

 

            7              office.  We all knew that.  Speakers have

 

            8              been coming here for three years talking

 

            9              about that.  We were ignored.  Okay.  Money

 

           10              has a way of disappearing when nobody is in

 

           11              charge and accepting responsibility.  Again,

 

           12              the taxpayers suffer.  Speakers spoke about

 

           13              this for years at council meetings, were

 

           14              ignored.  Now, what do we do to makeup the

 

           15              difference?  Please, council, you're a

 

           16              legislative body, let us know what you are

 

           17              going to do.  What are your plans in case

 

           18              that money does not materialize, okay?

 

           19                      I would like it know what

 

           20              legislation has been written by city council

 

           21              in the last four years?  What agenda items

 

           22              have been placed on the agenda by city

 

           23              council, not the mayor.  I am aware of the

 

           24              smoking ordinance which was overturned by

 

           25              the state for being illegal.  I am also


 

 

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            1              aware or the pay rase for $7,500 for city

 

            2              council members and raises for the mayor and

 

            3              city controller who, by the way, did not

 

            4              audit the tax office for 20 years, which is

 

            5              in violation of the Home Rule Charter.

 

            6                      Finally, it was not nice to know

 

            7              that the Single Tax Office did not have a

 

            8              forensic audit.  For that matter, no audit

 

            9              at all.  We were told for a year there was a

 

           10              forensic audit.  Now, we find out there was

 

           11              no forensic audit.  Can city council please

 

           12              tell the residents how much the city has

 

           13              paid this company who was supposedly doing a

 

           14              forensic audit and did not even do a regular

 

           15              audit?

 

           16                      As a taxpayer, I feel that I need to

 

           17              know that information and as elected

 

           18              official I feel that it's your

 

           19              responsibility to let us taxpayers know how

 

           20              much we pay this company from Philadelphia,

 

           21              and what they were paid to do.  Thank you.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: Doug Miller.

 

           23                      MR. MILLER:  Good evening, Council,

 

           24              Doug Miller, Scranton.  Regarding the

 

           25              $25,000 loan from last week's legislation on


 

 

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            1              the agenda, totally disappointed that all

 

            2              five members of this council passed this

 

            3              legislation, felt it was necessary to go

 

            4              ahead and squander some more money as usual,

 

            5              slap the taxpayers in the face.  This is

 

            6              someone who will get a free ride just like

 

            7              everyone else and the taxpayers will get

 

            8              nothing in return.

 

            9                      You know, this woman submitted a

 

           10              letter to council which was certainly well

 

           11              over five minutes, and everyone has the

 

           12              opportunity to come before this council and

 

           13              speak, whatever the issue she had with

 

           14              another speaker here that's between her and

 

           15              him.  However, this is the forum that you

 

           16              come and speak, you know, we don't submit

 

           17              letters here.  You know, maybe if we have

 

           18              issues we could submit letters to council

 

           19              and we could just stay home and watch.

 

           20                      Regarding Electric City television,

 

           21              I bring this issue up every time I'm here,

 

           22              we have a lot of questions with this

 

           23              station.  As we know, they are looking for a

 

           24              new home and I think the question is where

 

           25              are we going with this?  You know, when is a


 

 

                                                                      16

 

 

            1              decision going to be made, when are they

 

            2              going to find a new home?  You know, you

 

            3              turn on 61 and the screen has been black for

 

            4              days and they failed to live up to their

 

            5              proposal.  It's time that this council

 

            6              starts getting answers and I suggest if we

 

            7              don't get any we go back to Scranton Today

 

            8              because there was never an issue with them.

 

            9                      You know, we are certainly not

 

           10              getting our monies worth.  While we talking

 

           11              about loans and other money, let's take a

 

           12              look at the issue I raised and that's grant

 

           13              money to invest in our neighborhoods.  You

 

           14              know, we need to look at projects that would

 

           15              allow us to install new curbs, sidewalks and

 

           16              streetlights.  These are the real issues in

 

           17              this city.  You know, we focus on the

 

           18              downtown, the downtown, the downtown

 

           19              constantly yet you fail to react and respond

 

           20              to the neighborhoods.  Take a look at the

 

           21              conditions.  I have been going in nice

 

           22              neighborhood, it's pretty depressing yet you

 

           23              continue to allow them to fall apart.  It's

 

           24              time to get our priorities straight.

 

           25                      Last week we heard a presentation


 

 

                                                                      17

 

 

            1              from the Single Tax Office regarding this

 

            2              mysterious $5.5 million that the city

 

            3              thought they were getting.  As you heard,

 

            4              there is no $5.5 million, there never was

 

            5              and there never will be, yet this council

 

            6              and the administration figured they'd pull a

 

            7              figure from the sky because they had a

 

            8              balance to budget and, of course, raising

 

            9              taxes was out of the question because let's

 

           10              not forget, it's an election season, but the

 

           11              question that I have as well as many other

 

           12              people do, and it was already brought up

 

           13              tonight is how are we going to fill this

 

           14              hole in our budget?  Are we going to have to

 

           15              raises taxes, and I know that's a last

 

           16              resort.

 

           17                      You know, this council really put us

 

           18              in a tough spot here and now it's your time

 

           19              to act.  It's time to make the right

 

           20              decision for once.  Thank you.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: Bob Bolus.

 

           22                      MR. BOLUS: If I may, Mr. President,

 

           23              I'd like to give you a copy here and one to

 

           24              the solicitor of something I would like to

 

           25              speak about this evening.


 

 

                                                                      18

 

 

            1                      I'll be brief on this, what I

 

            2              presented to you tonight from the Pocono

 

            3              Equestrian Center.  They have a contract

 

            4              with the City of Scranton and Scranton

 

            5              Municipal Recreation Authority to have

 

            6              horses for therapeutic help with kids and

 

            7              everything at Nay Aug Park or to put up a

 

            8              stable, a barn, and they were to be there,

 

            9              they were going to charge for rides, buggy

 

           10              rides, horse rides and everything in the

 

           11              park that would have generate income to Nay

 

           12              Aug.  It never happened and the city

 

           13              breached the contract at the last minute.

 

           14                      I have given you copies so that you

 

           15              could review them, I didn't want to blind

 

           16              side you tonight without having the

 

           17              opportunity to review the contracts and

 

           18              everything before you and next week I'll

 

           19              come back and you can give me an explanation

 

           20              and answers on the issues that I brought for

 

           21              you today.  I didn't want to be unfair to

 

           22              council tonight.

 

           23                      Another issue I really need to deal

 

           24              with tonight is I stopped over on Meadow

 

           25              Avenue where I pulled over and I asked the


 

 

                                                                      19

 

 

            1              gentleman there that was working.  I said,

 

            2              "What kind of line are you putting in here?"

 

            3                      "I don't know."

 

            4                      I said, "Do you have any clue?"

 

            5                      "Nope, have no idea what's going in

 

            6              here."

 

            7                      "Is it a gas line?  Is it a water

 

            8              line?"

 

            9                      "I have no idea."

 

           10                      Now, he is working on the line over

 

           11              there.  It's a gas line.  He is going along

 

           12              Meadow Avenue along the old railroad bed.

 

           13              They are putting -- he didn't know it.  I

 

           14              want to know if there is a permit for the

 

           15              work being done, if it's a gas transmission

 

           16              line for either natural or landfill methane.

 

           17              Are they being inspected and by who?  This

 

           18              line is going through a residential area on

 

           19              East Mountain along for several hundred

 

           20              homes and residents on East Mountain, along

 

           21              old railroad tracks and the empty landfill.

 

           22                      The Ethanol site that's being

 

           23              proposed is on the old Baker colliery over

 

           24              the lower part of West Side right above --

 

           25              or below Anthracite Auto.  This plant is,


 

 

                                                                      20

 

 

            1              you know, scary.  This plant should be in

 

            2              Greendrige where there is a railroad site,

 

            3              where there is water, where there is 81.

 

            4              There is access to the Interstate and

 

            5              anything they need there.  It's not as

 

            6              heavily residential I guess if you look in

 

            7              certain areas of Greenridge.

 

            8                      Maybe if you go to the next -- to

 

            9              the recycling center, also to the owner that

 

           10              owns the colliery there, as we all know who

 

           11              that is from Dunmore.  I'd like to know why

 

           12              West Side, a heavy residential area, why

 

           13              this issue was dropped?  It was raised and

 

           14              it was dropped.  Is it waiting for the

 

           15              election to be over to back door the people

 

           16              in the city?  If so, council, then the mayor

 

           17              brace yourself.  I will fight you on behalf

 

           18              of the city, residents of West Side, lower

 

           19              South Side, East Mountain residents, you and

 

           20              this mayor will never -- or have never been

 

           21              fought before like we will fight this and we

 

           22              will win it, so prepare yourself.  This is a

 

           23              hidden issue.  This is a danger.  This line

 

           24              could create a catastrophe in our area and

 

           25              it's being ignored.  It's going through


 

 

                                                                      21

 

 

            1              Dunmore, it's going through Scranton.  We

 

            2              should be getting a host community fee.  We

 

            3              should be paying so much per cubic foot of

 

            4              gas as I brought up about the sewer line and

 

            5              nobody has done a thing about it and we are

 

            6              ignoring this and ignoring this.

 

            7                      I don't care about election.  I care

 

            8              about the day-to-day business of this city

 

            9              and everybody else should be looking in that

 

           10              area.  You know, we started off with impact

 

           11              fees, I have raised them, what bigger impact

 

           12              fee could are we have digging up a whole

 

           13              area going through our city, Lackawanna

 

           14              Avenue nobody does a darn thing about it.

 

           15              There is hundreds of thousands of dollars

 

           16              and you guys got to do something.  Don't

 

           17              look what's favorable to get elected, do

 

           18              what's favorable to the people and you will

 

           19              get elected.

 

           20                      And one more thing on horses, we had

 

           21              $3 million that Mrs. Evans had raised a long

 

           22              time ago about the golf course money, that

 

           23              money was used.  We made a big park up

 

           24              there.  Well, what I found the other day

 

           25              when I read the paper I always said there is


 

 

                                                                      22

 

 

            1              something childish about everything going on

 

            2              and here it is, Mayor Chris Doherty, real

 

            3              Chris Doherty that was in the paper having

 

            4              his birthday, a child, and we are playing

 

            5              child's game.  The guy downstairs I don't

 

            6              know who he is.  Thank you.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  Andy

 

            8              Sbaraglia.

 

            9                      MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,

 

           10              citizens of Scranton.  Fellow Scrantonians,

 

           11              I have before me the property list that we

 

           12              did our insurance and, of course, it's

 

           13              already been passed.  I did bring out some

 

           14              points on it before, but I got a little

 

           15              better points now, I got it before me.  Now,

 

           16              does anybody know why we are paying

 

           17              liability on the South Side Complex?  I'm

 

           18              sure it must have stuck out to you when you

 

           19              read this thing, like a sore thumb.  Either

 

           20              we own the South Side Complex still or the

 

           21              University is getting away with not paying

 

           22              liability.

 

           23                      Now, certainly that's a point that

 

           24              has to be brought up.  If we own it, we own

 

           25              it.  If we don't own it why are we paying


 

 

                                                                      23

 

 

            1              liability on it?  It's as simple as that.

 

            2                      Another thing is this 800 Providence

 

            3              Road, I believe that was the old site of the

 

            4              DPW site, I'm lending that that point that

 

            5              that's where it is.  Now, that man is

 

            6              leasing that site for $1 a year and we are

 

            7              paying the liability, okay?

 

            8                      Now, I read some articles in the

 

            9              paper where there was thinking about some

 

           10              building going on at that site which, of

 

           11              course, if you read the original contract

 

           12              with the Ice Box he is allowed to do

 

           13              whatever he wants to do, okay, but, why are

 

           14              we paying the liability there?  Surely when

 

           15              you make out a lease the man should take out

 

           16              the responsibility to take care of his

 

           17              property if he's leasing it, but yet we are

 

           18              paying the liability, so for $1 a year God

 

           19              knows what the liability would be because

 

           20              you can't tell.  This breakdown before me is

 

           21              not a breakdown, it's just a -- I don't how

 

           22              to put it, an overview is the best way to

 

           23              describe it.  You would have to get into

 

           24              either the original contract, and I hope

 

           25              this is not it.  I hope you the original


 

 

                                                                      24

 

 

            1              contract is spelled out a heck of a lot

 

            2              better than this is before me.

 

            3                      We also own the train up at Nay Aug,

 

            4              okay?  I didn't realize we owned it, I

 

            5              thought that was -- it might have been given

 

            6              to us, okay?  We carry liability on it, but

 

            7              if we own it we carry liability on it, the

 

            8              question is are we leasing it out and is

 

            9              that train being leased out to the people

 

           10              who run the amusements rides up there or is

 

           11              this something we are just giving because we

 

           12              are good ole' fellows like everything else

 

           13              in this city.  Know the right people they

 

           14              give you the world.

 

           15                      I mean, this thing is really

 

           16              something, the vehicles I don't know if this

 

           17              covers all of other vehicles within the

 

           18              city, this contract here, because they are

 

           19              not listed.  Some are listed, but a lot

 

           20              aren't listed.  None of the firemen, and

 

           21              this, that or whatever, they are just

 

           22              blanket amounts.  I don't know why they

 

           23              would do it that way, but everything is

 

           24              blanketed.  In other words, there is no way

 

           25              for you really to know what's going on in


 

 

                                                                      25

 

 

            1              this piece of legislation other than they

 

            2              say -- I think they give a figure of

 

            3              $34 million.  Now, what the $34 million

 

            4              covered I don't know.  I don't know what the

 

            5              breakdown means.  They listed a lot of

 

            6              things as breakdown.

 

            7                      A breakdown, I mean, a vehicle

 

            8              brakes down, we fix it, okay?  You get into

 

            9              an accident that's a whole different ball

 

           10              game, okay, then you are getting into

 

           11              repairs.  Now, why they have a breakdown

 

           12              listed, not repairs listed I don't know.

 

           13              I'm not really an insurance man and we went

 

           14              through this last time when DiBileo was up

 

           15              there, too, but he wasn't an insurance man,

 

           16              so we got a little better oversight of what

 

           17              was going on.

 

           18                      But, I mean, you really got to look

 

           19              into these things and ask them questions.  I

 

           20              mean, when somebody says you are paying

 

           21              liability that means you own the property

 

           22              which, of course, the DPW site is we do own

 

           23              it technically, technically, but that's it,

 

           24              and when the contract was made with these

 

           25              people it should have been put in there that


 

 

                                                                      26

 

 

            1              they would assume liability for it and not

 

            2              us, but that's the way things are done in

 

            3              this city.

 

            4                      I mean, for 100 -- I mean, for

 

            5              99 years at a dollar a year the mayor gave

 

            6              the property away.  We all know that.  We

 

            7              could have tore it down and did something

 

            8              else with it or put even a new DPW site

 

            9              there, but it doesn't look good in front of

 

           10              the school was the reason he gave, so he

 

           11              moved it to a back parcel of the land we

 

           12              owned back there.  I thank you.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Lee Morgan.

 

           14                      MR. MORGAN: Good evening, Council.

 

           15              I have come tonight to speak on an issue

 

           16              since this is an election year that has

 

           17              nothing to do with council candidates, but

 

           18              has to do with candidates for the Court of

 

           19              Common Pleas.  With me, I have Volume 23 of

 

           20              a law book, it comes in two volumes for

 

           21              domestic relations, and I really think that

 

           22              -- I would hope that the League of Women

 

           23              Voters when they allow these judges, if they

 

           24              do, to appear, I hope they would ask them

 

           25              some questions based on this book and on the


 

 

                                                                      27

 

 

            1              statutes.

 

            2                      Today, I assume it was in

 

            3              Wilkes-Barre, where a man shot a woman to

 

            4              death over a custody issue and in my opinion

 

            5              the Lackawanna County Court has some very,

 

            6              very serious problems with the judges on

 

            7              family court, with the masters on family

 

            8              court, with the masters in support.  I do

 

            9              borrow this book quite often from the law

 

           10              library to help friends with issues, male

 

           11              and female, so it's just not one gender,

 

           12              it's both.  I would have to say that during

 

           13              the last retention vote I was at the

 

           14              taxpayers' group and I had requested Judge

 

           15              Harhut and Judge Corbett to come forward

 

           16              since they were running for retention and

 

           17              they refused to do so.

