Toroney Touts Tenure On Pottstown Council, Accomplishments – Reads From Prepared Statement

POTTSTOWN, PA – Several dozen people stood in front of Pottstown Borough Hall, before tonight’s council meeting, to protest the rash of violence, including a homicide, that has gripped the borough in the last few weeks.  NBC 10, the Reading Eagle and ace Mercury Reporter, Evan Brandt were all on hand (sorry if I missed anyone).  Motorists honked and shouted encouragement from time to time as the protesters held up signs asking Pottstown Borough Council President Steve Toroney to resign.

Despite the threatening weather, the demonstration went on.  Around 6:30 pm, Mr. Toroney arrived and entered the building by the front door.  He appeared indifferent to the demonstrators.

The meeting started at 7:00 pm with the Call to Order.  For the Invocation, President Toroney briefly spoke about former Pottstown Mayor Anne Jones, who passed away a few days ago.  A moment of silence was then observed for Anne and her family.

The agenda then moved through the Pledge of Allegiance, Roll Call, Approval of Minutes and then Comments from Citizens Present.

The first commenter was well-known Pottstown civic activist, Katy Jackson.  Speaking on behalf of the Pottstown Citizens Action Committee, Mrs. Jackson read with emotion from her prepared statement, which outlined in less than five minutes the flawed leadership of President Toroney.  She was interrupted at 4 minutes to tell her she had one minute left and to “wrap it up”.  No other speaker was interrupted.  See my Roy’s Rants Facebook page to view video.

Dianne Krumm, another member of the Pottstown Citizens Action Committee echoed much of Mrs. Jackson’s concerns.  She also cited Pottstown Police Chief Richard Drumheller’s goal to reduce crime in Pottstown by 1% when he took office.  She suggested Pottstown ask for help from the state to aid the beleaguered police department.

Cindy Conard, former challenger for the 7th Ward Council seat, stressed the need for conversation and communication between the residents and the borough.  She also mentioned the lack of vision and direction as contributing factors to the frustration of taxpayers.

David Garner, Esquire addressed the 7th Ward Councilor for ignoring his emails (not the first person with this issue).  He again offered his help to the borough, even after being told his help “was not needed and not wanted”.

Several others addressed council with comments like “come live in my neighborhood for a day or a week”, “my property value has dropped $40,000 in 5 years” and “the borough manager rejected my request for an appointment”.

A young woman told a horror story of being abused by an extractive property investor.  His property was inspected by the Pottstown Codes Department, there were major violations yet nothing ever happened to her landlord.  She had no heat for two months and duct tape over the windows and doors to keep the air out, “you could see outside”.  She called the Pottstown Police Department because she was being terrorized, nothing happened.  They were more interested in running her information to see if she had outstanding warrants than they were to protect her from defiant trespass.  She had to go to Norristown to get help and moved before her lease was up.  She rightly wonders why her landlord was not held accountable for the ordinances she found on the borough website and why the police department was not interested in helping her.  Great questions.

The last person who spoke expressed his frustration with being told he, as a taxpayer, is not doing enough to help fight crime in Pottstown.  He is a life-long resident of the borough, an upstanding citizen who does call the police and tries to do the right thing.  Being told he is not doing enough “pisses him off”.  He lives within a block of the recent murder (and a previous murder).  He also mentioned shootings, arson and cars being vandalized in his neighborhood.  Blaming the people who pay your salary is never the way to go.

So after all these taxpayers poured out their hearts to borough council, a red-faced Steve Toroney read a prepared statement touting his 15 ½ years on Council.  Normally politicians can rattle off a list of their accomplishments at the drop of a hat.  Steve is proud of what he has accomplished but did not offer one illustration of any accomplishment in his statement.  Interesting.  See my Roy’s Rants Facebook page to view video.   Mr. Toroney got a “jab” in at former Sixth Ward Councilor, Jody Rhoads in his remarks about not resigning.

