Birdsboro Water Authority Loses Rate Case Brought By Frank McLaughlin

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

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BIRDSBORO — Convicted water thief Frank McLaughlin won a victory in court last week when a judge agreed with his claim that the water bills he was paying to the Birdsboro Water Authority for two apartment buildings he owns could not be justified.

On July 1, District Judge David E. Glass ruled in favor of McLaughlin in two claims he filed in March, writing in both decisions that “it appears that the authority has arbitrarily assigned rates to apartment complexes that are neither reasonable nor fair.”

Noting that he never received a report explaining how the authority calculates those rates, he wrote “trying to understand the published Birdsboro Water and Sewer Authority rate structure is like trying to find a snapper turtle in a muddy pond.”

Glass further noted in his decision that “the water and sewer authority’s appeal process is flawed” advising both McLaughlin and the authority that “it would serve both sides across the aisle to remember more is accomplished with honey than vinegar.”

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Pottstown Fires Codes Worker Being Investigated For Taking Developer’s Check

Editor’s note:  I think this incident illustrates how broken Pottstown‘s municipal government really is.  Apparently, in the past, it was anything goes in borough hall.  While, BM Flanders isn’t on my hit parade (and I am sure the feeling is mutual) at least he is handling this situation rather than sweeping it under the carpet.  The carpet in borough hall is very lumpy…there has been a good deal of crap kicked under the rug in that building for years.  

Frankly, we think Codes should be outsourced.  It’s the poster child for a dysfunctional department.  Maybe after a period of time passes, the department could be reinstated and an entirely new staff hired.

POTTSTOWN — The firing of zoning work leader Michelle Fry from the codes office is just one of the developments in the borough department that has recently received so much scrutiny.

Of Fry, formerly known as Michelle Borzick, Borough Manager Mark Flanders would say only that “she is no longer employed by the borough,” and said he would neither confirm nor deny that her departure was connected to a police investigation of her alleged acceptance of a check from developer and convicted thief Frank McLaughlin of East Coventry.

Fry, however, confirmed to The Mercury Tuesday that she is using a standing borough process to appeal her termination. She declined to comment further.

McLaughlin was sentenced in Montgomery County Court last month to three years’ probation after he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of theft by unlawful taking in connection with his use of devices to by-pass water meters so he would not have water bills at his property.

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Police Investigating Pottstown Codes Worker Regarding Landlord’s Check

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

POTTSTOWN — An employee of the borough codes office was escorted out of borough hall by police last week and her removal is likely connected to an investigation of whether the employee received a check from a developer and landlord for personal use, The Mercury has confirmed.

Several sources confirmed that Michelle Fry, formerly Michelle Borzick, a “zoning work leader” in the codes office, was escorted from the borough hall code office on Feb. 13.

Contacted Tuesday and asked for comment, Borough Manager Mark Flanders said, “We don’t comment on personnel matters.”

In an e-mail, Fry wrote Tuesday that she also had “no comment.”

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Pottstown Borough Authority Adopts New Policy In Wake Of Water Theft Case

POTTSTOWN,PA — If a silver lining could be said to exist in the case of the landlord accused of stealing borough water at multiple properties, it could be said that it brought the problem to the attention of the authorities.

Or, in this case, the Pottstown Borough Authority.

In June, landlord Frank McLaughlin of East Coventry was arrested  by Pottstown police and charged with theft of services after devices designed to by-pass water meters were found inside multiple properties he owned.

That case is still working its way through the courts, but the borough authority’s board wasted no time in acting at its Nov. 27 meeting and adopting a policy designed to minimize the loss once such a by-pass device has been discovered.

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Pottstown Council Poised To OK $33K Codes Office Review

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

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

Editor’s note:  This is LONG overdue!  I guess we’re spending $33,000 to appear impartial?  In any event this problem needs to be fixed so if this is what it takes…I suppose it’s a small price to pay.

POTTSTOWN, PA — Borough council is set to vote Monday on a proposal to pay a consultant as much as $33,500 to undertake a review of the Codes Department and its operations.

The review comes in the wake of a Mercury report Sept. 23 that the same office is the target of an investigation by a Montgomery County grand jury.

No mention of the investigation was made during Wednesday’s council work session.

Interim Borough Manager Mark Flanders, who is also the borough’s police chief, told council the idea had been floated previously and “I’d like to see it get moving.”

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