 

           18                      And I really think it's time since

 

           19              Judge O'Malley is going to retire relatively

 

           20              soon as a senior judge, that the people in

 

           21              this community get a chance to ask these

 

           22              judges some very serious questions that have

 

           23              to do with the welfare of children and

 

           24              custody battles and fairness of the

 

           25              decisions in child support and in custody,


 

 

                                                                      28

 

 

            1              and I think that these issues are often

 

            2              overlooked and then the pain and the damage

 

            3              that's done to families is just not

 

            4              repairable, and I just think that if the

 

            5              League of Women Voters has that opportunity

 

            6              to come forward and ask these people

 

            7              questions it needs to done, because to be

 

            8              truthful with everyone here, these laws

 

            9              should have meaning, but if the people

 

           10              aren't respected in the Court of Common

 

           11              Pleas and it has to be appealed these people

 

           12              don't have money to do appeals to Superior

 

           13              Court, they don't even know how to prepare a

 

           14              brief to go to Superior Court, they can't

 

           15              even afford one, so then everybody's rights

 

           16              are injured.

 

           17                      And then what do you say to people

 

           18              when you have situations like we had I guess

 

           19              yesterday from in Wilkes-Barre where

 

           20              somebody was so enraged over his custody

 

           21              situation that he shot the opposing party to

 

           22              death, and there is no way that somebody

 

           23              couldn't tell me that this couldn't have

 

           24              been worked out in mediation or in a fair

 

           25              judgment from a fair and impartial court,


 

 

                                                                      29

 

 

            1              and I think that we have to start holding

 

            2              the judiciary's feet to the fire, and that

 

            3              time has to start when they are running for

 

            4              election because politics has to stop

 

            5              somewhere.

 

            6                      And before I leave of the podium I

 

            7              would like to say that, Mrs. Gatelli, I

 

            8              remember having a comment about the

 

            9              franchise fee, and I do intend to address

 

           10              that with you next week, but this issue I

 

           11              hope the League of Women's voters will pick

 

           12              this up, will ask these questions, and

 

           13              hopefully we will get some insight if there

 

           14              is going to be fairness in the courts.

 

           15              Thank you.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Ozzie Quinn.

 

           17                      MR. QUINN:  Thank you.  Ozzie Quinn,

 

           18              President of the Scranton Lackawanna County

 

           19              Taxpayers' Association.  Last week we had an

 

           20              interview of the candidates for Scranton

 

           21              City Council, and I am asking the voters

 

           22              watching ECTV to watch for the interviews

 

           23              that will be on this week.  There were six

 

           24              candidates that said they would attend, Doug

 

           25              Miller, a republican attended; Lee Morgan, a


 

 

                                                                      30

 

 

            1              Republican attended; Janet Evans, a democrat

 

            2              attended; Patrick Rogan, a democrat

 

            3              attended.  Frank Joyce, a democrat attended,

 

            4              and Tom Charles.  We waited for him and Mary

 

            5              Jean Naughton the last second came in and

 

            6              poor Tom's son, I guess he had some kind of

 

            7              a sickness, so three of the other people I

 

            8              don't know what happened.

 

            9                      I just want to let you know on 5-B,

 

           10              okay, this is for the Lackawanna Avenue

 

           11              bridge project to amend part three of the

 

           12              agreement, amend that's a euphemism for

 

           13              change order, that's when you take a

 

           14              contract and you have the lowest bid of the

 

           15              contract so you get the contract so later on

 

           16              you put an amendment, a change order, so you

 

           17              jump right over, okay?  It's an old game

 

           18              that we have been playing in the City of

 

           19              Scranton for a long time, so look at that,

 

           20              please.

 

           21                      I got a letter from PEL and I asked

 

           22              them about the distressed status of the city

 

           23              for 17 years and the 25 percent tax increase

 

           24              that was awarded the administration by

 

           25              Councilman McGoff, Gatelli and Fanucci, and


 

 

                                                                      31

 

 

            1              they wrote me back and said 49 percent of

 

            2              the budget goes to the police and fire

 

            3              department, so I did a little research and

 

            4              actually they looked at the pie chart in the

 

            5              budget as they say right here and it says

 

            6              49 percent in the pie chart, but actually,

 

            7              it's 34 percent of the budget for the police

 

            8              and fire department.

 

            9                      And I do want to point out that

 

           10              Mayor Doherty's budget went -- from 2002

 

           11              from $56,597,910.30 all the way up to

 

           12              $78,939,348.  It went up 45 percent overall

 

           13              in seven years.  45 percent.

 

           14              Twenty-two million dollars, about

 

           15              $22 million increase, okay, so that's a

 

           16              $107,000,000 the City of Scranton is in

 

           17              debt.  How are we going to pay for it?

 

           18                      Okay, I do want to point out that

 

           19              the police and the fire department from 2002

 

           20              to 2009 their budgets increased 1 percent,

 

           21              just 1 percent.  They are people that's

 

           22              going out there everyday breaking up fights,

 

           23              doing whatever they have to do.  You can't

 

           24              even sit on your porch, you can't go to the

 

           25              store at night, you have to -- you are


 

 

                                                                      32

 

 

            1              frightened and the police they have to have

 

            2              more police, they have to have more on the

 

            3              beat, the fire department, and yet no pay

 

            4              increase for how long, seven, eight years

 

            5              and how is he going to pay for that?  He

 

            6              owes a 100 -- we own $107,000,000 that's a

 

            7              lot of taxpayers nickles.

 

            8                      Why do you believe the mayor does

 

            9              what he does?  Why do you believe he does

 

           10              this?  I really don't know.  Now, they go

 

           11              and they blame -- PEL again blames the

 

           12              police and the fire department, obviously,

 

           13              "It is our firm believe that timely

 

           14              implementation of the cost containment

 

           15              provisions of the city, police and fire

 

           16              personnel is a critical step in putting the

 

           17              city on the need to financial recovery."

 

           18              Whoop.  (Tears paper.)  Thank you.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF: David Bergerhoff.

 

           20                      MR. BERGERHOFF: David Bergerhoff,

 

           21              North Scranton.  My issue doesn't seem all

 

           22              that important after the good questions that

 

           23              were raised prior to my coming up here,

 

           24              although, mine won't be answered -- my

 

           25              questions won't be answered anymore than


 

 

                                                                      33

 

 

            1              theirs is so let me go ahead with this.

 

            2                      First of all, the recycling

 

            3              containers up Nay Aug, good idea, try

 

            4              emptying them.  That would help.  I was just

 

            5              there the other day, they were overflowing,

 

            6              it's all over the place.  You know, it's one

 

            7              thing to have them, it's another thing to

 

            8              clean them up and empty them.  It's

 

            9              ridiculous.

 

           10                      The point, I think as Doug Miller

 

           11              tried to make about taxes as a last resort,

 

           12              give me a raise.  That's the first resort

 

           13              for this council.  It's going to be what

 

           14              happens.  I mean, we had that Kevin Murphy

 

           15              in here who tried to push forth the tax --

 

           16              the initiative on the taxes to try to

 

           17              prevent the county from being able to raise

 

           18              taxes, this council didn't want to have much

 

           19              to do with it, Mr. McGoff even stated it's

 

           20              the only way to raise revenue.  I think he

 

           21              could bring more people into the city, that

 

           22              would help.  Get rid of the tax free zones

 

           23              and that would certainly help, and then

 

           24              maybe come up with to some idea that

 

           25              generate revenue.  I mean, that's sort of


 

 

                                                                      34

 

 

            1              your job and you are supposed to work with

 

            2              people that create revenue for the city,

 

            3              maybe that would help, instead of always

 

            4              thinking that we are always going to keep

 

            5              taxing the people.  That's why the people

 

            6              keep leaving.  You keep saying the people

 

            7              are struggling to make ends meet.  Well,

 

            8              every time you raise taxes you pretty much

 

            9              ensure that we are not going to make ends

 

           10              meet the next time.  It just seems, you

 

           11              know, backwards.

 

           12                      And it was funny, too, when that

 

           13              whole issue came up we had a couple of

 

           14              people up there, Gatelli and Courtright I

 

           15              remember saying, "Why do we have to be

 

           16              first?  Why are we always first?"

 

           17                      Well, number one, we are the county

 

           18              seat, that does make you first, you are the

 

           19              leader.  Number two, you did have a probably

 

           20              gain first when you were the first city

 

           21              that-- the first successful electric

 

           22              continuous line service here in the city.

 

           23              That's what makes us great.  We are the

 

           24              electric city.  We were first.  So don't

 

           25              worry about being first, worry about being


 

 

                                                                      35

 

 

            1              right and doing what's right for the

 

            2              taxpayers.

 

            3                      Finally, I am going to come up for

 

            4              the point I'm here, North Scranton Junior

 

            5              High School, still never received any

 

            6              answers regarding it.  I got the memo,

 

            7              according to the memo, Goodwill Industries

 

            8              of Northeastern, Pennsylvania, and the

 

            9              Penrose properties have formed a

 

           10              Partnership, the North Scranton Partnership,

 

           11              to acquire and develop the building.

 

           12                      I thought they acquired the building

 

           13              back in '99.  It doesn't say when this

 

           14              partnership was conceived, so I have no clue

 

           15              when this all took place.  They speak about

 

           16              the stabilization of the building includes

 

           17              replacement of the windows, elevator shafts,

 

           18              so on and so forth, I'm assuming that wasn't

 

           19              done yet.

 

           20                      The remediation of all unsafe

 

           21              environmental conditions including removal

 

           22              of asbestos, lead paint and windows ETC.

 

           23              That claims to have been complete yet

 

           24              three-quarters of the windows in the

 

           25              building or the original building windows,


 

 

                                                                      36

 

 

            1              so I'm assuming that this isn't really

 

            2              completed and, therefore, again, I will ask

 

            3              the question what happened to what was it, I

 

            4              think $350,000 the city gave to that project

 

            5              back in '05, the additional we just slated

 

            6              to just be sent on that project.

 

            7                      And finally on here it talks about a

 

            8              500 seat theatre which is exactly what I

 

            9              guess we need in this city right now, but it

 

           10              speaks of a 500 seat theatre for this

 

           11              project as phase one.  Phase one of what?

 

           12              How many phases and what are we getting with

 

           13              phase two, phase three, phase four, phase

 

           14              five, phase what?  How some phases?  Where

 

           15              are is the answers to the simple questions.

 

           16              You can talk about phase one, we're putting

 

           17              a theatre in the middle of a vacant piece of

 

           18              crap building in this city.  Sure it could

 

           19              be beautiful, and sure it was nice at one

 

           20              time, but it's not now and these guys have

 

           21              done nothing to bring it that way.

 

           22                      And for people who have, I have

 

           23              received comments that I seem angry.  Well,

 

           24              like I said, I'm passionate, but maybe I am

 

           25              angry, maybe I'm sick of this and sick of


 

 

                                                                      37

 

 

            1              council and sick of government always

 

            2              abusing the taxpayers' dollars and we have

 

            3              nothing to show for it.

 

            4                      I mean, I just was talking to

 

            5              somebody before and I said, you know, if you

 

            6              raise the taxes $50, that's a dollar a week,

 

            7              and you specifically geared that money

 

            8              towards the fund for the police and you

 

            9              didn't break it all out and just put the $50

 

           10              bucks per person per year into that fund say

 

           11              you have 30,000 taxpayers, what's that, one

 

           12              and a half millions dollars?  I think we

 

           13              could provide some new police for city and

 

           14              we could come up with small ways without

 

           15              getting crazy with taxes.

 

           16                      I mean, a dollar week tax I think we

 

           17              could all agree would be worth our while if

 

           18              we are going to get additional police and

 

           19              perhaps fire.  Maybe even $2 a week, $100 a

 

           20              year may seem worth it if you are going to

 

           21              get something for it, but happens is you

 

           22              raise the taxes, the money gets dispersed in

 

           23              nine different places and not one thing gets

 

           24              improved.

 

           25                      So again I will ask that some of


 

 

                                                                      38

 

 

            1              these questions are answered regarding the

 

            2              North Scranton Junior High School, what is

 

            3              phase one leading into?  What is phase two

 

            4              and three and four going to be, how are you

 

            5              going to attend a theatre in the middle of a

 

            6              building that should be condemned.

 

            7                      And additionally, like I said,

 

            8              please just empty the garbage cans up at Nay

 

            9              Aug.  It was ashame when I was up there the

 

           10              other day, I see people are trying to use it

 

           11              and yet there is garbage all piled up all

 

           12              around.  Thanks.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF: Stephanie Gawel.

 

           14                      MS. GAWEL: Good evening, Council.

 

           15              How are you tonight?  Well, I'm going to go

 

           16              back to some of the issues, it's my job.

 

           17              Seventeen years ago the State of

 

           18              Pennsylvania and Harrisburg contracted PEL,

 

           19              Pennsylvania Economy League and the city and

 

           20              addressed unknown using tax money from the

 

           21              taxpayers of Pennsylvania for their jobs and

 

           22              the purpose was to come to our city by any

 

           23              means available and rescue us from our

 

           24              so-called distressed city.  17 years later.

 

           25              If you do all the math it's obvious it's not


 

 

                                                                      39

 

 

            1              working.  I think I've said that before, but

 

            2              I'll reiterate, either is PEL.

 

            3                      If you did the math you could find

 

            4              out how much PEL has made in paychecks for

 

            5              doing nothing in the past 17 years.  Does

 

            6              anybody have any idea what we are paying

 

            7              these people on a regular basis?  Okay.

 

            8              Just thought I'd ask.

 

            9                      It would also be interesting to find

 

           10              out how much lawyers were hired for 17 years

 

           11              and names, addresses, and throw in the

 

           12              political affiliations.  Do we know how many

 

           13              lawyers are involved?  Okay.  Let's not

 

           14              forget the lawyer's paychecks.  If it was

 

           15              possible to obtain the combined pay out of

 

           16              the PEL and the lawyers for the past

 

           17              17 years it would mind-boggling.

 

           18                      It's obvious that Harrisburg is not

 

           19              controlling PEL.  Why not?  It's obvious PEL

 

           20              is not controlling the mayor.  Why not?

 

           21              Because the mayor controls PEL.  When you

 

           22              look at the last eight years of this

 

           23              administration you will find out that this

 

           24              mayor has a reputation of control.  "I'm the

 

           25              boss."  That's his way of looking at it.  He


 

 

                                                                      40

 

 

            1              doesn't care about anything else as long as

 

            2              he in control of the situation.

 

            3                      That's this administration has been

 

            4              control about.  Control of the Scranton

 

            5              Times, the only newspaper in town, control

 

            6              of two to three of the city council, the 3

 

            7              to 2 vote buys the mayor his own TV station,

 

            8              $900,000 of taxpayers' money, PEL turns it's

 

            9              head, wants complete control of the police

 

           10              and fire departments, obviously, his police

 

           11              appointees can't to the job.  Never in the

 

           12              history of the police and fire department

 

           13              have the police and firemen left their

 

           14              department.  Even with the rehiring of

 

           15              public safety director with an assisted -- a

 

           16              no-no under the so called Recovery Plan, the

 

           17              director of the public works also got an

 

           18              assistant, all new hires, got a big pay

 

           19              raise, all no-no PEL turns it's head.

 

           20                      Emergency life saving equipment

 

           21              assigned to police patrol vehicles

 

           22              eliminated, obviously no concern for public

 

           23              safety.  Policemen obtaining bank loans to

 

           24              by patrol cars and leasing the vehicles back

 

           25              to the city.  There is a lot of the unhappy


 

 

                                                                      41

 

 

            1              taxpayers out there and there is -- out

 

            2              there and these guys vote.  These are some

 

            3              of the questions they have.  Some are true,

 

            4              some are funny.

 

            5                      What does PEL mean anyway?  Ar they

 

            6              cops?  Do they live here?  Where do they

 

            7              come from?  Seventeen years is a long time,

 

            8              did they go to college?  Do they have a --

 

            9              do they get a good pay?  Well, obviously

 

           10              they must, they have been doing it a long

 

           11              enough time.  Can't do any job right fire

 

           12              them.  The government should come here and

 

           13              lock them up.  Wow.

 

           14                      Why does the mayor -- why doesn't

 

           15              the mayor kick them out?  Why this mayor

 

           16              talk to the Chamber of Commerce and not talk

 

           17              to the people?  Doesn't he care about the

 

           18              neighborhoods?  This guy has got to go.

 

           19              Eight years of this guy, he is good for --

 

           20              he is good for the little people, got to go.

