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.
A stormy city meeting on Monday 14th April centered on the threat to our safety posed by the replacement lower flood wall, a stolen election and the possible illegal sale of city property in the form of topsoil. In other words, business as usual for the Persing Administration.
Persing’s considered response to all of this? – “I don’t care”!
On 23rd June 2013, Not The Item published an article about the plight of the Marshall family entitled “Nightmare on Spruce Street”. At that time Terry Marshall had been trying for almost 7 years to get the City to clean up his adjoining property – a property they had condemned back in 2006 and then taken from the previous owner in 2007, and which they then simply left to rot and decay.
Mayor Persing claimed lack of ownership was preventing his administration from doing anything with the property, as they had been unable to contact the legal owners.
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.
“We’ll take away your parking space and have you arrested!” – Reichner
Sunbury PA senior citizen Ms. Regina Russell, despite her disabilities, is a regular attendee at meetings of the city council. She is actively concerned about public safety issues and has volunteered to be the voice of people in her local community – people who are themselves afraid to speak up, attend meetings and file lawful complaints because of the ever present threat of retaliation.
Regina with her Car and Walker
Issues raised by Regina are regularly stonewalled by an administration who regard city code enforcement as discretionary and not mandatory – that they can pick and choose which regulations to enforce, and when, depending on whom the complaint is made against and their influence and standing within the community.
The world’s media are laying siege to Sunbury. For the past few days they have been engaged in a feeding frenzy stirred up by a local reporter, and the claimed revelations of his exclusive Friday night interview with “Craig’s List Killer”, Miranda Barbour, in Northumberland County Jail.
Everyone from Dr. Phil to Fox News wants a piece of the action and to find a different news angle on the lurid details. They want to speak to the reporter, to the prison warden and to police chief, Steve Mazzeo. Above all they want to learn more about the young accused and her grizzly list of alleged murder victims – “I stopped counting when I got to 22!”
Recent news that the mayor of Poughkeepsie NY, along with many others, has resigned from the Michael Bloomberg group, “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” (MAIG), raises once again the issue of the continuing membership and support for this group by our own Mayor Persing.
Michael Bloomberg with Mini Me Persing
Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik, in a recent statement, blew the whistle about the group’s true intentions – total disarmament of all law-abiding gun owners.
“Under the guise of helping mayors facing a crime and drug epidemic, MAIG intended to promote confiscation of guns from law-abiding citizens,” Tkazyik said, confirming what many already suspected about the group.
The controversy surrounding Sunbury’s troubled security camera system continues to rumble on this week. There are still far more questions than answers.
Big Brother – but is he even Looking?
At last week’s meeting of the City Council (January 13th 2014), Mayor Persing, closely questioned by audience member Mr. Drake Saxton, gave a master class in the art of obfuscation. Representing Not The Item, Mr. Saxton attempted repeatedly to disentangle fact from fiction, in a situation which is rapidly descending into the realms of farce.
While the Persings were living high on the hog during their trip to Oklahoma City last week, others less fortunate were facing up to the prospect of a huge tax hike for the City. We hate to say it, but we told you so. Rather than a $400,000 budget reduction under Joe Bartello we face a $400,000 increase, following the same well trodden path that Persing has taken before – increasingly wasteful expenditure brought about by irresponsible policies pursued by a corrupt and incompetent administration.
Shamokin has already gone down this road and Sunbury is charging headlong in pursuit. When this latest increase proves not to be enough, stand by for an appeal to the county court for an increase in tax limits. Then, rather than going to 25 mil, we can see our tax rates going to 35 mil or even higher – a sure fire recipe for disaster, driving more good people out of Sunbury, leading to increased property blight and a rapidly decreasing tax base.
Unfortunately, this time there is nobody in City Hall who will stand up to such profligacy. With the departure of Councilmen Snyder and Bartello and their replacement by the incoming Henry and Reichner, the collective IQ of those running City Hall has probably halved, and Persing can look forward to little or no informed opposition to his misconceived plans for the next 4 years.