Another Employee is DONE

I-QuitSince Liberty in Bellevue began its work of examining the mismanagement of our borough we’ve witnessed a mass exodus of quality borough employees. Between the unwarranted termination of our previous solicitor and the resignations of two former borough managers, an assistant borough manager, and obvious discontent among other borough employees close to members of Liberty in Bellevue it sadly came as no surprise when Anthony “Tony” Barbarino announced his resignation at last night’s DPW Committee meeting. Attached here is a copy of Tony’s resignation letter which was made available to LiB for public dissemination.

Tony was the target of a personal investigation by some members of borough council. According to a statement made by Mayor Doscher, Councilmember Jim Viscusi followed Tony around with a camera in order to document Tony’s whereabouts while on “borough time” (you can view the mayor’s statement by clicking here). We’ve also heard reports that Jim Viscusi was even found lurking in the foliage outside the Barbarino family home in an attempt to see whether or not Tony was in his home at the time. It should be noted that Tony’s job as the Supervisor of the DPW is a salaried position and does not require him to clock in and out for an hourly wage. If Tony works 50 hours one week, then 40 hours another, he is paid exactly the same amount regardless.

For 16 years, Tony has served the Borough of Bellevue faithfully and has lead a quality public works department. Losing an employee who has served the borough for so long to another community is yet another way we are witnessing our community crumble. There are ways to document and rate an employee’s job performance. If the job was not being done as expected, or there was any cause for alarm, proper procedures and protocol should be followed to discipline the employee and/or remove them from their position. But, to micromanage and spy on borough employees while at home with their families is simply a disgrace.

Topping it all off, during the DPW Committee meeting last night (Tuesday, 23 April), a few Liberty in Bellevue members witnessed Councilmember Jane Braunlich and Jim Viscusi quickly attempt to bring the meeting to a close after Mr. Barbarino submitted his resignation. It wasn’t until Councilmember Helbling intervened and forced Braunlich and Viscusi to respond to the action that they even acknowledged what had happened. It was obvious to those in the room that Braunlich and Viscusi sought to diminish the situation as quickly as possible.

As part of our department of public works, Tony will be missed, but thankfully, as he states in his resignation letter, he will continue to live and raise his children in Bellevue.

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22 Responses to “Another Employee is DONE”

  1. Sad development for the town.

  2. I rarely ever use this phrase, but WTH??? Is there some kind of unbiased ethics committee or something that can be brought in because of this?

  3. i’ve mentioned before, that the council members and mayor should inquire into legal actions on how to impeach those council members that participate in DIRTY ( i dont want to say illegal because not 100% sure of this) behavior and actions! If we the people of Bellev. continue to allow this type of government , then the town is going down fastttttt! And you wonder people are continuing to move away to other neighborhoods. I know if someone, including an employeer was sneaking around my house, better bet my attorney would be called. Tony should have stayed on the job, got an attorney and made those involved file a case against him , then take THEM to court .

  4. Mark, please remind the readers of LiB of how you, a resident of Ross Twp, once made it perfectly clear you were out to get Tony after he defied your demands to not cut down decaying trees you wanted to remain in a park owned by our borough. Remind us how you manipulated Bellevue Council to reject an offer of free trees for Bellevue Park, which happens to be across the street from your house, so that our borough could fund your son’s landscaping business. Remind us how you helped Jane Braunlich get a military member’s vote tossed out in court via a lawyer who just so happens to now be our borough solicitor.

    If anyone is certain there is deceit, half truths, and lies in the air, it is me, and they all point to you and your pawns on Bellevue council. So, while you plot your stories and lies with your friends at the Fire Escape (yes, we have friends there), we will continue to ensure the voters know who they can trust this election cycle and who they cannot. A wise man once said, “The truth always comes out eventually.” Keep throwing distortions and lies out there, because it’ll only make it that much sweeter when truth is ultimately victorious. F

  5. Tony gave me an opportunity to work for the dpw department for a summer laborer position 2 years ago. I came back last year and am hoping to come back again this year. I can’t believe that certain council members chased him away. I have had many bosses in the 42 years in the job industry. Tony was one of the best I have ever had the chance to work for. He will surely be missed. Shame on all who were involved…..

    • Bob,
      Thank you for chiming in! I have only had a few brief conversations with Tony, mostly just in passing. I know a few DPW employees that always rave about him and say that he’s a good person to work with. It is a shame that we’re losing another good employee. If there were some slight issues with his work or questions about his work, I think it could have been dealt with on a much more professional level.
      With the job market and economy that we’re in, quitting a job is a big deal. I think the loss of multiple employees in such a short time is clearly painting a picture showing that the leadership may need a lesson on proper “leading” skills.

