21 Dec City Confidential: Week of 12/16/18
For those following the antics of the Scranton School Board, this week they did not disappoint.
Wednesday’s meeting saw the majority directors slam through a 3.6% tax increase and a rushed appointment to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Paige Gebhardt Cognetti. The increase comes from a $5 million revenue shortfall that needed to be made up if the district was going to balance its $166 million in expenses. Directors divided along expected lines and the motion won passage in a 5-3 vote with Robert Casey, Barbara Dixon, Bob Lesh (BL!), Greg Popil, and Paul Duffy in favor and Kate Gilmartin, Mark McAndrew, and Tom Schuster against.
Now for the illegal part! Barb Dixon had not had enough for one night. As the meeting came to a close and the public filed out, she announced that – surprise! – directors would now take up the matter of filling Cognetti’s vacancy. Since they had all been through the process of interviews when Carol Oleski died, Barb said it made more sense to violate procedure and just go off the last list. Sunshine Law? Fuggetaboutit! Who cares if other people were interested in the new vacancy, amiright?
Cue the crying and beating of chests from the minority. In the end, Barb and Co. got their way and local businessman Gopal Patel was selected from the last batch of applicants. Poor Mr. Patel. He wasn’t even there to say thank you. McAndrew was super mad and told everyone so. Guess what, though, BL don’t have time for that!
It was only a matter of time, a day really, before the Auditor General Eugene DePasquale called to say, “Guys, everything you do is illegal. WTF?”
We hope we see more of this General character, especially now that Cognetti is there to assist him.
City Confidential is taking off for the holidays. The smart people who write the news will be here in case anyone else get’s raided or arrested.