|A good night for Kristin Harvey|
Although scheduled for the Municipal Building, the meeting had to be moved to the Plainfield Township volunteer Fire Company as the crowd poured into the building.
|A good night for Superintendent Bill Haberl, too|
Supervisors were initially resentful that this memo had been leaked to the public. "We didn't want to do our dirty laundry in public," complained Chairman Randy Heard, who called the controversial directive a personnel matter.
Heard is incorrect. It is actually a policy decision to ban police patrols at Wind Gap Middle School, not a personnel matter. Under the Sunshine Act, Supervisors may meet in secrecy to discuss a specific employee, but this memo was no discussion of a specific staffer. Even if this was a personnel matter, any official action would have to be in an open meeting. Supervisors took official action by signing that memo in secret instead of during an open meeting. Their actions violated the Sunshine Act.
To make matters worse, a Township staffer took it upon herself to remove two months of meetings in which a police presence at the school was discussed. "That can be resolved," promised Supervisor Jane Mellert.
|A bad night for Chairman Randy Heard|
"I wrote it, so don't tell me about it, lady! OK?" shouted Supervisor Glenn Borger to an unidentified person in the audience.
At another point, Supervisors contended that police officers are under a directive to stay away from certain areas within the Township. But they refused to say where.
"That's none of your business!" snapped Supervisor Borger.
|Steve Hurni seeks divine guidance?|
Pen Argyl Area School District Superintendent William Haberl explained why. On one occasion, a teacher had a heart attack. On another, a student attempted suicide. He added that sometimes, officers eat lunch with students or do paperwork. Chief Dean Ceraul pointed out that a lockdown can take 1 1/2 hours.
"Just let the police do their job," stated an unidentified man seated next to Chief Ceraul. "I think you know you made a mistake. You just have to admit you made a mistake."
Exasperated, a frustrated Glenn Borger moved to rescind the memo that he himself had penned, and his motion was quickly seconded by Supervisor William Schmauder. But while that motion lay on the table, Supervisor Jane Mellert wanted to go into executive session (behind closed doors), and Chairman Heard agreed.
In addition to violating Robert's Rules of Order, Mellert's Motion violated the Snshine Act because she failed to state why she wanted an executive session/. So I entered an objection, which is permitted by the Act by anyone for a perceived violation. Mellert first stated it was to discuss litigation, but was unable to state any identifiable complaint. She then stated it was a personnel matter, but was unable to identify any specific person to be discussed.
Solicitor David Backenstoe resolved the objection by alone meeting with Mellert while the rest of the Board waited.
Once she returned, the Board voted unanimously to rescind a memo that itself was a violation of the Sunshine Act.