  6. I think it’s great that we always hear that the truth will be revealed at some other time….I have been reading that for almost a year and not once has it ever happened. It’s pretty obvious and markie says it….the residents of Bellevue are not the right people to hear the truth about what happens in Bellevue. There is only one reason to not just tell us….they try and withhold information until they can spin it until it benefits them politically…at least we have the guts to just say it and have a conversation about it when it happens….they are just playing politics with everything and then accuse lib of doing the same thing as if it is a negative….what’s good for them is t allowed to be done by anyone else…remember how many times me Purcell has warned us that he has more political experience than everyone else and how he would use that experience to try and get rid of us…he’s a master at attempting to dangle a carrot in front of everyone saying he knows what’s going on then tells you that you aren’t good enough to hear it….mr Purcell would you care to explain to Leigh who is not a member of the lib core group and happens to be a resident commenting on this page why she isn’t the right person? We know that it isn’t the right time for you because the election is too far away still right?

  7. So what you are saying is that ALL residents of Bellevue are not entitled to hear the truths about the borough they live in because you feel they aren’t worthy. I’m trying to understand your statement about this. Are you saying that because someone has certain political leanings that that determines who is allowed to speak and that only people you agree with are allowed to hear your point of view? From what you are saying it sounds like you are trying to create a greater divide in the community by doing what you accuse lib of doing.

    And one more point, what is the benefit of trying to label a group by relating them to some very horrible people in world history. I have seen you throw around the word nazi, Stalin, Jim jones, do you really believe that we are trying to attempt genocide in Bellevue or are you using these comparisons to try and make the conversation better.

    Do you agree that we should speak rationally with one another and sit down and lay it out on the table and come to some compromises? I do. And that is what we have been asking for. Unfortunately the longer it gets put off, the longer our council president says she doesn’t have time to actually respond to a thought or suggestion, the more you say we are trying to incite violence in Bellevue. If you really believe that what Danina or Tom says on the website is so bad why do you try and fight fire with fire? Why don’t we see you trying to be the bigger person and move the conversation forward.

    If we are as “bad” as you say, then you have succeeded in making yourself equally as “bad”. Lets see you put your words into action and explain your point of view that not all people in a community should have a voice as to how it is run.

  8. Tick Tock…
    So I’m just sitting here waiting to hear all the truths that are lurking in the mind of the “wisdom keeper”, Markie. How can anyone argue with the words, actions, voting, and behavior exhibited on months upon months of unedited council meeting footage? It’s just not possible to call everyone else a whacko when you’re the only person defending the behavior and decisions of the friends you have on council, the people that you said “you would do anything in your power to keep them elected”. So if hundreds of people watch the videos and conclude that they’re not happy with the way things are being run, and you’re on the other side saying that you solely think that their actions warrant re-election…then who’s the whacko? The hundreds that say they want something new, or the ONE person that says they’re happy with the status quo.

    Did you ever answer the question proposed by another commenter about who you are pegging as LiB candidates? I think it would make your head spin if you knew how few LiB members are running compared to people that simply stepped up for their own reasons, people that we’ve not met or heard of before. You underestimate the community here in OUR town, you think that the people here cannot possibly choose on their own or run on their own. You think there’s no one paying attention, but so many are. We didn’t lure anyone in to run, we just posted videos of the soap opera themed council meetings and people realized on their own that change is much needed around here.

  9. Butt out, Markie. What goes on in Bellevue is none of your business and no one cares what you think or say. Get a life and find something to do, you loser!
    Obviously, his letter implies that Mr. B’s disgust with the boro and his resignation are primarily due to the actions of the four stooges, Woshner, Brownlick and the Viscusi twins. Boro council needs a debozoing this fall.

  10. Mr. Purcell,

    If this resignation isn’t tied to politics, then please explain to us why a resident of Ross Township who doesn’t attend Bellevue Council meetings claims to know more about the situation than those who live here, know the employee, and/or regularly attend meetings?

  11. So, Mark, you want to talk about the citizens groups in the city neighborhoods? Let’s talk about the citizen’s groups in the city neighborhoods.

    In 2010, a colleague of mine and I were invited to attend a very nice dinner put together by the Northside Leadership Conference. It was an amazing dinner attended by “Who’s Who” of city officials and leadership. You know the type of event. During this very nice dinner, my colleague and I were personally introduced and invited to stand before a room of hundreds of residents, officials, and leaders of the northside of Pittsburgh. Why were we invited to stand before them, you ask? To receive a “Citizen of the Year” award presented by the Northside Leadership Conference and the Brighton Heights Citizens’ Federation.