 

           21              All right.

 

           22                      I have a couple of questions to you.

 

           23              Do you know if the League of Women Voters is

 

           24              going to have any sort of debates for the

 

           25              council --


 

 

                                                                      42

 

 

            1                      MS. GATELLI: Yes, they are.

 

            2                      MS. GAWEL:  Is it going to be aired?

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI: Yes.

 

            4                      MS. EVANS: Yes.

 

            5                      MS. FANUCCI: They usually are.

 

            6                      MS. GAWEL:  Well, I know they

 

            7              usually are, but we are under new things

 

            8              now.  Okay, they are going to be televised

 

            9              on Channel 61.  Okay.  Where is the building

 

           10              -- okay.  I'll get to the rest of it next

 

           11              week.  Thank you.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: Joanne Williams.

 

           13                      MS. WILLIAMS: Good evening.  Joanne

 

           14              Williams, homeowner and a taxpayer, a lot to

 

           15              say this evening.  I guess politicians are

 

           16              not entitled to birthday parties.

 

           17                      I have to go back to Nay Aug Park, I

 

           18              remember quite a few years back Mayor

 

           19              Doherty was our mayor and volunteers got

 

           20              together to build a playground down where

 

           21              the old zoo was.  I don't recall a lot of

 

           22              these people there at that time, okay, that

 

           23              come up and criticize the park.  Each week

 

           24              speakers stand at this podium and speak

 

           25              negative about our city, our mayor, and some


 

 

                                                                      43

 

 

            1              of our council members.  I'm here to speak

 

            2              positive.

 

            3                      A few weeks ago, Mr. Hubbard read a

 

            4              list of businesses that had shut down in our

 

            5              downtown, I recently took a ride through our

 

            6              downtown and in a short time I found

 

            7              businesses that are striving, such as:

 

            8              Galucci's, Duffy's, Tom Grudis, Community

 

            9              Bake Shop, Ann Cicotti's, Pappa's Pizza,

 

           10              Baglewich, Linden Mini-Mart, Sheeley's

 

           11              Drugs, Lavish, Farley's, Lenora's, Boccardo

 

           12              Jeweler, Altier, Rocky's, Subway, Ross

 

           13              Jeweler's, Rite-Aid, JR Jeweler's, Scranton

 

           14              Dry Cleaners, the Guild Studio.  Best Foot

 

           15              Forward, Place One, Scranton News, Thai and

 

           16              Panda Restaurant, Starbucks, Blue's Street

 

           17              and I could go on and on.  These businesses

 

           18              believe in our city and with the renovation

 

           19              of the 500-block of Lackawanna Avenue, I

 

           20              always call it central city, is alive and

 

           21              well.

 

           22                      Since Mayor Doherty has taken office

 

           23              sanctions are longer.  Our parks have

 

           24              greatly improved, Nay Aug, Connell Park,

 

           25              Mayor Connor's park in South Side, and


 

 

                                                                      44

 

 

            1              improvements being made to Minooka Park.  We

 

            2              can also give thanks to the mayor with his

 

            3              vision for our city that we now have a

 

            4              medical school that we'll be building in the

 

            5              near future that will employ 800 and 600

 

            6              students who will graduate with a degree as

 

            7              a medical doctor.

 

            8                      Also, a new library in South Side

 

            9              will be built.  Ask for -- and, Mrs. Evans,

 

           10              you had mentioned as for the mayor closing

 

           11              firehouse you are absolutely right, he is

 

           12              not closing firehouses.  He is an adding

 

           13              extra staff.  In the last seven years our

 

           14              city has made great improvements.  I can

 

           15              only imagine that the mayor had to make

 

           16              difficult and unpopular decisions at times

 

           17              along with the majority of this council, but

 

           18              in the long run with patience it pays off.

 

           19                      I'm tired of the negativity.

 

           20              Mr. Hubbard asked me the last time I spoke

 

           21              at this meeting, Where have you been for

 

           22              four years?"

 

           23                      Well, Mrs. Hubbard, I buried my

 

           24              husband who died of leukemia and I have a

 

           25              life and responsibilities, and basically I


 

 

                                                                      45

 

 

            1              love this city and the way the mayor and the

 

            2              people on this council are running it and,

 

            3              frankly, Mrs. Hubbard and to the other

 

            4              critics I really don't give a darn what you

 

            5              think.  Thank you.

 

            6                      MR. MCGOFF: Is it Marie Costanzo?

 

            7              I'm sorry, was it Maria?

 

            8                      MS. COSTANZO: Maria.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: I'm sorry.

 

           10                      MS. COSTANZO: That's okay.  I'm

 

           11              Maria Costanzo, and I'm the steward of the

 

           12              IAEBW Local 2462 which represents the Single

 

           13              Tax Office.  The Single Tax Office is

 

           14              staffed by four makeshift positions

 

           15              including the tax collector and 22 union

 

           16              workers, 16 of whom have been there for

 

           17              between 10 and 27 years.  Our staff is

 

           18              professional and we strive to serve the

 

           19              public with courtesy and respect.  We are

 

           20              experienced and knowledgeable and previous

 

           21              tax collectors took advantage of this

 

           22              experience and knowledge to learn about the

 

           23              office.

 

           24                      I know I will probably be labeled as

 

           25              a disgruntled employee, but I hope that will


 

 

                                                                      46

 

 

            1              not be the place.  We have had many

 

            2              opportunities to bash Ken McDowell over the

 

            3              past seven years, but we have not, and the

 

            4              only reason I am here today is to respond to

 

            5              Mr. McDowell's claim to WNEP that the

 

            6              condition of the tax office is the fault of

 

            7              our staff.  I feel these are the words of a

 

            8              sad and desperate man and while I was not

 

            9              surprised by him saying them I was

 

           10              nevertheless infuriated.

 

           11                      I spent the last week listing

 

           12              examples of Mr. McDowell blaming others for

 

           13              his inaccuracies and I soon realized I would

 

           14              go well beyond my five-minute time list to

 

           15              list them here tonight.

 

           16                       I do, however, have a few examples

 

           17              I would like to share.  On August 1, 2002,

 

           18              the Scranton Times ran a story stating that

 

           19              the Scranton School District told them that

 

           20              2002 collections were running more than a

 

           21              $1 million behind those of 2001.

 

           22              Mr. McDowell's response:  The discrepancy

 

           23              was probably just a matter of timing and

 

           24              bookkeeping.  His office shipped the money

 

           25              to the school district, but the district may


 

 

                                                                      47

 

 

            1              not have recorded it as received.  His

 

            2              answer:  It was the school district's fault.

 

            3                      January 20, 2007, on complaints from

 

            4              outside collectors not receiving monies for

 

            5              their residents:  This office is working for

 

            6              efficiently than it ever did, he said, but

 

            7              the system stinks.  The whole system in

 

            8              Pennsylvania is just tedious, cumbersome,

 

            9              and it doesn't work.  His answer:  It's the

 

           10              Pennsylvania tax system's fault.

 

           11                      December 26, 2006, on complaints

 

           12              from Dunmore Borough looking for monies for

 

           13              their residents so they could issue refunds,

 

           14              his answer: I believe it is the obligation

 

           15              of the taxing body to give the refund.

 

           16              Dunmore Borough should issue refunds based

 

           17              on the W-2 forms taxpayers could present to

 

           18              verify they're entitled to the refunds.

 

           19                      So his answer was to advise them to

 

           20              give the refund even though they did not

 

           21              have the money.  That is what our tax

 

           22              collector's suggestion was, to pay out money

 

           23              they did not have.  Are you beginning to

 

           24              understand part of the problem?

 

           25                      July 7, 2005, October 6, 2005,


 

 

                                                                      48

 

 

            1              October 17, 2005, we entered the era of the

 

            2              computer system glitches.  You would think

 

            3              that all of these glitches Mr. McDowell

 

            4              described with all of these glitches he

 

            5              would be at work diligently trying to

 

            6              correct these problems.  You would be wrong

 

            7              as anyone that ever tried to call or see him

 

            8              at the office can attest.  He had neither

 

            9              the interest or ambition to see a project of

 

           10              this size through to fruition.  So, yes, our

 

           11              relationship with Mr. McDowell was strained

 

           12              to say the least.  You may have read this in

 

           13              the Scranton Times because they mentioned it

 

           14              every time they endorsed him for office.  It

 

           15              was not strained, however, as he would have

 

           16              you believe by his refusal to honor a

 

           17              benefit from the previous tax collector.  It

 

           18              started with his announcement that he did

 

           19              not negotiate our contract so he did not

 

           20              need to abide by it, and he meant it.  There

 

           21              were 18 grievances filed while he was tax

 

           22              collector and five arbitrations.  All of

 

           23              which we won.  This is an office that before

 

           24              his term had never had an arbitration and

 

           25              only five grievances in the previous


 

 

                                                                      49

 

 

            1              20 years, all of which were settled

 

            2              amicably.

 

            3                      The grievances were for everything

 

            4              from following bidding procedure to denying

 

            5              medical leaves from not staffing all shifts

 

            6              to illegal termination.  There was one for

 

            7              outsourcing union work at a huge cost to

 

            8              taxpayers.

 

            9                      Delinquent tax collections also

 

           10              ceased during Mr. McDowell's tenure.  We had

 

           11              a person in our office whose job was to

 

           12              collect delinquent earned income tax and she

 

           13              is very good at what she does.  Mr. McDowell

 

           14              fired this person illegally.  She regularly

 

           15              collected over $1 million a year, her

 

           16              termination went to arbitration and we won

 

           17              and, of course, he appealed.  She returned

 

           18              to work only to have her desk cleared, her

 

           19              computer and phone were taken and she

 

           20              basically sat there all day unable to

 

           21              perform her duties.  We then won the appeal

 

           22              and he was forced to allow her back to work.

 

           23              When she did return he took her off her

 

           24              regular job and she was given different

 

           25              duties.  She collected a million dollars a


 

 

                                                                      50

 

 

            1              year and yet she was not allowed to bill

 

            2              delinquents.  It was almost as if he did not

 

            3              want us to collect taxes.

 

            4                      Can I finish?

 

            5                      MS. EVANS: Could she please finish?

 

            6              I would like to hear this.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF: Is --

 

            8                      MS. COSTANZO: I have a paragraph.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Please.

 

           10                      MS. COSTANZO: There are many things

 

           11              that Ken McDowell did not understand, but

 

           12              I'm not here to attempt to decipher him.

 

           13              Though I am not surprised his finger

 

           14              pointing, I am surprised by the sudden

 

           15              interest in our office.  For years we waited

 

           16              for someone to ask questions and no one did.

 

           17              Then Mrs. Evans requested that Mr. McDowell

 

           18              come to council, but that never happened.

 

           19              She then requested that since Mr. McDowell

 

           20              obviously was not interested in coming here

 

           21              that some staff members come.  He, of

 

           22              course, would not allow that either.

 

           23                      Then the $12 million showed up and

 

           24              then the FBI.  We thought now the secrets

 

           25              would be revealed and office can start to


 

 

                                                                      51

 

 

            1              heal.  Then council, this council, was going

 

            2              to subpoena him, but as far as I know that

 

            3              did not happen.  Now everyone wants answers

 

            4              and now it's too late.

 

            5                      MS GATELLI:  We did.

 

            6                      MS. FANUCCI: We did subpoena him.

 

            7                      MS. CONSTANZO: You did subpoena him.

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: Yes, we did.

 

            9                      MS. CONSTANZO: Did he show up?

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: No, he never appeared and

 

           11              he appealed it in Court and we are still in

 

           12              litigation to this moment in time.

 

           13                      MS. CONSTANZO: You could see I'm not

 

           14              surprised.  I hope that something good can

 

           15              come up out of this situation.  I hope that

 

           16              elected officials will spend time serving

 

           17              the residents they represent and less time

 

           18              making political allies.  I hope they spent

 

           19              more time looking for ways to help the

 

           20              people that elected them and less time

 

           21              covering for those that do not.  I hope they

 

           22              will spend less time making excuses and

 

           23              respect taxpayers enough to take

 

           24              responsibility for their actions; and,

 

           25              lastly, I challenge taxpayers to remember


 

 

                                                                      52

 

 

            1              what happened here, and choose the best

 

            2              qualified candidates for office and not just

 

            3              a name or a party affiliation.  Thank you.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF: James Judge.

 

            5                      MR. JUDGE: Good evening, Council.  I

 

            6              came back this week to talk about the engine

 

            7              company closures.  I was happy to hear that

 

            8              you received a letter from the mayor that

 

            9              doesn't intend on closing them.  I have to

 

           10              say that I'm kind of confused by this latest

 

           11              letter that he sent only because within the

 

           12              last two weeks we were in a meeting with him

 

           13              and Director Hayes and Stu Renda when they

 

           14              told us they were going to close these

 

           15              engine companies.  It seems to me that this

 

           16              is, I hate to say this, that this is being

 

           17              done politically because of all of signs

 

           18              that people are seeing now and he is

 

           19              back-peddling on some pressure that he might

 

           20              be occurring.  I hope that's not the case,

 

           21              but what I would like to -- I'd like to

 

           22              happen is I would like council, you know,

 

           23              this fire union would love to come and

 

           24              educate you on the importance of these

 

           25              engine companies.


 

 

                                                                      53

 

 

            1                      I'll give you two examples of the

 

            2              importance of both of these engine companies

 

            3              that have happened over the last couple of

 

            4              days.  Early Sunday morning the 800 block of

 

            5              Cedar Avenue I believe they had a fire,

 

            6              Engine 4, one of the companies that was

 

            7              slated for closure by Mayor Doherty was the

 

            8              first new company on that fire.  They were

 

            9              able to contain that fire to the garage area

 

           10              and not have it spread to any adjacent

 

           11              properties or structures.

 

           12                      I believe the proposed library is

 

           13              supposed to be going in like the 500 block,

 

           14              is that correct, like Alder and Cedar.  That

 

           15              would be Engine 4 first two areas.  Sunday

 

           16              morning they had a fire I believe it was on

 

           17              Wilbur Street in North Scranton.  Engine 8

 

           18              was the first new company for that area,

 

           19              they were on an CO alarm at the time, the

 

           20              next two engine companies that were

 

           21              responsible for that fire there were Engine

 

           22              4 and Engine 9.  If those two companies had

 

           23              been closed under the mayor's proposal you

 

           24              would have been waiting for Engine 7 from

 

           25              Luzerne Street and you would have been


 

 

                                                                      54

 

 

            1              waiting for Engine 15 from Petersburg corner

 

            2              for that fire.  That fire was extinguished

 

            3              quickly due to them being able to get there

 

            4              in a fairly timely fashion.

 

            5                      I don't know how educated you are,

 

            6              and I hate to say that, but how educated you

 

            7              are on how the fire service works as far as

 

            8              how we operate, but this union is offering,

 

            9              you know, any time that council would like

 

           10              to sit down with us so we could just educate

 

           11              you on how we work.  I think that's very

 

           12              important.  The services that you provide to

 

           13              this city are what, police, fire and

 

           14              municipal refuge and cleanup from the DPW.

 

           15              That's what city government's tasks are.  I

 

           16              think it's important for you guys to kind of

 

           17              understand how we operate, and it's very

 

           18              important for the public to understand how

 

           19              we operate as well.

 

           20                      You know, you are seeing all of

 

           21              these signs pop up all over the place

 

           22              it's -- it's education.  We are trying to

 

           23              educate the public on how we operate so that

 

           24              when they see us doing different tasks they

 

           25              understand how everything is kind of a


 

 

                                                                      55

 

 

            1              coordinated effort to get it done in a

 

            2              timely fashion, so that we are able to limit

 

            3              property damage, you know, also save lives.

 

            4              That's our job.  That's what we do.

 

            5                      As far as the mayor saying the five

 

            6              extra people are going to be assigned to

 

            7              each shift, your staffing numbers are not

 

            8              going to go up and we have gone through the

 

            9              numbers with the administration before.

 

           10              It's impossible to do it the way they want.

 

           11              Under the Commonwealth Court award five of

 

           12              the engine companies that we have right now

 

           13              are staffed with two person on the engine

 

           14              company.

 

           15                      Under the Commonwealth Court award,

 

           16              the city was supposed to put those -- all of

 

           17              the engine companies, every piece of

 

           18              equipment in this city to a minimum of three

 

           19              on every piece, all right?  That number is

 

           20              supposed to go up.  They are not supposed to

 

           21              drop before that minimum.  When they switch

 

           22              over to this 3 to 2 system we are going from

 

           23              a 42 average workweek to a 48 average

 

           24              workweek by Commonwealth Court's decision.