The next item was the Mayor’s Report.  The mayor had three talking points.  First she talked about Anne Jones.  That was very nice.  Then she talked about Edgewood Cemetery, at some length.  Basically, it’s abandoned and the borough does not own the property.  The cemetery needs to be maintained… the problem.  Lastly, Sharon addressed crime.  She talked so long the video card filled up and my camera stopped recording.  Sharon did mention the last citizen’s comments in her remarks about crime.

The Borough Manager’s Report was short.  He mentioned the upcoming Pottstown Rumble volleyball tournament and that the hours are changing at borough hall. He did not acknowledge any of the citizens comments.

I left after his remarks.

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Marta Kiesling Resigns As Steel River Playhouse Executive Director

Picture 577POTTSTOWN, PA — Marta Kiesling, the dynamic executive director of Steel River Playhouse who grew a small acting group that performed in her living room into the region’s premiere venue for live theater, has parted ways with the institution she helped found.

A Monday evening e-mail from the board of directors to community leaders announced that Kiesling’s resignation had been accepted, effective May 1.

“We’re saddened to lose such a visionary person who built the playhouse to the strong cultural and educational institution it is today,” the release said.

What started as Village Productions was grown by Kiesling into the TriCounty Performing Arts Center, which with the help of grants from Montgomery County and a variety of other sources, established a theater in the former J.J. Newberry Department store at 245 E. High St. in 2008.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140506/marta-kiesling-resigns-as-steel-river-playhouse-executive-director

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Former York City Financial Officer Says Mayor Asked Him To Resign

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

York City’s former top financial officer said the city’s mayor showed up at his house on a Sunday in April and asked for his resignation.

This week, former business administrator Michael O’Rourke said Mayor Kim Bracey did not provide an explanation for the request, and he still does not know the reason.

“I asked her why, and she said, ‘I just want to make a change,'” O’Rourke said.

That contradicts Bracey’s original characterization of the situation.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_25682926/former-york-city-financial-officer-says-mayor-asked

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Layne Steps Down As Upper Pottsgrove Township Manager

Location of Upper Pottsgrove Township in Montg...

Location of Upper Pottsgrove Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

UPPER POTTSGROVE — The township’s worst kept secret was finally made public Monday night when it was announced that Township Manager Jack Layne has resigned to take a job as manager of Maple Shade, N.J.

Layne began his work with the township in May, 2006, taking over to fill the void left by the surprise resignation of his predecessor, Michael Cotter.

Layne had himself resigned earlier in the year as manager of Pottstown Borough and the Pottstown Borough Authority, a position he had held since January, 2003 after leaving a post in Ohio.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20131216/layne-steps-down-as-u-pottsgrove-township-manager

Reading School Board Member Karen McCree Says She’ll Resign

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Following a tumultuous reorganization meeting earlier in the week, longtime Reading School Board member Karen H. McCree has resigned from her position.
McCree said she submitted her resignation to board president Rebecca Acosta Wednesday. The school board released a statement about McCree’s resignation Friday.

Acosta and McCree have butted heads at recent public meetings. The tussle escalated to a heated shouting match at Monday’s reorganization meeting, when Acosta was named president.

McCree just began her 15th year as a member of the school board. Her last board meeting will be Dec. 18 and her resignation will take effect Jan. 3.

“I’ve been thinking about it for a while and there have been some other reasons that I’ve decided that now is the time,” McCree said of her decision Friday.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20131207/NEWS/312079964/1052#.UqNbcPSgnuI

Reading Fire Chief Surprises Mayor With Immediate Resignation

In a surprise move Monday, city Fire Chief David W. Hollinger resigned for personal reasons after a little more than a year on the job.

Mayor Vaughn D. Spencer said the chief came back from vacation to hand him the resignation, which was effective immediately.  Spencer said he accepted it with regret and wishes Hollinger well.

“I’ve been making it clear: I did not ask for his resignation,” Spencer said. “I was surprised.  I believe he was doing a good job.”

Hollinger, 53, could not be reached for comment.  He and the firefighters union had battled over several issues, but it’s not known if that had any role in his resignation.

Read more:   http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=491617

Daniel Boone Board Member Resigns After Budget Vote

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It took three separate votes, but the Daniel Boone School Board was able to pass the final version of its 2013-14 budget that reinstates the elementary basic skills program.

