With the on-going revelations about the conduct of Sunbury police officers being featured almost on a daily basis in the pages of our local newspaper, we have to ask the question – what is the City’s agenda?
Why has Dear Leader launched his latest inquiry, confiscating all police city-issued cell phones, while at the same time glibly telling a newspaper reporter that he has received no further public complaints since the two unknown officers were disciplined last month? Who exactly is conducting this latest witch hunt? Outside of the police department, who is qualified to look into such matters and properly assess any evidence uncovered?
Persing’s dictatorial style of micro management means that he has always ruled over the cops and never allowed any chief of police under him the discretion to properly do his job. He has admitted in the pages of our local newspaper that he alone has full power over all police discipline, and despite claiming to have no knowledge of any disciplinary action taken by Chief Bradley Hare, he knows full well that no such action will occur without his say so.
What about the timing of the recent incidents? Is it coincidental, or is it a window into the current morale, discipline and performance of our officers, which would all now seem to have hit rock bottom, having been headed in that direction ever since Persing so rashly fired Chief Steve Mazzeo for mysterious “personnel issues” – issues which have yet to see the light of day? The on-going refusal by Persing to name the officers concerned means that, in the eyes of our citizens, every cop comes under suspicion.
The incident at the 911 Center appears have been completely blown out of proportion, doubtless because of the involvement of Commissioner Clausi, who made such a fuss over it. For him of all people to start complaining about others intimidating county employees is more than a little rich. Maybe this is all part of his political agenda, to further blacken the name of our city in order to promote his own coal country interests?
We now turn to the roles in this affair of other members of our city council.
Councilman Jim Eister, the man behind the curtain at City Hall, by his own admission controls all city construction contracts and also, at 18% of total city spending, one of the largest per capita parks and recreation budgets in the country. When Jesse Woodring was mayor, Eister supported attempts then to close down our police department, only for Woodring to back off when it was learned that there would not be adequate cover available from the PA State Police. Does Eister still harbor such ambitions?
Could the present moves have anything to do with a $65,000 funding shortfall for his Chestnut Street project – a shortfall which has been discussed at length during recent city meetings, where councilmen and SEDA-cog representatives have publicly conspired to find ways to leverage more grant money by persuading businesses and other organizations in the area to declare, truthfully or otherwise, that they are only expanding / hiring more people / remaining in Sunbury because the city is repaving this street?
Finding a way to fire more cops would very quickly make up this funding shortfall!
They can’t even use the pretext of Chestnut Street being a truck route out of the city. Since completion of the disastrous Wolverton Street project, also controlled by Eister, trucks can no longer safely navigate this route. If anyone is wondering why there has been such a marked increase in truck traffic on Market Street, with all the attendant safety and noise issues, then this is the reason.
Finally, Councilman Reichner hardly endeared himself to the department when he glibly declared that furloughing 2 police officers was like applying a Band-Aid to a gaping wound. How many officers does he want to fire, and why?
These people were all voted into office to protect the people of Sunbury. It would be nice if they remembered this pertinent fact when next they meet to discuss our police department. Citizens would sleep easier in their beds if they had a city council that actually cared about their security, and was actively pursuing ways to support our officers, not destroy their livelihoods and threaten the future viability of their entire department.