 

           25              The numbers do not match up.  The way that


 

 

                                                                      56

 

 

            1              it has to be done we don't have the staffing

 

            2              to do it so how are they going to do it, and

 

            3              their answer in the meeting with President

 

            4              Schreiber was we are going to close two

 

            5              companies.  So I don't know how they are

 

            6              going to do it.

 

            7                      The mayor in one breath is saying he

 

            8              is going to reduce another I believe -- go

 

            9              down to 130 now through attrition or 120

 

           10              through attrition, we have heard all types

 

           11              of numbers.  We have heard that the Director

 

           12              of Public Safety has a manila envelope in

 

           13              his office with scenarios once they won the

 

           14              Commonwealth Court award.  Ask for those.

 

           15              Let us know.  We don't -- this doesn't --

 

           16              this shouldn't be political, I agree.  Let's

 

           17              figure out what's best for the city, let's

 

           18              do it together and, you know, let's do it

 

           19              council, you know, the mayor's office, the

 

           20              Director of Public Safety and the fire union

 

           21              and let's figure out what needs to be done

 

           22              and do it the right way, but I encourage you

 

           23              that, you know, if you want to be educated

 

           24              this executive body from IFF Local 60 would

 

           25              be more and willing at any time to come in


 

 

                                                                      57

 

 

            1              and speak to you either together or

 

            2              individually, just let us know.  You have

 

            3              President Schreiber's number, just let us

 

            4              know.  Thank you.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Dave Dobson.

 

            6                      MR. DOBSON: Good evening, Council.

 

            7              Dave Dobson, member of the Taxpayers'

 

            8              Association and Scranton resident.  First of

 

            9              all, I would like to thank Mrs. Gatelli for

 

           10              the offer of that disclosure form.  Now, in

 

           11              1966 my father became employed by a pest

 

           12              control firm.  A few years later he was

 

           13              promoted to manager.  He worked there until

 

           14              about 1988, and many of the chemicals used

 

           15              originally were banned.  New chemicals were

 

           16              reformulated and were most importantly

 

           17              biodegradable.  However, long-term effects

 

           18              were once again unpredictable in many

 

           19              circumstances and we see it every day with

 

           20              medications, remember all of the wonderful

 

           21              arthritis drugs that were causing heart

 

           22              attacks, you don't know what some of these

 

           23              chemicals can do to a person and in many

 

           24              instances they will do something different

 

           25              to a different person, two different people.


 

 

                                                                      58

 

 

            1                      My wife had an uncle and aunt, he

 

            2              worked in the DL&W shops as a machinist

 

            3              around asbestos.  His wife died when she was

 

            4              maybe 50 from lung cancer, never smoked a

 

            5              day in her life, but she washed his clothes.

 

            6              Uncle Earl, he died at 84 years old and it

 

            7              was a lung cancer, once again, while he

 

            8              worked in the DL& W shops, he also smoked

 

            9              Palm-All cigarettes like a chimney and his

 

           10              last wish was that he hoped to hell he

 

           11              didn't live another year, so he got his

 

           12              wish.

 

           13                      You know, it wasn't a sad death.  I

 

           14              mean, that was no issue, but the three

 

           15              things I would like to know is what their

 

           16              intent is from the sewer plant of Dunmore

 

           17              because that's where that line runs and what

 

           18              about Nay Aug.  I certainly hope that they

 

           19              don't plan to go through Nay Aug and do any

 

           20              poisoning there, and if they've employed

 

           21              tree and brush cutters my suggestion is

 

           22              that, it's not a question, more people would

 

           23              benefit from employment and you could see,

 

           24              you know, there wouldn't be any possible

 

           25              interesting affects, so that's what my point


 

 

                                                                      59

 

 

            1              of view on matter is.

 

            2                      I'm looking forward, I'll catch you

 

            3              at the end of the meeting and get that

 

            4              paperwork off of you and I'll check around

 

            5              the website and stuff and see what I can

 

            6              find out as far as their intent here and

 

            7              what other towns have done because I have

 

            8              seen people actually put signs out

 

            9              forbidding them to spray even though they

 

           10              had a right-of-way on their property, so

 

           11              thank you and have a good night.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: Other speakers?

 

           13                      MR. STUCKER: How are you doing,

 

           14              Mr. Courtright?

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Good, Jim, how are?

 

           16                      MR. STUCKER: Good.  Well, I rode my

 

           17              bike today, first time out of the building.

 

           18              I went over to that place where they sell

 

           19              mulch on Keyser Avenue and I priced the

 

           20              scooters.  They have electric ones.

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  I saw you there,

 

           22              Jim, yeah.

 

           23                      MR. STUCKER: I'm thinking about --

 

           24              mental health is going to get that money

 

           25              from Obama.  He is going to send us some


 

 

                                                                      60

 

 

            1              money.

 

            2                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay, Jim.

 

            3                      MR. STUCKER:  I don't know what they

 

            4              call it.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Okay.

 

            6                      MR. STUCKER: So what about the holes

 

            7              over towards on Keyser Avenue.  There is a

 

            8              couple of holes that needs --

 

            9                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  They are working on

 

           10              the holes, Jim, we got lots of holes.  We

 

           11              got them working on it.

 

           12                       MR. STUCKER: Yeah.  So everything

 

           13              has been good this week.

 

           14                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Good.  Very good,

 

           15              Jim.

 

           16                       MR. STUCKER: So when you are going

 

           17              to vote for Obama -- you going to vote for

 

           18              Courtright?  Not Courtright, Gary DiBileo?

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT: We can't talk about

 

           20              that.

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF:  We can't talk about who

 

           22              we are going to vote for, okay?  That's a

 

           23              personal choice.

 

           24                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I'm going to vote

 

           25              for me though.


 

 

                                                                      61

 

 

            1                      MR. STUCKER:  I don't like what

 

            2              Mayor Doherty is doing.  I hate what he is

 

            3              doing.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF: We can't talk about who

 

            5              we are voting for.

 

            6                      MR. STUCKER:  He is the one that put

 

            7              the signs in the river.

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: Thanks, Jim.

 

            9                      MR. STUCKER: I seen about 5 or 10 in

 

           10              the river.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Okay, Jim.

 

           12                      MR. MCCLOE:  Good evening.  My name

 

           13              is Brett McCloe, homeowner, Scranton

 

           14              taxpayer, too bad she just left.  Last week

 

           15              Ms. Fanucci had made a statement that I

 

           16              believe we can all agree with that we do

 

           17              need new businesses in the downtown area to

 

           18              generate tax revenues for the city and no

 

           19              one can disagree with that, but with that

 

           20              mind we need to recognize that our downtown

 

           21              economy is a complex organism that demands

 

           22              just another store, more than just another

 

           23              place to spend money.  It demands consumers.

 

           24              The American dream of owning a business has

 

           25              been severely trumped by the consumer's hope


 

 

                                                                      62

 

 

            1              that they can keep themselves and their

 

            2              families heads above water.  Unfortunately,

 

            3              a terrible paradox comes into play.

 

            4              Fiscally responsible consumers soon start to

 

            5              add to the downturn of the economy.

 

            6              Businesses get less traffic, money slows,

 

            7              employees' hours get shortened, some get

 

            8              laid off which leads to even more fiscal

 

            9              responsibility and even more frugality until

 

           10              the business or employee has to pack it up

 

           11              altogether and move to greener pastures.

 

           12                      KOEZ's and various oppressive

 

           13              taxations on businesses and property owners

 

           14              only exacerbate the problem.  As a waiter I

 

           15              sometimes get caught up in this interesting

 

           16              paradigm.  I see employees of local

 

           17              businesses that I haven't seen in awhile,

 

           18              they sit at my table and it doesn't take

 

           19              long before the question is asked by the

 

           20              both of us, "Where have you been?"

 

           21                      Of course, the answer for both of

 

           22              our question is, times are tough, not

 

           23              realizing that in some small way our

 

           24              individual micro-economies are effected by

 

           25              each other's inability to spend as we once


 

 

                                                                      63

 

 

            1              did.  With a retail megaplex to the north,

 

            2              high end shopping to the south and the

 

            3              increasing mobility of the citizens, what

 

            4              does that leave for downtown Scranton?

 

            5              Paper and party, bars, restaurants, legal,

 

            6              medical, clerical and banking services.  It

 

            7              seems that poor county planning and the

 

            8              Chamber of Commerce has literally sent the

 

            9              consumers running for the hills that

 

           10              surround our city leaving a week central

 

           11              core for retail.  How do we solve this

 

           12              problem?  I don't know, but I think you have

 

           13              to reexamine what they were thinking

 

           14              20 years ago right up until today to find

 

           15              that answer.  It seems that the downtown

 

           16              mall Cigna, Fleet and the Bank of America

 

           17              and all of the other corporate businesses on

 

           18              Montage Mountains have been placed in the

 

           19              wrong spots.  For instance, even though they

 

           20              were built few years apart what would have

 

           21              been the affect of putting the Steamtown

 

           22              Mall on Montage Mountain and actually put

 

           23              those trollies to use carrying citizens up

 

           24              and down the mountain and have direct access

 

           25              to Route 81, then put Fleet and Cigna and


 

 

                                                                      64

 

 

            1              the others on Lackawanna Avenue.  Imagine

 

            2              the amount of corporate magmatism that would

 

            3              have brought to downtown Scranton and retail

 

            4              power to Moosic not to mention the amount of

 

            5              small shops, service orientated businesses

 

            6              that would have popped up all over to

 

            7              support them.  For all of the people out

 

            8              there who want Scranton happening, there it

 

            9              went.

 

           10                      Well, enough of the could of, would

 

           11              have, should haves, but we didn't's.  I have

 

           12              one thing while walking around downtown I

 

           13              noticed, and it just -- and it got to me, is

 

           14              there any way to take down some of those

 

           15              "For Sale" signs that were on the sides of

 

           16              the buildings and replace them with a little

 

           17              purple flags that you have all over the

 

           18              place that show everything, little flags

 

           19              that have a different business thing or

 

           20              something on there, and there has to be a

 

           21              classier way to say "For sale" than to have

 

           22              visitors and investors come to our city and

 

           23              see those big ugly signs.  It doesn't look

 

           24              like opportunity, what it looks like is a

 

           25              warning sign, okay.  Thank you.


 

 

                                                                      65

 

 

            1                      MS. FRANUS: Fay Franus, Scranton.  I

 

            2              just want a couple of answers to something

 

            3              here, from what I understand when Kenny

 

            4              McDowell ran for office Joe Pilchesky went

 

            5              to Court and the Supreme Court said he was

 

            6              allowed to run for office, but if elected he

 

            7              would not be allowed to serve for at least

 

            8              one year because he would be doing audits on

 

            9              his own books so it's illegal, so my

 

           10              question to you is this, does anybody up

 

           11              there know if he is being in that office

 

           12              right now illegally?  Any of you know?  I

 

           13              mean, so many things happened in this city

 

           14              that is against this law that people just

 

           15              let it go by, like controller's not auditing

 

           16              books for years, but nothing is ever done.

 

           17                      So I'm asking this question, is

 

           18              Kenny McDowell in office illegally?  From

 

           19              what I understand, he is not supposed to be

 

           20              holding office right now, and the only

 

           21              person that could do anything about it is

 

           22              District Attorney Jarbola, and from what I

 

           23              also understand is that they are friends and

 

           24              that's why he won't do anything about it.

 

           25              Now, that's just hearsay, but then again,


 

 

                                                                      66

 

 

            1              Mr. McGoff, I'm just saying.  I want

 

            2              somebody to get me an answer, I want to know

 

            3              the truth, is he supposed to be in office?

 

            4              If he is not supposed to be in office the

 

            5              law is the law is the law.  If he is not to

 

            6              supposed to be in office why is he in office

 

            7              and if the district attorney is the only one

 

            8              and he is not doing his job what could you

 

            9              do to make sure that he does it?

 

           10                      MR. MCGOFF: It's -- I'm sorry.  I

 

           11              would say that that's something --

 

           12                      MS. FRANUS: Go ahead.

 

           13                      MR. MCGOFF:  Just a quick answer,

 

           14              that is something -- number one, I don't

 

           15              know any reason why he shouldn't be holding

 

           16              office.  I don't know of anything that was

 

           17              --

 

           18                      MS. FRANUS: You can't audit your own

 

           19              books.  You can't serve office for one year.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF:  I think that they went

 

           21              through that and that he was allowed to run.

 

           22                      MS. FRANUS:  Yes, he was allowed to

 

           23              run.

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF: But I don't want to get

 

           25              into it -- I don't know the law.  I would


 

 

                                                                      67

 

 

            1              think that if you want an answer to that

 

            2              question that you would have to go to the

 

            3              county or to the District Attorney's Office

 

            4              because I don't know that any of us are

 

            5              fluent enough with that.

 

            6                      MS. FRANUS: Does Mr. Minora know

 

            7              that?

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: But it's not within our

 

            9              purview to deal with that.  He is a

 

           10              county -- he is a county employee at this

 

           11              point in time.

 

           12                      MS. FRANUS:  Okay.  So let me ask

 

           13              you this, supposed I find out that he can't,

 

           14              do you have any idea where I would go if

 

           15              District Attorney Jarbola does not want to

 

           16              do anything about it?

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: I would assume that you

 

           18              would start with the district attorney's

 

           19              office and then the State Attorney General's

 

           20              Office.

 

           21                      MS. FRANUS:  After him?

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: Yes.  I'm assuming.  I

 

           23              don't.  Again, that would be something

 

           24              that--

 

           25                      MS. FRANUS: Well, I just think this


 

 

                                                                      68

 

 

            1              is something that should be checked into

 

            2              because I think this is definitely -- if

 

            3              it's wrong he shouldn't be there.  He is

 

            4              done enough damage to this city as it is,

 

            5              and I am ver surprised last week that

 

            6              Mr. McGovern did not mention his name at all

 

            7              in his presentation.  There was no mention

 

            8              of Kenny McDowell's name and the damage he

 

            9              has done in this city.  Thank God that woman

 

           10              got up and spoke about it for once and, you

 

           11              know, that's all.  Thank you.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?

 

           13                      MS. HUMPHRIES: Pacha, freta, salaam

 

           14              aliekum.  May the peace of Jesus Christ be

 

           15              with you and bring everybody peace and

 

           16              reconciliation here in this town and in this

 

           17              country.  My name is Phyllis Bernadette, to

 

           18              the middle eastern people my name is Fatima

 

           19              Yasmin, but Fatima for Our Lady of Fatima.

 

           20              I was also given another name.  I'm a

 

           21              caranate in Bethlehem, Jerusalem and

 

           22              Nazareth, my documents were taken many years

 

           23              ago and the carnates of Nazareth gave me the

 

           24              name Phyllis of Jesus of Mary.  This is true

 

           25              and true to the highest.


 

 

                                                                      69

 

 

            1                      Pope Luigi VII condemned

 

            2              indifference and religious relatively.  He

 

            3              put in according to Augusta in place the

 

            4              doctrine of truth and charity of unity to

 

            5              say the seed of Peter.  There could be no

 

            6              picking or choosing.  To be a good Christian

 

            7              or to be a good democrat you should be a

 

            8              good Christian.

 

            9                      Years ago, I brought a holy statute

 

           10              and I gave it to the police department, Our

 

           11              Lady of Fatima, and in all my trials and

 

           12              difficulties I was to look at everyone and

 

           13              document everyone to be sent to the Holy

 

           14              Father.  This is a book that was given to me

 

           15              when they were moving to the police

 

           16              department and friends had said you can take

 

           17              anything you want and I'm really truly a

 

           18              bookaholic.  I buy books, put them on the

 

           19              side thinking that some day, I do hope that

 

           20              they do build a library here for the

 

           21              children, but I hope that they save that

 

           22              library over there for historic and they

 

           23              don't sell anything, that's number one.

 

           24                      In 106 of the law of Pennsylvania

 

           25              and the criminal status, the general rule, a


 

 

                                                                      70

 

 

            1              offense defined by this time will be

 

            2              sentenced to death or imprisonment or

 

            3              unauthorized constitutes the crime, the

 

            4              classic crimes are murder of the first

 

            5              degree or second degree or third degree.

 

            6              First degree murder of the unborn child;

 

            7              second degree murder of the unborn child;

 

            8              and third degree murder of the unborn child.