Moments after the budget was passed, long-term board member Kevin F. McCullough announced his resignation.

“Now that the budget has passed, speaking for personal reasons, I hereby resign from my position on the board, effective immediately,” he said.  “Thank you and good night.”

McCullough then stood up, packed his bag, took a deep sigh and walked out of the meeting without further comment.  He was in his 14th year as a board member, the longest of any current members.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=487183

Shake-Up: Reading School Board President Leaves Post

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Reading School Board faced two surprising changes Monday night, as one board member resigned and the board president gave up his leadership role.

In a letter read by board President Robert F. Heebner Jr., member Frank B. Denbowski announced he would give up his seat effective midnight Wednesday, following that night’s board meeting.

Denbowski, who did not attend Monday’s meeting, cited his responsibilities as Reading’s recycling and solid waste division manager as his reason for leaving.  Denbowski was in the second year of a four-year term.

After reading Denbowski’s letter, Heebner announced that he is relinquishing the presidency immediately but will remain on the board as a member.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=463377

Acting Pittsburgh Police Chief McDonald Says Changes Coming To Bureau

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Acting Pittsburgh police Chief Regina McDonald said FBI agents interviewed her today and that people can expect to see changes in the bureau within the next week.

Chief McDonald, a 32-year veteran of the force, would not specify what those changes will be or comment on the futures of those working in the office being investigated by the FBI or involved in a side business with former Chief Nate Harper, who resigned Wednesday at the request of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl.

She said her primary goal will be to reestablish the ethics and integrity of the bureau.

“I guess you depend on the integrity of the people you put in various positions,” Chief McDonald said.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/politics-local/acting-pittsburgh-police-chief-mcdonald-says-changes-coming-to-bureau-676347/#ixzz2LZo4U4jY

Pope’s Resignation Stuns, Surprises

English: Pope Benedict XVI during general audition

English: Pope Benedict XVI during general audition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  We aren’t stunned or surprised but we are impressed that Benedict realizes he isn’t up to the task of running a global church with a billion members.    Color us impressed.

Shock and surprise rippled though the Berks County Catholic community Monday in the wake of the announcement by Pope Benedict XVI that he will retire Feb. 28 because of age and infirmities.

He was elected to the papacy in 2005 following the death of Pope John Paul II, the Polish pontiff noted for his extensive travel and global outreach.

The 85-year-old Benedict is the first to step down since 1415, when Pope Gregory XII left the papacy amid schism and rancor.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=452231

Reading City Hall Manager Quits After 3 Weeks

Isamac Torres-Figueroa, hired three weeks ago to run Reading City Hall’s Citizen Service Center, abruptly resigned Monday, city officials said.

The officials would not comment on reports by sources over the weekend that Torres-Figueroa was given a resign-or-be-fired mandate Friday afternoon.  Reading City Hall sources on Monday confirmed the mandate.

Managing Director Carole B. Snyder said only that Torres-Figueroa submitted her resignation Monday, and that the city is weighing its options for how to fill the vacancy.  She would not comment further.

Contacted Monday night, Torres-Figueroa said she was afforded a great opportunity in the city position and learned a lot.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=406674

Macungie Councilman Will Resign After Being Charged With Urinating On Neighbor’s Porch

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Macungie borough councilman has decided to resign after being charged with open lewdness, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness for allegedly urinating on a neighbor’s porch Friday afternoon.

A police officer was on the unit block of W. Chestnut Street investigating complaints that Linn Walker, 70, had repeatedly urinated on neighboring properties when he observed Walker relieving himself in public about 3:30 p.m., according to Police Chief Edward Harry Jr..

“While the officer was speaking to [residents], Walker exited his home and proceeded to a neighbor’s home at 43 W. Chestnut St. where the officer and the residents witnessed him urinating on the porch pad of that home and a garden hose and gas can lying next to the porch,” Harry wrote in a news release.

