1 SCRANTON CITY COUNCIL MEETING
7 Tuesday, April 7, 2009
10 Council Chambers
11 Scranton City Hall
12 340 North Washington Avenue
13 Scranton, Pennsylvania
CATHENE S. NARDOZZI, RPR - OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER
2 CITY OF SCRANTON COUNCIL:
MR. ROBERT MCGOFF, PRESIDENT
6 MS. JUDY GATELLI, VICE-PRESIDENT
MS. JANET E. EVANS
9 MS. SHERRY FANUCCI
MR. WILLIAM COURTRIGHT
12 MS. KAY GARVEY, CITY CLERK
MR. NEIL COOLICAN, ASSISTANT CITY CLERK
15 MR. AMIL MINORA, SOLICITOR
1 (Pledge of Allegiance recited and moment of reflection
3 MR. MCGOFF: Roll call, please?
4 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
5 MS. EVANS: Here.
6 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli. Ms.
8 MS. FANUCCI: Here.
9 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
10 MR. COURTRIGHT: Here.
11 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
12 MR. MCGOFF: Here. Let the record
13 reflect that Mrs. Gatelli is in New York
14 with her husband for medical reasons. She
15 had asked that we move the meeting, but
16 there was no other night that was convenient
17 for other council members, so she will be
18 unable to attend. We have a proclamation to
20 MS. EVANS: Well, Brian, it's with
21 great pleasure that I'm going to present
22 this to you, tonight. I'm so proud of you
23 and I have been for several years, but you
24 really embody what the Scranton School
25 District is all about. You are the best of
2 "WHEREAS, the COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF
3 SCRANTON is desirous of honoring "BRIAN
4 SHOENER" for his many social and academic
5 achievements; and.
6 WHEREAS, "BRIAN" is the Class
7 Valedictorian of the Scranton High School
8 Class of 20098 a member of the National
9 Honor Society, Captain of the Scholastic
10 Bowl Team, a National Merit Commended
11 Student and Scranton High School's Scholar
12 of the Year; and.
13 WHEREAS, "BRIAN" President of the
14 School Orchestra has studied piano for 15
15 years being a Paderewski medal recipient,
16 performed in Carnegie Hall in addition to
17 having an original composition performed at
18 Yale University. "BRIAN" also studied the
19 cello for 4 years; and.
20 WHEREAS, "BRIAN" is a member of the
21 Hickory Street Presbyterian Youth Group, a
22 member of the Board of Council and performed
23 service time on the Lakota Indian
24 Reservation in Montana assisting in
25 rebuilding parts of the church; and.
1 WHEREAS, "BRIAN" a Jack Kent Cooke
2 Young Scholar is a recipient of the Jack
3 Kent Cooke College Scholarship given to only
4 30 students across the country which
5 entitles him to a full scholarship to a
6 college of his choice where he plans to
7 study Civil Engineering; and.
8 WHEREAS, "BRIAN" has been accepted
9 at Bucknell University, MIT, Carnegie Mellon
10 University, Lehigh University and Cornell
11 University; and.
12 WHEREAS, "BRIAN" is the son of Susan
13 and Darwin Shoener, of Scranton;
14 NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that
15 on Tuesday, April 7, 2009, Scranton City
16 Council wishes to congratulate "BRIAN
17 SHOENER", and his parents, on his
18 outstanding achievements and extend our best
19 wishes for success in all his future
21 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this
22 Proclamation be made a permanent part of the
23 Minutes of the Council, as lasting tribute
24 to "BRIAN SHOENER".
25 MS. EVANS: It is truly wonderful to
1 present a proclamation to a young man for
2 academic and humanitarian achievement
3 outside of athletic achievement. They, too,
4 are noteworthy, but all too often I think
5 the public disregards what is also very,
6 very important and I'm sure he will be a
7 leader of his community in the future.
8 Brian, would you like to say something?
9 MR. SHOENER: No.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Third order, Mrs.
12 MS. GARVEY: 3-A. CITY OF SCRANTON,
13 ANNUAL FINANCIAL REPORT FOR THE YEAR ENDED
14 DECEMBER 31, 2008.
15 MR. MCGOFF: Are there any comments?
16 If not, received and filed.
17 MS. GARVEY: That's it for Third
19 MR. MCGOFF: Prior to citizens'
20 participation just a number of things that
21 I'd like to announce that speakers have
22 brought up in the past, so that if anyone
23 would care to comment during civic
24 participation they may. The first had to do
25 with the meeting with Judge Minora
1 concerning the Tripp Park development and
2 his order on and the stopping of or the stay
3 of permits, building permits in that area.
4 At this meeting attended by the attorneys
5 for both sides in the suit and also by
6 members of the city, what was finally
7 decided was that because there were some
8 issues that Judge Minora had not considered
9 and were announced or enunciated during that
10 meeting he asked that a proposal be drawn up
11 by the attorneys that they could agree to
12 that would set some guidelines for areas of
13 concern and that once this proposal was
14 drawn up and agreed to by the attorneys it
15 would then be signed by Attorney Minora --
16 or by Judge Minora, excuse me, and this
17 would be done hopefully the date set for it
18 was May 8.
19 All of the parties were amenable to
20 that and it seemed to -- and the meeting
21 ended with that with the proposals being
22 sent out by May 1 and then May 8 became the
23 time when it would be his -- Judge Minora's
24 decision would be then amended according to
25 those proposals.
1 The second thing, we did receive --
2 some people had been asking about the North
3 Scranton Junior High School and what was
4 taking place there. We did receive a letter
5 from Mr. Langan that answered three things:
6 It said, "Be advised that the gate in front
7 of the building was damaged three different
8 times by automobiles running into the gate.
9 It was fixed once, we were in the process of
10 fixing it a second time when it was hit
12 They are now in the process of
13 securing bids to fix it and it will be fixed
14 very shortly. Until it is fixed, anyone
15 interested in visiting the Veteran's
16 memorial can access this from the Theodore
17 Street entrance. The second thing was the
18 North Scranton project is being done in two
19 stages, stage one is the completion of the
20 auditorium which will also include
21 replacement of windows on all sides of
22 building. Stage two will take place while
23 stage one is being completed, and that will
24 be the development of housing that is
25 similar to the housing that exists now in
1 South Scranton. This should take -- it says
2 this should take one year from the start
3 date to the completion, and also the last
4 thing, "Please be advised that our building
5 is checked twice a week to assure no
6 homeless people have taken up residency.
7 Also, residents living near the school call
8 to report any problems and they are
9 addressed immediately."
10 So, that for those people who had
11 questions about the Goodwill building and
12 dealing with Scranton Junior High those are
13 the responses.
14 The last thing brought up last week
15 about pipe lines being placed on Meadow
16 Avenue. Mrs. Gatelli did do some research
17 into that and found that they are gas lines
18 that are being placed that will connect from
19 I'll get the -- whatever, was it the
20 Alliance Landfill?
21 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
22 MR. MCGOFF: From the Alliance
23 Landfill to the Cogen plant in Archbald.
24 They are designed to carry methane gas from
25 the landfill to the Cogen plant where it is
1 then somehow transformed to electricity or
2 use of energy. The methane lines that will
3 be -- although, they may be a little bit
4 larger, they are -- it's the same type of
5 line that is now in existence from the
6 Keystone Landfill to the Cogen plant and
7 that line has opinion in for 11 years and
8 methane gas that will be carried is very
9 similar to or natural -- to the natural gas
10 lines that we have throughout the city are
11 basically methane gas or much of it methane
12 gas, and so they are very similar in nature.
13 The last thing that she asked was
14 that she -- there is no -- she was unable to
15 find out if there is any fee that can be
16 assessed for these lines going through the
17 city, that was going to be investigated and
18 to see if that was something that could be
19 done, and that is all I have, those three
20 things. Mrs. Evans?
21 MS. EVANS: Thank you. First, I
22 would like to publically thank Mr. Langan
23 for responding so promptly concerning
24 Goodwill Industries project at North
25 Scranton Junior High School. I had asked
1 for that response and an update concerning
2 the phases of the project at last week's
3 meeting and he did, indeed, provide a timely
4 response. Also, please remember in your
5 prayers this week all who have died,
6 particularly, Paul Steppacher, father of
7 Scranton police officer, Katie Steppacher.
8 Alexa Hoffman, mother of council speaker
9 Charles Newcomb. Regina Pat, mother of Tony
10 Pat, and wife Sue; Catherine Wexler, mother
11 of Joe Wexlerand wife Cathy, and all their
12 dear familiar members and friends they leave
14 Also, St. Peter and Paul Russian
15 Orthodox Church, 1720 Academy Street, will
16 conduct a baked haddock dinner on April 10
17 from 4 to 6 p.m. Tickets are $8 and
18 takeouts are available.
19 The friends of the Scranton Knights
20 will conduct their annual night at the races
21 he raises on Saturday, April 18, at Holy
22 Rosary Center from 7 to 11 p.m. to benefit
23 the Scranton Knights football team. Tickets
24 are $10. Bring your friends and family to
25 enjoy food, drinks, music and horse racing.
1 Also, on April 18, a night at the
2 races will be held at Keyser Valley
3 Community Center to benefit the West
4 Scranton High School baseball team. Tickets
5 are also $10 for this event which begins at
6 7 p.m.
7 The PLCTA foundation Walk for
8 Autism, will be held at Nay Aug Park on
9 April 18 at 11:00. The booths and
10 registration area will be located near the
11 gazebo and a forum discussion of autism will
12 begin at 10:30 a.m. please try to attend
13 this worthy event to benefit autistic
14 children in our community.
15 And, finally, the Upper Hill
16 Ecumenical Committee invites you to take
17 part in Friendly's Family Fun Night on
18 Wednesday, April 22, from 5 to 8 p.m. a
19 percentage of all food receipts will be
20 donated to St. Francis of Assisi Food
21 Kitchen. Your support for this worth
22 project is greatly appreciated. And that's
24 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else? Fourth
25 order, citizens' participation. Les
2 MR. SPINDLER: Good evening, Council.
3 Les Spindler, city resident. First off, I'd
4 like to thank everybody for their
5 thoughtfulness and sympathy over the loss of
6 my mother, especially some council people.
7 Mrs. Evans, thank you for your kind words
8 last week. Mr. Courtright, thanks for
9 coming to visit, and I'm sorry Mrs. Gatelli
10 isn't here, we don't often see eye-to-eye,
11 but I appreciate the sympathy card she sent
12 so I hope she watches the replay.
13 Last week in the paper Mrs. Fanucci
14 called for the resignation of Art Moran from
15 the Democratic Committee because she wasn't
16 endorsed and said she was discriminated
17 against. I think the reason she wasn't
18 endorsed is maybe because the terrible job
19 she has done as a council person the last
20 three plus years, and the next thing is to
21 get endorsed you have to go and ask the
22 Democratic Committee for their endorsement,
23 which you didn't do, Mrs. Fanucci, so it
24 wasn't discrimination. Mrs. Evans wasn't
25 endorsed and she is not whining like a
1 two-year-old, so I think you should just
2 grow up and act like a grownup.
3 MR. MCGOFF: That's out of order.
4 MS. FANUCCI: That's not city
6 MR. MCGOFF: That's out of order, Mr.
8 MR. SPINDLER: I don't think -- no,
9 that's a fact.
10 MS. FANUCCI: Come on, Les.
11 MR. MCGOFF: That's out of order.
12 Thank you.
13 MR. SPINDLER: Moving on, about these
14 stolen signs again, on March 30 the DiBileo
15 campaign sent a letter to the mayor and Ray
16 Hayes to have the state police investigate
17 the sign stealing because they think the
18 Scranton police might have a conflict of
19 interest and they do have an idea of who is
20 doing the stealing, to date the mayor has to
21 the asked the state police for their help.
22 I wonder why. Maybe he doesn't want to know
23 who is stealing the signs.
24 Next thing, Mr. McGoff, next time
25 you have people coming in to speaking before
1 council could you make it in a caucus
2 meeting before citizens' participation?
3 When the tax collector and an attorney were
4 here it was the most boring and
5 uninformative 45 minutes I have ever been
6 here before, and I have been coming here to
7 seven years, and the tax collector didn't
8 even did all of the talking. The attorney
9 did all of the talking and she stood in the
10 back not saying a word. I think it was a --
11 we know nothing more now than we did before
12 that caucus.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Just for the record,
14 they --
15 MR. SPINDLER: Could you do it after
16 I'm done so --
17 MR. MCGOFF: You can hold the time.
18 I'm just saying for the record they were not
19 here at my request, they came --
20 MS. FANUCCI: We didn't ask them to
22 MR. SPINDLER: Well, then they should
23 have waited in line just like everybody else
25 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.
1 MR. SPINDLER: They are not
2 privileged people, they should sign in and
3 talk like everyone else. Saturday Chris
4 Doherty was in the Tripp Park section,
5 stopped at my house and handing out
6 propaganda that he is not closing engine
7 companies and that's an out and out lie
8 because there is documentation that he said
9 it last year he was going to close engine
10 companies, Captain Schreiber had them when
11 he was here two weeks ago, so why should we
12 believe anything this mayor says. He said
13 he was going to be a sixth council person,
14 that's a lie. He was going to lower our
15 wage tax, that was a lie. He said he was
16 going to work closely with the unions,
17 another lie. How can we trust anything this
18 man says?
19 Finally, I sent a letter to the
20 editor, to the Doherty newsletter, but they
21 wouldn't put it in so I think I'll read it
22 here at city council: "On Monday, March 23,
23 2009, a local television station aired a
24 report about political signs being stolen
25 from private properties. They even showed
1 someone caught on tape stealing a sign on
2 Harrison Avenue. The report showed many of
3 these signs thrown into the Lackawanna River
4 under the Market Street bridge. This is not
5 only theft, but it is adding to the
6 pollution of the river.
7 When the station contacted Mayor
8 Doherty, he said it was just a political
9 distraction. Instead of the mayor saying he
10 doesn't condone behavior like this and tell
11 whoever is doing is to stop it he made it
12 political. The mayor's solicitor should
13 educate him on the laws and tell him if
14 someone trespasses on private property and
15 steals that's a crime, it's not a political
16 distraction. I hope whoever is doing this
17 is arrested and prosecuted."
18 Now, there were about 70 DiBileo
19 signs stolen, there was one sign stolen of
20 the sheriff's opponent and the sheriff made
21 a comment: "Vandalism or theft of any
22 candidate's signs is something he neither
23 advocates or condones, Mr. Syzmanski said."
24 That's because one sign was stolen.
25 There were 70 DiBileo signs stolen and Chris
1 Doherty said it was a political distraction.
2 It figures, he makes everything political.
3 Thank you.
4 MR. MCGOFF: Margaret Miller.
5 MS. MILLER: I have some handouts.
6 Good evening. My name is Margaret Miller.
7 I'm of Native American descent out of
8 Georgia, the Cherokee tribe. I run the
9 Genesis Wildlife --
10 MS. FANUCCI: Is your mic on?
11 MR. COURTRIGHT: Is that mic on, we
12 can't hear you?
13 MS. MILLER: I run the Genesis
14 Wildlife in Nay Aug Park and there has been
15 a lot of battering in the news about it and
16 a lot of things said and I'm here to speak
17 on our behalf. First of all, we are not a
18 zoo and a lot of people cannot get this into
19 their head that we are not a zoo. We are a
20 wildlife sanctuary. The animals that are in
21 Nay Aug Park are animals that are unwanted,
22 they have been confiscated by the game
23 commission, animal rights groups, people
24 that shouldn't have them, people that don't
25 want them. They come to me with medical
1 problems, with psychological problems and a
2 lot of other things and I try to help those
3 animals out. I have been doing this for 30
4 some years and I do feel like I know what
5 I'm doing. When I first came in --
6 MS. FANUCCI: Can you close that
8 MS. MILLER: When I first cam into --
9 MS. FANUCCI: Hold on. Oh, you're
10 bringing animals in.
11 MS. MILLER: What I have is some
12 visuals here. When I first came into Nay
13 Aug Park in Scranton the mayor actually did
14 come down to my center, I was in there and
15 they did ask me to come here up here, and I
16 no longer have my buildings from coming into
17 Nay Aug Park in Scranton so, therefore, I
18 have no place to take my animals now. When
19 I came in there in Nay Aug Park I was the
20 first person, there was nothing there. The
21 building was -- some people think it's
22 really bad now, but the building was really
23 bad and if any of you visited at that time,
24 it was really bad and it took a lot of
25 people, a lot of money and time to get it to
1 a point that it would pass inspection and
2 bring the animals into Nay Aug Park and
3 everything came in around me, and everything
4 I think was held except the wildlife, and I
5 totally understand where the people are
6 coming from that they would want a nice
7 building and I want the same things that
8 they want, but I don't think that my animals
9 should suffer because, you know, what's
10 going on here.
11 I have a really good working
12 relationship with the state and federal and
13 I have given you copies of my report
14 reports, and they are there. The vet care,
15 there is one thing that was mentioned in the
16 paper that -- about the vet care and what
17 happened, the thing that they were
18 complaining about was I had to -- if any you
19 are still have it -- if any of you are
20 family with the animals Sid is an old spider
21 money that came from a zoo that retired him
22 and at that time he was pretty sick and the
23 veterinarian came up six consecutive times
24 in a row and they had slipped the paper in
25 the USDA federal report thing, and I though
1 I was doing them a favor by having a
2 veterinarian and sign that paper each time
3 they came when, in fact, it was mandatory to
4 have him come every month. When Sid was
5 well I didn't have him come and you know
6 yourself if you have pets you go yearly to
7 the vet for your shots and that's how it is
8 at the wildlife. He comes yearly unless
9 there was a problem. I am a veterinary
10 technician. I do the work myself. Robin is
11 here, she is a nurse, and she vaccinates.
12 We get the medicines, and the other thing
13 that was said about outdated medicines, I
14 had creams, eyedrops, some things that were
15 outdated and I think probably all of you
16 have some creams in your house that are
17 probably outdated. I have suntan lotion
18 things like that.
