by Regina Russell
I am dismayed by the constant inappropriate behavior demonstrated by the Mayor and Council members with their blatant disregard for the Board of Elections Code of Ethics, The PA 3rd Class City Codes and abuse of their authority as leaders who are elected as civil servants to serve and protect the rights of the citizens and residents of the City of Sunbury and not for their own personal interest.
At the June 28th city council meeting, the Mayor shared with the public, there was an investigation regarding the grievance complaints filed by Inspector Rhodes and Swope, which, Councilman Bartello and the public were denied an answer when asked, to hear who did the investigation and the conclusion. A significant question.
“No Communication from Mayor” – Bartello
I asked Councilman Bartello: “Did the Mayor call you in his office to discuss his displeasure with your job performance, followed by a meeting of the whole council for you to have the opportunity to discuss and rebut whatever concerns you had? Yes or no, Sir?”
Councilman Bartello confirmed that the Mayor did none of those things.
The Mayor and two other Council members have scrutinized the management of the Code Office, made several bogus attempts throughout the year to publicly humiliate Councilman Bartello, and more-so because of his recent media coverage, alleging comments of fraudulent behavior, council members interfering and undermining his authority and responsibilities within the Code Administration and its employees.
On June 28th two members of council were conveniently absent from the meeting. The city solicitor, Apelbaum and Council member Synder. The remaining council appearing as a quorum, with four councilmen present and three to take action and vote against one.
The Mayor led with a motion to vote before the public the removal of the Code Office employees from Councilman Bartello’s responsibilities and position them under the management of Councilman Troop. The vote passed with the Mayor, Council members, Eister and Troop.
Failure to declare Conflict of Interest
Under the PA 3rd Class City Codes, City Council Rules, Rule #4, City Council members must avoid conflicts of interest between the members and the business of the city of Sunbury. A conflict of interest can occur when a member’s private interest interferes or influences in any way, or even appears to interfere with or influence the interest/decisions of the city body. Councilman Troop’s vote was biased by private interest, and either he should have recused himself from the vote or the Mayor should have recused him instead.
Rule #12 Item D:
A majority of the whole number of members of City Council shall constitute a quorum. No resolution or Ordinance shall be adopted by City Council without the affirmative vote of all members of council.
The council did not have a legal quorum and the vote needs to be and should be voided.
I then asked Councilman Troop to please recuse himself and make a motion to void that vote.
Secondly, to make a motion to remove himself from the responsibility of overseeing the Code Administration and its employees.
I asked the Mayor, why did he allow this vote to proceed in an illegal manner?
Given his lack of reply I then asked him why he believed that he did not have to answer a question of this significance?