 

            9                      I gave you last week documents, and

 

           10              it's scientific documents, I don't only

 

           11              stand here for the unborn, I stand here for

 

           12              the abused.  I stand here for the people

 

           13              that have died in silence all over the world

 

           14              and I stand here to tell the perpetrators

 

           15              God will reveal every one of them.  I ask

 

           16              everybody to prey and have peace in this

 

           17              world and be a good parent, be a good mother

 

           18              or father and sister or brother or aunt and

 

           19              uncle and sister.  Pray for our military,

 

           20              and this point I have a meeting to go to,

 

           21              but this is who I am and this is what I came

 

           22              in the world to.  There is four judgments.

 

           23              This is the judgment now of the saints

 

           24              before the coming of Jesus so pray and make

 

           25              way for the Kingdom of God is at hand and


 

 

                                                                      71

 

 

            1              repent and read the gospel, thank you.

 

            2                      And I do forgive that man that

 

            3              called me a bum, but I ask him not to do it

 

            4              begin because next time he will go to jail.

 

            5                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, and you are

 

            6              right.  No one should call names.  Anyone?

 

            7                      MS. SCHUMACHER: Good evening.  Marie

 

            8              Schumacher, resident and member of the

 

            9              Taxpayers' Association.  First, as it's up

 

           10              for final passage tonight, 7-A would

 

           11              authorize the contract for planning, design

 

           12              and construction support services for Billy

 

           13              Barrett playground.  Now, our city is in

 

           14              dire need of recreational facilities, but I

 

           15              went to parks and recreation website and

 

           16              there is no Billy Barrett playground listed,

 

           17              meanwhile, the several hundred thousands

 

           18              dollars that was set aside supposedly for

 

           19              Robinson Park improvements that Mayor

 

           20              Doherty promised in 2003 using money

 

           21              allegedly set aside for parks from the

 

           22              $72 million bond issue floated in the summer

 

           23              of 2002, six years is a long time to wait.

 

           24                      Next, because it's a $600,000 issue,

 

           25              is the agreement with BRT Ice for


 

 

                                                                      72

 

 

            1              redevelopment of the 800 block of Providence

 

            2              Road?  Last week I asked whether council had

 

            3              sent the proposed agreement back to

 

            4              Redevelopment Authority after tabling the

 

            5              authorizing legislation other three years

 

            6              ago, such the terms agreeable to council

 

            7              would be made.  Mrs. Gatelli informed me to

 

            8              the effect that is it was not possible

 

            9              because the Redevelopment Authority had

 

           10              already executed the contract,

 

           11              unfortunately, my time had expired so I

 

           12              would now like to revisit the issue.

 

           13                      To refresh, the issue in quoting

 

           14              from a Time-Tribune article in February 9,

 

           15              2005, "Under the lease, the city is in

 

           16              control over when that money will be repaid,

 

           17              Carl Greco, Scranton Redevelopment Authority

 

           18              solicitor said."

 

           19                      That is a quote.  Further, the

 

           20              contract says Mr. Burke must pay $600,000

 

           21              within 30 days of the DPW vacating the land

 

           22              and the city completing the redevelopment

 

           23              process.  The process includes the city

 

           24              planning commission certifying the land as a

 

           25              redevelopment area, something that city


 

 

                                                                      73

 

 

            1              planner, Don King, assures me was

 

            2              accomplished and the SRA itself verifies

 

            3              that that was accepted on February 15, 2005,

 

            4              and the Redevelopment Authority and the city

 

            5              council approving a Redevelopment contract.

 

            6                      Now, and here is the clincher, on

 

            7              April 15, 2000 -- excuse me, April 5, 2006,

 

            8              the Scranton Redevelopment Authority

 

            9              executed a resolution that authorized the

 

           10              redevelopment contract with BRT Ice Limited

 

           11              Partnership be entered into and forwarded to

 

           12              the city council as required by the city --

 

           13              by the Urban Redevelopment Law for review

 

           14              and approval in regard to the property

 

           15              located in the 800 block of Providence Road.

 

           16                      So, you see, city council clearly is

 

           17              in a the driver's seat.  So I will again ask

 

           18              when city council will instruct the

 

           19              Redevelopment Authority to draw up a

 

           20              contract that meets the parameters of the

 

           21              what taxpayers were told, that is, the

 

           22              $600,000 is due for payment in it's

 

           23              entirety.

 

           24                      Next subject, back in December Judge

 

           25              Minora entered a stop work order at Tripp


 

 

                                                                      74

 

 

            1              Park Redevelopment.  Judge Minora held that

 

            2              Northeastern Land Development was primarily

 

            3              responsible for fixing the problems.  Judge

 

            4              Minora also said the city could be held

 

            5              responsible for enforcing the subdivision

 

            6              regulation.  Since the 90 days Judge Minora

 

            7              gave to report on a fix to the runoff

 

            8              problem that was plaguing neighbors,

 

            9              taxpaying neighbors I might add, I would

 

           10              like to know whether or not Judge Minora had

 

           11              approved a fix by the developer such that

 

           12              the city and her taxpayers are off the hook?

 

           13              Maybe Mrs. Gatelli can report on that in

 

           14              motions.

 

           15                      Now, the apparent failure on the

 

           16              city's part to enforce subdivision

 

           17              regulations is a good segway to inquiring

 

           18              about the request for proposals appearing in

 

           19              the Times-Tribune for a city engineer.  Is

 

           20              this a replacement for Mr. Swanson or in

 

           21              addition to the DPW staff?  Also, why an RFP

 

           22              and why not a hire?

 

           23                      Now, I will close my comments

 

           24              tonight with the information and request.  I

 

           25              spoke to State Representative Bob Freeman's


 

 

                                                                      75

 

 

            1              staff in Harrisburg and they told me

 

            2              Mr. Freeman -- may I finish this, sir?  May

 

            3              I?  Thank you.  Mr. Freeman will be

 

            4              reintroducing legislation that would provide

 

            5              state funding to municipalities to

 

            6              compensate them for high levels of tax

 

            7              exempt properties.  I request council to pay

 

            8              a motion tonight requesting our local

 

            9              representatives Ken Smith and Kevin Murphy

 

           10              to cosponser Mr. Freeman's legislation,

 

           11              Scranton taxpayers need the help.  Thank

 

           12              you.

 

           13                      MR. UNGVARSKY: Good evening, City

 

           14              Council.  I'm Tom Ungvarsky, and I'm a

 

           15              member of the Scranton and Lackawanna County

 

           16              Taxpayers.  Over the last couple of years we

 

           17              have conducted interviews with candidates

 

           18              running for office.  We have interviewed

 

           19              Congressman Kanjorski and Mayor Lou

 

           20              Barletta.  We interviewed Frank Andrew

 

           21              Shimkus and Kevin Murphy.  We interviewed

 

           22              all three county commissioners along with

 

           23              Mr. Cordaro and Evie Raflako-McNulty and

 

           24              many others.  We have never had a complaint

 

           25              that we were unfair or asked the wrong kind


 

 

                                                                      76

 

 

            1              of questions or were rude.

 

            2                      Last week a council member said she

 

            3              does not trust our organization.  I think it

 

            4              would have been befitting if she came and

 

            5              answered the five questions along with

 

            6              Mrs. Fanucci and proved us wrong.

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI: I had my party that

 

            8              night.

 

            9                      MR. UNGVARSKY: Thank you.

 

           10                      MS. FANUCCI:  That's why I didn't

 

           11              attend.  I actually had somewhere to go.

 

           12                      MR. GERVASI:  Good evening, city

 

           13              council.  My name is Dave Gervasi, I'm a

 

           14              firefighter and resident in the City of

 

           15              Scranton.  I'm kind of flabbergasted here

 

           16              tonight.  We were told this afternoon by a

 

           17              reporter from the Scranton Times something

 

           18              similar to that, the mayor is now saying he

 

           19              is not going to lay anyone off, he is not

 

           20              going to close firehouses and he is not

 

           21              going to close engine companies; is that

 

           22              accurate in that letter?

 

           23                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  It doesn't say

 

           24              layoff.

 

           25                      MS. FANUCCI: It doesn't say layoff.


 

 

                                                                      77

 

 

            1                      MR. GERVASI: Layoff.

 

            2                      MS. FANUCCI: It doesn't say

 

            3              anything, but yea, just says engine houses

 

            4              and -- yeah.

 

            5                      MR. GERVASI:  Just to review what I

 

            6              said last week, the mayor has stated over

 

            7              and over and over the Recovery Plan says,

 

            8              the Court order says he could to this and he

 

            9              said it.  In February he said, we are going

 

           10              to build superstations.  That means close

 

           11              neighborhood firehouses and put them in

 

           12              superstations.  He said right after that,

 

           13              right after he made the superstation thing

 

           14              our president met with the city and Director

 

           15              Hayes and Stu Renda, the business

 

           16              administrator said they are going to close

 

           17              Engine 4 and Engine 9.  The next day the

 

           18              mayor denied it and said they are not.  The

 

           19              day after that the director says, yes, we

 

           20              have plans of closing Engine 4 and Engine 9,

 

           21              and now today he is saying he is not going

 

           22              to do anything.

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI: Can I just ask, how

 

           24              does this happen?  Like, you know, you are

 

           25              saying this, we are hearing that, I mean,


 

 

                                                                      78

 

 

            1              there is not one -- we haven't had a

 

            2              consistent story yet.

 

            3                      MR. GERVASI:  True.

 

            4                      MS. FANUCCI: You know what I mean?

 

            5                      MR. GERVASI: How do you think we

 

            6              feel?  We are the ones who are going to have

 

            7              to work in this department when apparently

 

            8              they don't have a plan, everyone is

 

            9              contradicting each other on a daily basis,

 

           10              but what I will tell you is this, there is

 

           11              no possible mathematical way that he can do

 

           12              what the Court order says if he is going to

 

           13              reduce our staff whether it's through

 

           14              attrition or layoffs or whatever.

 

           15                      There is no way he could run the

 

           16              department the way it is right now without

 

           17              closing firehouses.  It's impossible.  The

 

           18              way the schedule runs with Kelly days built

 

           19              in and everything else there is no way he

 

           20              can do this.  It's impossible to do.  I

 

           21              think this council has to sit down with our

 

           22              union and we will show it to you in black

 

           23              and white, in graphs and charts, and in

 

           24              mathematically what he is saying can't

 

           25              possibly be true.


 

 

                                                                      79

 

 

            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Mr. Gervasi, if I

 

            2              could interrupt you for a second.

 

            3                      MR. GERVASI: Sure.

 

            4                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I think what we need

 

            5              is what we has asked for, the plan, what the

 

            6              plan is.

 

            7                      MR. GERVASI: What's the plan?

 

            8                      MR. COURTRIGHT: We got that answer,

 

            9              but we've got no plan and so I believe it

 

           10              was Mr. Judge that spoke, I don't want to

 

           11              use your time up, he said that Mr. Hayes he

 

           12              has envelopes with different scenarios in it

 

           13              and so I will wait until motions I'll ask

 

           14              can we send a letter to see these scenarios

 

           15              because we haven't seen anything and I don't

 

           16              want to take up your time.

 

           17                      MR. GERVASI: Just one other point

 

           18              I'd like to make because the vast majority

 

           19              of this battle we have been having for seven

 

           20              years is on public safety, on closure, on

 

           21              layoffs, reducing staff and everything else.

 

           22              If the mayor would put what he put in that

 

           23              letter in writing for the length of our

 

           24              contract we could probably settle 70 or

 

           25              80 percent of what we have been fighting


 

 

                                                                      80

 

 

            1              for.  We will have to work out some things

 

            2              in health care and some of the other

 

            3              squirmishes we have, but that would just

 

            4              about put it to rest what we have been

 

            5              saying for seven years.

 

            6                      So I would -- maybe if you can add

 

            7              to that letter, tell him to put it in

 

            8              writing and put it in our contract and

 

            9              that's one less things we have to worry

 

           10              about if that, in fact, what he is going to

 

           11              do.  I don't believe it because, I mean, it

 

           12              is seven weeks away from an election and I'm

 

           13              sure there is a lot of people probably

 

           14              telling him not to close companies or

 

           15              houses, but he said it.  He is on record

 

           16              saying it and now he is not saying.  Like, I

 

           17              just don't understand.  I don't understand,

 

           18              but please put that in.  If you are going to

 

           19              send him a letter, please tell him to put it

 

           20              in writing to the firefighters, to the

 

           21              union, we'll attach it our contract as a

 

           22              memorandum of understanding, and that's a

 

           23              whole bunch of stuff we are not going to

 

           24              have to worry about from this point on.

 

           25              Thank you very much.


 

 

                                                                      81

 

 

            1                      MS: O'MALLEY:  Good evening, city

 

            2              council.  How is everybody tonight?

 

            3              Mr. McGoff, Mr. Courtright, Sherry,

 

            4              Mrs. Evans, and Judy I'm back and it's been

 

            5              two years since I have been here.  It's a

 

            6              long time, rough road, but I'm so happy to

 

            7              tell you, the road is open.

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI: Wow.  Are you serious?

 

            9                      MS. O'MALLEY:  Every one in the last

 

           10              two years has seen me wherever I have had

 

           11              leukemia, I got hurt at work and I was

 

           12              diagnosed with leukemia.  I'm much better

 

           13              and I'm back, but, I mean it's been a rough

 

           14              road.  It's been a really rough road, but

 

           15              you can go up to Maple Street and it is open

 

           16              up to and including my property.

 

           17                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Great.

 

           18                      MS. O'MALLEY:  I also want to know

 

           19              that they are doing other water problems at

 

           20              the beginning of Moltke Avenue, like as soon

 

           21              as you make the turn and go in, they are

 

           22              fixing it there, and at the very end of

 

           23              Maple -- no, at the very end of Moltke when

 

           24              you go up they are putting all new drains in

 

           25              there, too, so it's not just mine, but all


 

 

                                                                      82

 

 

            1              of Moltke is being taken care of.

 

            2                      And I came here tonight to thank

 

            3              Judy Gatelli because it's all her, along

 

            4              with Jeff Brazil, and I got to say this as

 

            5              much as it hurts, Mayor Chris Doherty.  He

 

            6              did it.  He opened Maple Street.  It's taken

 

            7              a long, long, long time, but it's done, and

 

            8              I can't thank you guys enough for putting up

 

            9              with me, for my rantings and my ravings, my

 

           10              carrying on, but I am now a taxpayer on land

 

           11              I can use.

 

           12                      MS. FANUCCI: Wow.  That's good.

 

           13              Good for you.

 

           14                      MS. O'MALLEY: Thank you.  One more

 

           15              quick thing, Scranton Knights, as you know,

 

           16              is having our annual night at the races,

 

           17              please come, enjoy, have fun.  I'm going to

 

           18              work on this now to raise money for Scranton

 

           19              Knights.  Thank you again, everybody.  Judy,

 

           20              thank you so much and Jeff and Mayor

 

           21              Doherty.  Thank you, everybody.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone?

 

           23                      MS. KRAKE: Good evening, Council.

 

           24              My name is Nancy Krake.  I'm very glad to

 

           25              hear about the property being opened up, but


 

 

                                                                      83

 

 

            1              it does make me think that if every year

 

            2              could only be an election year we'd have

 

            3              property opened up, we'd have firehouses, it

 

            4              would be wonderful.

 

            5                      I have a question for Attorney

 

            6              Minora, is the lawsuit Mrs. Gatelli has

 

            7              against a private citizen still active?

 

            8                      MR. MINORA: I'm not sure which one

 

            9              you are referring to, there is a lot of

 

           10              lawsuits floating around.

 

           11                      MS. KRAKE: Mrs. Gatelli has more

 

           12              than one lawsuit against a private citizen?

 

           13                      MR. MINORA: There are a number of

 

           14              lawsuits --

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Krake, I don't know

 

           16              that this is a question that Attorney Minora

 

           17              should be answering.

 

           18                      MS. KRAKE:  I simply asked if it was

 

           19              active.  I didn't ask the specifics.  I

 

           20              apologize if that's --

 

           21                      MR. MCGOFF: Why don't you ask --

 

           22                      MS. GATELLI:  He doesn't know

 

           23              because he is not the attorney.

 

           24                      MS. KRAKE: I know he is the not the

 

           25              attorney, I would not ask the attorney.


 

 

                                                                      84

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: I just don't know why

 

            2              the question is being asked of Attorney

 

            3              Minora because it's -- he is not involved.

 

            4                      MS. KRAKE: Well, apparently you are

 

            5              not going to have answer that, Attorney

 

            6              Minora, they have giving you a lot of outs,

 

            7              but I would respectfully ask you to answer

 

            8              the question.