19 We did have one thing where that was
20 attached to the monkeys, it was Clavimox or
21 something in the refrigerator, my fault, I
22 didn't pull it out and throw it away. The
23 Chordata monkeys were put down, I didn't
24 need it anymore and I didn't think about it.
25 But they have made things into this major
1 battery of things that has really attacked
2 the wildlife for no real reason. Can I have
3 a little more time to speak or --
4 MR. MCGOFF: Briefly.
5 MS. MILLER: No one goes in the with
6 a large cats, and no one goes in with the
7 primates unless they are staffed with the
8 wildlife and the bottom line is when I go
9 out of Nay Aug Park, now, I did not receive
10 a written thing, but I was asked to start
11 finding places for the animals, even if I
12 find places, if other people find places
13 they can't go and you will find that in
14 there the game commission laws have changed,
15 they have to be euthanized. They must be
16 euthanized. It's not my law. I don't want
18 And the point of bringing Jerry is
19 he gets euthanized. Jerry came from an
20 animal auction, they drugged him out with a
21 chain around his neck like in the slave days
22 with his arm shaved, and I made sure --
23 Jerry has been with me a long time. Pat,
24 the bird, his owner was terminal and he
25 place -- she placed Pep with me hoping that
1 Pep would the rest of his life have a safe
2 place so she could die in peace knowing he
3 would be save, and the stories go on and on
4 with these animals, so they are not going
5 anyplace, and so the day I go out of Nay Aug
6 Park is the day the veterinarian comes and
7 euthanasia is just a sweet word for killing
8 them and it's not going to be easy on the
9 vet tech. They don't all go down. Thank
10 you very much.
11 MS. EVANS: Mrs. Williams, just
12 before you go though, I just want to clear
13 up two things so that there is no
15 MS. WILLIAMS: Okay.
16 MS. EVANS: You are saying that just
17 this primate would be euthanized or all of
19 MS. WILLIAMS: All of them.
20 MS. EVANS: All of your animals.
21 MS. WILLIAMS: Everybody. I'm going
22 to try to find places to send some of the
23 other animals that still can, but the
24 primates absolutely won't. They will all be
25 put to sleep, from the lemur right down the
1 line. Everybody.
2 MS. EVANS: Would this be a difficult
3 task --
4 MS. WILLIAMS: Yes.
5 MS. EVANS: -- for you to find other
6 placements --
7 MS. WILLIAMS: Yes.
8 MS. EVANS: From what I'm hearing you
9 say you received the animals --
10 MS. WILLIAMS: For the other animals,
12 MS. EVANS -- because they had no
13 place to go, had been abused or were ill,
15 MS. WILLIAMS: Exactly. And other
16 places are full and these are not zoo
17 quality animals because, you know, when you
18 go to a zoo you are going to see topnotch
19 animals because you are paying $25 to come
20 in the door, so you are not going to see an
21 animal with one eye or an animal that has
22 psychological problems or health problems or
23 whatever the case may. They come to me
24 without words and I have to figure out what
25 happened to them.
1 MS. EVANS: And were you told you are
3 MS. WILLIAMS: I was told that. I
4 did not receive a letter saying that, but,
5 yes, I was told to find places for the
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: By who? Who told
8 you you had to go?
9 MS. WILLIAMS: Chris Doherty did call
10 me on the phone and we talked a little bit
11 and he did say because of the economics and
12 different things and the way of the
13 building, things like that, that they
14 wouldn't be able to renovate it and that I
15 should start looking for places for the
17 MS. EVANS: Were you given a time
19 MS. MILLER: No, I was not, no. I
20 received nothing written, just a talk on the
21 phone. That was it.
22 MS. EVANS: I see.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.
24 MS. WILLIAMS: But it's not like a
25 big zoo is going to come and scoop them up
1 or I'm going to have this miracle thing, and
2 everybody can find places. They can get on
3 the phone or internet and places will say
4 they will take them, but they can't because
5 the law has changed. They can't take them.
6 The bottom line is they get euthanized.
7 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.
8 MS. WILLIAMS: And that's their
9 thanks for waking up Nay Aug Park, and that
10 breaks my heart because those little guys
11 woke up Nay Aug Park. They have given -- I
12 have veterinary students, kids from the
13 college that are going onto veterinary
14 school, in fact, I have one girl here that's
15 going onto veterinary school and her letter
16 is in there, Jess Smallwood. I have one
17 that's in the Caribbean now, Jet Corey, she
18 is in veterinary school, they worked with
19 these animals and learned the behavior and
20 the husbandry of animals one on one and
21 veterinary care and learned about these
22 things which is so beneficial for them,
23 because you can read about things in a book,
24 but doing them firsthand makes all of the
1 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mrs. Miller.
2 MS. MILLER: Thank you very much for
4 MR. MCGOFF: Bob Bolus.
5 MR. BOLUS: Good evening, Council.
6 Bob Bolus, Scranton. You know, what you
7 just heard from Margaret is factual. I went
8 up to the Genises Wildlife Sunday, I wanted
9 to see it myself. As I grew up at a child,
10 you know, we had the zoo. When my children
11 grew up, we went to the zoo. And, of
12 course, you know what's happened to the zoo
13 over the years, so that -- beating a dead
14 horse here tonight about it. But what you
15 saw if you went there Sunday, which I did,
16 Girl Scouts coming in, being talked to,
17 shown the animals, questions were being
18 asked. There had to be probably 75 people
19 when I was up there Sunday. This little guy
20 -- and I asked them to bring the animals
21 here today because I think it's important to
22 see what's going to happen to these animals.
23 Euthanization is a nice, kind word. This is
24 killing the animals. This is wholesale
25 murder if you really want to come down to.
1 It's a premeditated murder, we are
2 going to kill these animals. We are going
3 to deprive the kids and the families of the
4 City of Scranton the right to be able to go
6 Margaret has given her heart there
7 and then we have this woman, this Beatrice
8 Heveran or whatever her name is, well, I got
9 some research off the computer today and she
10 was charged with having piles of manure on
11 her property up in New England where she
12 came from. There is running discolored
13 water in trenches at the base of the slope
14 along the edge of the road, smelled, and she
15 is in here criticizing what we are doing up
16 there, what Margaret is doing, what her
17 helpers are doing, yet this woman comes in
18 here in here in a white veil, come on, let's
19 get realistic. This is Scranton. We take
20 care of our own. I don't know who she is
21 where she came from, but I want to know her
22 qualifications. I want to know what gives
23 her the darned right to judge what's going
24 on here. I want to know her medical
25 background in veterinary medicine.
1 I want to know who, just somebody
2 moves into the area and right away she is an
3 authority. I called up there and checked
4 with the board where she worked. Nobody
5 even knew who she was today, so I don't know
6 when she was on the board last. Let her
7 come forward. Let her come here and tell us
8 who she is that she can criticize of the
9 heart of the people of this city that are
10 taking care of these animals.
11 This mayor has played games with
12 this city long enough, and you know last
13 week I brought out his picture, showed a
14 kid, that's what it shows in the paper, he
15 is acting like a child, he is running the
16 city like a child and the Scranton Times
17 doesn't lie. This is the gospel, he put it
18 in there. We know who he is, we know what
19 he is about and this is an end result of it.
20 Not the guy downstairs that should act like
21 a man, not call up threatening people to
22 throw things out when he spent millions and
23 millions of dollars on Nay Aug Park, but he
24 can't stand here like a man and come up
25 here. It's a child, and this isn't child's
1 play anymore. This city is where it is
2 because of what he is and I want to see him
3 come in and say it, I want to see Gary
4 DiBileo come here and tell us what he plans
5 to do, I want to know what's going to happen
6 to these animals because they are going to
7 get killed. That's the hard sense of this
8 word. We are going to murder these animals,
9 and that's what we are doing and we all have
10 to take a hard, hard look. Look at those
11 animals. Look them in the eye. We are
12 going to execute them. Are we going to
13 permit that? I want a motion here tonight
14 that this council tells this child what's
15 going to happen.
16 I spoke about the horses last week.
17 I gave you the information, he breached that
18 contract, what kid doesn't like horses?
19 What kid doesn't like animals? Apparently
20 this kid does not, and that's the issue I
22 MS. EVANS: Mr. Bolus, I did notice
23 though, I read over the information that you
24 had provided and I did notice that that
25 particular company wanted to take over
2 MR. BOLUS: Well, that was between
3 -- and if that worked together and it was
4 hand-in-hand and they could do that, and
5 these animals survived and they worked with
6 Margaret you couldn't ask for anyone more
7 than having that.
8 MS. EVANS: No, I think what they
9 were suggesting they wanted to oust her and
10 take over the zoo and return it to it's days
11 of glory.
12 MR. BOLUS: That may have been there
13 conversation what they were doing. The
14 contracts that I gave you spoke for
15 themselves --
16 MS. EVANS: Yes.
17 MR. BOLUS: -- as what was happening
18 with the horse rides and all.
19 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.
20 MR. BOLUS: And just quickly, if I
21 may, Mr. McGoff, on the gas line, there is
22 no disaster readiness in place, there is no
23 training or anything else. When Keystone
24 Landfill ran their lineup to the plant they
25 ran it through the rural area of Dunmore and
1 Throop. This is going through the City of
2 Scranton, it's going down a railroad bed
3 that's been abandoned. It may not even be a
4 conforming use for that railroad bed
5 anymore. That was for trains, not the gas
6 line, and we need to look into this very
7 strongly. This line has to stop until you
8 have assisted and notified of the public, an
9 alarm, evacuation routes, shelters. There
10 is a disaster preparedness plan that must in
11 place for this to happen, and it's going
12 through Scranton, it's going through
13 Dunmore, and God forbid this disaster
14 happens in a mind subsidence and we have
15 this problem and you need to look into it,
16 so that's why I raised that issue.
17 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.
18 MR. BOLUS: And I gave you the
19 information on what they are doing, it's
20 going through DeNaple's land, you know, it
21 seems they do what they want, when they want
22 and no questions.
23 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you, Mr. Bolus.
24 MR. BOLUS: Okay, Mr. McGoff, if you
25 would do that I would like to wish everybody
1 a happy Easter and hopefully the animals
2 will survive. Thank you.
3 MR. MCGOFF: Doug Miller.
4 MR. MILLER: Good evening, Council.
5 Doug Miller, Scranton. I'd just like to go
6 back to last week I raised the issue of the
7 mysterious $5.5 million that we all thought
8 we are getting, you know, we went and
9 plugged it in our budget because we knew we
10 were going to have a hole, but obviously
11 it's election season so we weren't going to
12 raise taxes. But, again, I am going to
13 bring this up, I question council on this
14 and I hope you are going to make a decision
15 soon on how we are going to fill this hole.
16 You know, you put us in this situation by
17 passing a budget that you knew was
19 In recent days we have all been
20 informed that the future of the Genesis
21 Wildlife Center at Nay Aug Park remains
22 uncertain. Seven years ago, Mrs. Margaret
23 Miller transferred her animals from the
24 Poconos to Nay Aug Park because the city
25 invited her to come here. This agreement
1 was certainly a huge step forward in the
2 revitalization at Nay Aug Park. For the
3 past seven years thousands of city residents
4 as well as out of town tourists have visited
5 the Wildlife Center. Many college students
6 have also served internships working one on
7 one with the animals and the many volunteers
8 that you see here tonight. Many schools,
9 Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops have gone on
10 field trips to visit the animals. These
11 experiences have given visitors a better
12 knowledge and understanding of our wildlife.
13 However, today, Genesis must deal
14 with unfair criticism from a select few.
15 One of the lead critics that we heard about
16 tonight, Mrs. Beatrice Haveron, a former
17 board member of the Zoo of New England, has
18 made statements recently to the Scranton
19 Times saying, and I quote, "What the mayor
20 got he is pointing to as an attraction, she
21 said, it is a cesspool. It is an infested
22 public disaster. The citizens can get very
23 hurt there.
24 Well, I, as well as many other
25 people here tonight would like to know what
1 gave her the right to even open her mouth
2 and make a statement like that. I would
3 also like to know her qualifications
4 regarding animals care and while she is no
5 longer a member of the board in New England.
6 You know, it seems to me this is just
7 another example of someone trying to bully
8 other another person and, of course, in
9 Scranton we know what that's all about.
10 Many other critics have tried to
11 compare the Wildlife Center to the Bronx
12 Zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo, the San Diego Zoo
13 and so on. Let me make it quite clear to
14 you again tonight, and you already heard it,
15 and this is something that the
16 administration should have informed us all
17 seven years ago. Genesis is not a zoo, it
18 never was. Genesis acts as a sanctuary
19 caring for animals that you have heard
20 tonight have been abused and neglected by
21 others. Mrs. Miller, as well as her many
22 volunteers, have developed a sincere passion
23 and dedication to the animals that they care
24 for but because of politics and egos that if
25 the sanctuary is closed due to the change in
1 law, every animal in that building will be
2 murdered for no reason.
3 Lee Morgan and I will circulating a
4 petition across the entire area to help save
5 the Genisis Wildlife Center and I am asking
6 every Scrantonian that is here tonight as
7 well as everyone watching at home to join us
8 in our mission to help save the lives of
9 these innocent animals. Thank you.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Lee Morgan.
11 MR. MORGAN: Good evening, Council.
12 I would just like to give my phone number.
13 It's 558-1648 for anybody who would like to
14 pick up a petition, and I would just like to
15 add that, you know, I had a conversation
16 with Mr. Lesh who running for school board
17 and he thought the Genisis was one of the
18 best things that everybody ever happened to
19 this city. He gave me this phone number and
20 said he would really like to be involved to
21 help to, you know, salvage Genesis and the
22 only thing I have to ask is can council
23 itself state where it stands on this issue,
24 and I think it's important that Mr. DiBileo
25 and Mr. Bolus and the mayor even though
1 there has been statements made that the
2 mayor intends to close I think that these
3 people should come forward because if we are
4 going to elect a new mayor we should know
5 where they stand on this issue, because in
6 my own opinion when they asked this lady to
7 bring her animals here they implied
8 something to her and they must have
9 understood that she was not going to keep
10 the property she had originally kept these
11 animals at and when somebody comes forward
12 and decides they are going to close
13 something I think they should know what the
14 parameters of the decision they are making
15 are, and I'm just wondering is the mayor
16 informed that these animals will have to be
17 euthanized? And I think that somebody like
18 the Scranton Times or someone, maybe the
19 local TV stations or radio stations need to
20 ask this mayor, does he know that?
21 And as we develop the park around
22 the zoo I think Les Spindler went up there
23 and helped the clean up of the zoo because I
24 was talking to him in the back one day and I
25 think he stated he went up there for the
1 clean up, and I would like to say the mayor
2 has asked people to come forward and
3 volunteer, but how much can you ask a person
4 to volunteer when the people that work at
5 Genises most of them are volunteers and they
6 don't get paid and have done it probably for
7 years and they have invested in this
8 community and they have helped the rebirth
9 of Nay Aug Park and now are we going to just
10 dump these individuals and euthanize these
11 animals for another -- I don't know -- for
12 the life of me I can't really think what
13 this structure can be used for other than
14 what it's being used for now. And, I mean,
15 is this the city with the heart and have we
16 decided that we wanted them there because we
17 knew that he wouldn't afford a zoo? I mean.
18 This is the next best thing to a zoo. Young
19 children come through, they learn a lot
20 about animals, they don't care about the age
21 of the animals are whether they were
22 neglect, because quite honestly they
23 probably can't tell. Probably the only
24 people who can really tell they have been
25 neglected, I know I can't tell when I look
1 at them because I don't know their
2 behavioral patterns, but the people who work
3 there know that, but to me I don't know,
4 it's nice to watch them in the cage and know
5 that they are save and that somebody is
6 caring for them and they are the definitely
7 an asset to this community. And this is a
8 mayor who put a lot of money in Nay Aug Park
9 with the playgrounds and the lookout over
10 the gorge and all of the trails and all of
11 the landscaping, and I just don't
12 understand. I mean, if it comes down to a
13 point of them funding themselves then I
14 think we should give them an opportunity to
15 accomplish that, and not only do I think we
16 should give them that opportunity but we
17 should help them to reach that goal, and
18 that's I all I have. Thank you.
19 MR. MCGOFF: John Judge.
20 MR. JUDGE: Good evening, City
21 Council, John Judge. I'm secretary with
22 Firefighters Local 60. The reason I am here
23 tonight is to talk about something that we
24 brought to this council and brought to the
25 administration probably close to seven years
1 ago when Mayor Doherty first came into
2 office, but was met with resistance through
3 the mayor and Director of Public Safety.
4 There was a council, I think some of the
5 council members that are seated up there did
6 vote to have him reconsider, and it's the
7 QRS system, and I'm sure all of the council
8 members up there very familiar with it.
9 Mr. McGoff stated last week that we
10 are trying to negotiate our contract with
11 council. Let me just clear something up, we
12 have a contract. We have a contract right
13 now. The firefighters have a contract. The
14 Commonwealth Court award put forth a
15 contract that we are working under right
16 now. Mayor Doherty said that once that
17 contract was in place he would begin to look
18 at QRS. For the last seven years my brother
19 and sister firefighters have listened to
20 ambulance dispatches for people that needed
21 advanced life support, medical treatment, it
22 was recently just one a block away from -- a
23 couple of blacks away from engine seven I
24 believe it was last week or the week before
25 on Luzerne Street where there was somebody
1 that was in cardiac arrest. Our hands are
2 tied. We cannot go on those until the mayor
3 begins to implement that system. If you
4 look across the Commonwealth of
5 Pennsylvania, the municipal fire departments
6 are involved in EMS. All of the fire
7 departments that we have been compared to
8 have some type of QRS system in place. We
9 have brought this to council before, stated
10 it's a minimal cost, and what we also hear
11 happening over the past six, seven years is
12 we hear police being dispatched to these
13 medical emergencies.
