Going by what has been written in the Daily Item, Mayor David Persing is now totally delusional over the city’s camera surveillance system. Having presided over the squandering of around $300,000 in tax dollars in a futile attempt to install an ill conceived and non-operational system, he now has the audacity to claim that the cameras are a “boon”.
This in the wake of a daring daylight robbery carried out on the 100 block of Market Street, a busy downtown area with no camera coverage, and a crime which seems to be no closer to resolution. “The city has no buildings in that block on which to hang a camera”, was his lame excuse. Has anyone been asked? What about Purdy Insurance, whose client was the victim in this crime, and who also happen to be the City’s insurers? What about Weis Markets? What about PP&L? Would they have any objections to hanging cameras from their poles? If the worst came to the worst, then the City could install its own pole. Now there is a revolutionary idea!
The obvious lack of security on this block can hardly be doing Purdy’s business much good. How many people now feel safe taking sums of money to this office in the light of what happened? Friend of the Mayor or not, Bill Purdy should be asking some very pointed questions as to what the City intend to do to safeguard his and neighboring establishments from similar threats in the future, and to restore an environment in which citizens can feel confident to go about their daily business without fear of assault or worse.
Since that event there have been further robberies around Market Street – one of a sports store at #228 where the front window was smashed to gain access, and one of an apartment in the 300 block, where the intruder gained access via a window overlooking the fire escape. Obviously these establishments were also outside the area or surveillance, as the police seem to have very little evidence to go on.
The Sunbury Scamera Debacle continues. Following the expenditure of the best part of $300,000 on camera provision, installation and associated work, and the continuing failure of Aaron Nigro of Global Security Tactics to deliver an operational system (if he was ever given a formal contract to do so), the City are now being charged by the hour for something this system is supposed to provide them with automatically, 24/7.
Not The Item is in possession of an invoice dated 12/18/2013 from Nigro to the City detailing a charge of $300 for 4 hours work for the supply of video feeds “from several locations along a designated area” requested by Sunbury PD, covering the times immediately before and after the Troy LaFerrara murder.
The Persing Administration continued to move forward towards the abyss at the City Meeting of 3/24/14, as the unraveling camera debacle threatened to destroy what little credibility they had left. Once again former city resident Drake Saxton probed the murky depths of the bid process with a whole series of questions about both the bidding itself and also the subsequent purchase and installation.
How do you lose $200,000 in federal grant money? Quite simple really. Give it to Captain Persing and the rest of the jolly crew at the good ship Sunbury to fund a controversial new security camera system. Yes, the money has been flushed away. The City is now the proud owner of 52 cameras which can’t see in the dark, and for which they would seem to have neither the IP addresses nor the combinations to the locks on the networking boxes, and the guy who does have this information, and on whom nobody bothered to carry out a background check, is facing a double felony 3 count at Westmoreland County Court.
It is hardly surprising, given the above, that Persing does not want to talk about it. Former Sunbury resident Drake Saxton informed the City Meeting of March 10th 2014 that he had submitted multiple right to know requests in an effort to establish both the present status of the project and also receive confirmation that full consideration had been given to the interests both of local citizens and also those of the federal taxpayers, whose money had been used to provide the $200,000 grant back in 2009. The fact that he had not received satisfactory replies to his inquiries he found disconcerting, and a clear reflection of the way in which our city is currently being managed.
In a nutshell, he was trying to discover who, if anyone, was in charge of this project, how efficiently the camera installations had been managed with regards both to best use of resources and also proper placement, whether there had been any checks carried out to insure that the cameras finally installed were in fact the same ones purchased initially by the simple device of checking serial numbers, and also whether there were any unused cameras or other materials, and if so, where they were presently being stored.