Outrage at Lawrenceville Council meeting, as residents express concerns
LAWRENCEVILLE, PA (WENY)-- Lawrenceville Council and the President have been under fire by some community members. The Council held a special meeting Tuesday evening to vote on appointing a new council member. However, some community members are not happy and question if the council is practicing a process of honesty and integrity to their community members.
Some residents say there were items that were added to the agenda that were not posted prior to the meeting. So they were not aware they said those items would be discussed at Tuesday's meeting. Things got quite heated. There were a number of things community members wanted to get off their chest.
"Not one of you think this is wrong, to hire Mr. Gontarz on the board. It was on the agenda. It doesn't matter if it was on the agenda, you can't do that. Councilmember Cindy Burrows said.
She expressed outrage with items she said were not posted on the agenda ahead of Tuesday's meeting, she said.
The Council President Gordy Chilson tried to cool things down.
"Let's go Brandon! He is as bad as he is, and so are you," Councilmembers said.
"Hey, settle down," Chilson said!
But that didn't quite work.
"We are not in any way offering a job to anyone. Everybody can see it, you tell me in those messages where it says I hired someone! You tell me where and if you are so damn clear that you didn't then why did you threaten to get a lawyer? Because my name and phone number were on the post that's not okay. Well, then it's your phone. Don't act like you're all good and you come to all of this like you do so much good for this town because you don't I have the right to complain I pay taxes," Lawrenceville resident and a councilmember fired back, and said.
One resident voiced concern about when the council president would be hiring a certified town water operator. The state DEP accuses the borough of violating the Pennsylvania Safe Drinking Water Act and outlines seven violations in Lawrenceville's public water system.
"Since you were in such a hurry to get another council member on even though you have the majority so it really wasn't necessary to have a special meeting for him. Nothing against you sir! I'd like to know how we are doing about getting an operator, she said?
Chilson says there was someone they were interested in hiring but he turned down the job.
"He is not interested in the position because he has too much work," Chilson said.
Kathy Helgemo a resident of Lawrenceville, said she wants answers from the Council President on when will they have a functioning and appropriate playground for kids in town, and the hiring of someone to take care of the woody vegetation. Another thing she would like to know is what has the council accomplished as far as the goals and objectives that have been set forth by DEP.
"It's one thing to say the council is not frivolously spending taxpayer money but at the same time if we are dealing with the situation where problems have reached the point where citations that result in fines are going to come into play how is that not frivolous spending of tax payer funds," Helegemo said.
The meeting was adjourned abruptly leaving some community members without answers to their concerns. WENY News did contact the Council President to speak to him about tonight's meeting. He says he wasn't available and would be speaking to us at a later time.