14 I'm sorry, I was a police officer in
15 the City of Scranton before I was a
16 firefighter so I feel like I can speak on
17 this, after the cuts that have happened to
18 the police department as far as their
19 manning numbers and some of the -- they're
20 still running 66 to 70,000 calls a year,
21 that's not their job to be running on those
22 type of calls, especially when their
23 training is minimal compared to ours.
24 They're required as a police officer to be
25 trained in first aid and CPR. It's I think
1 24 hours worth of training. Almost every
2 single member of the Scranton Fire
3 Department is an emergency medical
4 technician which requires 150 hours of
5 training and we have to do 24 hours of
6 continuing education credits during our
7 certification over a three-year period plus
8 retain our CPR.
9 We have -- I don't want to give an
10 exact number, but it's probably close to a
11 dozen of our members are certified as
12 paramedics. I believe we have one or two
13 nurses. For our manpower to not be used in
14 that manner is a disservice to this
15 community. The mayor now has his contract
16 in place through the Commonwealth Court
17 award. This is a minimal cost to better
18 serve the citizens of the City of Scranton.
19 If you have looked across, I'll take
20 I think it was Boston, for instance,
21 Boston's survival rate when they started
22 training their firefighters as EMT's and
23 sending them on emergency advanced life
24 support calls the cardiac emergency survival
25 rate went up 50 percent since 1994. I
1 believe that it's -- if you look at the
2 American Heart Association 70 to 80 percent
3 of all cardiac emergencies, severe cardiac
4 emergencies will occur in a home. Our fire
5 departments are community based. We are in
6 the communities, the way that it's setup
7 now. We have, you know, outlying companies
8 that are very close. Our response times
9 reflect, you know, between four minutes our
10 average response times for our fire alarms.
11 The National Heart Association -- or
12 the American Heart Association and Red Cross
13 will tell you that you need to have external
14 defibrillation to increase the survivability
15 of somebody that experiences a cardiac
16 emergency within four minutes. Our
17 department is able to do that at a minimal
18 cost. I can't stress it anymore than that.
19 It's a very minimal cost. We already have
20 the apparatus, we have the training, we have
21 the people in place. I would be a very
22 minimal cost as far as the equipment that's
24 If you look at some of the things
25 that have happened in this city over the
1 last couple of years, the ambulance
2 companies are not starting -- I don't want
3 to say they are cutting their staffing, but
4 their staffing is become thinner because of
5 maybe the call volume or --can I just finish
6 my thoughts?
7 MR. MCGOFF: Please.
8 MR. JUDGE: Or it's possibly because
9 they are doing more transports. Whatever
10 the reason is, we are seeing an increase in
11 outside agencies such as Dickson City
12 ambulance who is now gone to a paid service.
13 We've had Chinchilla's volunteer ambulance
14 company come in the city a number of times,
15 Old Forge's ambulance company that's a paid
16 service came in several times. That
17 continues to grow. That number is now going
18 to increase as far as their response time if
19 they are coming from an outline place like
20 that. I ask council to urge the mayor to
21 start to develop this QRS program. If you
22 look back from the Scranton Times' articles,
23 2004, 2005, there has been three times where
24 he said that once you had the contract in
25 place this may be something that they look
1 at. It's a minimal cost to the taxpayers
2 and the city. It's a nominal at best. So,
3 please, urge the mayor to start to look in
4 this direction so we can serve the community
5 lot better. Thank you.
6 MR. MCGOFF: Andy Sbaraglia.
7 MR. SBARAGLIA: Andy Sbaraglia,
8 citizen of Scranton. Fellow Scrantonians,
9 last week I asked why we are still covering
10 the liability on the South Side Sports
11 Complex and we were told that it was sold to
12 the University. Is it sold, not sold? Can
13 the children -- if we are paying the
14 liability why can't our children use it? Is
15 it open for the children? No answer. Okay.
16 Let's go down to Providence Road.
17 Why are we paying for Providence Road when
18 lease the property out. Surely somebody had
19 brains enough to put into the lease that
20 they were liable for the property that they
21 are getting. We gave them a KOZ and there
22 it sites idle and we are paying the
23 liability. I don't know if -- I don't quite
24 understand why. I wish you people would
25 inquire why, because this requires --
1 MS. EVANS: Mr. Sbaraglia, we did. I
2 requested that all of the questions you
3 posed at last week's meeting concerning the
4 liability insurance issues would be sent to
5 the insurance agent and we'll receive a full
6 explanation of that. As soon as we receive
7 the response, we will give it to you.
8 MR. SBARAGLIA: You may get a
9 response, but it's in the contract. You
10 signed the contract. I don't know care what
11 the response is. You can't change it. Once
12 a contract is signed it's signed. You'd to
13 go to Court. They are not going to Court
14 over this. The people of Scranton are going
15 to be saddled doing this thing. Year after
16 year for another 99, probably not 99, maybe
17 another 90 years because that lease down
18 there is for 99 years. It was ashame what
19 that contract was written and I sat up there
20 many, many times. I brought that contract
21 up. It's immoral. It's bad as a lot of the
22 other stuff done by this council and the
23 mayor. It wasn't -- I don't blame all of
24 yous. Most of yous weren't there.
25 MS. EVANS: None of us were.
1 MR. SBARAGLIA: When that was signed.
2 I know that, but I was. I fought it then
3 and I continue to fight the injustice done
4 to the citizens of this city. It's
6 Now, the little engine, now I don't
7 know what the story is on that either. I
8 don't know if that was donated to the city
9 our how we acquired it, but we got the
10 miniature train. I am not a child, I don't
11 get to ride it, I did ride it when I was
12 small, but I don't, but we are covering the
13 train. Is it leased to somebody that we
14 don't know about or did the city own it and
15 the city is running it and any kid that
16 wants to ride on can't just jump on it and
17 take a ride when it's coming. Them are I
18 think so that should be answered. I guess
19 they won't be in my lifetime though.
20 Okay, I got the information, some of
21 the information anyway on the zoo,
22 especially the zoo. Now, the zoo seems to
23 be a hot topic. The building is currently
24 listed for 397,091, okay, $397,091. The
25 contents is insured at $170,522. We all
1 know we give the zoo 50,000 a year. We pay
2 for their heat and I guess we are
3 responsible for all of the maintenance in
4 that zoo. I would assume that's how it
5 goes. I don't know if we are responsible
6 for liability and really that's the only
7 question I would really ask, are we covering
8 the liability for everybody that volunteers
9 at that zoo or not or do they have a
10 separate liability contract? Thank God she
11 is here and she can give you an answer on
12 that then we don't have to worry about it.
13 But if we are responsible for the liability
14 that's people really ought to know that.
15 I'm not going to get into the merits
16 of it. I used to love that zoo. I used to
17 play with the elephant and the donkey up
18 there, but them are long time ago, we can't
19 bring all of them back. I used to use the
20 penny arcade and the theatre, too. That's
21 all gone. You can't bring back the past.
22 Our main concern is the safety of the
23 animals that are in our care because
24 actually they are in our city care as a
25 whole. There is not just the wild life.
1 It's all of us because we are paying for it.
2 We are paying for it. Our main concern is
3 the safety of those animals and that should
4 be the only concern we got and everything
5 else we seem to be paying for.
6 Now, if the animals are being safely
7 taken care of I would fight it. If they are
8 not being safely cared for I would seek to
9 remedy that they can be safely taken care of
10 in that facility. I always liked the
11 petting zoo. I'm sorry they didn't go with
12 a petting zoo instead of a wildlife center.
13 I did enjoy. Thank you.
14 MR. MCGOFF: Ozzie Quinn.
15 MR. QUINN: Ozzie Quinn. I'm
16 president of the Scranton/Lackawanna County
17 Taxpayers and Citizens' Association. I,
18 too, would like to speak on the park a
19 little bit. When I was the president of the
20 city planning commission there was a
21 drowning and everybody up in the city was up
22 in the air about what happened. Okay, there
23 was 30 some drowning in the gorge. Well, we
24 had several meetings here, and without
25 sounding arrogant, I pulled together a
1 geologist pro bono, Brian Redmond from
2 Wilkes University, and an environmentalist,
3 Roger Nare from South Scranton, and for two
4 years we worked on an application and got
5 approved the gorge as a national, natural
6 landmark. It took a lot of work, and the
7 idea was for the people to enjoy -- to be
8 able to go in the gorge with classes and see
9 just the rock formations, to explain the
10 rock formations, how that gorge was formed,
11 okay? You know, and those Indian legends
12 that were around for thousands of years and
13 also the proposal that the Steamtown Train
14 would stop there and the people could enjoy
15 the gorge and sometime come over and go over
16 to Nay Aug Park, wrote letters to Mayor
17 Doherty about it and never happened.
18 And you know what, we have a plaque
19 that designates that and you know where that
20 plaque is located? The last time I heard it
21 was in a closet in Weston Field and I asked
22 the mayor he won't post it. Okay? Now,
23 there was a drowning after that and most of
24 you know the fellow's brother, Chris
25 Phillips, who is on the school board,
1 brother drowned in Nay Aug gorge. What a
2 heart breaker because of the fact that
3 nobody would listen. Well, that's sad, you
5 It's the same with what happened up
6 here at the wildlife center. Now, he spent
7 thousands, millions maybe on that bridge
8 down below that is going no where, whatever
9 it is for, and we have the tree hut and I
10 don't know if they'll maintain it. If it's
11 true to what you do in Scranton in another
12 ten years that bridge will fall down and
13 that treehouse will fall down because there
14 won't be any maintenance, just like there is
15 never any maintenance on the curbs, the
16 sidewalks or the roads in the City of
18 Now, I want to say one thing about
19 the taxation here, okay? We finished 2007
20 with a surplus of $664,345 okay? What an
21 oxymoron. We owe $170 million. How can you
22 be in the black with a surplus when you owe
23 $170 million? That's a paradox if I ever
24 saw one. Now, let me tell you something.
25 Now, what you want to do, what's going to
1 happen if the mayor doesn't get this
2 5.5 million you know what his backup plan is
3 going to be, he is going to sell delinquent
4 land, just delinquent taxes just like he did
5 in 2007 with a 25 percent tax increase. If
6 you recall you voted for it, Mr. McGoff,
7 Mrs. Fanucci voted for it and Mrs. Gatelli
8 voted for it. Yes. Can you imagine that,
9 that we are going to be -- we don't know if
10 we are going to be able to have operating
12 It's really a laugh. I mean, when
13 you look at it, you know, I feel sorry,
14 25 percent of the city as we spoke about at
15 the school district last night is none -- is
16 made up of nonprofits. You are not going to
17 get shall you are not going to be able to
18 pay off this debt with property taxes. You
19 know, and to say we have a surplus with such
20 a debt of 170 million, principle only, if
21 you extrapolate the interest into that, I'm
22 not a -- you do the math, 300 some million
23 dollars, I don't know, but, you know, let's
24 face it, you know, and they want to figure
25 out -- here is the backup plan, sell the
1 delinquent taxes and that will makeup for
2 what is lacking from the Scranton Tax
3 Office. Is that a plan? I don't know.
4 It's a good thing that mayor isn't a
6 MR. MCGOFF: Janet Fargo.
7 MS. FARGO: Good evening. My name
8 is Janet Fargo and I volunteer at the
9 Genesis Wildlife Sanctuary on Sundays doing
10 animal enrichment. Well, I can personally
11 testify that the animals receive excellent
12 care, the cages are all cleaned daily and
13 the animals are well-fed. They probably eat
14 better than I do actually. I would like
15 tonight to ask a few questions and address
16 some issues regarding funding and the unfair
17 criticisms we have been receiving in the
19 The newspaper states that we cannot
20 afford a new building since it would cost
21 about $10 million to build. What I would
22 like to know is there was money raised
23 towards the building of this new building.
24 I have heard all kinds of rumors how much
25 was raised. I have heard as high as
1 $3 million. What I would like to know is I
2 would like to have facts instead of rumors,
3 can anyone come up with how much was raised
4 for this new building, where is this money
5 now, and if people donated money to build a
6 nicer facility for the animals and that
7 money is still here why can't that money be
8 used to renovate the building that the
9 animals are in now at Nay Aug Park?
10 We have been criticized unfairly. I
11 wasn't going to mention names, but I think
12 her name has come up already a couple of
13 times, this Beatrice woman, I mean she has
14 gone down so far as to criticize the fact
15 that the birds are in bird cages. That is
16 kind of the point of a bird cage. What we
17 could do though if there was this money and
18 we did want to say takes the birds from the
19 front room and not put them in cages,
20 perhaps we could build an aviary there with
21 plants and trees and, of course, we would
22 have to figure out which birds could get
23 along and cohabitate this.
24 We have been criticized because the
25 facility isn't he educational. Again this
1 criticizing comes from someone who has just
2 moved here, probably has spent all of an
3 hour in the facility, has never been there
4 when Jess, who is out of the room, has done
5 educational talks. We have the Girl Scouts
6 Troops come through, we've had Boy Scout's
7 Troops come through, I personally have
8 worked with teachers where we have had their
9 students look at every animal on the
10 Internet and come in and tell us a fun fact
11 as they are went through this tour. But,
12 again, if this money is available maybe we
13 could do something to start an outreach
14 program. I know Margaret would love to go
15 to the schools with some animals. You could
16 see she was only too happy to bring them
17 here and talk to the children about exotic
19 The final criticism that I would
20 like to address, because I know I'm l
21 limited to five minutes, is the acquisition
22 of the two tiger cubs. We have been
23 criticized because the facility we got them
24 through from people are saying it's a bad
25 place, they breed tigers indiscriminantly,
1 and I do not want to discuss their policies
2 and procedures because I have never been
3 there, but I just want to put point out
4 something that should be obvious. If you
5 are rescuing an animal, you are going to
6 rescue it from a bad situation. Nobody
7 needs to be rescued from the San Diego Zoo,
8 nobody needs to be rescued from the Bronx
9 Zoo, so Margaret is trying to rescue
10 animals, of course, she is going to be
11 taking them from places that are less than
12 ideal. At this place, these tigers came to
13 us they had fleas, they had ear mites, they
14 had a very persistent case of ringworm, all
15 of which she was able to deal with. Where
16 they were at 10 or 11 weeks they were
17 already considered obsolete. They were
18 throw-aways, at their present age they would
19 not even exist.
20 Right now at the facility you can go
21 down to Genesis and see they're happy,
22 they're healthy, they're magnificent
23 animals, we even got criticized because
24 there is two in one cage. If you go there
25 and you watch them they play together all
1 day. When the male tiger went to the vet it
2 was unmerciful. The female cried the entire
3 day missing him.
4 So what I would like to see is
5 rather than just criticizing something you
6 don't like or don't know anything about it,
7 people should make an effort to improve the
8 situation. You can get involved. You can
9 make a donation, you can volunteer for a
10 day, you could organize a fundraiser,
11 participate in a fundraiser. The staff and
12 volunteers at Genesis do something every
13 single day to improve the lives of these
14 animals and you are all welcome to join us
15 in that effort. Thank you very much.
16 MR. MCGOFF: Carl Kuchinas.
17 MR. KUCHINAS: Good evening. My name
18 is Carl Kuchinas and the reason I'm here
19 this evening is I don't like being lied to
20 by the current administration of the City of
21 Scranton, mainly Mayor Doherty, especially
22 in an election year. I am a resident of the
23 lower Greenridge section of Scranton and our
24 neighborhood was flooded in 1996, 2004, and
25 the most devastating flood was in 2006.
1 Recently one of my neighbors told me
2 that Mayor Doherty is taking credit for the
3 current flood project currently underway in
4 our area. It is even listed on the city
5 website under infrastructure improvements
6 the Lackawanna River levy project, $055
7 million. The levy improvement was first
8 proposed for the Lackawanna River by the
9 Army Corp of Engineers after the first flood
10 in 1996 which was during the Connors'
12 After the most recent flood in 2006,
13 the Army Corp of Engineers held a meeting at
14 the new Scranton High School for the flooded
15 residents. The mayor was at that meeting
16 along with city council members Mrs. Evans
17 and Mrs. Gatelli. The only one who tried to
18 help the residents and get answers from the
19 Army Corp was Mrs. Evans. She was actually
20 concerned about our neighbors. The mayor
21 just kept pacing back and forth looking at
22 his watch, obviously not concerned about the
23 people in that neighborhood one bit.
24 Last year there was a meeting with
25 the Army Corp at Weston Field with an update
1 on the flood project for our neighborhood.
2 Again, the mayor did nothing to show his
3 concern for the residents. Our neighborhood
4 was promised a flood siren by the Doherty
5 administration. The funding and location
6 for the siren were approved. It is now
7 April of 2009. We still do not have a flood
8 siren. In the mean time, until the levy
9 project which is completed, which according
10 to the Army Corp of Engineers will be in the
11 first quarter of 2010 our neighborhood is
12 still very vulnerable to yet another flood.
13 Now, onto the firehouses. First the
14 mayor said he will be closing two fire
15 companies, then all of a sudden he changes
16 his tune, he is not closing the two
17 companies. What are we to believe? Of
18 course, an election year the mayor will say
19 anything he thinks just to have the
20 taxpayers hear what they want to hear so he
21 will get elected.
22 Monday I read in the Scranton Times
23 that the mayor is closing the Genesis Center
24 up at Nay Aug Park. I think that's
25 terrible. First of all, all of those
1 innocent animals are going to be put down.
2 That's not fair to the animals, also not
3 fair to the people who come to Nay Aug Park
4 to see that. Several of my friends bring
5 their children up to Nay Aug Park just to
6 visit the Wildlife Center.
7 They also comment that add Nay Aug
8 Park they should be paying more attention to
9 the dirty conditions of the bathrooms, they
10 are actually concerned to have their
11 children go into the bathrooms because they
12 have such filthy conditions and also dog
13 droppings at the park.