    That’s right, Mark, since 2008, I’ve been an active member of the Brighton Heights Citizens’ Federation. So, yes, I know a thing or two about the group.

    After I became involved with the group, I began to wonder what made it so successful and discovered this one truth: the city neighborhood groups are so successful at what they do because city council and the mayor actively support, encourage, and celebrate everything these citizens groups do throughout the region.

    Let us consider how Bellevue’s government treats budding citizens’ groups. A number of years ago, a newly developed group of Bellevue residents, leaders, business owners, etc formed called the Bellevue Initiative for Grown and Revitalization (BIGr). BIGr did some great work early on. It sponsored, lead, and managed the incredibly successful “Improve the Vue” campaigns. It was in the process of winning numerous grants for the community. Bellevue Council celebrated and encouraged what BIGr was accomplishing. BIGr’s members were very excited for what BIGr might be able to accomplish as the months and years went by.

    But, then, something happened…a shift in the majority of Council changed everything. All of a sudden BIGr was seen as the “thorn in the side” of certain council members who wanted credit for everything it sought to accomplish. With an immense selfish desire to be the only ones leading worthwhile efforts in the borough and disregard for any other person or group with good ideas, the new majority on council effectively shut the door for BIGr to be successful in the future.

    The same thing happened with the Business District Advisory Committee (BDAC). BDAC was formed as a citizen’s advisory group for the Allegheny Together grant money to be invested in the streetscape design project. BDAC’s purpose is to pool together all the community’s vital resources (residents, business owners, civic leaders, engineers etc) in order to advise council on how a new streetscape design would be most effective for the growth and development of the business district. Sounds like this group would be supported, encouraged, and celebrated by Bellevue Council, right? Wrong. Every thought, piece of input from BDAC (a citizen’s group) and the engineering experts who are a part of it has been scrutinized, pulled apart, manipulated, and/or outright denied because “council knows best.” In fact, Linda Woshner, Jane Braunlich, Jim and Sue Viscusi have all told the BDAC group in their own terms at one meeting or another, “I don’t like what you’ve spent weeks/months working on. I want it this way or that and what I say goes!” They refuse, absolutely refuse, to support anything the BDAC has presented to them.

    In the winter of 2011, I returned from my deployment in Iraq, and felt a distinct need to do whatever I could to be a part of the solution in revitalizing Bellevue. While attending a Brighton Heights Citizens’ Federation meeting, I got to talking to a friend of mine on the board of the federation about the situation as I saw it in Bellevue. I told him about how the no civic group has been given the means to succeed in the borough but that there’s a swelling number of individuals with incredible vision who are desperate to see Bellevue grown and be revitalized. What was his advice? He suggested we “fix the political situation in Bellevue” before trying anything else. Shortly thereafter, Liberty in Bellevue was born.

    The Brighton Heights Citizens’ Federation knows of Liberty in Bellevue’s activities. They know about what we’re trying to accomplish. And you know what? They support us!!

    Mark, you and I have something in common in that we both are impressed by what the civic groups in the city have been able to accomplish. I hope you don’t think that LiB is the end game for this group of Bellevue residents, leaders, and business people obsessed with bringing new life to Bellevue. LiB is merely phase one of a multi-phase initiative to bring new growth and prosperity to Bellevue. Until a government in our borough exists that celebrates, encourages, and supports the efforts of civic groups, these “civic groups” of which you suggest we start cannot succeed. Thankfully, it seems hundreds, even thousands of people are catching the vision that Bellevue can be (should be) so much more than it is and I’m proud to say that prep work for phase two is well underway. As soon as we are successful in “fixing the political situation,” as soon as fresh, new creative ideas are celebrated by those in leadership in our borough, phase two will launch and that’s when things will really get exciting for our community.

    For, as corrupt and troubled the government of Pittsburgh is, it at least knows when it has a good thing and supports the civic groups who are doing great things throughout the city. Bellevue Council cannot even say that about itself. Bellevue Council is simply corrupt and troubled.

  12. I was very pleased with the job performance of the Bellevue Public Works Department. It’s sad to see Tony leave under these circumstances. To the LIB team, you are wasting too much time and energy trying to prove your case to a non-resident. What started out as a post about a long time employee being harassed to the point of resignation (due to unprofessional behavior of some council members), somehow took a left turn and became a shouting match with someone who doesn’t even live here. There’s an uphill battle ahead. Remember, there are a lot of people in Bellevue whose only source of information is “The Citizen”.

