On Thursday morning, I told you that Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan has been forced to dip into restricted funds, to the tune of $900,000, to meet this year's first payroll. He did so for the right reasons, but violatied a 2007 City Council ordinance requiring prior Council approval.
Later that day, the Express Times' Lynn Olanoff provided more detail. The following day, the Morning Call's Nicole Radzievich quotes newly elected City Council President Eric Evans as denying that the 2007 Ordinance was violated.
The 2007 Ordinance specifically provides, "No transfers of funds from the Treasurer's Escrow Account shall be made to the General Fund Operating Budget or to the Water Fund Operating Budget or to the Sewer Fund Operating Budget without prior notice to and approval of City Council."
That seems about as clear as you can get.
Incidentally, after my report published, I'm told that City Budget Director Mark Sivak could be seen wandering through the halls, muttering, "I did nothing wrong." I have no reason to question his personal integrity or good will, and have heard nothing but good things about Mr. Sivak. But finance officials were warned this could happen, and it did.