Thursday, June 08, 2006

Council Solicitor & Media Lawyer Agree: McClure Violated Sunshine Act

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On Monday, Lamont McClure and his Northampton County "Law and Order" Committee violated the state Sunshine Act. That Act tells us we have a right to be nosy about what our government is doing. "[T]he right of the public to be present at all meetings of agencies and to witness the deliberation, policy formulation and decisionmaking of agencies is vital to the enhancement and proper functioning of the democratic process ... [S]ecrecy in public affairs undermines the faith of the public in government and the public's effectiveness in fulfilling its role in a democratic society."

When I dared suggest that McClure had violated the Sunshine Act, he responded with a vicious personal attack. Among other things, he threatened a libel suit. All this from the author of Northampton County's mean-spirited "Code of Civility."

Well, it looks like McClure is going to have to add a few defendants to his libel suit. Lenny Zito, a former judge who just happens to be Northampton County's Solicitor, also believes McClure's committee violated the Sunshine Act. So does Teri Henning, General Counsel to The Pennsylvania Newspaper Association.

Paul Mushick, a Morning Call reporter, tells us the violation is more serious than even I had thought. Of course, Paul is a real reporter while I'm a drunken ex-lawyer. Here's what Paul says:

"Notices published in two newspapers and posted on courthouse bulletin boards announced the date and time of the meeting but no location.
The notices also did not identify that the committee was part of County Council, leaving doubt over which government called the meeting."


McClure told The Morning Call that didn't matter because he was still following a 1978 Council Resolution requiring Committees to meet publicly.

Wrong, Lamont!

That resolution also requires "public notice" and McClure blew that. Mistakes happen and Council's Clerk honestly admits the error. But the right thing to do, once that error is discovered, is to reschedule the meeting. McClure refused.

Let's face it. McClure ignored the state Sunshine Act, a 1978 Council resolution, and his own Solicitor. He also breached his own Code of Civility with some nasty remarks and threats directed at a citizen who dared point out that McClure violated the public's right to participate in its own government.

But why should McClure care about the public? They rejected him when he ran for office. He's there for one and only one reason -- to serve the DA's office and big city lawyers, who funded his losing campaign.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bernie:

I was with Karl Longenbach today in Harrisburg. I told him that you were picking on him on your blog. He just laughed and said you are allowed to, because you are a friend. He is a good guy and very competent. But it did scare me that he spoke so highly of you...

Bernie2

Anonymous said...

Bernie:

I was with Karl Longenbach today in Harrisburg. I told him that you were picking on him on your blog. He just laughed and said you are allowed to, because you are a friend. He is a good guy and very competent. But it did scare me that he spoke so highly of you...

Bernie2.

Bernie2

Bernie O'Hare said...

Karl is a real class act. He would probably be a judge today if I had not "helped" in his campaign.

He still talks to me even though I destroyed his chances by campaigning for him. Next time I better work for his opponent.

Thanks for your comments. They remind me of what is right about Northampton County. We've got some great people and Karl is certainly one of them.