14 As a lifelong resident and taxpayer
15 and homeowner of Scranton, I can assure you
16 to me that good fire and police protection,
17 clean and safe conditions for our families
18 at Nay Aug Park and other city facilities
19 and neighborhood flood control is much more
20 important than some of the accomplishments
21 of the Doherty administration. Some Doherty
22 administration accomplishments were the
23 Electric City sign on Linden Street, the
24 reconstruction of the 500 block of
25 Lackawanna Avenue, which was four lanes and
1 is now narrowed down to two lanes on a very
2 busy street, the dog park, the bridge to
3 nowhere and, of course, the Nay Aug Park
4 treehouse, number one.
5 If you are a tired of the lies and
6 the misdirected properties, remember there
7 is a mayor election on May 19. All it takes
8 is a stroke of the pen for change, then the
9 taxpayers of the city will get the proper
10 police, fire and flood protection that they
11 paid for and deserve. Thank you very much
12 for your time.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Bernadette Royce.
14 MS. ROYCE: Hi. Good evening,
15 Bernadette Royce, West Scranton. First I'd
16 like to say I have several friends who
17 volunteer at the wildlife center and you
18 will never meet a group of people that are
19 more dedicated to those animals and they are
20 absolutely wonderful with the animals and I
21 think you need to consider that.
22 Now, onto my normal topic. In the
23 past 10 days one of two things has
24 apparently happened: One, Mayor Doherty
25 suffered an epiphany regarding Scranton's
1 need for adequate fire protection; or, two,
2 the mayor believes the rest of us suffer
3 massive amnesia regarding his years of
4 previous pledges to lower the level of
5 Scranton's fire protection.
6 Fortunately, for the forgetful, his
7 pledges are well-documented. On February 2,
8 2009, the mayor planned to close fire
9 stations and cut at least 30 firefighters.
10 According to the Times, on August 31, 2008,
11 Doherty wanted to reduce the department by
12 32 to 38 firefighters and consolidate eight
13 stations 2-4.
14 On July 8, 2008, the mayor was
15 quoted: "Make no mistake about it, I will
16 reduce the fire department's staff."
17 I can go back years with more of the
18 same. It is time this council pins down the
19 mayor's actual position on fire protection
20 and hold him to it. We all understand
21 situations are dynamic and no position is
22 static. However, the economic realities
23 facing Scranton are unlikely to change
24 between now and the May election. The only
25 thing likely to change is the mayor's
1 political position.
2 Chris Doherty hopes we are not
3 forgetful, not only forgetful but also
4 ignorant to realize this. The council needs
5 to tell the mayor that his time to stop
6 playing politics with people's lives. This
7 council needs to ensure that the decisions
8 made guarantee the safety of Scranton
9 citizens and the firefighters. Thank you.
10 Have a good night.
11 MR. MCGOFF: Brett McCloe.
12 MR. MCCLOE: Good evening. My name
13 is Brett McCloe, Scranton homeowner and
14 taxpayer. First, I'd wanted to say
15 something about the Genesis project or the
16 Genesis out there, one of the -- it brings
17 to mind something that I have heard one time
18 that you can judge a society by how you
19 judge the least of it's citizens and even
20 though they are creatures of mother nature
21 they are in the City of Scranton and this
22 probably should not speak well for this
23 current administration.
24 But a few weeks ago I said something
25 about the nature of state and federal
1 government and that it's changing to be more
2 results oriented and performance oriented in
3 it's approach to handing out tax dollars
4 through grants and loans to failing
5 companies and distressed municipalities, how
6 are we performing and what are the results?
7 Yes, our downtown is becoming more
8 esthetically pleasing. Yes, the medical
9 school will be a great feather in a cap,
10 and, yes, the distance train will get even
11 closer, but while we are waiting for all of
12 this to actually turn a buck the current
13 administration and the power base at the
14 Chamber of Commerce has the citizens of this
15 city picking up nickles and dimes in front
16 of a steamroller of low wages, inflated
17 budgets and $150 million of debt. Some call
18 it the price of progress, at the same time
19 telling us that Scranton is no different
20 than any other cities.
21 I have a hard time believing that we
22 are no different than any other city. The
23 proof that we are different can probably be
24 found in the budgets and debts of those
25 other cities. Allentown has 26,000 more
1 people than Scranton and their metro area
2 has 200,000 more than we do yet their budget
3 for 2009 is $89 million and ours is
4 $85 million. I will admit I don't know much
5 about the mechanics of a city's budget, but
6 something doesn't add up. Perhaps there is
7 something in the material.
8 Perhaps it's time to take a closer
9 look at the budgets of Erie, Bethlehem, and
10 any other city close to our size and
11 location just to see if we really are no
12 different than any other city having
13 financial difficulties. Perhaps it's time
14 for change. Maybe we need to realize that
15 becoming a service class city may not be in
16 the best interest of the people especially
17 when I believe that the Obama administration
18 will get rid of tax breaks or even penalize
19 American companies who ship manufacturing
20 jobs and technical jobs overseas. I'm not
21 sure if that's the reason why Sally May came
22 back to the US, but I'm quite sure it will
23 be the reason some other companies do.
24 We need to identify these companies,
25 find out what their needs are, enhance the
1 capabilities of our own adult population and
2 through focused training specific to the
3 needs of that company. I say adult
4 population not to exclude the young, but to
5 include the whole population of Scranton and
6 the northeast.
7 I'm quite sure we have what it takes
8 to bring successful companies into Scranton,
9 perhaps medical plastics or a producer of
10 semi-conductors, these are all good high
11 paying jobs that I believe the average
12 citizen of Scranton can retrain and learn to
13 do. I believe the citizens of Scranton
14 deserve more than to base their future on
15 providing goods and services to those who
16 believe after they have received their
17 education. After two or three graduations
18 of the medical school there won't be enough
19 jobs to keep any of them here. They will be
20 educated, heavily in debt, transient and
21 should not be counted on to consume as much
22 as conventional wisdom would have you
24 I just want to everyone to keep
25 their minds open on this election day and
1 engage vigorously in conversation with your
2 neighbors and above all vote.
3 MR. MCGOFF: Robin Perry.
4 MS. PERRY: Hi. Good evening. My
5 name is Robin Perry and I'm a volunteer at
6 Genesis Wildlife and I assist Margaret
7 Miller. I have been there for six years.
8 Margie has trained me during those six
9 years. I just wanted to emphasize that when
10 the public is in our facility all glass
11 doors leading to the monkey area, lemurs,
12 are locked when the public is there. They
13 are not allowed anywhere near those cages.
14 The tigers and the cougar, same thing. You
15 have a huge iron bar wall with a small
16 walkway in-between for staff members only
17 and then have you a huge wall of chain link
18 fence plus two locked doors besides. The
19 public can get no where near them, so I
20 don't understand where this Beatrice Heveran
21 is saying that our place is unsafe to the
23 I mean, our birds there are caution
24 boards across to keep people away. We
25 usually have a volunteer sitting there
1 stating, "Please do not stick your fingers
2 into the cage."
3 I mean, any common sense adult would
4 not stick your fingers into a cage because
5 you are going to get bit. Okay, these are
6 not birds that are their birds at home.
7 They are birds that have come from very bad
8 situations and, you know, they are loud
9 that's why we have them.
10 I feel that being at the Genesis
11 Wildlife Center has enriched my life
12 immensely. It's a dream come true for me.
13 My grandchildren adore being there, they
14 come as often as they can. They know the
15 name and history of every animal that is
16 there. My granddaughter is going to be
17 seven, my grandson is nine. They go to
18 school telling their classmates about these
19 animals, the stories of them. Their
20 classmates have come down to the center all
21 enthused, "I know what this animal is,
22 Anthony told me about it."
23 To take away these animals,
24 especially from those children, I think is
25 horrific. It's bad enough for us to have to
1 deal with it, but to have to tell these
2 children that come to the center all of the
3 time that these animals are no longer going
4 to be here is going to be very devastating
5 to them. I would hope that you would please
6 think of some way to help us, to help save
7 these animals' lives because, believe me,
8 Margie has done the most exceptional job
9 with these animals that you could possibly
10 imagine. She has been doing it for over
11 30 years. She can incorporate animals that
12 are usually not of the same species and put
13 them together and it's miraculous to
14 actually see them, to play together, to
15 encounter each other. She does wonders and
16 I just wanted to make that point perfectly
17 clear and also about the safety of the
18 public because nobody has happened to
19 mention that. We are open to the public.
20 Nobody gets near the animals. Thank you
21 very much.
22 MR. MCGOFF: Jessie Smallwood.
23 MS. SMALLWOOD: My name is Jessie
24 Smallwood and I am a Marywood University
25 student. I would firstly like to address
1 the ladies and gentlemen of the council, my
2 fellow audience members, and the people of
3 Scranton and would like to thank them for
4 their kind attention.
5 As we are all aware, the wildlife
6 center of Nay Aug Park, known as Genesis
7 Wildlife, has long been a target of intense
8 scrutiny and objection now to the point of
9 being shut down and it's inhabitants
10 disposed of. Despite the recent publicity
11 and public slandering, Genesis Wildlife is
12 an integral and priceless part of the
13 community. For the past seven years the
14 wildlife center has not only been a home and
15 safe haven for many abused, neglected and
16 otherwise unwanted animals, but it is also
17 has opened the eyes and brought in the minds
18 of countless children and adults of all
20 In the automated and electronic
21 world we live in today, too much children a
22 think that moves without batteries shows
23 them a side of the world completely
24 unreachable through a television screen.
25 There are rules and facts of life that
1 cannot be found on-line, in a book or
2 anywhere else other than being face-to-face
3 with something truly wild. At Genesis,
4 anyone can have that unique experience
5 whether they come from a penny to their name
6 or not. The rush for those who have never
7 had such an experience awakens in all of us
8 a deep and primal connection with the only
9 thing that's real, nature.
10 We all have heroes or I have heard
11 of those who do heroic things leaving many
12 -- just, I'm sorry, as an aside, that sound
13 is an animal screaming for it's life. For
14 all of those who have heard of those who do
15 heroic things leaving many of us wishing for
16 that one chance, that one opportunity to do
17 something that matters, to all of those here
18 tonight and to those watching at home, I
19 appeal to your inner private selves, if you
20 are one of those who want to make a
21 difference this is your chance. And for
22 those who stay silent and do nothing
23 thinking that someone else will step up to
24 the plate I can tell you with extreme
25 certainty they will not. You are that
1 someone that your neighbor is thinking
2 about. If you are ready to do something the
3 animals thank you.
4 For an example, we have had someone
5 come up tonight who wishes to remain
6 anonymous who has agreed to be the project
7 manager of an effort to restore Genesis
8 Wildlife to it's full splendor. We need as
9 many volunteers as humanly possible. You
10 can speak to me afterwards if so wish or you
11 can come and find us at the zoo. We can
12 take your name, your number, the time you
13 are available, even if it's only for an
14 hour. The date, the tentative date is
15 April 18th and 19th, that's a Saturday and
16 Sunday, and we are in desperate need of
17 paint, rakes, shovels, brooms, any equipment
18 that can be used to help us and with people
19 behind us we will be able to accomplish our
20 goals. We are planning to bring in a
21 veterinarian to check every animal and
22 ensure they are capable of being there for
23 as long as they are on this planet. Thank
24 for your kind attention.
25 MR. MCGOFF: David Dobson.
1 MR. DOBSON: Good evening, Council,
2 David Dobson, resident of Scranton and
3 member of the Taxpayers' Association. I
4 have been reading in the paper about our tax
5 debacle with the tax office and I'm very
6 curious, I don't know who can answer it up
7 there or possibly Mr. Minora, if an employer
8 deducts money out of your paycheck and does
9 not turn it over to the proper taxing
10 authorities who is responsible that these
11 taxes be paid? I think in the instance of
12 the IRS the taxpayer is responsible to see
13 who the lawyer pays these taxes back? I'm
14 just wondering.
15 MR. MINORA: If you asking me the
16 question, I'm not sure.
17 MR. DOBSON: You're not sure.
18 MR MINORA: I'd want to look at this
19 and I suspect that it's different for the
20 IRS, whether the State Department of Revenue
21 and probably different for the $52 for the
23 MR. DOBSON: Yeah, because apparently
24 taxes were being -- the wage tax was being
25 deducted and not paid -- turned over to the
1 tax office and that's particularly
2 egregious. Shame on those employers. Shame
3 on them.
4 I'd also like to express a little
5 support for these people from the wildlife
6 center. It's really ashame that something
7 more can't be done. Hopefully with some --
8 we can find some of resources, but a list of
9 different things that I have seen going on
10 at Nay Aug over the years, for instance,
11 Wednesday concerts I brought up, that
12 concession stands no longer is open on
13 Wednesday nights. Last year my wife and I
14 went over planning to probably spend 20
15 bucks, the year before the line was from
16 here to the wall, you had to wait 20 minutes
17 to get waited on and last year we sat there
18 hungry and thirsty we didn't even bother to
19 have dinner. If we wanted to go somewhere
20 else the concert would have been over.
21 Also, the gypsy moth problem that
22 exists up there and it's really killing off
23 a lot of the beautiful old growth oaks and
24 it really needs to be addressed. Even the
25 very -- Ozzie Quinn raised this tonight, the
1 very tree that supports the treehouse I took
2 a picture of it, I still have it, I could
3 bring it in if anybody is interested in
4 seeing it, and it had gypsy moth damage on
5 it and it looks like some of the branches
6 are dead already. So, you know, we spent
7 how much on that and I don't always
8 criticize spending money on green space, but
9 I've never used the bridge to no where,
10 other people can if they feel that way and
11 so forth, but it should be maintained once
12 it's there.
13 And I really didn't receive any kind
14 of answer on the power lines from the paper
15 that I was given and especially concerned
16 about herbicides being dumped into Nay Aug
18 Another issue is the swim free. We
19 never got anywhere with the swim free out of
20 that authority except to pay the rate for
21 the day. Even though we are bringing in a
22 lot of people and you think we could at
23 least get a group rate it never happened.
24 It never happened or it did after 250 people
25 or something. I pointed out the year before
1 last, I wasn't heavily involved in the Kids
2 Free Swim last year, I had something doing
3 in the earlier part of summer, but the
4 lifeguards, one of the lifeguards didn't
5 seem to like all of the kids there, I
6 pointed out to them, well, if this was a
7 private concern we couldn't justify the
8 wages that are paid out to lifeguards,
9 there's about 26 lifeguards present there at
10 any given time on Sunday, and if you are
11 look at the amount of people in the pool at
12 three bucks a pop you couldn't even justify
13 the wages if it were a private concern.
14 Now, one more second, I'd like to in
15 the past I have mentioned trash removal and
16 the fact that garbage is just being tossed
17 out in bags and some people just don't seem
18 to care, well, I talked to a man today that
19 does care, I wrote down his phone number and
20 his name and his address, if you are
21 interested in a vote this fall you might
22 want to give him a call. Could I give this
23 to Neil?
24 MR. MCGOFF: Please. Thank you.
25 MR. DOBSON: All right, he is from
1 South Scranton and he has some points.
2 There's a garbage can in back of his house
3 that has not been dumped since last May.
4 You know, and it's a head-butt with the guys
5 from the DPW, it's too heavy for them to
6 pick up, he says he has a bad heart, he will
7 throw it on there if they need any help.
8 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.
9 MR. DOBSON: Have a good night.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Other speakers?
11 MR. GERVASI: Good evening, City
12 Council. My name is Dave Gervasi, I'm a
13 city resident and firefighter. I'm here
14 tonight to straighten out what I think is
15 water that's getting very muddy, especially
16 your dissertation at the end of the meeting
17 last week, Mr. McGoff. We have been out,
18 the firefighters, trying to educate the
19 people on firehouse closures, engine company
20 closures and possibility of things that
21 could happen and the folie that we believe
22 it is, but it seems like the mayor all of a
23 sudden changed his mind and now he said he
24 is not going to do any of that. I want the
25 people and I want the city council to think
1 about this what I have to say tonight. This
2 is what's been said in the past.
3 First off, the Recovery Plan states
4 that the city wants to the right to decide
5 what organization structure and operations
6 of the fire department including, but not
7 limited to, the number and location of
8 firehouses, the temporary and permanent
9 closing of fire stations and companies. Why
10 would that would be in there if it wasn't
11 the mayor's intent?
12 November 24, 2003, Times' article:
13 "Mr. Doherty, however, when asked did not
14 specifically say that he would cut police
15 and firefighter's staffs or close
16 firehouses. When we have the ability to
17 take advantage of those options, we will
18 look into that situation, he said."
19 November 11, 2004, Scranton Times'
20 article: "One question is how Mr. Doherty
21 would use the Recovery Plan. While
22 Mr. Courtright said the mayor indicated to
23 him it would involve staff cuts, the mayor
24 would only say that the city would look at
25 it once the union contracts are in place.
1 As for Mr. Courtright's statements, the
2 mayor said, 'I don't comment on what other
3 people say.'"
4 January 7, 2005, Times' article,
5 "And while the administration has pledged
6 not to reduce the police department from
7 it's current 140 officers, the mayor would
8 not make the same promise in the fire
9 department. We have to wait and see what
10 our parameters are, Mr. Doherty said,
11 referring to the arbitrator's decision and
12 the contract."
13 June 12, 2005, Scranton Times'
14 article, "He has not listed specific
15 changes, but he has made broad statements
16 that point to potential fire department
18 June 25, 2005, Times' article on an
19 applying for grants for federally funded
20 firefighters that the city refused to apply
21 for Director Ray Hayes said, "In addition,"
22 he said, "the city would be prohibited from
23 reducing the department from it's current
24 level during the length of that grant. The
25 administration has not said what it would do
1 if it achieves Recovery Plan language and
2 firefighter contracts now in arbitration
3 that would eliminate minimum manning
4 clauses, but it has hinted in the fire
5 department reductions."
6 October 28, 2005, Times' article,
7 Mayor Doherty stated, "We are always worried
8 about safety," Mr. Doherty said, but he
9 added, "Decisions must be made based on how
10 much the city needs," meaning the
11 firefighters, "and the city can afford."