  13. Sorry to see you go Tony. Bellevue’s loss is Ross Township’s gain…Good luck there…

  14. Mark, in short. Go away. I do try to keep an open mind on all of this as I’m becoming a new member of the community. I don’t know the whole story or the back story with you. What I do know from your posts is that you show no facts. The story with the trees? It’s easy to prove, apparently. Just prove it. It’s that easy. If you don’t want to then simply go away.

  15. So just to set the record straight….and everyone understands that this response is not a response to either Tom or Mark Purcells post…but my point of view of the topics they are discussing as I was involved in all of the groups they are referring to…

    As the treasurer of BiGr …it is correct that nothing has been done in a year and a half other than funding some clean up activities around the town which has been done in the background in support of some other community members. The reason for this is that the core group has had a tremendous amount going on. BiGr is still in existence however there were community efforts that took place which focused on the community. In alot of events like this there were liabilities that needed to be covered and forms that needed signed. Those on council flat out ignored the rules that all community members had to abide by and while the event was successful it showed a tremendous lack of respect between council and a civic group.

    The second thing is the BDAC which I also sat on. The Business District Advisory Committee was a citizens advisory board sponsored by the council. These citizens were to work with a consulting firm hired by Allegheny county who would help guide us through the steps of being a part of the business district revitalization. There were many issues here when the leadership of Bellevue council changed. I had never once seen those that now hold the current council majority at a single regular meeting of this committee prior to the change. I was at the first meeting of the BDAC after this transition. It was made very clear by Linda Woshner at the beginning of the meeting that she intended to dissolve the current chairpersons sitting on the committee and would be hand selecting those that she wanted regardless of the fact that some of these people had spent about a year working on some of the initiatives. The consultants indicated that great progress was being made, and that there were multiple initiatives in the works. The recommendation by the consultants was that Linda attend all meeting for the next three months and that at the end of that period if she still wanted to make some changes at least she would be more familiar with what was going on, and how the BDAC worked. At the end of the meeting Linda announced that she would continue with her plan to reseat the chairs of the committees and had already selected Connie Rankin as head of the BDAC committee. I continued to attend the meetings over the next couple of months and watched at how nothing was being done. There were initiatives to help market the open store fronts downtown with remade marketing materials that could provide a website for any open properties to be advertised on and also with posters to be placed in the windows of those storefronts so that there was a clean and uniform look to the street. All of this was provided at no additional cost and this suited everyone great as another avenue to do something good for Bellevue. The BDAC at the time had no money budgeted by the council to pay for anything. It was suggested to the consultants that this would do nothing for Bellevue except to promote the consultants and that was the hard line that they took with them. Keep in mind that 12 other communities around Pittsburgh are also a part of this Allegheny together program and seeing great results from working with this consulting group. Within the next two months one chair person had resigned due to volunteer effort being put in and nothing actually happening to keep initiatives moving forward. There was a local real estate executive that had joined prior to the transition and was so dismayed at the turn of events on the BDAC that they also stopped attending after wanting to push Bellevue as the place to buy a home as they saw the potential for growth in the area. Again, there has been only one event that this newly organized BDAC attempted to run and that was a healthy eating seminar table at the farmers market through a small grant that was given.

    Thirdly, as an administrator of the LiB site I can say with 100% accuracy that every story that is posted on the LiB page reaches on average about 1500 different people…this is data that is provided by facebook and does not include the libertyinbellevue.com website. We can however see the data for the website and see between 500 to 2000 people hitting the website for each story.

    Overall, I do want to say that over the last three or four years it has been extremely difficult to maintain a community group of volunteers. Between people’s busy schedules as all those who have been volunteering have been busy as well, and also volunteers feeling that they don’t provide any value due to the division in the community all I can say is that WE NEED YOUR HELP!!! If you are interested in providing any volunteer time please contact LiB through the facebook page so that as events happen around the community we can ensure that your assistance can be put to good use. Feel free to message me Mark Robinson directly on the facebook site as well.

    • Mark, Your perspective is interesting. Let’s not blame this council for BIGr’s lack of activity. I don’t remember BIGr proposing an activity for at least 18 plus months. They are treated no different than any other organization. If that was the case, there would be a couple of council members screaming. One example is Enjoy Bellevue which has remained active and has complied with council’s requests. This is an organization which promotes Bellevue in a positive manner. Enjoy Bellevue has activities it sponsors on a yearly basis. Somehow they do it.