 

            9                      MR. MINORA: I don't need an out.  I

 

           10              don't know have the answer for you.

 

           11                      MS. KRAKE: That's fine.  That's what

 

           12              I would hear the truth.  Thank you.  I

 

           13              appreciate that.  I would like to say though

 

           14              that I do believe frivolous lawsuits should

 

           15              not be part of what the city does or this

 

           16              council in an economy that's in such a

 

           17              downturn.  There is no reason to throw

 

           18              taxpayer dollars away.  We know Mrs. Gatelli

 

           19              isn't shy to raise your real estate taxes

 

           20              27 percent or impose huge fines which can

 

           21              quadruple your taxes, your homeowners' taxes

 

           22              when you can't afford to pay them on time,

 

           23              and if Mayor Doherty gets another term and

 

           24              if Councilpersons Gatelli and Fanucci who

 

           25              support his policies of borrow, tax and


 

 

                                                                      85

 

 

            1              spend get additional turns we can be assured

 

            2              for four more years of the same.  I think

 

            3              the real question here though is can the

 

            4              City of Scranton and it's citizens survive

 

            5              another four years of this, and

 

            6              Mrs. Williams I believe unwittingly drove

 

            7              that home beautifully earlier.  All of the

 

            8              businesses she named were thriving

 

            9              longstanding businesses in the City of

 

           10              Scranton, I should say for the most part

 

           11              businesses she named, well before Mayor

 

           12              Doherty became to office.  Most, in fact, I

 

           13              remember growing up here.  The businesses

 

           14              Mr. Hubbard names for the most part were

 

           15              businesses that have come and gone during

 

           16              Mayor Doherty's term.  Thank you very much.

 

           17                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: Hello, Bill.

 

           18                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Hi, Chris.

 

           19                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: Hell, Judge.

 

           20                      MS. GATELLI: Chrissy.

 

           21                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Up a little bit.

 

           22                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: Judy, our first game

 

           23              this week, you know?

 

           24                      MS. GATELLI: I know.

 

           25                      MR. SLEDENZSKI: Well, girls, good


 

 

                                                                      86

 

 

            1              luck.  Thank you.

 

            2                      MR. ANCHERANI: Good evening.  Nelson

 

            3              Ancherani, First Amendment Rights.

 

            4              Question:  Does anyone know what you will do

 

            5              when there is a deficit because we are not

 

            6              getting the full 5.5 million that was

 

            7              plugged into the budget from the zero

 

            8              balance account found in the Single Tax

 

            9              Office?  That money has been sitting in that

 

           10              account for a number of years and just

 

           11              discovered last year.  If we had a

 

           12              5.5 million deficit that the money from the

 

           13              tax office was going to plug, what kind of a

 

           14              deficit will be claimed for 2010?  Will the

 

           15              claim be that we will have a 11 million

 

           16              deficit for 2010 and if we have a 11 million

 

           17              deficit where will that money come from?

 

           18              Will you three, Mrs. Gatelli, Mr. McGoff and

 

           19              Ms. Fanucci vote on another budget that

 

           20              raises our taxes 25 percent?  Will you raise

 

           21              our taxes another 25 percent for 2011 when

 

           22              we have another deficit or will you three

 

           23              vote for borrowing instead?

 

           24                      Don't forget Mr. Cross from the PA

 

           25              Economy League, local bankers and mayors


 

 

                                                                      87

 

 

            1              wanted two more 20 percent tax increases and

 

            2              will you three vote to borrow more money to

 

            3              put our long-term debt over the $300 million

 

            4              mark?  The way the economy is the loans are

 

            5              probably out so 20 percent tax increases are

 

            6              the likely option.  How will you three

 

            7              justify voting on record budgets and raises

 

            8              for favorites?  How do you justify record

 

            9              budgets when a police and fire unions are

 

           10              getting the blame by the administration for

 

           11              not being able to get it's financial

 

           12              business in order when the police and fire

 

           13              budgets remain static for the last seven

 

           14              years?

 

           15                      As I said before, taxpayers bend

 

           16              over and grab your ankles and kiss your

 

           17              butts goodbye.  Does anybody know why our

 

           18              rates were raised 56 percent by the Sewer

 

           19              Authority when with this year's budget we

 

           20              will have paid over eight million in

 

           21              leaseback payments plus the cost over four

 

           22              million in constructing the building.  This

 

           23              is according to the expenditure budget for

 

           24              items listed as OPERTFS debt service, sale

 

           25              leaseback of DPW series 2004, 2005, since


 

 

                                                                      88

 

 

            1              2005.  Does this mean that we taxpayers are

 

            2              or have been paying twice?  Does this mean

 

            3              that the 56 percent rate hike was not needed

 

            4              and since we, the taxpayers, are paying the

 

            5              sale leaseback of the DPW through our taxes?

 

            6              How much more will be needed to budget next

 

            7              year for the leaseback?  Does this mean that

 

            8              he have paid over $8 million for a DPW

 

            9              building that we paid over four million for

 

           10              a few short years ago?  Again, like

 

           11              Mrs. Evans says, it doesn't pass the smelly

 

           12              test.

 

           13                      Again, does anyone know why

 

           14              nondepartmental expenditures does not appear

 

           15              in the pie chart as expenditures?  This is

 

           16              24 million rounded off, 24 million not

 

           17              showing up on a pie chart.  Why?  Evidently,

 

           18              it was omitted for a reason.  Was it omitted

 

           19              to make it appear that the police and fire

 

           20              were made to look like they were responsible

 

           21              for 49 percent of the budget when they are

 

           22              only responsible for 35 percent?

 

           23                      The way to find that out is to go

 

           24              through the budget, which I would venture to

 

           25              guess that you three who voted for the


 

 

                                                                      89

 

 

            1              budget did not read or do the figures.

 

            2              Mrs. Evans and Mr. Courtright did not vote

 

            3              for the budget.  Mrs. Evans submitted a

 

            4              budget, but it was ignored by you three,

 

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

 

            6                      I asked the total of 17 questions in

 

            7              the last few minutes, let's see how many of

 

            8              them are answered.  Thank you.

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?  Mrs.

 

           10              Evans?

 

           11                      MS. EVANS: Good evening.  I think

 

           12              I'm going to begin by answering a few of the

 

           13              questions that were posed this evening and

 

           14              then I'll continue along with my some

 

           15              matters and motions that I had prepared.

 

           16                      First of all, a speaker asked what

 

           17              has been place on the agenda or what

 

           18              legislation has been written by council, and

 

           19              just a few that came to my mind were as

 

           20              follows:  The oversight committee for ECTV,

 

           21              the amendment on at least two occasions to

 

           22              delinquent tax ordinance.  I had also

 

           23              created three budgets as well as one list of

 

           24              cuts, legislation to lower the bidding

 

           25              threshold from 20,000 to $10,000.  Sadly,


 

 

                                                                      90

 

 

            1              out of those pieces of legislation that I

 

            2              had put forth, only one of all of those had

 

            3              been adopted.

 

            4                      Someone asked earlier also about

 

            5              Goodwill Industries, and I wanted to respond

 

            6              that the speaker's additional questions were

 

            7              given to the executive director of Goodwill

 

            8              Industries and I am awaiting a response from

 

            9              him, but in addition to that, and I'll

 

           10              address this probably under citizens'

 

           11              requests, Kay, I'm also going to ask for his

 

           12              response once again, but add to that

 

           13              questions concerning each phase of this

 

           14              development project.  Can he provide a

 

           15              description of each of the phases of the

 

           16              project.

 

           17                      Golf course money was also raised by

 

           18              another speaker, and I would say that 1.5 of

 

           19              the $3 million was used by the majority

 

           20              members of council to lower the realty

 

           21              transfer tax, and I believe that would have

 

           22              been two years ago.  The additional or I

 

           23              should say the remainder 1.5 million remains

 

           24              in FNCB in CD's collecting interest.

 

           25                      And again, in response to another


 

 

                                                                      91

 

 

            1              speaker's request based on breaking news

 

            2              that the mayor will not close fire engine

 

            3              companies and will not decrease manpower, I

 

            4              move to send a letter to the mayor from

 

            5              Scranton City Council requesting that a

 

            6              memorandum of understanding is drafted

 

            7              signed by the mayor and the union president,

 

            8              Mr. Dave Schreiber, and added to the

 

            9              Scranton Firefighters' contract on or before

 

           10              May 1, 2009, and such document must state

 

           11              that no firehouses, no engine companies will

 

           12              close and that no reductions to staffing be

 

           13              below current levels will be made, additions

 

           14              can occur.

 

           15                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?  I

 

           17              personally I'm not going to -- I don't feel

 

           18              that I'm adequately prepared to vote on that

 

           19              at this point in time since it's something

 

           20              that was just brought up this evening.  I

 

           21              would like to have time to discuss it with

 

           22              other members of council and to deem if it's

 

           23              worthy to, you know -- if it is something

 

           24              that we want to do.  I don't think that we

 

           25              should vote on this at on the spur of the


 

 

                                                                      92

 

 

            1              moment.

 

            2                      MS. FANUCCI: And I'm going to ask,

 

            3              Amil, being the fact this is under contract

 

            4              negotiation is this something that we are

 

            5              actually even able to do because you can't

 

            6              even find out what they're actually talking

 

            7              about in the negotiations.

 

            8                      MR. MINORA:Well, we certainly can't

 

            9              force the mayor to do it --

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: No, I'm just sending a

 

           11              letter requesting that he draft.  We are not

 

           12              drafting it.

 

           13                      MR. MINORA: Right.  I understand.  I

 

           14              mean, obviously you can send a letter, but

 

           15              the net effect of it would be I don't know

 

           16              is it part of his entire negotiating

 

           17              strategy, how would he react to that?  I

 

           18              can't answer that.  Having negotiated

 

           19              contracts with the police and fire when I

 

           20              was solicitor and at least when I was at the

 

           21              negotiating table I wanted a package.  I

 

           22              didn't want to do this --

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI: Piecemeal.

 

           24                      MR. MINORA: -- one thing at a time,

 

           25              so that's my experience.  That's what I'm


 

 

                                                                      93

 

 

            1              thinking any administration would think.

 

            2              It's only the logical way to approach these

 

            3              things, so can we send a letter?  Yes, we

 

            4              can send a letter.

 

            5                      MS. FANUCCI: Right.

 

            6                      MR. MINORA:  Do I expect a result,

 

            7              not from my experience.

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: Well, I'm just basing

 

            9              this on the announcement made by the mayor

 

           10              and I believe it's very prudent to seek a

 

           11              memorandum of understanding because it

 

           12              appears the mayor can't be counted as a man

 

           13              of his word.  There have been more than one

 

           14              instances during his tenure when he has

 

           15              reversed course.  For example, this

 

           16              situation where I'm closing the fire

 

           17              stations and engine companies and then I'm

 

           18              not, and you could say, Mr. Hayes and

 

           19              Mr. Renda met with the union

 

           20              representatives, but the mayor certainly had

 

           21              to be well aware of what transpired at this

 

           22              meeting because he is their boss.  He hires

 

           23              and fires Mr. Renda and Mr. Hayes, and I

 

           24              would be certain that any statements made by

 

           25              them were on direct order of the mayor.


 

 

                                                                      94

 

 

            1                      And then we have, you know, the

 

            2              statement that he would be the sixth

 

            3              councilman.  Well, the only time I have ever

 

            4              seen him appear here is for swearing in

 

            5              ceremonies and appointments of council

 

            6              members.  And, you know, he swore he would

 

            7              be a fiscal conservative yet he has

 

            8              increased the debt by four times --

 

            9                      MR. MCGOFF: We --

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: I'm on the question, and

 

           11              so this is why now that he has been made the

 

           12              statement and put it in writing to council I

 

           13              believe now is the time before an election

 

           14              occurs because I don't believe he can be

 

           15              taken at his word.  This is a wonderful

 

           16              announcement, please don't misread what I'm

 

           17              saying, I am very pleased by it, but I want

 

           18              him to stand by it and not simply because

 

           19              it's 2009 and an election cycle.  I want

 

           20              that to stand through 2014 regardless of who

 

           21              is mayor.

 

           22                      And so I'm not going to withdraw the

 

           23              motion I believe this the time for the

 

           24              motion and it doesn't require discussion

 

           25              with the administration or the mayor, this


 

 

                                                                      95

 

 

            1              is council and this is where it should be

 

            2              discussed.  We make a decision we would

 

            3              either like the mayor to be held to a

 

            4              statement or we don't care to make him stand

 

            5              by his word.  It's really either or and we

 

            6              don't need outside --

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF: It's not an either or.

 

            8                      MS. EVANS: Well, we don't need any

 

            9              outside advice on this.  We are elected

 

           10              officials and I think we are all more than

 

           11              capable of making educated decisions.

 

           12                      MR. MCGOFF: I agree, but at the same

 

           13              time I would like to have an opportunity to

 

           14              make an educated choice and it's not an

 

           15              either or question.

 

           16                      MS. EVANS: Well, I'm basing this on

 

           17              what the mayor provided us.  I'm simply

 

           18              asking him to put it in language in terms of

 

           19              a memorandum of understanding that becomes

 

           20              an addendum to a contract.  If he truly

 

           21              means what he said he will have no problem

 

           22              doing this.

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI:  My problem is the

 

           24              contract negotiations and the fact is that

 

           25              you are, you know, you saying this and


 

 

                                                                      96

 

 

            1              piecemealing this is a wonderful thing, we

 

            2              are all very happy, but that's something

 

            3              that should be between the unions and the

 

            4              mayor.  If they want this then they should

 

            5              show up there, they should all sit down and

 

            6              get this done.  I don't know --

 

            7                      MS. EVANS: No, I agree with what you

 

            8              are saying, but then what I would say,

 

            9              gentleman and ladies, these were empty

 

           10              words.  They mean nothing.

 

           11                      MS. FANUCCI:  Well, wait a minute.

 

           12                      MS. EVANS: They are a campaign

 

           13              promise.

 

           14                      MS. FANUCCI: So what.  Janet --

 

           15                      MS. EVANS: I'm not saying your words

 

           16              are empty --

 

           17                      MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Jackowitz, we are

 

           18              trying to have a discussion.

 

           19                      MS. FANUCCI: But what I am saying is

 

           20              you don't know that.

 

           21                      MS. EVANS: I'm saying the mayor's

 

           22              words are empty.

 

           23                      MS. FANUCCI: How do you know that?

 

           24                      MS. EVANS: Well, we can send the

 

           25              letter and find out.


 

 

                                                                      97

 

 

            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Can I speak?

 

            2                      MS. EVANS: Sure.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: We are on the question.

 

            4                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I think what Mrs.

 

            5              Evans is saying is here is a letter that we

 

            6              have gotten, that there is a statement made

 

            7              to and she is looking to make sure that he

 

            8              is held to his word.  If I'm understanding

 

            9              you correctly.

 

           10                      MS. EVANS: Yes.

 

           11                      MR. COURTRIGHT: That might be kind

 

           12              of simple because that's the way I

 

           13              understand it.

 

           14                      MS. EVANS: That's it.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?  All those

 

           16              in favor signify by saying aye.

 

           17                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

           18                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

           19                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

           20                      MR. MCGOFF:  Opposed?  No.

 

           21                      MS. FANUCCI: Aye.

 

           22                      MR. MCGOFF: The ayes have it and so

 

           23              moved.

 

           24                      MS. EVANS:  Now, to another

 

           25              unexpected issue, it really was wonderful


 

 

                                                                      98

 

 

            1              that the people were able to hear the other

 

            2              side of the tax office saying saga tonight.

 

            3              The major pieces of a puzzle that have been

 

            4              missing for years, and I really want to

 

            5              thank Mrs. Costanzo for coming here and

 

            6              filling in those blanks and giving us the

 

            7              missing pieces.  That was why I had invited

 

            8              you and another individual to council and I

 

            9              had looked at budgets and traced them

 

           10              through the years and I knew that those tax

 

           11              collections figures had to be incorrect and

 

           12              it was a simple as that and for what reason

 

           13              I don't know.  I guess I share your

 

           14              frustration here.  No one listened to me

 

           15              either, but then lo and behold three months

 

           16              later huge amounts, all of this money

 

           17              discovered, and suddenly everyone believes

 

           18              it.