12 November 17, 2005, Times' article,
13 "Details of the Recovery Plan would actually
14 save money, but are sketchy. Mr. Doherty
15 says he plans to restructure the fired
16 department to gain $2.4 million in savings.
17 He has been silent on the details of the
18 restructuring, although, he has not ruled
19 out job cuts."
20 January 1, 2007, Scranton Times'
21 article, "The city's appeal of the police
22 and fire union arbitration awards also is
23 expected to move forward in 2007,"
24 Mr. Doherty said. "I hope that is a victory
25 in Court over unions would allow the
1 administration to reduce the firefighting
2 staff of 150 to about 112."
3 January 12, 2008, Scranton Times
4 article, "While he has vowed not to cut
5 police officers, Mr. Doherty has made no
6 secret of his desire to reduce the fire
7 department's staff by as much as 32
9 January 23, 2008, Times' article,
10 "City officials have acknowledged the
11 firefighter's contract will be more
12 difficult of the two to settle only because
13 of the administration's stated intent to
14 eliminate 32 to 38 positions in the
16 July 18, 2008, Scranton Times'
17 article: "Mayor Doherty is quoted as
18 saying, 'Make no mistake about it, I will
19 reduce the fire department staff.'"
20 August 31, 2008, Times article, "In
21 the city hall office of the public safety
22 Director Ray Hayes, there is a manilla
23 envelope marked "scenarios." Inside are
24 maps and charts, notes and research as the
25 outline of what's in store if Mayor Doherty
1 wins the right to cut firefighters, a staff
2 of 150 down to about 112, three platoon
3 instead of four," and listen very carefully,
4 "eight fire stations eventually consolidated
5 to four or five."
6 January 23, 2009, an interview on
7 WNEP TV Mayor Doherty stated, and I quote:
8 "I want to build superstations throughout
9 the city to make and provide better fire
10 protection because the way the firehouses
11 are laid out in the city really it's
12 100 years old."
13 Mr. McGoff, can I have just a moment
14 to finish up?
15 MR. MCGOFF: Please.
16 MR. GERVASI: February 2, 2009, the
17 Scranton Times' article, "Also on the
18 horizon is the prospect of closing the fire
19 stations and cutting the ranks by more than
20 30 firefighters, both of which Mr. Doherty
21 has proposed as cost saving measures."
22 March 13, just a little while ago,
23 my President Schreiber, who is a terrific
24 firefighter, and one thing he is not is a
25 liar, was at a meeting on March 13 with
1 business administrator Stu Renda and
2 director of public safety, Ray Hayes, who
3 told him they are closing Engine 9 On Main
4 Avenue and they are closing Engine 4 at fire
6 On May 16, Gary DeStefano, one of
7 our firefighters, came here to this meeting
8 to report to the public and the council on
9 the mayor's intention on closing those
10 companies. The next day Ray Hayes -- I'm
11 sorry, in the Times' article, "While reached
12 by phone, Mr. Doherty denied that claim.
13 While his desire to reduce the number of
14 firefighters under the Recovery Plan is
15 well-known, he refuted eminent plans to
16 close companies."
17 The next day in the Times' article:
18 "Scranton is seriously exploring plans to
19 shut down two fire engine companies as part
20 of the Recovery Plan initiative to
21 restructure the fire department, Public
22 Safety Director Ray Hayes said Tuesday."
23 March 23, 2009, during the interview
24 on the WBRE TV the mayor said it, and I
25 quote, "We are not closing firehouses at
2 Now, the mayor on his website has
3 published a letter that says, and he has had
4 his campaign people drop literature at homes
5 around the city that states, and I quote:
6 "He is, the mayor, disappointed to see a
7 stream of misinformation and political
8 posturing surrounding firehouses. Let me be
9 perfectly clear, the City of Scranton has
10 absolutely no plans to shut down firehouses
11 or retire fire engine companies or trucks."
12 Now that he said he has absolutely
13 no plans, before I leave the podium I just
14 want to drop something off to the council
15 members, this is something I received in
16 2004 or '5, I'm not sure, from a Scranton
17 Times' reporter. He handed to me and asked
18 me for a comment, and I asked him what it
19 was. They said the mayor -- "The public c
20 safety director just gave this to me and I'd
21 like your comments on it," and I'm going to
22 hand it to you right now and I want you to
23 look the first part, it's our department the
24 way it is right now and you look at the
25 second part and it shows Engine 4 and Engine
1 9 missing from the chart. The closure of
2 Engine 9 and Engine 4. This has been the
3 plan, and he just told everyone he doesn't
4 have any plans. Well, apparently he does
5 because here is one of his plans.
6 Thank you, Mr. McGoff, for the extra
7 time. Ladies and gentlemen, we don't
8 believe him what he is saying now and the
9 firefighters of the City of Scranton who are
10 sworn to protect our citizens will continue
11 to go out and educate the people in the city
12 about the dangers of firehouse closures.
13 Thank you.
14 MS. SCHUMACHER: Well, I thought it
15 would nice if you heard what I said that's
16 why I'm here, so I thought you would wait
17 until I finished your conversation, I'm
19 MS. FANUCCI: Wait one more second
20 then. Okay, go ahead.
21 MS. SCHUMACHER: Thank you.
22 MS. FANUCCI: We have work, too. We
23 have work, too.
24 MS. SCHUMACHER: Marie Schumacher --
25 MR. JACKOWITZ: Tell her it's out of
2 MR. MCGOFF: That's out of order, Mr.
4 MS. FANUCCI: He's never been in
6 MR. MCGOFF: Excuse me, it's out of
8 MS. FANUCCI: We work, too. Go
10 MS. SCHUMACHER: Marie Schumacher,
11 resident and city taxpayer, member of the
12 Taxpayers' Association. Tonight
13 Mrs. Gatelli is not here, but I would like
14 to know how the rental registration is
15 currently billed and when the RFP for
16 improving that system will be issued.
17 Mrs. Gatelli estimated one and half million
18 dollars of revenue from this effort, but I
19 believe there is about $18,000 in the 2009
20 budget. That's quite a discrepancy.
21 Now, Mr. McGoff, you made it to the
22 Tripp park permit hearing yesterday and now
23 I hope you will also be able to attend those
24 authority meetings and garner support for
25 earlier completion of their audits such that
1 we may receive our city audit well before
2 the mayor's budget and tomorrow the
3 Redevelopment Authority meets at 12:15 if
4 you are interested right above Northern
6 Now another question, why does the
7 recording for city hall telephones say the
8 hours beginning at 8:30 months after the
9 starting hour was changed to 8:00.
10 A question on council duties: The
11 audit report for 2007 says council approves
12 sewer authority rate increases, but council
13 did not approve the 50 plus percent
14 increase, so it is the current audit report
15 incorrect? Question.
16 Also, late last year Mrs. Evans
17 announced the NCC contract was automatically
18 renewed if there wasn't action taken six
19 months prior to the expiration. This was
20 not brought to council's attention, so is
21 the NCC contract valid? Question.
22 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
23 MS. SCHUMACHER: What is the city's
24 policy on disposing florescent compact
25 bulbs? I understand that contain mercury
1 and should not go to landfills, but I have
2 never received any word on how we are to
3 dispose of those items.
4 Last week I asked whether the ad for
5 a city engineer was in addition to or
6 replacing Bruce Swanson and received no
7 response. I would like an answer to that
8 because I believe there is only one engineer
9 in the budget for 2009.
10 Also, has the health inspector
11 position been filled? I have seen no ads
12 for this position and it's scary to think
13 that all required health inspections may not
14 be occurring. Who, for instance, performed
15 the required health inspection prior to the
16 opening of Kildare's just around St.
17 Patrick's Day -- or the parade, I should be
18 more accurate.
19 To Mrs. Miller I would say a belated
20 welcome to Scranton. Our mayor makes
21 promise after promise, but most are not
22 fulfilled. Ask the people of East Mountain
23 what happened to the 200 plus thousand
24 investment he was going to make at Robinson
25 Park in 2002 or the Elm Street improvements
1 he promised in make in 2005 just a month
2 before his second election. The mayor is
3 good at making promises, but not so good at
4 keeping promises.
5 What he is threatening to do to Mrs.
6 Miller and her animal family is cruel,
7 inhuman and heartless. What did our mayor
8 use the $175,000 the state provided for the
9 wildlife center to have Himler and Camard
10 draw up plans for a new facility and
11 refurbishment of the existing facility if he
12 never intended to build a new facility? Why
13 didn't he use it for the betterment of the
14 Genesis Wildlife Center to help the upkeep
15 of the animals.
16 Incidentally, and then I'll finish
17 and pick up again next week, I did call the
18 Zoo New England and Bernice Heveran was
19 never a member of the board. She was a
20 member of an advisory council. Thank you
21 and I'll see you next week the good Lord
22 willing. Happy Easter.
23 MS. GENTILE: I'm not prepared with
24 no notes, but have a passion for Nay Aug
25 Park and the City of Scranton, born and
1 raised here. Can you hear me?
2 MR. MCGOFF: Just your name, please,
3 for the record.
4 MS. GENTILE: Oh, I'm sorry, Johanna
5 Gentile. Johanna Androsky Gentile. I'm a
6 local ordinary housewife at this time,
7 worked as a hairdresser twice in the city
8 and managed the lines of Gertrude Hawk
9 chocolate, married to my high school
10 sweetheart Danny Gentile.
11 We love Nay Aug Park. I love this
12 town, I'm a promoter to everybody I meet. I
13 said we are 200 miles back from Manhattan
14 and we are coming back. It takes
15 cooperation, it takes a passion and it takes
16 working together. All of these names are so
17 familiar as a child to me and I call us the
18 children that were left behind. We swam at
19 South Side pool at Nay Aug Park and the Red
20 Cross taught us, we were great. We spent
21 all the days in the outdoors in those days
22 and our dads were away in war, mine was,
23 serving South Africa, and I said, "Danny --"
24 we walked -- we moved away in 1963. I was
25 the first paid teacher in Morris County, New
1 Jersey, a deli cook first and we learned a
2 finer way of life. They had awful water
3 though. Couldn't wait to come home for a
4 good drink of Scranton water and then after
5 eight years we moved to Thousand Oaks,
6 California, and eventually Knoeble Park. My
7 brother, Wally, went out with Capital
8 Records with his high school sweetheart and
9 did quite well and is Henderson right now,
10 so Scranton has always meant something to
11 us. We moved back after the industry of the
12 space industry crashed and Danny lost his
13 job and we said, "Where do we go?"
14 He was a Brunswick mechanic, we will
15 go to Colorado, we'll go to Morristown or
16 we'll come home and we have been here ever
17 since. We lived in Nicholson across -- next
18 door from Congressman Sherwood's mother and
19 eventually in '79 came back to my mother's
20 homestead, 1009 South Irving Avenue and he
21 has been a sick man for 20 years and we lost
22 our home to predatory lending, and that's
23 okay, but we walk the park every, every day,
24 especially in the summer, winter and we cry.
25 And, you know, at one time we parked
1 by the museum and we would go out with my
2 grandchild Nicholas, who lives in Hazelton,
3 and every squirrel would great us because no
4 one was there. We carried peanuts and they
5 would just come down and converge upon us,
6 and now it's so different. You can't find a
7 squirrel unless you have a peanut.
8 You know, and I'm horrified to think
9 that this place is going to close down. I
10 have been there the last three weeks
11 straight with a girl I met from New Jersey
12 and a local resident who has lived her all
13 her life. She never saw it. I explained
14 everything, I think this is the greatest
15 tourist attraction, and I was horrified.
16 There was a wedding party there and I lost
17 my sunglasses, finally they were returned
18 and I was so happy. And I said, Amy, there
19 is Fern, she grew up with my husband Danny
20 from Petersburg, I would do what I can and I
21 think if this city pulls together and gets a
22 grass root operation that we can convince
23 people to work together.
24 I represent a national golf product,
25 my brother invented it, I'm his
1 representative, I get nothing, and these men
2 I know most of them, my dad was Walter
3 Androsky, the cop, he shot somebody down
4 town, he was quite famous, he dug down and
5 got all of the benefits for the men.
6 My husband wanted to be the cop.
7 His dad, Denali Gentile, was the first cop
8 of Bunker Hill in Scranton and wore a six
9 shooter and my son got a dream and he is a
10 state police officer in Bloomsburg and the
11 sergeant in command. So, I just pray that
12 there is someone somewhere that will work
13 together. I pray for the policemen. I pray
14 for my council, my president, everything and
15 pray that we can solve. We have brilliant
16 minds in this town and we can't waste them.
17 We can't let a child, we can't let a
18 dog or cat go down, those animals are in
19 great shape. They are beautiful. They are
20 beautiful. And I talk to the director, she
21 was horrified and so am I and I just beg
22 that we mas a city somehow work together.
23 Thank you so much and God bless you.
24 MR. JACKOWITZ: Good evening,
25 council, Council president, Bill Jackowitz,
1 South Scranton resident and member of the
2 Taxpayers' Association. All taxes paid up
3 to date in full, paid two parking tickets
4 within 24 hours of issuance.
5 I would like to thank Councilwoman
6 Evans for answering my question last week.
7 I would also like to thank Councilwoman
8 Gatelli, even though she is not here, for
9 her vote last week. My other two questions
10 were answered by the Times-Tribune front
11 page news stories. $134,000 paid to
12 Nihill-Riedley for no answers only more
13 questions. Price tags still going up.
14 Backup plan for the shortfall of the
15 5.5 million, selling delinquent taxes from
16 recent years. Did not work the first time
17 in 2007, taxes were raised in 2007. What is
18 the definition of insanity? Doing the same
19 thing over even though it does not work.
20 Cheerleaders drunk during the ST.
21 Patrick's Day parade. Is public drunkenness
22 not a crime? Selective enforcement of the
23 laws cannot be tolerated. Eight-six
24 underage drinkers cited in the Hill Section
25 for the very same crime. I ask why
1 selective enforcement of the law? Somebody
2 needs to look into this, why no citations
3 were issued to the cheerleaders. Chief
4 Elliott, who provided the alcohol to the
5 students? Oh, I forgot, I am in Scranton
6 and it was the St. Patrick's Day parade.
7 Who pulled the strings on the puppets this
9 What is the difference between
10 organized crime and politicians? Crime
11 figures carry guns. The coverup that is
12 occurring at the Single Tax Office cannot be
13 tolerated. Citizens and taxpayers of
14 Scranton and Lackawanna County work hard for
15 their money. Scranton city controller for
16 21 years has not. Tax collector for seven
17 years have not. Mayor of Scranton for seven
18 years has not. County commissioners for
19 seven years have not. City council members
20 for seven years have not, with the exception
21 of Mr. Courtright and Mrs. Evans. They at
22 least listen to the speakers at city council
23 for the last three years about the
24 corruption and coverup that were happening
25 at the city single tax office.
1 Councilwoman Fanucci once asked
2 Councilwoman Evans to provide proof. Well,
3 the proof has been provided and nothing is
4 being done. We, the citizens, should not
5 have to wait until 2010 which, by the way,
6 would be after the general election of 2009.
7 Wow, what timing after the election.
8 We have been lied to, made to look
9 foolish, that is those who trust their
10 elected officials, I do not fall into that
11 category. I am more than capable of
12 thinking for myself. Twenty-eight years
13 experience in criminal investigation and a
14 licensed and private investigator. My
15 opinion, the perfect white collar crime was
16 devised by someone to cause confusion to
17 cover up their crime. Comments such as: I
18 never realized how bad things were at the
19 tax office. It might be best to focus
20 resources on moving ahead. In other words,
21 let the taxpayers pay the bill, no need to
22 look into or investigate the
23 misappropriation of taxpayers' money,
24 comment from elected city council members
25 Gatelli and McGoff.
1 How much money has been wasted to
2 fight the firefighters and police officers,
3 Court costs, arbitration awards and PEL? It
4 took 30 seconds for the district attorney to
5 file charges against the individual who
6 brought the check into city council chambers
7 and two tax office employees, again,
8 selective enforcement of the law.
9 As at citizen of Scranton and the
10 United States, I demand that a full-blown
11 investigation be started by the City of
12 Scranton, Lackawanna County, State of
13 Pennsylvania, Scranton School District and
14 the United States Justice Department. The
15 time has come for all citizens and taxpayers
16 in Scranton and Lackawanna County. Stand up
17 for your right, but more importantly stand
18 up against the dishonesty that is abundant
19 in our local. Fair, honest and open
20 government, doesn't matter.
21 A request to the FBI, come on down
22 81 North, take the River Street exit, you
23 can start at the tax office and then city
24 hall, county courthouse, school district,
25 when you are finished make a call to the US
1 Marshalls Office. They really are the
2 people I would like to see because they are
3 responsible for prisoner transport which
4 means that arrests have been made. Can you
5 imagine that the FBI really believes that
6 pay for teacher's job may have happened in
7 Northeastern, Pennsylvania? By the way, US
8 Department, we have over 300 empty office
9 spaces in Scranton, a great place to open up
10 a training academy for new FBI agents,
11 secret service agents, ATF agents and US
12 deputy marshalls. Come on down, the honest
13 taxpayers of Scranton are waiting for your
15 No forensic audit, not even an
16 audit. May I finish?
17 MR. MCGOFF: Please.
18 MR. JACKOWITZ: Tax probe cost hits
19 $134,000. The taxpayers are paying $145 an
20 hour up to $325 an hour to Nihill-Riedley
21 for what? Why? Did the taxpayers create
22 the mess? Attorney McGovern states forensic
23 audit was a catch phrase. He must feel that
24 the citizens taxpayers who pay your salary
25 are not capable of handling the truth.
1 Where is the tax collector, Mrs. Flynn?
2 Does she not have a voice?
3 Scranton Tea Party demonstration in
4 front of the courthouse, Veteran's monument,
5 15th of April 2009, noon to 2 p.m. come one
6 come all. Mr. McGoff, get ready to gavel me
7 out of order because I am mad as hell and
8 pissed off.
