Police Contract Debacle Threatens to Engulf Persing
Last year, faced with a strong opponent in his race for re-election, a desperate Mayor Persing sold out the city, giving in to every pension demand made by his police department. He certainly wanted their contract off the table in the worst possible way, to avoid a repeat of what happened in 2005, when dissatisfied local officers played a significant role in helping secure Jesse Woodring’s primary victory.
Persing was terrified at the consequences of losing again, this time to Joe Bartello. Having built up his lucrative softball business over the years, and making a small fortune from the questionable use of taxpayer-funded city property and other assets, he had to do whatever it took to retain control. For him, the alternative was unthinkable. (see A Tale of Two Cities)
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.
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.
Two simple words calculated to strike fear and trepidation in the hearts of corrupt politicians throughout the fair city of Sunbury, as we continue to expose to the full glare of publicity the events surrounding City Hall. We are certainly not in the business of civic spin doctoring – the editor and his staff at the Daily Item are more than capable of pulling the wool over the eyes of the local populace without any assistance from us.
The new Persing Administration wasted no time in signaling its intent to emulate its predecessor, with scant regard for what could be considered to be the best interests of our community and, in doing so, displaying exactly the same penchant for incompetence, stupidity and corruption. It began on election night with Persing’s notorious “taking out the garbage” victory speech during which, sounding more like North Korean leader Kim Jong-un than the Mayor of Sunbury, he crudely threatened the very foundations of local democracy by stating his intent to remove any and all opposition to his evil regime.
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.