Dec 8, 2016
Showdown At City Council
Last night was quite a confrontation between the mayor and city council. Those looking for more details can find excellent reports by Emily Opilo of the Morning Call, and Bernie O'Hare at Ramblings.
Alan Jennings was the only person from the public who spoke on Pawlowski's behalf. He claimed that the budget cuts are being inflicted on Pawlowski as punishment for the criminal investigation, and because of those cuts employees are leaving, and morale is low. Of course, in truth, people are leaving and morale is low because six underlings have already pleaded guilty to criminal acts on Pawlowski's behalf, and others are not anxious to fall on the same sword.
Although council defunded the Managing Director position, Pawlowski has created three other positions in his executive suite since he first assumed office. Although council defunded the Community Development Director and Operations Manager, there still exists subordinate positions which operate the nuts and bolts of the city's operation.
Pawlowski read into the record a long filibuster about how the cuts would effect each department and it's activities. In Parks and Recreation, the department of which I'm most familiar, he cited the adverse effect it would have on the city pools and the WPA structures. His administration closed Fountain Park Pool years before any budget cuts. Cedar Beach Pool is now the subject of another investigation. Besides rebuilding the previously neglected wall in Lehigh Parkway which had collapsed, the city hasn't spend one dime on the WPA. They only repaired part of the wall because it was necessary to reopen the entrance road. Work done last summer on the Fountain Park WPA steps was paid for by the Trexler Trust, after a third party secured the grant.
When Pawlowski asked the city solicitor if council's actions last night were permissible under the charter, she declined to answer, claiming that she wasn't prepared for the question.* Pawlowski has threatened to go to court if council persisted with their budget plans, which they passed last night. However, it's unclear who would pay for that. Furthermore, I think that he might become preoccupied with his own probable court date.
*ADDENDUM: Last night I asked a council member about solicitor Susan Wild, who replied that she has provided them with excellent counsel. My erroneous post yesterday implied otherwise.