9 MR. MCGOFF: That is out of order,
10 Mr. Jackowitz. You should have more respect
11 for the room if nothing else.
12 MR. GIAM: Good evening. My name is
13 John Giam, I have lived in the City of
14 Scranton for about six years now. I'm
15 originally from Jersey, I know a lot of
16 people have heard my name several times. I
17 don't think the city is ever going to come
18 back and I don't know how all of you have
19 known about the project up at the zoo, I
20 have something a little bit serious more
21 than that issue to come out right now. I
22 won't hold up your time, I know people have
23 other things to do.
24 I have two issues that really
25 concern me, number one is my wife and my
1 landlord are both with the City of Scranton
2 crossing guards. Whittier School is for
3 children. These people are supposed to
4 watch over those children. If you close
5 down or you do anything to the fire company
6 in the City of Scranton you are going to
7 burn down children and you're going to lose
8 a lot of people's lives. Not just, you
9 know, the majority of teachers, you know,
10 people like that, you are going to lose a
11 lot of people.
12 Another issue I wanted to come up
13 was parking on Moosic Street. There should
14 be something done seriously there of signs,
15 some kind of signs. Maybe a sign that says
16 "No parking" so these people could see,
17 something they can do. We are still hoping
18 that maybe somewhere down in the future they
19 will pull an alarm in the city so the fire
20 company can come there, besides the people
21 in the City of Scranton seeing what's going
22 on with the school. This is in Lackawanna
23 County. This is in Scranton, Pennsylvania,
24 you know. Maybe it's just me, but when you
25 lose kids, my son is old enough right now, I
1 got to pay for a car, excuse my expression,
2 I mean, we have all children, I have seen
3 this man's child stand out on the corner
4 with him and there is so many people that
5 are coming in out of there, the work that
6 these people do with two people, especially
7 my wife.
8 I don't believe this is Scranton,
9 Pennsylvania, I don't care what anybody
10 says. I don't care how long you people have
11 been seeing this and going on, well, damn
12 it, if you don't get nothing done there is
13 going to be a lot of lives lost and I know
14 that for a fact. I mean, I'm not one for
15 sitting down on my face not getting up and
16 saying something, I don't want to bore
17 anybody with what I want I have to say, but
18 I believe I do have something to say as a
19 human being and for one thing the United
20 States of America, plus I'm still in it,
21 even though they said I'm a little bit up
22 here, but that's all right. That happens to
24 Ladies and gentlemen, everybody
25 here, please consider the lives of these
1 children and what's going to happen with
2 these schools because once they get on the
3 fire people ain't there I don't care who you
4 are you are going to have to come out of the
5 City of Scranton take these children out
6 alive and if these people lose their lives
7 because somebody else don't give a darn
8 then I have wasted my time to talk to you
9 people right here standing in front of me
10 and sitting in front of me. Thank you very
11 much and have a good Easter. God bless you
12 all, I mean that.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?
14 MR. ANCHERANI: Good evening. Nelson
15 Ancherani, First Amendment Rights. What I'm
16 about to say in no way reflects on the
17 workers of the Single Tax Office or the tax
18 collector. Last week I asked 17 questions,
19 this week I will be curious to see how many
20 of them will be answered. Question: What
21 is going to be done about the missing two
22 million from the single tax office? I don't
23 ever, and I say ever, agree with the slimes,
24 but for once I do. I agree with their
25 editorialist and Chris Kelly about an
1 investigation into that missing money.
2 Forgive me, fellow city work employees, but
3 I almost lost my supper thinking I agreed
4 with the slimes.
5 Back to reality, two million is lot
6 of money to be missing. Myself, along with
7 every other property owner, got a 25 percent
8 tax hike in 2007 when the 12.2 million was
9 found in that tax office account in 2008.
10 Undispersed money, money in progress, in a
11 collective account, lousy accounting and
12 sloppy bookkeeping is blamed. It may never
13 be found or recovered. What? Never
14 recovered, never found? They say the cost
15 of finding out where it went missing could
16 be cost prohibitive. That's another what?
17 Are we not curious as to where that
18 $2 million went or is it just, oh, well,
19 it's only taxpayers' money. The taxpayers
20 who paid the 25 percent tax increase and the
21 homeowners who can't pay that increase and
22 are losing their homes is of an answer. The
23 taxpayers will never forget that it was
24 Mrs. Gatelli, Mr. McGoff and Mrs. Fanucci
25 who voted for that 25 percent tax increase
1 and for the record budget last year when
2 this 12.2 was hidden in that account.
3 One of the other questions is where
4 was Mr. Pilchesky in 2007 when we were short
5 money if wasn't being dispersed to the city
6 from the tax office? Who didn't pick up on
7 the short fall? It makes me believe that
8 the money was being hidden to make it appear
9 that we were distressed and to keep us in
10 this status. Therefore, we deserve an
11 answer, but, no, we demand an answer. Clear
12 the air or try to.
13 According to what Chris Kelly of the
14 slimes writes, get what little is left of
15 public confidence in government back if that
16 is at all possible. Question: Was the
17 letter that Mrs. Evans requested to be sent
18 to the different law enforcement agencies
19 asking for an investigation ever sent by
20 council? Two million is a lot of money. So
21 let's slide through our fingers. We paid
22 millions for improvements at Nay Aug Park.
23 Examples, millions for dirt and Davis trail
24 that had raw sewage flowing it over from the
25 Wildlife Center which was no fault of the
1 center. Maintenance of the building, city's
2 responsibility. A bridge to no where, an
3 undersized bat house, a black and green fish
4 pond that cost the city 1.2 million and the
5 city was too cheap to buy an aerator to keep
6 the fish from freezing in the winner. Also,
7 a collapsed amphitheater roof without
8 insurance coverage and a treehouse. All of
9 the while west side and north end got zilch.
10 That two million could have gone
11 towards lowering the wage tax that was
12 promised to be lowered seven years ago and
13 hasn't been. The Times is calling for an
14 investigation into the missing two million.
15 We must remember that the Lynettes are also
16 property owners and were subjected to the
17 25 percent tax increase and that 25 percent
18 increase was probably not needed if that
19 money was dispersed like it should have
20 been. The taxpayers are tired of being the
22 I also where the money was going to
23 come from if the 5.5 million doesn't
24 materialize. Stuy says contingency fund.
25 There should be a lot of money in that fund
1 since the city received revenues through the
2 budgets and loans approximately 700 million.
3 That's close to three-quarters of a billion
4 dollars. Thank you.
5 MR. ELLMAN: Hello, Council. Ronnie
6 Ellman, homeowner and member of the
7 Taxpayers' Association and new parent.
8 Rosie and I had a little I guess what people
9 would say a bundle of joy this week, last
10 Tuesday at my age, we adopted a three year
12 MR. MCGOFF: Congratulations.
13 MR. ELLMAN: You haven't heard it all
14 yet. Yes, this is a real joy. We adopted a
15 little Bassett hound. He is just -- I
16 didn't want another dog after Lump died, but
17 he is just such a joy and so good I just
18 didn't, you know, I couldn't turn him down.
19 I didn't no notes tonight I just --
20 you know, it's hot in here. It's election
21 here and someone has turned up the heat, and
22 I'm burning up. I took my coat off. You
23 know, I talked to some people this week and
24 really I know the heart of the city that we
25 were talking about what I said last week
1 about I want to live here and I want to stay
2 in town. I had a little piece of land in
3 Tennessee that I gave up, it was what, three
4 by six or whatever. I had a $1,500 funeral
5 or 750 cash and I took the cash years ago
6 because I'm going to stay here, but a few
7 minutes ago the lady was talking about all
8 of these pictures on the wall. This is the
9 worst administration since Mr. Hill's
10 picture was put up there 100 years ago, I
11 guess, when this building was built and I
12 think this is the first election year that I
13 have seen so many people seem to take an
14 interest in it. I sure hope that there is a
15 good vote instead of like it's always been
16 like half the people vote. I've had people
17 tell me that they want accessibility to the
18 mayor's office, you know, not going in there
19 in person, they want someone that they could
20 talk to and trust and that is part of them,
21 not someone that takes his tie off and has a
22 hot dog with Joe Snedeker in the morning and
23 says, look, I'm one of you guys, you know.
24 That's being phony. The people, it's time
25 for a change in the city. If you weigh the
1 good and the bad, you know, because I am not
2 totally anti-Doherty, there is lot of things
3 that I have agreed with, but if you weigh
4 the good and the bad, you know, you know how
5 it comes out. It just -- and people are
6 starting to see that when I'm holding my
7 little office at the Taurus Club and all. I
8 have never heard so much adversity like, you
9 know, like I guess because it's election
10 year and those people are more interested
11 than most of the city, but I just hope
12 people get out and vote and make this a fine
14 I have been talking to several
15 candidates that come by the house and I wish
16 everybody good luck. All of them have good
17 ideas. But if you can't get these people to
18 vote and register I don't know it's just
19 going to be another poor election like we
20 have had year after year after year where
21 half the people vote and half don't and then
22 they cry and whine and complain. You know,
23 it's getting to be like half the city seems
24 to be supporting the other half, but they
25 just don't do nothing about it. I never
1 seen homeowners that don't vote, you know,
2 lots of them. Well, thank you for the --
3 I'd just thought I'd throw that in about my
4 dog. I was 73 years old a couple of weeks
5 ago I don't think I need no diapers or
6 nothing. Thank you, council.
7 MR. MCGOFF: Anyone else?
8 MS. KRAKE: Good evening, Council.
9 My name is Nancy Krake. I have several
10 different things that I would like to speak
11 about this evening, but they are all related
12 under the headings of fiscal responsibility
13 or irresponsibility in case of this
14 administration and the lack of
15 accountability by administration and council
17 Mrs. Fanucci is an employed by the
18 state, and I have an article here from the
19 Times Shamrock newspaper from April 28,
20 2003, Wyoming County Commissioner is
21 appointed to the regional director -- as
22 regional director of Agriculture for the
23 state. He does not seek another term as
24 Wyoming County Commissioner specifically
25 because federal law, not state law, federal
1 law prohibits state employees from holding
2 elected office. Mrs. Fanucci sits at the
3 pleasure of Governor Rendell who also holds
4 the ax over our heads for Act 47. It would
5 behoove her to follow his instructions.
6 My secondary marks are concerning
7 Mrs. Evans' request for a letter from the
8 pension board about the double pension.
9 What I'd like to read is dated February 2,
10 2004, it's from then city solicitor Robert
11 Farrell to Bernice Spracino, the mayor's
12 then secretary. "Bernice, please relay this
13 message and attached letter to Chris," that
14 would be the mayor, "Lynn, the business
15 administration, told me that the pension
16 board is doubling pensions."
17 I want to interject something here,
18 that was negotiated by Ms. Moran, the
19 receiver of nearly $100,000 in raises, by
20 the way since she has been here, not with
21 me. She did not negotiate that with the
22 union president, okay? She did that behind
23 my back. "This will result in a larger hit
24 to the city than we promised in the
25 agreement with the clericals in the
1 ordinances on the pension wherein we
2 committed 90,000 annually. I told Lynn that
3 this doubling was troubling."
4 Funny how we can make so light of
5 something that is now costing the city over
6 $800,000 a year in an MMO, which will
7 continue for the next 20 years. That was
8 the big fat savings that we got when we got
9 rid of 30 clerical people. We not only took
10 their salaries and applied it to
11 administrative people, we also cost the
12 taxpayers another $800,000 for the next
13 20 years for nothing and these people
14 received full benefits.
15 After he says the doubling was
16 troubling, "In particular, given that names
17 of qualifying pensioners keep surfacing."
18 They weren't quite sure who was
19 getting it. They had to make sure it was
20 everybody they wanted. "I drafted the
21 attached letter to Tom Barrett to clarify
22 the city's position. I talked this over
23 with Dick," that would be Dick Goldberg, the
24 city's labor attorney, "regarding the
25 potential for the clericals to say that the
1 deal they worked out should only apply to
2 union members, i.e., the 90,000 could be
3 split only among them and no nonunion or
5 That's not what happened. Everybody
6 got it. Then there was a lawsuit for people
7 they left out and even more people got them
8 which truly is fair. You can't just get it
9 to one as Lisa Moran pointed out in her
10 maternity lawsuit and not to everyone.
11 That's what Mayor Doherty likes to do. He
12 likes to do it for his friends, but
13 ultimately through the Courts everyone gets
14 it when they pass these very bad laws.
15 Dick Goldberg suggested that before
16 the letter was sent "we should decide as a
17 matter of policy whether we want to stir
18 this pot."
19 Do you know how sickening that is?
20 "If we do, it may result in the changing of
21 benefits already being paid and in some
22 cases it may change benefits to some like
23 Paul McGoy to use an example."
24 Talk about pay to play and cronyism.
25 "Please let me know you want to handle this.
1 Rob." Well, we now how the story ended. We
2 are continuing to pay. I'll finish next
3 week. Thank you.
4 MR. SLEDENZSKI: Hello, Bill.
5 MR. COURTRIGHT: Hi, Chris.
6 MR. SLEDENZSKI: Slide it up a little
7 bit, Bill?
8 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah, pick it up,
10 MR. SLEDENZSKI: Billy, I'm going to
11 say two people tonight from my church, is
12 that all right, Bill? Esther and Ann, they
13 are friends of my, Bill. They are good
14 friends of mine, do you mind if say hi to
15 them tonight?
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: No, go ahead.
17 MR. SLEDENSKI: Esther and Ann, hi.
18 Billy. We were' winning two games last
19 week, Bill, going for number three tomorrow,
20 baby. They are coming back, Bill. Thank
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: Okay, Chris.
23 MS. EVANS: Good evening. Just to
24 give you an update first on the independent
25 audit of city council for financial year
1 2008. We did receive a report dated April 6
2 and this report comes to us from the BA's
3 Office. He has provided 13 items to Rossi
4 and Sons as of April 6 and 11 additional
5 items should be available on April 20. I do
6 hope the progress continues and produces an
7 audit by the end of the second financial
8 quarter of this year.
9 Also, in response to some remarks
10 made earlier by a council speakers, in
11 budgets I created in the last five years of
12 service on city council, I included the
13 implementation of a QRS city run ambulance
14 company. This revenue service, however, was
15 never approved by the majority of city
17 Over the last week additional
18 information regarding the Single Tax Office
19 fiasco came to light. First, no forensic
20 audit was performed. In fact, no audit was
21 performed for the 134,000 and counting spent
22 by the city, school district and county.
23 Rather, taxpayers received a report that
24 holds no one accountable and allows to
25 $2 million in missing funds to go
2 Second, we were mislead by the
3 officers of the tax office who stated in
4 newspaper articles and correspondence that a
5 forensic audit was being performed.
6 Third, city council allocated
7 $40,000 to the controller's office in the
8 2009 operating budget for an audit of the
9 Scranton tax office in 2009. These funds
10 were given not to the controller's office
11 however, but to the Scranton tax office. I
12 would like to know who authorized this
13 transfer of funds without the knowledge and
14 consent of city council.
15 Kay, I'd like a letter sent to
16 Mr. Renda, BA, requesting a response to this
17 question and also asking when this transfer
18 occurred, and I'd like that letter on or
19 before -- a response to the letter rather n
20 on or before April 13, 2009.
21 Fourth, at the March 24 council
22 meeting I asked for letters to be sent to
23 the county commissioners, the superintendent
24 of the board of directors of the Scranton
25 School District and the mayor proposing that
1 the three taxing bodies jointly request a
2 state and/or federal investigation into the
3 lost or missing approximate $2 million and
4 the lack of accountability for these lost
5 tax monies. I am currently awaiting
6 responses to those letters.
7 Fifth, I would like Attorney Minora
8 to research the possibility of an ordinance
9 whereby the Scranton Tax Office could not
10 use city taxes to supplement it's operating
11 budget without the knowledge and consent of
12 city council. This admittedly occurred in
13 2008 according to Attorney McGovern.
14 Sixth, the city seems currently to
15 have about a $2 million budget pothole to
16 fill. I would like a letter sent to
17 Mr. Renda and the mayor requesting to know
18 what tax claim years they intend to sell in
19 2009 since 2007 and 2008 tax claims were
20 already sold to the Redevelopment Authority
21 for purchase by Municipal Revenue Services
22 on April 15, 2008. I would like to know if
23 they intend to sell future years
24 delinquencies and if so what are those years
25 and I would like a response on or before
1 April 13, 2009.
2 I may remind everyone, however, that
3 the mayor is on record on October 18, 2002,
4 saying, "Delinquent property taxes are
5 one-time revenue. The state has criticized
6 the city in the past for using such revenues
7 to balance it's budget. One time hits like
8 the delinquent taxes should be used for
9 capital expenses such as infrastructure and
11 Yet, the mayor seeks to use the sale
12 of delinquent taxes for the second time in
13 one year to fill his budget potholes even
14 though the state frowns on it and he
15 criticizes others for doing so, but as they
16 say, desperate times make for desperate
17 measures, yet, we will continue to be
18 optimistic and hope that the administration
19 will find better ways to balance it's
20 bloated budget.
21 Next, Kay, I would like a letter
22 sent to Mrs. Moran, human resources
23 director, please list the number of errors
24 contained on the active fire and police
25 health care list including the number of
1 deceased participants for which the city has
2 continued to pay. Also, list the
3 administrative fee and stop loss per error
4 that the city has paid and please provide
5 the minutes of the April 2, 2009, health
6 care containment committee meeting.
7 It seems the city is wasting
8 taxpayers' money by paying health care costs
9 in error even for some deceased employees.
10 They don't appear to understand that they
11 are wasting your money.
12 Unfortunately, we are all very
13 concerned about the status of the animals at
14 the Genesis Wildlife Center, like our
15 firehouse closings, the administration can't
16 seem to makeup it's mind to close it or
17 allow it to remain open to the public. The
18 mayoral election likely will play into this
19 decision, but it is cruel to play with the
20 lives of animals.
