Council President John Kochan opened the first official meeting of the year by welcoming court-appointed council member Michael Johnson. To a round of applause, Kochan stated, “He’s going to bring good things to council.”
Kochan noted that a quorum was unavailable through four attempts since the start of the year, and pointed out that two of the three missing members –Regina Plodwick and Ted Vancosky were present.
In short order, Kochan lead the motions to re-appoint Secretary/ Treasurer Sabine Thomas and to retain Solicitor Jack Dean of Elliott Greenleaf. Atty. David Lantz appeared in his stead. Councilor Ron Kaiser was named President pro temp.
The fractiousness of recent months returned when Kochan addressed the offices of Vacancy Board and the open seat on the borough’s sewer authority. Both nominations resulted in 4-2 votes, with the Plodwick and Vancosky minority opting for the retention of the incumbents.
Long term Vacancy Chair and 30-year veteran Secretary/Treasurer Carolyn Lauer was replaced with John DiRico, husband of Sewer Authority Secretary Sally.
The position on the Sewer Authority was the expired term of long-term authority President Dave Pekar who was willing to continue his post. Instead, Kochan stated that a former member of the embattled sewer authority, Gerard Maskinas, was interested.
As with the Vacancy Chair, the vote for the authority appointment split along faction lines. When it was suggested that Pekar had resigned his seat, Pekar hotly contested the allegation, correcting that his term expired and he could not serve until reappointed.
A discussion of open borough
agency seats, dissolved into a dispute with Kochan asking Plodwick why she wasn’t present at previous meeting, thereby allowing the seats to have been filled. “Why weren’t you here?” Kochan asked angrily.
“I had personal reasons,” she replied, adding that she did not have to explain herself. Turning the table on Kochan, Plodwick quoted stats on Kochan’s many missed meetings since 2009, reminding that he was not “harassed” as to his absence.
In his defense, Vancosky said that he attends meetings of the authority on Monday night and since Kochan moved the meeting to Tuesdays to accommodate Dean he now has back to back borough meetings. Kochan suggested he resign if he is not happy with the schedule.
Returning to the matter of appointments, Vice President Joseph Tucker reported that there are several openings and he suggested holding off on appointments to the planning commission and zoning hearing board, “so that the people of the borough have an opportunity to let us know that they are willing to serve in a letter.”
Under public comment, Pekar, who also serves as Tax Collector, challenged council to do a better job of working together for the good of the borough, “I’ve heard rhetoric in the past about working through your differences to unify this borough, but I don’t see it happening…The sewer authority is the one political body in this borough that is doing its job.”
Declaring council’s job rating performance “severely lacking,” Pekar went on to list three funding sources that are not being pursued: first is the failure to send out refuse
See Nuangola page 4