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.


Dave said...

And at the end of the evening, Ed left with empty pockets. He rolled out all of his objections which went to naught, and has no real stature left as mayor other than his term has not yet ended.

Time to resign as he's a functionally ineffective shadow of his former self.

LVCI said...

According to Allentown City Charter-- Section 802:"On or before sixty (60) days prior to the ensuing fiscal year, the Mayor will submit to the City Council a balanced budget."

I question if he has the right to submit a revised budget after that deadline. There's nothing in the charter indicating he does. It appears once beyond that deadline only council has the right to amend it. It appears council neither needed to comment nor accept a revised budget. Which would mean council wouldn't required to rest the clock being forced to hold further public hearings for a revised budget that may not even be required of council to accept.

Besides if the mayor were allowed to revise his budget at-will he could submit a half a dozen more in attempt to run the clock out. I think the charter makes it quite clear he gets one shot at it and doesn't provide him a means for a bunch of do overs

george schaller said...

You of all people should know that under the current mayors tenure there hasn't been a balanced budget nor timely submitted budget in time for counsil to have proper deliberations?
Always Always, last minute push by bully!!!!