21 As we learned earlier this evening,
22 the primates will be euthanized and the
23 other animals will suffer the same fate if
24 they can't be placed in an appropriate care
25 and environment within I would imagine a set
1 period, so what was designed to be an animal
2 refuge sadly and ironically may become a
3 death sentence until the people of Scranton
4 speak up. Whether you support or oppose the
5 wildlife center, I'm sure there is no one
6 who would want these animals to be
8 On a related note, it also appears
9 that the Pocono Equestrian Center was hoping
10 to replace Genisis and take over the zoo in
11 2007 according to the information and
12 contracts supplied by Mr. Bolus at last
13 week's meeting. The Recreation Authority
14 was acting independently in negotiating a
15 2007 contract with Pocono Equestrian Center
16 for the land surrounding the wildlife
17 center. It appears less than prudent and
18 fiscally irresponsible to place the
19 operations and decisions of all of Nay Aug
20 Park under this authority since they do not
21 bay the bills for this park. Since the
22 operating budget provides for the
23 employment, pool chemicals and maintenance
24 issues of Nay Aug among other costs, the
25 administration should take responsibility
1 for all of Nay Aug Park. The mayor invited
2 this animal refuge center to the zoo area
3 and he must either properly take care of it
4 or properly provide for the relocation of
5 these animals. Such hasty and poorly
6 planned decisions must stop.
7 Therefore, I move that city council
8 send a letter to Mr. Doherty and
9 Mr. Dougher, Director of Parks and
10 Recreation adamantly opposing the
11 euthanization of any animal who is housed at
12 the Genisis Wildlife Center.
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
14 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
15 Again, I don't like voting on motions that
16 are made at the table here. I would like to
17 have more information about whether there is
18 any plan to have any animals euthanized. I
19 would like to know what the intent of the
20 city is as far as the Wildlife Center is
21 concerned. I think there are is a number of
22 questions that need to be answered before we
23 go ahead and make decisions or make motions
24 and vote on motions concerning this
1 MS. EVANS: Well, I can appreciate
2 it, but I am only asking for a letter to be
3 sent to the two city officials involved in
4 this situation expressing our opposition to
5 euthanization of any animal housed at the
6 wildlife center.
7 MR. MCGOFF: Well --
8 MS. EVANS: It's not to make a
9 decision regarding the wildlife center, it's
10 simply stating that --
11 MR. MCGOFF: I understand.
12 MS. EVANS: -- if this is an option
13 or an action that will be taken as a result
14 of the closing of the Genesis Wildlife
15 Center, that we are opposed to the
16 euthanization of animals.
17 MR. MCGOFF: But the implication in
18 sending the letter is that you are -- you
19 are implying that they are going to be
21 MS. EVANS: No, what I'm -- I'm
22 implying --
23 MR. MCGOFF: Well, that is the
24 implication of the letter.
25 MS. EVANS: No.
1 MR. MCGOFF: It absolutely is.
2 MS. EVANS: No, it's not an
3 implication it's a statement I oppose the
4 euthanization of animals.
5 MR. MCGOFF: I do as well.
6 MS. EVANS: Well, then I would think
7 you should vote for this.
8 MR. MCGOFF: Then -- no, but what you
9 are saying it's like saying, you know, let's
10 send a letter to someone saying we oppose
11 you killing someone when they have no intent
12 of doing that. You are implying that they
13 are going to.
14 MS. EVANS: Well, that's a poor
16 MR. MCGOFF: No, it's not a poor
18 MS. EVANS: Well, I think it is in
19 these circumstances because you are taking
20 an illegal action and comparing it to, you
21 know, a situation that is I think also
22 prescribed by different laws, but it's just
23 a simple --
24 MR. MCGOFF: It isn't simple --
25 MS. EVANS: It's just a simple
1 statement that we will either try to protect
2 these animals from euthanasia or we don't
3 wish to so I don't want to withdraw the
5 MR. MCGOFF: See, you try and turn
6 everything into a black and white issue and
7 it's not. You are trying to turn what I
8 said into me implying that I want the
9 animals euthanized. All I'm saying is that
10 I do not want to vote on motions that are
11 made here without having adequate
12 information as to whether or not, you know,
13 these things are being planned. I'm not
14 going to vote on something based on
15 supposition. That simple. Anyone else?
16 All those in favor signify by saying aye.
17 MS. EVANS: Aye.
18 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
19 MR. MCGOFF: Opposed? No.
20 MS. FANUCCI: No.
21 MS. EVANS: Well, unfortunately --
22 MR. MCGOFF: Motion defeated.
23 MS. EVANS: Unfortunately, that
24 motion dies and --
25 MR. MCGOFF: Appropriately.
1 MS. EVANS: As Mr. McGoff jokingly
2 says appropriately it dies.
3 MR. MCGOFF: Appropriate the word.
4 MS. EVANS: Well, small difference
5 that I think speaks for itself. Finally, I
6 have citizens' requests for the week. A
7 letter to Jeff Brazil, DPW, who is
8 responsible for the removal of "No Parking"
9 signs on Moosic Street? Also, who is
10 responsible for replacing these signs, the
11 city or the state? Residents of Moosic
12 Street and Harrison Avenue have reported
13 this hazardous problem and request and
14 solution ASAP.
15 Also, I did receive a letter from a
16 resident of Park Gardens or at least the
17 letter appears to focus on Park Gardens, but
18 I could not read the handwriting. I think
19 maybe Mr. Courtright had a similar problem
20 awhile ago with a letter. If the person who
21 wrote the letter would call council's office
22 at 348-4113, 348-4113 and leave your name,
23 phone number and a brief message for me I'll
24 return the call and then you can tell me
25 specifically what the problem is that you
1 were trying to relate in the letter.
2 Also, I would just like to join in
3 the previous wishes made tonight for a very
4 happy and blessed Easter, and that's it.
5 MS. FANUCCI: I'm going to start off
6 by making comments on Nancy Krake. I guess
7 she was asking me to resign or I don't know
8 what she was insinuating, but my job at the
9 Governor's Office does not entail money.
10 Anything I do there is not -- has nothing to
11 do with financial gain or monies that are
12 dispersed. That's what the federal
13 government does. That's what the law is
14 about. So, therefore, I have and will stay
15 there because I can and I think you know
16 that because I know that it was filed two
17 weeks ago actually to try to remove me and I
18 know that the verdict had come in saying
19 that it does not apply to my position in the
20 Governor's office. I also knew that four
21 years ago when I accepted the job. I
22 certainly do do my homework and make sure
23 that these aren't the plans and the intent
24 to get rid of someone just for your own
25 personal benefit, but it was very good try
1 and I do want to commend you on that.
2 As always, and I'm going to say this
3 again and again, you are stuck in the middle
4 of election. I hope you are enjoying the
5 ride. This is what it's like every four
6 years, like it or not we get here and we are
7 convinced that we are unsafe, we are told
8 that no matter what we do you are not going
9 to be okay. You are not. Run for your
10 lives. Run for your lives. The last --
11 four years ago it was -- I believe crime and
12 gangs, that was the theory, but make no
13 mistake our firemen and our policemen are
14 good at what they do. They are very good.
15 They get the bad guys and they put out the
16 fires. That's not going to stop, so all of
17 this talk week after week trying to make you
18 afraid of certain things is nothing but
19 that. It's to make you afraid.
20 We talked about the -- we are going
21 to talk about the firehouses because it's
22 another recurring theme. Yes, I do believe
23 that that probably was spoken about the
24 closing firehouses. I believe that -- I
25 know for a fact superhouses were discussed.
1 They talked about that for years. It is in
2 the recovery plan, but it's negotiation.
3 That's what negotiation is. It's not any
4 different than the school board when the
5 teachers go on strike. It's too make a
6 point. It's to get what you want, posture
7 so that the other side comes to some type of
8 agreement. It's what goes on in
9 negotiations. That's what I said for four
10 years I have been sitting here and I said
11 this is not going to do anything. We could
12 say we want contracts signed, but it's going
13 to play itself out this Court. That's the
14 only way it's going to happen and there are
15 many reasons for that. Many reasons on both
16 sides because this is about money and it's
17 about how many money has been paid out and
18 how much money will be paid out, not any
19 different than what I do with my job or
20 Mrs. Evans being in the school district,
21 that's what it's about.
22 But, after the negotiations on
23 March 4 we have a letter here that, you
24 know, we all received after it was read last
25 week saying that was not part of the plan.
1 It wasn't. It was sent to the union saying
2 we are going to state clearly that this is
3 about shift changes and that letter does not
4 say anything about firehouses being closed
5 or firefighters being laid off or what else,
6 engine companies closing, but then
7 coincidentally, that was three weeks before
8 all of the signs popped up. Like it or not,
9 this is how it goes. I mean, this is how it
11 Rumors and fear need to stop. None
12 of us are going to let anyone or agree with
13 the fact that anyone should not be safe. I
14 certainly am not going to sit here and say
15 that I think it's okay to cut or to get rid
16 of or to close. We want the safety. That's
17 what it's about. I mean, it is the basic,
18 basic job for us as public safety, but this
19 fight will be nasty and it has been nasty
20 for four years and there are so many
22 Last week Mr. Ancherani got up and
23 spoke about one of his people having
24 200 percent health care increase.
25 Absolutely true. Absolutely true. What was
1 it, 100?
2 MR. ANCHERANI: 1,100.
3 MS. FANUCCI: 1,100 percent increase,
4 so I got some figures. Before, this was
5 before the settlement came down in the 2009
6 awarding for the contracts, the health care
7 that was paid per single person, the
8 contribution level was, let me get this,
9 from 2002 to 2008 if you were single and you
10 were -- your contribution for health care
11 was $3.89 a week. Now after the ruling came
12 down it's $11.70. Yes, per week I'm saying,
13 52 weeks a year, per week, so it did go up,
14 it went up a lot.
15 If you were a family plan it was
16 from 2002 to 2008, you are paying $16.87,
17 $16.87, you are paying $876.98 a year on the
18 family plan. Now, you are paying $2,000.00
19 a year. You are paying $2,161.54, so now
20 the contribution weekly is $41.56.
21 The active amount we are paying for
22 active health care for the people -- this is
23 just for -- I'm doing the firefighters right
24 now, $1,753,551.64, that's for the active.
25 The retired health care, now this is for the
1 retirees, we are paying health care for
2 them, if you retire before and I don't have
3 this -- before actually the new ruling, if
4 you retire we are paying your health care
5 for life, you and your spouse member, it
6 doesn't have to be a spouse, it could be
7 your child, whoever you put on we are paying
8 your health care for life, and if you do
9 pass away you are still paying for that
10 other person to have health care for life,
11 so the retirees are actually more money than
12 the people who are active right now, so they
13 are over $3 million we are paying for them.
14 $3 million.
15 Those are the figures, so Mr.
16 Ancherani correct after 2009 when the new
17 ruling came down they are contributing more
18 to their health care, but still I'm not sure
19 if they are contributing as much as you are
20 out there, that's for sure, to your health
21 care. Most of us are working daily for our
22 health care. That to me is a huge benefit.
23 So let's talk a little bit more
24 about the fact that cost of living, cost of
25 living increased, this was our big thing for
1 four years we are going to hear about it,
2 cost of living. They did not receive a cost
3 of living increase, definitely did not
4 until, let me get -- I'm sorry, I have a lot
5 of stuff here so I just want to get this
6 straight because I can't do this wrong,
7 until 2009 in September -- 2008 in September
8 they received 7 percent raise due to the
9 settlement with the city, so they did
10 receive 7 percent then. After this new
11 award came down which was in 2009 they
12 increased their wages by only .5 percent
13 because at that time they had a cap saying
14 they could only take 2.5 -- or, I'm sorry,
15 7.5 percent, so that is why they only
16 received 5 percent at this time. So, that
17 was their first cost of living increase, but
18 remember, their health care to me is almost
19 like a raise. Paying that health care all
20 this time because the health care costs for
21 the city for a single person in 2007 --
22 let's go to 2008 because that was the number
23 I used so I don't want to be inaccurate
24 here, the health care for the city in 2008
25 is $4,900 per person which is $94.40 per
1 pay. Well, not even per pay, for weekly, so
2 we need to do the same, the city's
3 contribution and your contribution, what you
4 are paying for their health care is $94.40.
5 What the contribution was until this last
6 award was $3.89. That to me is probably the
7 reason we are in this mess, part of the
8 reason we are fighting, part of the reason
9 that every week held here used as a forum of
10 constant debates and madness and, you know,
11 just spewing problems all of the time.
12 PEL, let's talk about PEL. PEL
13 didn't come here because they felt like
14 dropping themselves off. They came here
15 because they were asked to come here, they
16 were voted to come here. Then the unions
17 asked to put it on referendum. We don't
18 know if we want recovery, let's let the
19 people decide. The people decided they
20 wanted the recovery. Misinformation they
21 are saying because misinformation was that
22 they didn't understand the recovery plan.
23 Whatever the reason we have them now and we
24 are stuck with them. Whether or not we
25 agree with the way this is happening it
1 doesn't matter. If we decide to give
2 everything the unions want and, you know
3 what, more power to them. I would
4 absolutely love to. If we had all of the
5 money in the world I would say just give
6 them what they had. It was a wonderful deal
7 and let's keep it going. The problem is we
8 don't have the money. Nobody has the money
9 anymore. Corporate America doesn't have the
10 money, your small businesses don't have the
11 money, and your municipalities have not had
12 the money in years. You don't have to like
13 it, it's a fact.
14 PEL is not going anywhere until we
15 clean our mess up. Does it mean it's the
16 union's fault? Absolutely not. Does it
17 mean it's the administration's fault?
18 Absolutely not. This has been going on for
19 years and years and years. This mess is all
20 over the country, it's in every household,
21 it's in every business, so to sit here every
22 week and say that it's one person's fault or
23 one administration's fault is absolutely
24 false. We got here because we did exactly
25 what the rest of America was doing. We were
1 trying to do what we thought was right and
2 actually ended up in a mess. PEL is not
3 leaving until we straighten out our house
4 out, so I don't care who runs or what they
5 say or what they are going to do if we
6 decide to give them everything we'll get
7 sanctioned. They will red flag us and we
8 won't get any money from the state or the
9 federal government. So, I mean, that could
10 definitely happen. That's an option. It's
11 in the Recovery Plan and who knows if they
12 will do it or not, but it is something that
13 they can do.
14 My theory is enough is enough. This
15 is ridiculous. We are going to spend
16 another ten years fighting over this. Now
17 there are contracts and was said tonight
18 there is contract. The sad thing is that
19 because we went to Court and we kept going
20 to Court some of these people who worked
21 forever and believe that they were going to
22 retired with full-blown health care for the
23 rest of their lives and their spouse they
24 actually lost it. They retired without any
25 now after all of their years of service the
1 health care is gone for them. That to me is
2 sad. That's what can happen if we stay
3 distressed and also if we don't try to use
4 the parameters that are set.
5 None of us like it, it's time that
6 we all just finally say enough is enough, we
7 need to do what's best for everyone and it's
8 not against the unions, it's not against the
9 administration, it's not against the
10 taxpayers, it doesn't matter. It doesn't
11 matter. It's about how you're going to end
12 up in the long run. This is your money.
13 You are paying everybody. You are paying
14 everybody. So whether or not you agree with
15 PEL it doesn't -- it has nothing to do with
16 it. They are here. They are not going
17 away. I know you want to get rid of them,
18 you should want to get rid of them. Believe
19 me, they want to take things away from you.
20 I understand that. I get it. You know, I
21 went through all of this paperwork and I get
22 why, longevity pay. Huge. Huge. Some
23 people are getting over $3,000 in longevity
24 pay. It's amazing to me, you know, and
25 that's a problem, too.
1 Overtime, what'd we pay $700,000 in
2 overtime? That's a problem. $700,000 in
3 overtime. That's a major problem. We need
4 to work something out because it is not
5 getting any better and it's not better on
6 it's own and coming in here every week and
7 screaming and yelling is not changing a
8 thing because guess what, we are still here,
9 eight years later we are still here doing
10 it. Yeah. Yeah. I agree.
11 So that is all I have on that
12 tonight. I'm certainly going to give you
13 more next week because I got some other
14 figures on Mrs. Evans had asked for figures
15 on DPW, I have those, I have figures on the
16 police and also the administration that I
17 will doing also in the next few weeks.
18 On another note, I just want to say
19 my grandfather was sick and ask him -- and
20 let him know that, you know, I love him very
21 much. He is wonderful man, Frank Scatino,
22 anyone who knows him knows he is a wonderful
23 guy and at 90 years old it is very difficult
24 to see one of the best people in your life
25 sick, and it's not any different than, I
1 mean, you all know that, and just to let him
2 know that I would not be the person I was if
3 it were not for him, and that is all. Thank
5 MR. MCGOFF: Mr. Courtright?
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yeah. I would like
7 to make one -- Mrs. Fanucci put out a lot of
8 information there, I believe the only people
9 that got benefits for life were pre '93 if
10 I'm not mistaken.
11 MS. FANUCCI: '97. '97 I think it
13 MR. COURTRIGHT: All right. Well,
14 I'll check into that, I'll make sure.
15 Anyway, the individual that stopped me on
16 Faar Street we did send a letter out about
17 your road and the whole thing will be taken
18 care of. Kay, I need one more letter, the
19 DPW had gone out to Forest Glenn and the
20 driving range and patched it the best they
21 could but now the blacktop plants are open
22 and it needs to be graded and paved. It's
23 just someone is going to get seriously
24 injured right there. If they need the exact
25 location I believe they know it, but if they
1 need the exact location you can ask them to
2 call me and I will personally drive them to
3 the spot. It's very bad. Someone is going
4 to get hurt, it's on a turn and the entire
5 road is dug up.
6 The woman from Genesis Wildlife, I
7 don't know what prompted this to happen all
8 of a sudden, why all of a sudden is there a
9 need to close that place and I would ask --
10 I guess, I would ask the administration that
11 if we could, Kay, why all of a sudden are we
12 interested in closing the place because I'm
13 looking at the reports you gave me and she
14 passed everything that was given to her by I
15 believe it was the Game Commission. Yeah,
16 by the PA Game Commission she passed
17 everything on the inspection and it was a
18 surprise inspection as far as I could see,
19 so why all of a sudden do we need to close
20 that place? That I don't understand.
