County to Schedule Meeting with ATA

CLEARFIELD – Despite getting requested information from representatives from the Area Transportation Authority (ATA), the Clearfield County Commissioners still have many unanswered questions and remain concerned about its operations.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Commissioner Joan Robinson-McMillen, chair, requested Solicitor Kim Kesner to schedule a meeting with representatives from the ATA. She also wanted the commissioners to reach out to the county’s three representatives on the ATA board and invite them to participate in the meeting.

“I think it’s important for that board to become more active in the affairs with the ATA,” she said. When asked, Kesner said the ATA had provided requested information to the county, but the commissioners now have follow up inquiries. The ATA, according to Robinson-McMillen, said these inquiries could be addressed in an informal meeting between the ATA and the commissioners.

Robinson-McMillen reminded that ATA meetings are open to the public and encouraged attendance by the press and community members. She said the commissioners would update the public following their meeting with the ATA.

In June, Kesner, on behalf of the commissioners, submitted a Right-to-Know Request, which sought the following documents:

  • Budgets (general and special) for all operations of the ATA and inclusive for each of the past five fiscal years.
  • Meeting minutes and or enacting resolutions evidencing the adoption of the budget for each of the past five fiscal years.
  • Annual report(s) filed in accordance with Section 5612 of the Municipality Authorities Act with the Department of Community and Economic Development for the past five fiscal years.
  • Annual audit reports (prepared by a certified public accountant) required by Section 5612 of the Municipality Authorities Act for the past five fiscal years.
  • Meeting minutes and or enacting resolutions authorizing special non-budgeted appropriations and or budget amendments during the past five fiscal years.

Earlier this month, Robinson-McMillen said the ATA provided some of the information promptly, while the remainder came on the final day permitted under the Right-to-Know law. She said when looking at the information, it didn’t provide exactly what it was that the commissioners needed to answer their questions.

Robinson-McMillen called the ATA and spoke with its financial officer. She was told the information would be provided to her. However, she never received it and e-mailed the ATA financial officer for it. Robinson-McMillen said, “And, she replied, stating, she’d get it to me in due time, and that my request wasn’t any more important than anyone else’s request, and any further requests must be made in writing to the solicitor.”

Robinson-McMillen forwarded the e-mail to Kesner. He said Robinson-McMillen was asking for salary information for management employees by title, and she has since asked him to request additional documents from the ATA.

Kesner prepared a second Right-to-Know request earlier this month after getting the full board’s approval on Aug. 6. He said he wanted the board approval, so that the ATA couldn’t challenge the county’s procedures. At that meeting, Robinson-McMillen said the entire board questions the operations that have taken place with the ATA.

“Sometimes when you start dealing with organizations that feel they don’t have to be responsive to the entities that created with them, it becomes like dealing with a diaper,” said Commissioner John A. Sobel. “It’s time for a change.”

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