LTE: Reader says “Community is TIRED of Smoke, Mirrors, Propaganda and Lies”
I, like many other community members with whom I have spoken, am disappointed with comments made by James Leitzinger at Thursday’s borough council meeting regarding Larry Mack’s position as code enforcement officer. Leitzinger‘s accusations toward Winters and Kavelak about this debate being caused by a personal vendetta is extremely misguided.
For those council members and borough employees who do not recall the circumstances surrounding the hiring of Mack allow me to take this opportunity to refresh your memories. In 2008, media sources reported that Joe Kane presented to council that he had heard rumors about council member Larry Mack being groomed to take the position of retiring Code Enforcement Officer Jim Kling. On one hand, Mack acknowledged that he had been job shadowing Kling to get a better understanding of the job and that he would be applying for the job once it became vacant. On the other hand, Kling stated that there wasn’t any truth to those rumors and nothing of any kind had ever been discussed. These two statements, which appeared in the same article, are contradicting, and it became obvious to the readers that Kling was lying to the public. When Kane asked council if he could also job shadow for the position, council said that he would need to sign a waiver if he was to be afforded the same opportunity.
An advertisement for the vacant code enforcement position shortly thereafter stated, explicitly, that the successful candidate needed to possess BCO certification or obtain such certification within six months of hiring. According to the Jan. 30, 2009 article in The Progress, Stott stated that there were seven applicants for the job, five people were interviewed, two were called back for a second interview and Mack was hired. (If I remember correctly, two of the applicants who were not chosen possessed degrees in engineering and design, and both had extensive construction experience.” Stott, in what appeared to be a persuasive statement to relax the public about favoritism in the hiring process, stated, “We truly did everything by the book.” Doing things “by the book“is an implicit expectation of our leaders, is it not?
In May of 2009, media sources reported that borough council was being accused of “cronyism” during the hiring process of Mack, and that Mack had not obtained the BCO certification by the April 9 deadline. Mack stated that the BCO is required for construction permitting only, and that he would be taking the test again in the near future. Council member Susan Reed argued that “anyone they hired out of their candidate pool would have had to have taken the test.” This clearly states that council was aware that the successful candidate needed to pass the test for BCO certification. Why do they change their story now?
Perhaps it’s because council has been playing “word” games with the community for a number of years. One may expect a delay in council finding an insurance attorney to deal with this issue until they find one that will give them an opinion that they want to hear. One may also expect that the angry council members will soon begin to make statements about how much money the opposition of Winters and Kavelak will cost the taxpayers. The truth of the matter is, the LAW states that a code enforcement officer signing construction permits MUST possess a BCO certification.
Any council member who lies to the community, who places blame where it does not exist and who makes this about a personal vendetta instead of addressing the issue at hand does NOT represent the best interest of the community. I have one thing to say to Leitzinger, Kling, Stott, Mack and Wisor: the community is TIRED of your smoke, mirrors, propaganda and lies. Please stop now or resign immediately. I also have questions I would like the community to consider: Why would the engineered drawings for the deck at Dingers be approved, a permit issued and reconstruction occur in 2010, but nothing of a second fire exit or code violation was mentioned until one month after the November 2011 elections when Winters and Kavelak were elected to council? Why would Leitzinger lie in his statement about “several” code violations when the only violation that has occurred relates to the second fire exit on the deck? Perhaps we need to look a little deeper into who actually possesses the personal vendetta here. Winters and Kavelak are dealing with an issue that has been ignored since April of 2009, long before the deck reconstruction at Dingers occurred.
I have observed first-hand what happens to citizens who stand up and demand that the local government abide by its own laws. I will not turn my back on two people who are looking out for the best interests of Clearfield Borough, and who are demanding that the local government follow the same rules as the rest of us do. Will you?
Clearfield Borough Resident