 

           19                      I don't know why that is.  I don't

 

           20              have answers for why no one will believe

 

           21              what I'm telling them because it's not

 

           22              something that's a feeling or woman's

 

           23              intuition, it's fact and figures and it

 

           24              should have been addressed years ago and

 

           25              there were people -- the reason I started


 

 

                                                                      99

 

 

            1              digging initially ws because people came to

 

            2              that podium and they talked about it and

 

            3              they continue to talk about it because it

 

            4              was something that just was never solved, it

 

            5              didn't go away so I thought it's worth

 

            6              investigating and that's all you had to do.

 

            7                      But here we are, and what I think is

 

            8              even more surprising is that we have, you

 

            9              know, a tax office that went over budget and

 

           10              is using funds incorrectly, we have one to

 

           11              two million dollars that's missing or I

 

           12              don't know the correct terminology, but what

 

           13              is appalling is that it's okay.  It's all

 

           14              okay.  Everyone has been pardoned and the

 

           15              apologists have done a superlative job, but

 

           16              I have to wonder in private business would

 

           17              this be permitted?  Would the person charged

 

           18              be held accountable and punished for that or

 

           19              would the business simply say, "We hired the

 

           20              wrong person.  Gosh, it took us, I don't

 

           21              know, five years to realize he is

 

           22              incompetent and now we'll just let that go."

 

           23                      And that's exactly what's going on

 

           24              and the only answer I can give any of you

 

           25              from all of this is only in Scranton.


 

 

                                                                     100

 

 

            1                      Now, council also received another

 

            2              audit report since last week's meeting

 

            3              according to Rossi & Sons, "Since the audit

 

            4              timetable has been delayed by approximately

 

            5              one month by the business administrator, the

 

            6              audit completion date of May 31, 2009, is

 

            7              not attainable.  Further, seven items

 

            8              necessary to the audit were not addressed in

 

            9              Mr. Renda's response to the audit timetable

 

           10              outline."

 

           11                      Also, as of March 24 the auditors

 

           12              still had not received a response to the

 

           13              first or second confirmation requests from

 

           14              the Single Tax Office, and they would like

 

           15              to know it Mr. Renda has requested an audit

 

           16              completion date from the Sewer Authority,

 

           17              Parking Authority, and Redevelopment

 

           18              Authority.  Thus, it seems history is

 

           19              repeating itself yet again.

 

           20                      Nevertheless, I hope that the

 

           21              administration and city authorities will get

 

           22              their act together this year in order that a

 

           23              city audit can be produced, admittedly not

 

           24              by May 31, but before the next city budget

 

           25              arrives.


 

 

                                                                     101

 

 

            1                      Over the last few weeks, in fact, as

 

            2              recently as last week Mrs. Fanucci requested

 

            3              a detailed list of city employees' salaries,

 

            4              health care copays, overtime, etcetera, and

 

            5              I think that's a good idea.  I was wondering

 

            6              though will that list include the DPW

 

            7              employees as well?

 

            8                      MS. FANUCCI: I asked for everyone.

 

            9                      MS. EVANS: Everybody.  Okay, that's

 

           10              good.  I know I looked at the letter that

 

           11              was sent out on your behalf, and I thought

 

           12              it said everyone, but then --

 

           13                      MS. FANUCCI:  All employees.

 

           14                      MS. EVANS: But later it was talking

 

           15              specifically about firemen and police.

 

           16                      MS. FANUCCI: That's because only

 

           17              firemen and police get arbitration awards so

 

           18              it applied to that and also longevity pay,

 

           19              only fire and police get that, so that was

 

           20              why it is it was done a different way -- I'm

 

           21              wrong?  But I did ask that.

 

           22                      MS. EVANS: Well, we could probably

 

           23              get the arbitration awards --

 

           24                      MS. FANUCCI:  DPW gets them, so then

 

           25              DPW gets them, all right?  I did request all


 

 

                                                                     102

 

 

            1              employees regardless, all employees.

 

            2                      MS. EVANS: So I just want to make

 

            3              sure we get all of that information on the

 

            4              DPW because I know from the liquid fuels

 

            5              account provided by the controller's office,

 

            6              for example, that the DPW typically receives

 

            7              a great amount of overtime particularly in

 

            8              winter months for essentially snow removal,

 

            9              and I have also noticed that within the last

 

           10              few weeks the DPW is out on weekends

 

           11              performing various jobs throughout city, and

 

           12              that's wonderful news, we all need that.

 

           13                      However, I have been told that a

 

           14              select number of employees are receiving

 

           15              overtime on a regular basis for having

 

           16              displayed certain candidates signs and for

 

           17              having signed some elected officials

 

           18              petitions for reelection that were

 

           19              circulated at the DPW by a city employee.  I

 

           20              would like to keep an eye on that overtime

 

           21              since I don't believe it's proper to receive

 

           22              overtime for political purposes.  I wouldn't

 

           23              want to be put in that position at either of

 

           24              my jobs, and so I wouldn't allow any city

 

           25              employees to circulate petitions for me


 

 

                                                                     103

 

 

            1              because I think it places everyone involved

 

            2              in a very uncomfortable position.

 

            3                      Next, Kay, I would like a list of

 

            4              all of employees who received double

 

            5              pensions at retirement which were given by

 

            6              this administration since January 1, 2002.

 

            7              It's a disgrace that taxpayers dollars were

 

            8              wasted by forcing retirement which provided

 

            9              health care costs and even double pensions

 

           10              on top of that for some and then replacing

 

           11              those positions with job creations and huge

 

           12              management raises.  It seems no meaningful

 

           13              savings were realized from that mess since

 

           14              both the city budget and the debt have so

 

           15              significantly increased in the last eight

 

           16              years.

 

           17                      Finally, citizens' requests:

 

           18              Residents of Race Street report that garbage

 

           19              has accumulated on one side of Heavy Duty

 

           20              Parts, a business located in the 500 block

 

           21              of Race.  Further, residents complain that

 

           22              trucks often idle and the fumes are

 

           23              preventing them from outdoor property

 

           24              maintenance and leisure activities.  Please

 

           25              send a letter to the owner and manager of


 

 

                                                                     104

 

 

            1              this business from city council requesting

 

            2              that they address these problems.

 

            3                      A letter to DPW.  I have noticed the

 

            4              street cleaner is hard at work again this

 

            5              year now that spring has arrived and that is

 

            6              very beneficial to our residents, however, I

 

            7              have also been informed that a neighboring

 

            8              city's street are cleaned daily throughout

 

            9              spring, summer and fall according to a

 

           10              schedule of odd and even streets on

 

           11              appointed days.  Vehicles that are parked

 

           12              improperly are ticketed and those cities

 

           13              raise supplementary revenue as a result.

 

           14              Residents of all sections of Scranton have

 

           15              complained of the filthy road conditions for

 

           16              the last several years and I would like to

 

           17              see a regular street cleaning program

 

           18              implemented city wide.

 

           19                      Also, please empty recycling bins

 

           20              and garbage cans at Nay Aug.

 

           21                      A letter to Jeff Brazil:  Please

 

           22              complete the work at 1956 Myrtle Street.

 

           23              The leak caused by an easement at this

 

           24              address still has not been identified.

 

           25              Consequently, another cave-in may occur in


 

 

                                                                     105

 

 

            1              the future.  In addition, the concrete and

 

            2              asphalt poured in the sink hole was never

 

            3              sealed.  As a result, the fill is chipping

 

            4              away as evidenced by pieces found in the

 

            5              homeowner's driveway.  Please finish this

 

            6              work properly so as to avoid further

 

            7              problems.

 

            8                      Please obtain a report from Brian

 

            9              Swanson regarding the request for a green

 

           10              arrow on South Washington Avenue and Elm

 

           11              Street which I submitted to weeks ago.  He

 

           12              was to determine a definite response last

 

           13              week.

 

           14                      Next, what dollar amount was paid to

 

           15              a Philadelphia firm for the financial report

 

           16              of the Scranton Tax Office by the City of

 

           17              Scranton?

 

           18                      And next, why does the city pay

 

           19              liability insurance for the train at Nay

 

           20              Aug?  Is it leased to the amusement company

 

           21              which operates children's rides at the park.

 

           22                       Why does the city pay liability

 

           23              insurance for 800 Providence Road.

 

           24                      Why does the city pay liability

 

           25              insurance for the South Side Complex?  Now,


 

 

                                                                     106

 

 

            1              I know we had questioned the ownership of

 

            2              that property within the last year to year

 

            3              and a half and the response sent was that

 

            4              this remains in litigation, although, I do

 

            5              know that when activities are to be

 

            6              scheduled at the complex you must receive

 

            7              the permission of the University of

 

            8              Scranton.  I also know when during periods

 

            9              of snow removal when snow needs to be

 

           10              deposited somewhere in the city because it

 

           11              can't be permitted to accumulate on the

 

           12              streets or on resident's properties workers

 

           13              have gone, even those who have subcontracted

 

           14              by the city to the South Side Complex and

 

           15              they have been denied access because it

 

           16              purportedly is owned by the University of

 

           17              Scranton.  So I know I have received

 

           18              responses in the past, but again, this is an

 

           19              important issue.  If we are paying liability

 

           20              insurance then I think I am safe to assume

 

           21              the city owns that property, but the

 

           22              University insists they own the property and

 

           23              if that is the case then they should be

 

           24              paying for the insurance on the property.

 

           25                      A letter to Goodwill Industries, and


 

 

                                                                     107

 

 

            1              I mentioned that earlier I'm asking for the

 

            2              responses to our previous correspondence

 

            3              that included a list of citizens' questions

 

            4              and I'm adding to that a specific

 

            5              description of each of the phases of that

 

            6              project, and that's it.

 

            7                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Gatelli?

 

            8                      MS. GATELLI: I just have a few

 

            9              things.  I have the agreement from the Ice

 

           10              Box and I'm going to have Attorney Minora

 

           11              review it again.  I know he does give me an

 

           12              opinion on that $600,000 if you want to

 

           13              share it now or you would rather review it?

 

           14                      MR. MINORA:  I'd like to take a look

 

           15              at it again. I haven't seen it in quite a

 

           16              few years, I'm going by memory.

 

           17                      MS. GATELLI: And it's interesting

 

           18              that Kevin Murphy was the president of

 

           19              council at the time and voted in favor of

 

           20              it.

 

           21                      The other thing I would like to send

 

           22              a letter to Mr. Seitzinger concerning 3244

 

           23              Pittston Avenue.  I went by the other day

 

           24              and I noticed that now there is a "For Sale"

 

           25              sign on it.  It's been condemned for many


 

 

                                                                     108

 

 

            1              years, it's part of one of the properties

 

            2              that a certain developer seems to be buying

 

            3              up and then he doesn't fix them.  I don't

 

            4              want to say his name for fear of causing any

 

            5              problems, but after I checked into this he

 

            6              bought 13 more properties from the county,

 

            7              so if we can also send a letter to Ron

 

            8              Kolajeski in the Assessor's Office and, Kay,

 

            9              I'll give you the name privately and see why

 

           10              they are selling these properties to this

 

           11              gentleman when he doesn't bother fix them up

 

           12              after he buys them.

 

           13                      I voted about the firehouse because

 

           14              I have always felt that way to keep our

 

           15              firehouses open, and I know I tell you that

 

           16              all the time that I marched with Connors all

 

           17              around South Side and got the names and I

 

           18              did believe in that, and I still believe in

 

           19              that, and we had a South Side neighborhood

 

           20              meeting last week and we took a vote about

 

           21              the firehouses and it was unanimous that

 

           22              they all wanted to keep the firehouses open,

 

           23              so I am going to keep my word on that and

 

           24              continue to vote to keep our firehouses

 

           25              open, and I think that's all I have.  Thank


 

 

                                                                     109

 

 

            1              you.

 

            2                      MR. MCGOFF: Mrs. Fanucci?

 

            3                      MS. FANUCCI:  I have nothing at this

 

            4              time.  Thank you.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.  Kay, if I can

 

            6              ask you, there were 1509 Court Street, it's

 

            7              in the Trip Park development in the rear of

 

            8              that property there is a lot that hasn't

 

            9              been sold yet and the owner is fearful that

 

           10              this year as in past years when the grass

 

           11              grows high nobody takes care of it and there

 

           12              is all types of rodents being attracted

 

           13              there and he has got a new home, and not

 

           14              anyone whether new or not I dont' blame him,

 

           15              but we have been down this road before and I

 

           16              am going to have to ask you again because in

 

           17              all fairness to the people that live there

 

           18              in the Tripp Park Development nothing has

 

           19              been done, so I would ask if we could ask

 

           20              the city solicitor to give me an explanation

 

           21              as far as the developer's bond.  I mean, I

 

           22              know, and I have been told, but I would like

 

           23              for her to put it in writing so I can give

 

           24              it to the residents back there.  It was

 

           25              explained to me that the timeline had run


 

 

                                                                     110

 

 

            1              out and, therefore, we couldn't hold them to

 

            2              that, but if she can give me something in

 

            3              writing as far as the developer's bond, and

 

            4              if we can also send something, it was

 

            5              Mr. Parker in days gone by and he is long

 

            6              gone, if we could ask Brian Swanson to let

 

            7              me know what has happened to the punch list

 

            8              that Mr. Parker had of all of the -- that we

 

            9              were all aware of, of all of the problems up

 

           10              there that haven't been resolved.

 

           11                      So if I can go get both of those

 

           12              things in writing so, I can give those to

 

           13              the residents up there, I think they feel

 

           14              they have been forgotten, and one thing I

 

           15              did try to explain to them this council we

 

           16              don't have the power that some people think

 

           17              we have to hold his feet to the fire.  We

 

           18              would like to, but I don't think there is

 

           19              any one of us here that agreed with what

 

           20              went on with this development, and I think

 

           21              some of the people have the attitude you

 

           22              know what, I don't know that I'm going to

 

           23              stay here because nothing is getting done.

 

           24              That's what they expressed to me anyway.

 

           25                      So we have not -- those who live in


 

 

                                                                     111

 

 

            1              Tripp Park, believe me, we have not

 

            2              forgotten about you and I think we're almost

 

            3              as frustrated as they are at what's taken

 

            4              place there, so if I can get those two

 

            5              things answered in writing I would

 

            6              appreciate that.

 

            7                      I can't remember the street address

 

            8              Kay, but I gave you one for over in South

 

            9              Scranton a woman had given me at Burger King

 

           10              the other day, did we send that letter out?

 

           11              Okay.  Thank you.

 

           12                      And, boy, I hate to keep asking you

 

           13              to send all these letters, I'm sorry,

 

           14              alongside the Lackawanna Little League the

 

           15              road is in very bad shape and it's heavily

 

           16              traveled all the time because of the events

 

           17              back there so we can ask them, I would ask

 

           18              them to wait until -- I don't know if the

 

           19              blacktop plants have opened up yet, but I

 

           20              wouldn't want to see cold patch in there, if

 

           21              they haven't opened up can we get the

 

           22              regular hot -- if they can take care of

 

           23              those holes there.

 

           24                      And I'd like to, am I saying her

 

           25              name correctly is it Attorney Patterson?


 

 

                                                                     112

 

 

            1              Okay, I spoke to her, she called me today,

 

            2              Lieutenant Glynn Thomas coupled with Tommy

 

            3              Lee and myself there has been complaints in

 

            4              the past about jake brakes and I don't know

 

            5              if most people know what a jake brake is on

 

            6              a vehicle, but it's the thing that makes a

 

            7              whole lot of noise when they don't want to

 

            8              use their regular brakes they hit the jake

 

            9              brake and then it travels down and it makes

 

           10              a tremendous amount of noise, but we don't

 

           11              have an ordinance in the City of Scranton

 

           12              referencing jake brakes.  Lieutenant Thomas

 

           13              and I think he was helped by Tommy Lee did a

 

           14              tremendous amount of work, Abington has the

 

           15              ordinance, they passed it onto me, and I

 

           16              passed it onto Attorney Patterson and just

 

           17              gave it to her yesterday and she got back to

 

           18              me today so I thank her, she is pretty

 

           19              efficient as far as I'm concerned in that

 

           20              respect, and she will be reviewing it and

 

           21              very possibly we could be seeing that

 

           22              legislation within the next week or two so

 

           23              we have a jake brake law here.

 

           24                      Lieutenant Thomas has gone through

 

           25              PennDOT and they have identified the streets


 

 

                                                                     113

 

 

            1              that have the proper grade for that law and

 

            2              if this council passed that all we would

 

            3              need is signage put up by the DPW and would

 

            4              be able to enforce that jake brake law.

