The new year is upon us, and with it comes a new round of monthly council meetings (not to mention committee meetings and pre-council meeting….read: sarcasm). Last night was the first official pre-council meeting of the year. It lasted less than 15 minutes. However, don’t allow its brevity lead you to believe it was pointless. Among the highlights is the borough’s introduction to our new solicitor Patricia McGrail and/or Matthew Racunas(?).
The meeting included a surprising and interesting public comment by Susan Schaffer, former Democratic candidate for Bellevue Council. During her five minutes of public comment, Ms. Schaffer disclosed a story regarding her “recruitment” to run for borough council, by Linda Woshner, Jane Braunlich, and Jim Viscusi. Ms. Schaffer stated that when she denied the request that she be a consistent vote in favor of Woshner, Braunlich, and Viscusi, all support for her candidacy was dropped. Ultimately Ms Schaffer lost the election.
Most interesting though was the way Ms. Schaffer’s story seemed strikingly similar to the story told by Frank Camello during the December 2012 Special Meeting. During that meeting Mr. Camello confessed that he was also “recruited” to run for council and in return for their assistance in getting elected Woshner merely request that he vote with her and against individuals such as Mark Helbling and Kathy Coder. When Camello opted to not “vote as instructed” he was ultimately rejected by Woshner, Braunlich, and Viscusi.
We at Liberty in Bellevue are finding these stories to be all too consistent with the behavior we are witnessing every month within the council chambers. Every month, if there is a split vote, it always comes down to the “Woshner Camp” (Linda Woshner, Jane Braunlich, Jim and Susan Viscusi) against everyone else. Regardless of the logic, or lack thereof, it is becoming painfully apparent that these individuals already know how they will vote regardless of whatever anyone says.
Are we expecting too much for our council members to think independently and lead rather than ignorantly do as they’re told and unquestioningly follow?
Are we simply too naive to expect our council place the best interest of Bellevue higher than one’s political alliances?
Are we foolish to imagine a local government where the love for one’s community takes precedence over personal grudges?
What do you think Bellevue? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
There are timestamps below to help you navigate the video. Please feel free to leave comments!
1:06 – Pledge of Allegiance, Moment of Silence, Roll Call
Attending: Jane Braunlich, Kathy Coder, Mark Helbling, Lynn Heffley, Jim Scisciani, Vice President Jim Viscusi, President Linda Woshner, Mayor Doscher, DAS Doug Sample
Absent: Frank Camello, Susan Viscusi (Sue Viscusi arrives late)
2:22 – President Woshner introduces/welcomes the new borough solicitor, Patricia McGrail
2:35 – Public Comment: Susan Schaffer goes into detail about her interactions with individual council members when she previously ran for council. Her story is told with surprising parallels to the story Frank Camello told at the last meeting.
8:15 – Discussion on hiring an Interim Manager to replace borough DAS Douglas Sample until a permanent replacement is found. (Doug has given his notice to the borough.)
13:35 – 2013 Budget discussion & questions
14:00 – Public Comment (NONE)
14:20 – Motion to adjourn