Johnstown Redevelopment Authority Refuses Council’s Request For Open-Door Meeting

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Cambria County

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

Editor’s note:  This is never a good sign!

JOHNSTOWN — Three city council members are pleased the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority agreed to answer some questions, but none is comfortable with the closed-door format the authority leadership demanded for Wednesday’s briefing.

Councilman Pete Vizza said he has been asking authority Chairman Raymond Balta since November to have council briefed on billing changes and other issues related to the authority-owned Johnstown Regional Sewage.

“I asked for whatever I could get,” Vizza said. “What I got was a closed meeting.  They didn’t want any public in there jumping on everybody.”

On Wednesday, the authority’s acting director, Frank D’Ettorre, and a representative from the authority engineering contractor are scheduled to meet privately with council members, Vizza said.

Read more:  http://tribune-democrat.com/local/x1633486348/Authority-to-answer-questions

More Secret Pottstown Meetings? Do We Ever Learn?

Hand with thumbs down

Image via Wikipedia

I just read an article, on a local online media outlet, about the Pottstown School Board having an Executive Session that appears to have violated the Sunshine Law.  The board discussed cutting art and music behind closed doors after being told by taxpayers this was not their will.

As a student of history I feel it is incumbent upon us to study the past to learn from our mistakes.  Making the same poor decision repeatedly and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

I feel there are other areas that could yield cost savings that we are not considering.  Certain groups are considered “untouchable”.  Art and music are always the first thing a school board looks at cutting to save money.

If we look at the number of students involved with the music program in the PSD, we see a large group.  Not only do many students take part in the music program but our high school band and some other ensembles are award-winners and recognized for excellence.  They are a source of pride for our community.

Clearly, this decision is not supported by taxpayers based on the turn out at public meetings where this subject has been discussed.  Sneaking around behind closed doors is childish behavior and violates the LAW in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  But yet organizations in this town continue to engage in this counterproductive behavior.  How are we supposed to trust any of you???

Shame, shame, shame!  Two Roy’s Rants thumbs DOWN for this poor decision and the even poorer way it was handled.

Harrisburg City Council Opts For Transparency With Act 47 Meeting

Pennsylvania’s capital city officially entered Act 47 in December, thereby officially making Harrisburg a “financially distressed” municipality and eligible for state help to emerge from their enormous debt, caused by the retrofit of the Harrisburg incinerator.

Four Harrisburg City Council members publically declined a “private” meeting with the new “Act 47 financial guru’s” today.  Council members objected to private meetings with the Act 47 taxpayer-paid team.  The meeting was characterized as a “get to know each other” routine introduction by officials from the Department of Community and Economic Development.  To get around the open meeting requirements, “Sunshine Law”, the meetings were to take place with three or fewer members of Council at a time. 

These four courageous councilors feel the process is too important to not involve residents of Harrisburg.  The public should have the opportunity to hear the information as it is delivered to Council.

We give two Roy’s Rants thumbs up to Harrisburg City Council’s observance of the Sunshine Law and transparency in city government.  Harrisburg has a long road ahead to get out from under the incinerator debt.  The public deserves the courtesy of open meetings when this important issue is discussed.

More Damaging Evidence Comes Forth In Hoeffel/Matthews Alleged Sunshine Law Violations

Joe Hoeffel

Image via Wikipedia

The Times Herald is reporting that H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest has revealed Hoeffel and Matthews conducted a meeting with him about the proposed American Revolutionary Center in Valley Forge Park.  When Lenfest arrived at One Montgomery Plaza in September, thinking he was meeting with all three county commissioners, only Matthews and Hoeffel were present.  Castor stated he was just down the hall, totally unaware that a meeting was taking place.

Hoeffel, in a pathetic attempt to defend his “breakfast meetings” with Matthews said “He wouldn’t be any fun.  I don’t want to have breakfast with Bruce Castor.” 

My response to this nonsense is,  “How old are you Joe??”  That sounds a little junior high school for a county commissioner.  We are not paying you to “have fun” we are paying you to run Montgomery County which means working and playing well with others, including Bruce Castor!  Grow up!

Read the entire article here:

http://www.timesherald.com/articles/2010/12/05/news/doc4cfb1788dfdb0872346216.txt?viewmode=default

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman Investigating Matthews And Hoeffel For Sunshine Law Violations

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman has decided to open an investigation into alleged Sunshine Law violations by Montgomery County Commissioners Joe Hoeffel and Jim Matthews.  The two commissioners were overheard discussing county business by a Times Herald report who broke the story.

Read all about it in the Times Herald:

http://www.timesherald.com/articles/2010/12/03/news/doc4cf86cb4d9f12848926191.txt?viewmode=fullstory

It would be nice if DA Ferman would have this sense of urgency with our drug war problem, right here in River City.