Residents had reported seeing Walker urinate outside during daylight hours and in full view of them and their children on numerous occasions, Harry said in the release.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/police/mc-macungie-council-member-urinating-20120804,0,1829243.story

Pottstown Borough Council Picks Political Newcomer For 6th Ward Seat

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:   We wish Travis Gery good luck!  You have some big shoes to fill!  We are hoping for some leadership!

POTTSTOWN, PA — Council chose new blood over previous experience Thursday night, unanimously selecting High Street resident Travis Gery to fill the sixth ward seat vacated by Jody Rhoads, who resigned just six months after running unopposed for a new four-year term.

Gery, a lawyer who has lived in town since 2003, and former council president James Smale were the only two applicants to apply for the post.

“I’m kind of disappointed that in a ward of 4,000 people, only two came forward willing to help us,” said Councilman Dan Weand, who made the motion to appoint Gery.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20120629/NEWS01/120629338/pottstown-borough-council-picks-political-newcomer-for-6th-ward-seat

Wyomissing School Board Accepts Krem’s Retirement

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  That didn’t take long!!!!!!!

The Wyomissing School Board has accepted the resignation of Superintendent David P. Krem and hired his successor.

Krem submitted his resignation for the purpose of retirement Monday night. His final day with the district will be June 29.

Krem will be replaced by Julia R. Vicente, the district’s assistant superintendent/ director of elementary and secondary education.

The magnitude of the moves was belied by the mechanism, a board vote to approve a personnel report that spelled out the administrative changes.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=386236

Harrisburg Public Works Director Ernie Hoch Quits, Pursues Harassment Complaint Against Mayor Linda Thompson

Recreation of the flag of the city of Harrisbu...

Recreation of the flag of the city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, from common knowledge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Harrisburg‘s Public Works Director Ernie Hoch filed a harassment claim against Mayor Linda Thompson with the city on March 29. Hoch filed his complaint with Merry-Grace S. Majors, Harrisburg’s Affirmative Action Officer.

He said in the letter: “I am lodging a formal complaint against Mayor Linda Thompson for harassment, threatening my job and causing undue harm to city employees due to her political fight with the controller.”

Hoch resigned this morning to the dismay of various city officials, including City Council President Wanda Williams, who said his resignation will be a blow to the city.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/04/harrisburg_public_works_direct_1.html

City Of Reading School District In Freefall

Editor’s note: Evidently, the Reading School District has some very serious issues.  Recently five top administrators, including the Acting Superintendent of Schools, resigned en masse.  We posted this article the other day.  A new article has “popped up” about another huge problem in the district and a follow-up article to the mass exodus of leadership.

The Reading School District’s human resources department is broken, says a firm hired to evaluate the department.

According to a report, the department has several serious deficiencies, with the most important being its structure.

“Key members of the current staff lack the qualifications and experience necessary for their roles, and staff is not being effectively utilized in that some core (human resources) functions are not currently being performed,” the report reads.

The report encourages the district to reorganize the department, including making personnel changes.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=358177

Here is a follow-up article on the mass exodus of administrators:

Teachers and fellow administrators have thrown their support behind five Reading School District administrators who announced their resignations Friday, while the school board has called a special meeting to figure out how to handle the sudden departures.

Citing philosophical differences with the board, J. Drue Miles, acting superintendent, and four Cabinet members announced Friday that they will resign their posts effective Feb. 17.

The other administrators leaving are John Stoudt, acting assistant to the superintendent; Roger Brubaker, acting director of finance; Guadalupe Matias, acting director of elementary education; and Joe Santoro, acting director of secondary education.

All the administrators were hired over the summer on a temporary basis to fill in for administrators who had left their positions.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=358153

Owen J. Roberts Media Circus Back In Town

Looks like the rumor mill is running full-tilt at the Fishwrap online over the new OJR Superintendent of Schools leaving.  The OJR School Board rushed to hire a replacement for wrongfully terminated Myra Forrest and less than two years later the new guy resigns.  All the details are “confidential”??  Smells like day-old fish guts to me.

Despite all the “drama” this has caused and the pall it has cast over the Owen J. Roberts School District, the students suffer when there are too many turnovers.  It seems more than coincidental that this guy is “outta here” already.  If it is just “bad timing” then more of an explanation is due OJR taxpayers without violating anyone’s “confidentiality”.

The board owes it to OJR taxpayers and students to do a better job of selecting a candidate who is “in it for the long haul”.  Continuity is important and we are talking about educating our children – not hiring someone to run the fryer at Mickey D’s.  You had a perfectly good superintendent, who was totally committed to the district, and you fired her for no good reason!

Two thumbs down for more drama!

Pottstown Political Cesspool Claims Another Victim

It is hard to keep good people around Pottstown because eventually they a. get tired of the lack forward momentum or b. they fall out of favor with certain powerful politicos.

The latest casualty is Terri Lampe.  Ms. Lampe was Pottstown’s Economic Development Director until Mr. Hylton decided she was not on his bobble-head hit parade.  If you follow SavePottstown you know all about Mr. Hylton’s feelings toward strong, intelligent women.  Ms. Lampe then took a similar position with the school district (finding money) and from all accounts she was fairly successful. 

So one has to wonder – Why would Ms. Lampe up and leave PSD to go work for the Wyomissing School District in suburban Reading?  I think there are several answers:   

  1. David Krem was well liked here in Pottstown and is now the Superintendent of the Wyomissing School District.  I would suspect David Krem thinks highly of Ms. Lampe.
  2. Wyomissing School District is in better shape than PSD, financially and scholastically (no offense intended at PSD).  Job security!
  3. I would suspect since Mr. Hylton is not on the school board in Wyomissing, the climate is much friendlier.  Ms. Lampe was hired by a unanimous vote, according to the Reading Eagle.  If Mr. Hylton and his “team” win the election in November, then certain PSD staffers are in jeopardy.  Ms. Lampe was not letting any grass grow under her feet waiting for election results.  Who wants to work in a hostile environment?

Sadly, there are others who Mr. Hylton would like to “get out of his way”.  If he gains control of the school board in November it will only be a matter of time until they are gone – on their terms or Mr. Hylton’s terms.

Responsible Tom strikes again (maybe only as a contributing factor, nevertheless I am surmising he factored into that decision).

Best wishes to Ms. Lampe in her new position as Development Director of the Wyomissing School District.

New York Post Slams Weiner’s Farewell News Conference

The New York Post took a parting shot at Anthony Weiner today on their Editorial Page.  The title of the piece is “Graceless To The End.

Referring to Weiner’s farewell “whine”, the Post rips into his self-inflicted media circus and fall from grace, noting he is arrogant, self-obsessed and self-righteous among other things.

To read the entire editorial from the New York Post:

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/editorials/graceless_to_the_end_swoDw2zQm9xNlpRK2X5FuM

Amid A Storm Of Controversy, A Fallen Weiner Resigns And Enters Rehab

Anthony Weiner

Image via Wikipedia

What’s up with all the sex addictions lately????  Anthony Weiner has entered rehab (probably under the advice of Ed Rendell, M.D.) to hopefully get a grip on his sex addiction and learn a few things about social media and what not to tweet!

Weiner notified Nancy Pelosi that he intended to give up his U.S.Congressional seat.  Pelosi has been one of many Democrats, including POTUS Barack Obama, calling for Weiner to resign.  This once rising star of Democratic politics has hit rock bottom.  Last July, former POTUS Bill Clinton officiated at his wedding and now Democratic leaders cannot distance themselves from him fast enough.  The Democratic leadership is afraid of how this scandal could hurt their chances in 2012.

It is hard to feel sorry for a grown man who does not have the self-control not to tweet or text pictures of his anatomy.  Especially a newly married man who’s wife is expecting their first child.  Hopefully Weiner will develop some more appropriate hobbies as the result of his stint in rehab.

Today, Weiner held a news conference in Brooklyn and officially resigned.  He appropriately blamed himself for the predicament he “created”.  Unlike politicians in Pottstown, who do inappropriate things and say they are “passionate”, Weiner took responsibility for his error in judgment.  I at least give the guy credit for that!