 

            5                      And Mrs. Evans brought or made her

 

            6              motion that luckily for us passed 3-2 and

 

            7              I'm happy about that, but I would still like

 

            8              to send a letter to Director Hayes if, in

 

            9              fact, he does have the scenarios on what

 

           10              they plan on doing I would certainly like

 

           11              see them.  I think the citizens of this city

 

           12              would like to see what's going on and I

 

           13              think if we're supplied those scenarios

 

           14              maybe that would, you know, do away with all

 

           15              of this speculation because sometimes

 

           16              whatever the Times prints the people believe

 

           17              and I think we all know it's not always

 

           18              accurate.  Sometimes purposely not accurate,

 

           19              sometimes not on purpose, but I would love

 

           20              to see those is scenarios ASAP and we can

 

           21              give them to the citizens and then obviously

 

           22              to the firefighters who lives will be

 

           23              affected if, in fact, changes are made.  I

 

           24              think sometimes we forget they are people,

 

           25              too, they have families, they have lives.


 

 

                                                                     114

 

 

            1              They, you know, have to make plans just like

 

            2              we all do, so if their work is going to be

 

            3              changed I think they deserve the right to

 

            4              know.

 

            5                      And Mr. Langan, in all fairness to

 

            6              him he called me -- Jeannie is not here

 

            7              today, but about the monument and gaining

 

            8              access to the monument.  I only called him

 

            9              this morning, he hasn't gotten back, but

 

           10              when he calls back we will find out about

 

           11              that your' re answered to that monument,

 

           12              Jean, and don't call me tomorrow, I'll wait

 

           13              to see you next week.

 

           14                      And one last thing, Brain Swanson

 

           15              called me about Elm and South Washington and

 

           16              because of the fact that it's seems that we

 

           17              want an arrow in every direction now he is

 

           18              asking PennDOT to do a study to see if, in

 

           19              fact, the --

 

           20                      MS. EVANS: Oh, then you don't need

 

           21              that letter, Kay.

 

           22                      MR. COURTRIGHT: I am sorry.

 

           23                      MS. GATELLI: Tell him Moosic Street,

 

           24              too, please.

 

           25                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Moosic Street, okay.


 

 

                                                                     115

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS: You could ask him in a

 

            2              letter instead to just send us the results

 

            3              of the traffic study when that occurs.

 

            4                      MS. GATELLI: Moosic and Harrison.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: And I will call him.

 

            6              He has been pretty good about getting back

 

            7              to me, so I will ask him, but anyway, it

 

            8              seems that we wanted a turn arrow in

 

            9              everyone every direction possible now, so he

 

           10              is going to ask PennDOT to do a study and

 

           11              then we should get an answer, and one more

 

           12              thing, a lot of people calling about stop

 

           13              signs, again.  It's not like it used to be

 

           14              in the past where you could just throw up a

 

           15              stop sign, a study has to done and that

 

           16              takes time.  So if you ask one of us to see

 

           17              about hanging a stop sign and you don't hear

 

           18              for several months it's not because we

 

           19              didn't ask, they have to do a study.  They

 

           20              just can't -- legally can't just throw up a

 

           21              stop sign, and now that's all I have.

 

           22                      MS. EVANS:  Wait, Mr. Courtright, I

 

           23              spoke with Pat, and Pat told me to remind

 

           24              you about is it Corporal Bachman and what he

 

           25              did for her --  how she feels he really


 

 

                                                                     116

 

 

            1              saved her life.

 

            2                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Oh, yeah.

 

            3                      MS. EVANS: And she wanted you to

 

            4              take care of that for her.

 

            5                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes, that -- I'm

 

            6              sorry I forgot about that.  When you are out

 

            7              campaigning you are running into tons of

 

            8              people, and that's where I spoke to her.

 

            9              Corporal Bachman went above and beyond the

 

           10              call of duty and this woman truly believes

 

           11              that Corporal Bachman saved her life.  I'm

 

           12              going to ask, because I don't think it would

 

           13              do it justice if I tried to remember

 

           14              everything that she told me, I'm going to

 

           15              ask -- I know Pat watches so, Pat, if you

 

           16              can contact me, I see her now and again, and

 

           17              maybe put something in writing what you

 

           18              would like me to say about Corporal Bachman.

 

           19                      MS. EVANS: Well, she told me she did

 

           20              send a letter to the mayor and to Chief

 

           21              Elliott commending Corporal Bachman, but she

 

           22              didn't know if he ever received a copy of it

 

           23              and I think it was she was stopped by him as

 

           24              she was driving because her brakes were on

 

           25              fire.


 

 

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            1                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Right, her brakes

 

            2              were on fire.  If he didn't pull her over

 

            3              and tell her that her brakes were on fire

 

            4              the car probably would have caught fire and

 

            5              she would --

 

            6                      MS. EVANS: He evacuated her

 

            7              immediately before that could happen.

 

            8                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  And I don't know

 

            9              that do we -- we had it last year, maybe

 

           10              Mr. Gervasi can give me a nod, where we

 

           11              acknowledge all of the public safety

 

           12              individuals that have done -- we don't know

 

           13              that anymore?  Okay.  But I think, you know,

 

           14              he deserves some kind of credit maybe a

 

           15              letter from the Director of Public Safety or

 

           16              from the police chief.  What I'll doing is

 

           17              I'll call down and see if the chief did

 

           18              receive that letter and ask him to, you

 

           19              know, acknowledge Mr. Bachman.  She was

 

           20              very, very grateful, very grateful, and we

 

           21              thank him for that.  And that's it then.

 

           22              Thank you.

 

           23                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.  A number of

 

           24              things.  First, since Ms. Suetta is being

 

           25              placated in some ways, I did look into the


 

 

                                                                     118

 

 

            1              Planet Aid clothing collection boxes that

 

            2              she was asking about and there is no

 

            3              legislation that regulates the placement of

 

            4              those as long as they are on private

 

            5              property.  There is also no fee for placing

 

            6              them.  In speaking to Mr. Seitzinger, he

 

            7              said he was aware of them, he was not aware

 

            8              of the problems that were spoken about.  He

 

            9              was going to send out people from the office

 

           10              to get the addresses or the places where

 

           11              they were collecting and if there were any

 

           12              problems such as any, you know, clothing

 

           13              flowing out onto the streets or on the

 

           14              sidewalks that they would then contact

 

           15              Planet Aid and ask them to collect the

 

           16              clothing from there and to maintain them

 

           17              better and if there was no compliance then

 

           18              they would look into some type of censuring

 

           19              of them, but just the simple answer is that

 

           20              there is no fee and there are no real

 

           21              regulations other than standard ones for

 

           22              being so far from the curb and off

 

           23              sidewalks, whatever.

 

           24                      Second thing, some people were

 

           25              speaking about Tripp Park, I just want to


 

 

                                                                     119

 

 

            1              remind everyone, because I think we did

 

            2              mention it before that there is a meeting

 

            3              being held -- or I don't know that it could

 

            4              be called a meeting if Attorney Minora would

 

            5              have a more proper term, but Judge Minora

 

            6              will be speaking on that issue on April 6th

 

            7              at 9:30 to I believe some residents of Tripp

 

            8              Park about his order for, you know, what was

 

            9              it permits --

 

           10                      MS. GATELLI: No permits at all.

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: I don't know if the

 

           12              proper term would be --

 

           13                      MR. MINORA:  Kay just showed me the

 

           14              correspondence.  I haven't seen the order,

 

           15              obviously I haven't talked to him about it,

 

           16              but from the correspondence the hearing is

 

           17              on April 6.  It is a hearing to review his

 

           18              order to see whether or not it's going to be

 

           19              modified.  All of the parties have been

 

           20              notified and I presume they will present

 

           21              their arguments and evidence at that time

 

           22              and they will either modify it or not based

 

           23              on that evidence.  So that's what the --

 

           24                      MS. GATELLI: Is someone going to go

 

           25              to that hearing?


 

 

                                                                     120

 

 

            1                      MR. MCGOFF: I was just going to say

 

            2              I do plan on attending that and --

 

            3                      MS. GATELLI:  If you go could you

 

            4              also ask Judge Minora while you are there

 

            5              about the case against Speicher and what,

 

            6              you know, what status we'll be at with that

 

            7              for the retention pond?

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: If possible.

 

            9                      MS. GATELLI: Because there was a

 

           10              time frame --

 

           11                      MR. MCGOFF: I don't know if he is

 

           12              going to take too many questions from --

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI: Well, we can send him a

 

           14              letter.  Are you willing to do that,

 

           15              Mr. McGoff?

 

           16                      MR. MCGOFF: Yes.  Yes.  And the last

 

           17              thing tonight I just wanted to speak on was

 

           18              this whole question of firehouses and

 

           19              firemen and contracts.  It seems as though

 

           20              we are quite intent on negotiating this

 

           21              contract during city council meetings.  We

 

           22              get a number of, you know, people speaking

 

           23              on it, we are told stories, some of which

 

           24              seem to be true, some of which have some

 

           25              truth, some that are pure speculation and


 

 

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            1              then we end up questioning the voracity of

 

            2              people that are involved and tonight we are

 

            3              here talking -- we heard people talking

 

            4              about these proposed shift changes and

 

            5              proposals to close and I just want -- I did

 

            6              receive some information and I'm assuming

 

            7              that from the correspondence that I have

 

            8              received that it is truthful in nature.  I

 

            9              have a letter that dated January 28, a

 

           10              letter from the administration to the

 

           11              president of the firefighters requesting a

 

           12              meeting to discuss the changes necessitated

 

           13              by the Court decisions.

 

           14                      Also, a response to that letter was

 

           15              sent or received on February 3.  The union

 

           16              response was that they would like more

 

           17              information on specific proposals that were

 

           18              going to be made:  "We would request certain

 

           19              accurate and truthful information depicting

 

           20              the city's intents on restructuring the fire

 

           21              department prior to any such meeting."

 

           22                      I also have a correspondence from

 

           23              February 25, which was a draft of proposed

 

           24              shift changes.  We heard speakers say here

 

           25              tonight that this was sent to, again, the


 

 

                                                                     122

 

 

            1              president of the local number 60 IAFF, a

 

            2              draft of the shift changes that indicates

 

            3              the number of firefighters that would be

 

            4              used.  On this one it's a total of 142.  The

 

            5              shifts seem to indicate that no companies or

 

            6              no engines would be closed or taken out of

 

            7              services, and this was, as I said,

 

            8              essentially sent out the 25th of February.

 

            9                      A draft of that was also sent on

 

           10              March 4 to the chief and assistant chief,

 

           11              and again, the same draft with no closing

 

           12              indicating, no closings of any kind and

 

           13              also, again, no reduction in staff.

 

           14                      The final piece of correspondence is

 

           15              from two days ago from March 27, a second

 

           16              draft sent to the union, since no response

 

           17              was received for a meeting to discuss the

 

           18              shift changes, so for someone to come here

 

           19              and say that there is -- that they have no

 

           20              idea what these changes are going to be it

 

           21              would seem to me that these have been on the

 

           22              table or they -- or it was presented to the

 

           23              union, you know, a month ago and requests to

 

           24              discuss them with the union.

 

           25                      And I only bring this up because I


 

 

                                                                     123

 

 

            1              feel that we have taken on somehow the

 

            2              responsibility of negotiating this contract,

 

            3              that we are faced with dealing with stories,

 

            4              and I know everybody claims to have the

 

            5              truth.  The truth of the matter is that this

 

            6              is something that needs to be done between

 

            7              the union representatives and the

 

            8              administration and work there and not

 

            9              using-- and I don't believe that city

 

           10              council and city council meetings are the

 

           11              place where this should be negotiated.  I

 

           12              believe that our meetings have been

 

           13              subjected to, you know, these kind of

 

           14              stories and we have been asked to do things

 

           15              that involved us in negotiations and I think

 

           16              that we -- I believe that we should -- that

 

           17              it should be back to the unions and back to

 

           18              the administration and let them work this

 

           19              problem out until the satisfaction of, you

 

           20              know, both parties, but not for city

 

           21              council, and that is all I have.  Thank you.

 

           22                      MS. EVANS: Mr. McGoff, did we all

 

           23              get copies of that?

 

           24                      MR. MCGOFF:  I can make them.  I

 

           25              just received them.


 

 

                                                                     124

 

 

            1                      MS. EVANS: I know we have the one

 

            2              copy we got today, what was the announcement

 

            3              that was dated today that came late today.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF: Correct.  I can make

 

            5              copies.

 

            6                      MS. EVANS:  Yeah, that would be

 

            7              great because I -- you know, I'd love to see

 

            8              that.  I have never seen that and it's -- I

 

            9              don't know it just -- it seems -- I'm

 

           10              anxious to read it, but it seems like very

 

           11              convenient timing to go hand and hand with

 

           12              that announcement that was given to the five

 

           13              of us, but none of the backup given to the

 

           14              five of us.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF: I'm not going to get

 

           16              into an argument over it.  Mrs. Garvey.

 

           17                      MS. GARVEY: 5-B.  FOR INTRODUCTION -

 

           18              A RESOLUTION - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND

 

           19              OTHER APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE

 

           20              AND ENTER INTO MUNICIPAL SUPPLEMENTAL

 

           21              ENGINEERING AGREEMENT NUMBER 041761-D WITH

 

           22              BUCHART-HORN, INC. TO AMEND PART III OF THE

 

           23              AGREEMENT TO COVER UNANTICIPATED ADDITIONAL

 

           24              WORK NECESSARY TO CONTINUE SERVICES DURING

 

           25              CONSTRUCTION AND AN OVERALL EXTENSION OF THE


 

 

                                                                     125

 

 

            1              LACKAWANNA AVENUE BRIDGE PROJECT FOR AN

 

            2              ADDITIONAL COST OF $22,906.67.

 

            3                      MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll

 

            4              entertain a motion that Item 5-B be

 

            5              introduced into it's proper committee.

 

            6                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  So moved.

 

            7                      MS. FANUCCI:  Second.

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?  All

 

            9              those in favor of introduction signify by

 

           10              saying aye.

 

           11                      MS. EVANS:  Aye.

 

           12                      MS. FANUCCI:  Aye.

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI:  Aye.

 

           14                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Aye.

 

           15                      MR. MCGOFF:  Aye.  Opposed?  The

 

           16              ayes have it and so moved.

 

           17                      MS. GARVEY: SIXTH ORDER.  NO

 

           18              BUSINESS AT THIS TIME.  SEVENTH ORDER.  7-A.

 

           19              FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON RULES

 

           20              FOR ADOPTION - RESOLUTION NO. 115, 2009 -

 

           21              AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER APPROPRIATE

 

           22              CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE AND ENTER INTO A

 

           23              CONTRACT FOR PROFESSIONAL SERVICES WITH

 

           24              THOMAS J. MCLANE AND ASSOCIATES INC. FOR

 

           25              PRELIMINARY PLANNING, DESIGN, PREPARATION OF


 

 

                                                                     126

 

 

            1              CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTS AND CONSTRUCTION

 

            2              SUPPORT SERVICES FOR BILLY BARRETT

 

            3              PLAYGROUND.

 

            4                      MR. MCGOFF: As Chairperson for the

 

            5              Committee on Rules, I recommend final

 

            6              passage of Item 7-A.

 

            7                      MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.

 

            8                      MR. MCGOFF: On the question?  Roll

 

            9              call, please.

 

           10                      MS. MAGNOTTA:  Mrs. Evans.

 

           11                      MS. EVANS:  Yes.

 

           12                      MS. MAGNOTTA:  Mrs. Gatelli.

 

           13                      MS. GATELLI:  Yes.

 

           14                      MS. MAGNOTTA:  Ms. Fanucci.

 

           15                      MS. FANUCCI:  Yes.

 

           16                      MS. MAGNOTTA:  Mr. Courtright.

 

           17                      MR. COURTRIGHT:  Yes.

 

           18                      MS. MAGNOTTA:  Mr. McGoff.

 

           19                      MR. MCGOFF:  Yes.  I hereby declare

 

           20              Item 7-A legally and lawfully adopted.

 

           21              Motion to adjourn.

 

           22                      MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.

 

           23                      MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.

 

           24

 

           25


 

 

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            1

 

            2

 

            3

 

            4                     C E R T I F I C A T E

 

            5

 

            6        I hereby certify that the proceedings and

 

            7   evidence are contained fully and accurately in the

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

           11   ability.

 

           12

 

           13

 

           14

                                    CATHENE S. NARDOZZI, RPR

           15                       OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER

 

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