21 Mr. Judge spoke about the QRS and I
22 spoke about this more than one time in the
23 past we sat at this table on a couple of
24 different occasions, myself, members from
25 the administration, firefighters, we thought
1 we had a plan worked out for QRS and we
2 thought it was a go and then the mayor
3 refused to entertain that plan.
4 One of the reasons that I was
5 pushing for it so hard was the fact that at
6 the time, and I think it probably still
7 exists, that the response time of the
8 ambulances weren't what we had hoped that
9 they would be. Again, as he said, I don't
10 know if it's because of the volume of calls
11 that they are getting or if they are cutting
12 back on staff or what, but I had gotten so
13 many complaints that I spoke to the
14 individual that to me is probably the most
15 knowledgeable person in the ambulance
16 business and he said if, you know, if we
17 weren't go do the QRS then maybe the
18 ambulances could do what they call posting
19 because at any given time we would have no
20 ambulances available in the City of
21 Scranton, none. So, to try to avoid any
22 problem barring the QRS, which I'm still in
23 favor of, I asked about posting which would
24 mean, you know, the ambulance service if
25 there was no ambulance in the City of
1 Scranton they would post them say the border
2 of Taylor, Abington and Dunmore so we could
3 get some quicker response times.
4 I still believe that the QRS will
5 work because of the proximity to the
6 problems is that all of these firehouses
7 are. They are all trained, not that they
8 were going to take over the ambulance jobs,
9 but if they can get to the person and
10 stabilize them until what time, you know, a
11 paramedic would get there why not do it?
12 The union was good enough to agree at the
13 time to not use any of those runs to bill up
14 their numbers. I think that was a concern
15 to the administration that they would use it
16 to bill up their numbers to justify more
17 firefighters and they agreed, you know, they
18 wouldn't do that so I would hope at this
19 point in time we would consider it again, I
20 think Mr. Judge made some very, very good
21 points and I'm in favor of the QRS, I always
22 have been and I think there is members of
23 this council that have been, also.
24 The tax office, I have avoided
25 talking about it for obvious reasons, but I
1 have to agree with Mrs. Evans that we have
2 been mislead. Like I said last week, we
3 were mislead when we were told there was 12
4 million, no 12 million. We were mislead
5 when we said there was a forensic audit and
6 we find out the forensic audit is nothing
7 more than some kind of a catch phrase.
8 I'll have to agree with
9 Mr. Ancherani I don't agree with a lot
10 that's in the newspaper, but I had this
11 article brought to my attention that a man I
12 only met one time, I believe his name is
13 Chris Kelly? Yeah, right here, Chris Kelly,
14 he kind of hit the nail on the head for the
15 people I have been talking to and there's a
16 lot of good things in there, so if you are
17 interested in what is going on over there it
18 was in this Sunday's paper and I thought it
19 was a pretty good article. It more or less
20 hit the nail on the head and what people
21 have been talking into thinking what is
22 going on over there now, and I don't want to
23 read the entire article, I don't want to
24 make it look like I'm bashing anybody, I
25 would ask you go and read Chris Kelly's
1 article Sunday and decide for yourself.
2 It's one time that I agree with him.
3 I think what the people of the City
4 of Scranton now that I talked to just want
5 to see is some honesty, all right? They
6 just want a little bit of honesty and I
7 don't think that's too much to ask for. So,
8 again, I'm tiptoeing around this issue
9 because of the circumstances, but I think
10 this is an article worth reading and you
11 make your own decision. I don't want to
12 make it for you, and I would just like to
13 say Happy Easter to everybody and I am done.
14 Thank you.
15 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. A number of
16 quick things. First, I don't know if I was
17 being accused of muddying the waters or that
18 the waters had somehow gotten muddied by
19 someone else, but I didn't attempt to muddy
20 the waters, I tried to not be misleading.
21 The only point that I tried to make last
22 week was that a memorandum was sent to the
23 union on February 25, one that you can --
24 one that was conveniently out of the
25 timeline that we heard tonight which a draft
1 of the proposed new organizational structure
2 of the fire department was given to the
3 union. Two weeks later we had someone come
4 in and tell us that there was a proposal to
5 close firehouses and a sign demonstration or
6 whatever you want to call it, signs appeared
7 around the city to keep the firehouses open
8 when, in fact, at least the fire union knew
9 that that was not the plan.
10 I think that is muddying the waters.
11 That's muddying the waters.
12 MR. GERVASI: It was a bid sheet.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Two -- excuse me.
14 MR. GERVASI: It was a bid sheet.
15 MR. MCGOFF: My turn.
16 MR. GERVASI: Not a structure, a bid
17 sheet. Be accurate.
18 MR. MCGOFF: I am accurate. It's
19 right here.
20 MR. GERVASI: No, you are not.
21 MR. MCGOFF: Last week someone comes
22 to council and says we don't have any idea
23 what the plan is. It's in a secret folder.
24 The plan was in their hands. That's
25 misleading. That is muddying the waters. I
1 don't mind listening to information as long
2 as it's accurate and not misleading and I
3 think that in some cases we have been
4 mislead, and that was all I was trying to
6 As far as the Wildlife Center is
7 concerned, I didn't want to get into an
8 argument or I didn't mean to get into an
9 argument about whether or not euthanizing
10 animals was a good or a bad thing, I would
11 just like to get some more information. I
12 would like to get information from the
13 administration as to what their intent is,
14 if there is some type of plan, some
15 structure to what they are going to do, as
16 far as I knew there was no intent to
17 euthanize any animals, the intent was to
18 move them to new homes. What I see on what
19 was given to us by Ms. Miller and that there
20 is a law, a recent change in the law, I
21 would like to find out what that change was
22 and, you know, the accuracy of that if, in
23 fact, that maybe that was something that was
24 not considered when the suggestion or when
25 the mayor told them that they should seek
1 other places. I just think at that there is
2 more information that's needed.
3 I, too, have, you know, fond
4 memories of being at the Nay Aug Zoo and I
5 think it's a -- I had my granddaughters
6 through there, through the Wildlife Center
7 last year, they enjoyed it, I think it's a
8 good thing, but I still think that we need
9 some more information before we proceed to
10 do anything concerning the Wildlife Center.
11 And the last thing, dealing with the
12 tax office, this is probably the most
13 perplexing thing that I have had to deal
14 with since I have been on in council. I
15 just can't understand what's taking place
16 and I don't want to blame anyone, I just
17 think that the situation has become so
18 complex that I don't know that there is
19 anybody that has an adequate answer to
20 what's going on. Everybody seems to have
21 different parts of a puzzle and it's parts
22 don't seem to fit together, and one of the
23 things that I think is causing the problem
24 or that's a major part of the problem is
25 that we haven't had an audit of the tax
1 office that we thought we were. We had an
2 investigation. I think that the city paid
3 for an audit. I think that at this point in
4 time we should demand that that audit be
5 taken. Not another investigation, not put
6 off, if we paid for an audit that's what we
7 thought we were getting then there should be
8 an attempt at an audit of the Single Tax
9 Office and let them come back -- let someone
10 come back and report on what has taken place
11 and maybe it's an impossibility to conduct
12 an audit as Mr. McGovern seemed to indicate,
13 but I think it should be attempted and get
14 away from all of this investigation and, you
15 know, whatever terminology wants to be used.
16 And I'm not, again, I'm not looking
17 for an audit to place blame on anybody, I
18 don't want an investigation, I don't want to
19 place blame on any particular person persons
20 or computer system, I think it is incumbent
21 upon us to find out how that money got
22 there, how much is there and what -- and how
23 it can be accurately dispersed. That is
24 what we thought we are going to get and
25 perhaps in conducting this office we can
1 ascertain what amounts of money were lost, I
2 know it's been indicated it may be up to
3 $2 million, it may be $2, who knows, but an
4 audit should be able to determine more
5 accurate figures than we have received and I
6 don't know what process we need to go
7 through in order to make that demand, but
8 within the next week or so I think that we
9 should -- I would pursue or attempt to find
10 out how we can go about getting what we paid
11 for, and that is accurate audit of the
12 Single Tax Office for the years in which
13 this 12 point whatever million had
14 accumulated, and that's all.
15 MS. EVANS: Can I just say I agree
16 with you. I think that's a very good idea.
17 I don't know, again, as you said, how that's
18 going to occur since they evidently have
19 performed work over an eight-month period
20 for which they have billed and I'm sure have
21 been paid or will be paid. We may incur
22 additional costs in pursuing a traditional
23 forensic audit which I am not opposed to. I
24 believe there should be an audit and I agree
25 with you. We were lead to believe it was an
1 audit and now we find out after the fact it
2 was not an audit.
3 But, I also want to say that I will
4 not be satisfied until an investigation of
5 that office is conducted either by the State
6 Attorney General's Office or Federal Bureau
7 of Investigation, whatever appropriate
8 agency is necessary. The FBI can certainly
9 open up it's investigation once again
10 because this type of situation wouldn't be
11 permitted I'm sure in any private business
12 or probably any government, but that's all I
13 wanted to add to that.
14 MR. MCGOFF: Attorney Minora.
15 MR. MINORA: If I could just kick my
16 two cents into this, which I think you
17 already have, I spoke to Solicitor Patterson
18 this week. A forensic audit is going to be
19 very expensive and there are other
20 communities that have a stake in this who
21 haven't really stepped forward to contribute
22 to a forensic audit, although, they have
23 money involved. I thought that there might
24 be a possibility or I suggested to her that
25 she considered filing a declaratory judgment
1 action and putting the matter in Court.
2 That would, of course, bring all of the
3 other parties involved into a -- well, more
4 than a discussion, but as far as the cost
5 then I think a Court would be almost
6 obligated to at least request some money
7 from all of the other municipalities towards
8 a forensic audit and perhaps there's some
9 ability to the Court function itself of a
10 declaratory judgment in coming to numbers
11 that you could live with as a distribution
12 perhaps based on some, you know, multiple
13 population or taxes, but that would be a
14 settlement, but my original thought was to
15 try and get the other communities to
16 contribute to part of this since they have a
17 stake. I suggested that to her, she thought
18 it was an idea to consider and she is going
19 to be looking into it.
20 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you.
21 MR. COURTRIGHT: May I just say one
22 thing, Mr. McGoff, I think the Times
23 reported 134,000 and counting, so we are
24 still paying them. I would suggest we stop,
25 you know, paying them until we see what it
1 is we are paying for them. I mean,
2 $134,000, correct me if I'm wrong, but I
3 don't think we know a whole lot more than we
4 did before.
5 MS. EVANS: NO.
6 MR. COURTRIGHT: So, I would like to,
7 you know, see them stop paying them until we
8 know what we are paying them for, you know.
9 I would want to know what I'm paying for.
10 MS. EVANS: Well, there is obviously,
11 according to the newspaper we still have a
12 CPA or perhaps a controller at work in that
13 office who is overseeing I'm assuming the
14 day-to-day operations until the city and the
15 school district and the county hire a
16 full-time controller.
17 MR. COURTRIGHT: I like Mr. Minora's
18 idea of trying to get everybody else to
19 share in paying them.
20 MR. MCGOFF: I will also talk to our
21 solicitor and see if that's -- if we can
22 move that forward.
23 MS. EVANS: Attorney Minora, I'm
25 MR. MCGOFF: Go ahead.
1 MS. EVANS: Do you know what costs
2 would be incurred to the city, that is, by a
3 possible state or federal investigation?
4 MR. MINORA: Well, I'm not -- if you
5 are talking about a criminal investigation
6 then the entities that do that they don't
7 surcharge the municipalities that they are
8 investigating that I have ever seen, so it
9 would be something that the FBI would
10 undertake by themselves or the Attorney
11 General's Office would undertake by
12 themselves. I'm not aware of them ever
13 surcharging a municipality for investigating
14 some wrongdoing in that municipality.
15 MS. EVANS: So that's a very
16 cost-effective way in which to pursue this.
17 MR. MINORA: Well --
18 MS. EVANS: In addition to an audit.
19 MR. MINORA: Well, I don't think it
20 gives you any information on money, they are
21 two separate things.
22 MS. EVANS: Exactly.
23 MR. MINORA: A criminal investigation
24 and an audit are two completely different
25 things. One is looking for did somebody
1 involve themselves in some criminality,
2 you're really looking at very narrow
3 parameters for that, and a forensic audit
4 you are looking for mistakes. You are
5 looking for errors.
6 MS. EVANS: An accounting.
7 MR. MINORA: You are looking for --
8 MS. EVANS: The accounting of
9 missing monies.
10 MR. MINORA: Yeah. Well, and that as
11 well, but it's also to try and remedy
12 whatever the inherent errors were in the
13 first place, so they are really two
14 completely different things and they
15 don't -- well, they don't ordinarily cross
16 over. There may be some line to cross over
17 in a criminal case, but the forensic audit
18 is a different animal from a criminal
20 MS. EVANS: Thank you.
21 MR. MINORA: I don't know if that
22 answer the questions.
23 MS. EVANS: Yes, that helps me.
24 Thank you.
25 MR. MCGOFF: Thank you. Mrs. Garvey,
1 your turn.
2 MS. GARVEY: 5-B. FOR INTRODUCTION -
3 AN ORDINANCE - CREATING AND ESTABLISHING
4 SPECIAL CITY ACCOUNT NO. 02.229590 ENTITLED
5 "A.R.T.S. ENGAGE! GRANT" FOR THE RECEIPT
6 AND DISBURSEMENT OF GRANT FUNDS FROM
7 LACKAWANNA COUNTY CHILDREN AND YOUTH
8 SERVICES AND DEPARTMENT OF ARTS AND CULTURE
9 FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION
10 CITY OF SCRANTON POOL MURALS PROGRAM.
11 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll
12 entertain a motion that Item 5-B be
13 introduced into it's proper committee.
14 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
15 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
16 MR. MCGOFF: On the question?
17 MS. EVANS: I was looking through the
18 backup for this piece of legislation and I
19 noticed mentioned in the language and even
20 in the costs a title or a group called
21 Heart-to-Art, and I'm wondering if we can
22 find out, please, who that group or who owns
23 it or who will be president or directors of
24 that would be and where they are from.
25 MS. FANUCCI: I believe Donna Doherty
1 is in charge of part of that program, maybe
2 that's why you are asking. The mayor's wife
3 is definitely a significant part of that
4 group, but it's many, many people. They
5 have done work in Wilkes-Barre, also, but I
6 can find out more on that for you.
7 MS. EVANS: That would be good.
8 MR. MCGOFF: All in favor signify by
9 saying aye.
10 MS. EVANS: Aye.
11 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
12 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
13 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
14 ayes have it and so moved.
15 MS. GARVEY: 5-C. FOR INTRODUCTION -
16 AN ORDINANCE - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND
17 OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICIALS OF THE CITY OF
18 SCRANTON TO ACCEPT AND DISBURSE GRANT FUNDS
19 FROM LACKAWANNA COUNTY CHILDREN AND YOUTH
20 SERVICES AND DEPARTMENT OF ARTS AND CULTURE
21 A.R.T.S. ENGAGE! GRANT IN THE AMOUNT OF
22 $34,100.00 FOR THE CITY OF SCRANTON
23 DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND RECREATION POOL
24 MURALS PROGRAM.
25 MR. MCGOFF: At this time I'll
1 entertain a motion that Item 5-C be
2 introduced into it's proper committee.
3 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
4 MS. FANUCCI: Second.
5 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? All
6 in favor signify by saying aye.
7 MS. EVANS: Aye.
8 MS. FANUCCI: Aye.
9 MR. COURTRIGHT: Aye.
10 MR. MCGOFF: Aye. Opposed? The
11 ayes have it and so moved.
12 MS. GARVEY: SIXTH ORDER. NO
13 BUSINESS AT THIS TIME. SEVENTH ORDER. 7-A.
14 FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC
15 WORKS - FOR ADOPTION - RESOLUTION NO. 116,
16 2009 - AUTHORIZING THE MAYOR AND OTHER
17 APPROPRIATE CITY OFFICIALS TO EXECUTE AND
18 ENTER INTO MUNICIPAL SUPPLEMENTAL
19 ENGINEERING AGREEMENT NUMBER 041761-D WITH
20 BUCHART-HORN, INC. TO AMEND PART III OF THE
21 AGREEMENT TO COVER UNANTICIPATED ADDITIONAL
22 WORK NECESSARY TO CONTINUE SERVICES DURING
23 CONSTRUCTION AND AN OVERALL EXTENSION OF THE
24 LACKAWANNA AVENUE BRIDGE PROJECT FOR AN
25 ADDITIONAL COST OF $22,906.67.
1 MR. MCGOFF: What is the
2 recommendation of the Chairperson for the
3 Committee on Public Works?
4 MS. EVANS: As Chair for the
5 Committee on Public Works, I recommend final
6 passage of Item 7-A.
7 MR. COURTRIGHT: Second.
8 MR. MCGOFF: On the question? Roll
9 call, please?
10 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Evans.
11 MS. EVANS: Yes.
12 MR. COOLICAN: Mrs. Gatelli. Ms.
14 MS. FANUCCI: Yes.
15 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. Courtright.
16 MR. COURTRIGHT: Yes.
17 MR. COOLICAN: Mr. McGoff.
18 MR. MCGOFF: Yes. I hereby declare
19 Item 7-A legally and lawfully adopted.
20 Thank you and I'll entertain a motion to
22 MR. COURTRIGHT: So moved.
3 C E R T I F I C A T E
5 I hereby certify that the proceedings and
6 evidence are contained fully and accurately in the
7 notes of testimony taken by me at the hearing of the
8 above-captioned matter and that the foregoing is a true
9 and correct transcript of the same to the best of my
CATHENE S. NARDOZZI, RPR
14 OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER