Supervisor Venesky Conducts Rice Meeting By Speakerphone

Majority members of the Rice Township Board of Supervisors did not attend their regular monthly meeting Tuesday March 12, but the meeting was held anyway. Secretary-Treasurer Don Armstrong announced that Miller Stella was out of town. George Venesky’s absence was not explained, but as the meeting opened at 7 p. m. Venesky began to conduct the meeting by speakerphone. Supervisor Marcia Thomas participated in the meeting with the public in attendance at the Rice Municipal Building.

Venesky welcomed the public and called for the pledge of allegiance, before reading from the agenda. As usual Venesky announced that the meeting would be recorded for the website and archives and that video was also recording the meeting. The Rice website has not been updated with meeting recordings in more than 2 years.

Police Chief Bob Franks reported his department tallied 305 incidents, 87 complaints. 2 accidents, 16 assist calls and 4 traffic citations for February 2013. He announced that all officers have completed updates in Taser recertification.

Treasurer’s report indicated that $21,168.76 was received from the state foreign fire deposit for the Rice Volunteer Fire Company. General Fund total is $156,888, Liquid Fuel Fund $126, 605, and Recreation Fund $13,454 for a total balance in all accounts of $296,946.71.

For public comment Joan Pipech, Nuangola Road said that she had volunteered last month to organize and work on the annual township Easter Egg Hunt and she had asked Chairman Miller Stella for the $1000 budgeted for the event. “We don’t have pocket change like that,” stated Pipech. “He was very nice, we discussed the whole thing and he didn’t see any reason why we couldn’t have it. He said to get in touch with Marcia since she was a supervisor and we were to give all receipts to her. He said call Don Armstrong and tell him. I did. Don said no. Could you tell me what happened? We had two votes and then all of a sudden we had nothing,” continued Pipech.

George Venesky said, “$1000 was allocated by the board. It was that the process was to be in accordance with past practice. You purchase the items and you get a check immediately. Mrs. Pipech wasn’t willing to do that. She doesn’t trust the township. And if she didn’t get the $1000 up front she was going to the newspapers. So the decision not to hold the Easter Egg Hunt was made by those who initially said they would do it,” said Venesky.

Pipech maintained that Stella had promised her the money. “That was vote number one. Marcia was in charge. That was vote number two. Who the heck changed it?” Who’s in charge of this township anyway? You or Don?”

Venesky complained throughout the meeting that he could not hear. “You were given the opportunity to play by the rules and the Easter Egg Hunt is not going as per your position on things. Let’s move on to something else.”

Pipech retorted, “Volunteers do the work, but they don’t pay for it. I was told to put it on my credit card. I asked Don to put it on his credit card. He said no. He doesn’t trust himself,” continued Pipech.

Armstrong maintained that it was not good internal control to give out the money. “Don’t tell me what internal controls are about,” he said.

Marcia Thomas interjected that if there were certain protocols, they should have been discussed at last month’s meeting. “There have been a number of different protocols in the past, and if that was going to be the stipulation you should have said that when the money was approved. Not two weeks later. That’s you making

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