      As for the BDAC (Business District Advisory Committee) committee, the president of council appoints the committee members and the chairperson. No different than what happens with any other president of council. In addition, Town Center Associates posts the empty storefronts on their website which is what is done in other communities. BDAC does not have its own website. BDAC is looking at, possibly, having a website. For the first time, this council has budgeted $5,000 for BDAC to promote the borough. The members of the committee have been active in many of the activities in Bellevue. Our wonderful community has many activities for a borough of its size. To name a few we have: Classic Car Show, Memorial Day and Veterans Day remembrances at Bayne Park, Summer Solstice, 5K race, sidewalk sale days, 4th of July at Memorial Park with free swimming and food, movie and concert nights at Bayne Park, National Night Out, Health and Safety Day, Fall Festival and parade, Christmas holiday celebration with Santa, library events – teen book club, general book club, computer instruction classes, holiday programs, 50 book challenge plus more. In addition, we have Police sponsored events – women self defense course and refuse to be a victim seminar. I am sure I have I missed some of them.

      The real estate activity in Bellevue seems very active to me. A couple of real estate salespeople not promoting Bellevue does not seems to have hurt the real estate market here. In the past year, I have seen the real estate prices increase. Maybe, some do not believe this is a good place to live but there are many who do.

      • Hi Linda,
        Thanks for your response. I hope that this can be the beginning of some productive conversations. As you know, on these pages and in person I have never shown you any disrespect. We haven’t agreed on everything but that is what can help make solving a problem a great thing when two people can come together.

        If you read my statement above, I said that BIGr hasn’t done anything because the core group has had multiple other things going on over the last 18 months and agreed that this is why nothing has been done. I did say that there were times when there was tension between some council members and that group however I didn’t say that was the reason nothing was being done. I look forward to the day when we can get some things rolling. I actually have quite a few ideas and am excited to move on them however with working on the house and changing jobs to be closer to home my days have become a little hectic.

        As far as BDAC goes, you are right. The council president has the right to appoint chairs and the chairperson. I wasn’t questioning that. I only disagreed with the fact that there were multiple people working hard on some objectives who felt that the rug was pulled out from under them. What the consultants were trying to say was lets get a feel for the thing that are all going on for a couple of months and then if we need to we can reorganize to provide a little more structure in areas that needed the help. From my point of view it was handled more like an “out with the old and in with the new” and I felt that I was attending the same meetings that I had already attended because in some respects we had to start from scratch. As far the promotion of the downtown businesses, you are right. BDAC didn’t have its own website. And there really wasn’t any money. Back at that time, this was the great thing that not only did Town Center post the storefronts on their website, but they were going to provide signage for those empty storefronts to provide a uniform professionally marketed look to those buildings instead of just letting them sit with empty windows. The signs could have been a great communication tool for anyone driving through whether prospective business owner or real estate agent. It was provided for by the consulting firm promoting Allegheny Together and without going into the details of the conversation that was had at that time, it was free! Sure we didn’t have money then to personalize them and try to market it as a Bellevue thing directly, but it could have just been one more small thing that we could have had for free. I applaud you and the council for allocating funds to the BDAC for this year.

        Also, every single one of those events you mentioned are also great for Bellevue!! I volunteered at 4 of them. I truly hope they continue and I hope that in the future we can attract more community members to volunteer for activities such as those to make them bigger and better than the previous years.

        I do think the real estate activity in Bellevue is improving, as it is amongst the Pittsburgh Metro area. Thank goodness our area wasn’t as affected by the economy as most others. I was just showing an example of where something like a BDAC had started attracting area professionals that could help provide guidance and expertise in some areas that we were really missing good guidance on at the time. There are so many professionals in our area that could help all of us (myself included) when I come across something that I am not too familiar with.

        I know that the partisanship in Bellevue has been there for years. It was there before Liberty in Bellevue and it was there long before I started becoming active in the community. It is most likely the most difficult challenge that we need to over come. I am standing up and saying I want to help. At this time, there is a group of people that have been putting their time into the community for years. As we all know with volunteer work that at some point they start to get tired because volunteering can be tiring and they want to rest. We need more members of the community to step up and help as that happens so, like I said above, we can keep those events and more happening in the future. I encourage you to read the series of blogs that I have started writing about a vision for Bellevue. They are my ideas based on a vision that I hope can inspire everyone whether you are on council, part of the school board, a volunteer or a resident. They are in the spirit of coming together and moving us all in one direction together. I truly hope they inspire community members to share their ideas, but what would be even better is if they can convince at least one more new person in the community to stand up and say they want to help to.

  16. Great response Mark R. As a community we need to get past all this bickering and set a course for growth. There is so much we can do if we have leaders in place that are truly working to better the community. BDAC and BIGr should be welcomed with open arms.. It’s through the ideas and actions of groups like these that great things happen at the community level.

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