Charitable Tuesdays Return in 2021 Local non-profits invited to apply

Again, this season, the Williamsport Crosscutters will present Charitable Tuesdays. The program, presented by Pennsylvania Skill by Miele Manufacturing, gives local non-profit organizations a no-cost opportunity to have a presence at Historic Bowman Field, for the purpose of educating fans about their organization.

One organization will be featured at a total of six Tuesday home games and receive;

  • A display table in the stadium to display and distribute promotional literature and materials
  • A live on-field interview before the game
  • Ceremonial 1st pitch honors for the organization
  • A $500 donation to the non-profit courtesy of Pennsylvania Skill by Miele Manufacturing and the Crosscutters, presented during an on-field ceremony

Interested non-profit organizations must apply online at crosscutters.com to be considered for one of the six available opportunities. The deadline for applications is May 31. More information is available by contacting the Cutters Director of Community Relations, Sarah Budd at (570) 326-3389 or via email at sarah@crosscutters.com.

The 2021 Williamsport Crosscutters home opener is scheduled for Tuesday, May 25 at Historic Bowman Field as the Cutters begin play in the new MLB Draft League. MVP Club Season Ticket Plans and Bonus Book Mini-Plans are now available online at crosscutters.com or by calling (570) 326-3389. Tickets for Opening Night and other select games go on sale to the general public May 10 at 10am and can be ordered online, by phone or in-person at the Cutters Box Office.

BREAKING NEWS: Steve Helm of the WBP files federal lawsuit against Mayor Slaughter and others

Todd Bartley, TalkWilliamsport.com

News@TalkWilliamsport.com

On Thursday afternoon, Steve Helm of the Williamsport Bureau of Police filed a federal lawsuit against Mayor Derek Slaughter, former Mayor Gabriel Campana and the City of Williamsport.

The case in broad terms alleges violations of free speech and retaliation.

Helm through his lawyer Mike Zicolello of the local law firm Schemery & Zicolello has previously been successful in litigation against the City of Williamsport.

The civil case to be heard in U.S. Middle District Federal Court is assigned to Judge Matthew Brann.

An initial case opening Order has not yet been issued or a case schedule assigned.

As a footnote, Steve Helm and his wife Shelly contributed to the election campaign of Mayor Slaughter.

This is a developing story on TalkWilliamsport.com.

Congressman Keller introduces resolution to commend U.S. Customs and Border Protection after visit with agents at the southern border

Congressman Keller speaks with a CBP agent on Monday during a visit to the Santa Teresa Port of Entry in Doña Ana County, New Mexico.

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Fred Keller (R-PA) today introduced legislation to commend the agents of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for their service and sacrifice amidst the growing crisis at the southern border.

While on a trip to the southern border in Texas and New Mexico with members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform this week, Keller witnessed the challenges CPB agents face in keeping up with record-breaking numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S. border. According to one agent, officers are currently stretched dangerously thin, tasked with serving as social workers and detention guards in addition to patrolling 260 miles of border in the El Paso sector alone.

According to DHS, in March of 2021:

  • CBP encountered over 172,000 illegal immigrants at the southwest border, the highest monthly total in 15 years and an increase of 400% compared to March 2020.
  • CBP encountered nearly 19,000 unaccompanied alien children (UACs), an increase of 486% compared to March 2020.
  • CBP encountered more than 53,000 family units at the southwest border, an increase of 1056% compared to March 2020.

On the resolution, Congressman Keller made the following statement:

“During our trip to the southern border, I saw first-hand how hard our Customs and Border Patrol agents must work as a result of the detrimental policies and rhetoric of the Biden administration. These hardworking men and women operate in an incredibly dangerous environment to defend American sovereignty, and their service is well-deserving of formal recognition from Congress.”

Text of the resolution is below.

Commending the men and women of U.S. Customs and Border Protection for their service and sacrifice amidst a growing crisis at the southern border.

Whereas there is a growing humanitarian and national security crisis at the southern border;

Whereas the United States is experiencing the highest number of illegal crossings in 15 years, 171,000 of which occurred in March 2021 alone;

Whereas border facilities are at 1,700-percent capacity;

Whereas two Yemeni terrorists on the Federal no-fly list were recently apprehended while trying to breach the southern border; and

Whereas the Biden Administration and Vice President Harris have refused to acknowledge this crisis and take the necessary steps to secure the border, putting enormous strain on U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents:

Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the men and women of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection—

(1) are deserving of recognition for their tireless work to defend American sovereignty, uphold law and order, and mitigate the humanitarian and national security threat unfolding at the southern border;

(2) deserve gratitude for their service, integrity, and steadfast commitment to fulfill the duties in which they are entrusted; and

(3) should be commended for their sacrifice while being away from their families and putting their lives at risk to protect our communities.

OP-ED: If racism has no home here; why did Barbara Reeves sit alone at the WASD school board meeting?

Photo of WASD school board meeting at WAHS Auditorium, Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Todd Bartley, TalkWilliamsport.com

News@TalkWilliamsport.com

The following is an opinion editorial addressing the lack of action taken by WASD school board member, Jennifer Lake .

With the Derek Chauvin murder trial of George Floyd winding down; a grave injustice did not go unnoticed at the WASD school board meeting this past Tuesday night.

On background it is important to note from the “WASD Anti-Racism Board Resolution”:

“BE IT RESOLVED that the Williamsport Area School Board, unequivocally stand firm in our collective responsibility to foster an equitable and inclusive environment for every student, staff member, parent, and community member. We commit to use our role as school board directors to recognize, respond, and speak out against injustice and racial inequity in our school community.”

As the photo to this story shows, WASD school board member Barbara Reeves sat alone.

Barbara Reeves is black.

Jennifer Lake fellow WASD school board member is white; has told the general public for years has woke she is and even authored an article on “Black Lives Matter”.

From, OP-ED: Jennifer Lake Wokebegone – PART III

In fact Jennifer we are approaching the four year anniversary of an article you posted on your own website titled “I’M A WHITE WOMAN RAISING A BLACK SON. HERE’S MY PERSPECTIVE ON BLACK LIVES MATTER.” published on July 14, 2016.

Allow me to make a prediction, that post and entire website will soon be coming down and the argument will be to “protect her children and her privacy.”

The article and site are still set to private.

 

Over the past year plus Lake championed the cause of “racism has no home here”.

At the October 20, 2020 WASD school board meeting Lake and Reeves sat side by side.

Jennifer Lake, if “Black Lives Matter” and “racism has no home here” why did Barbara Reeves sit alone at the WASD school board meeting?

Only you can answer that; and you will most likely blame the administration for setting up the seats that way.

However, if your woke was not broke, when you noticed Reeves was sitting alone – is when you go to her aid, right?

Or, could it be your woke is just a big joke on this community?

Only you know the truth.

From, OP-ED: Jennifer Lake Wokebegone

Did you mean to say on your personal Jennifer Lake Facebook page on June 1 at 12:14 PM

Behavior Matching is one of the five Engagement Strategies of Trust Based Relational Intervention. It silences the amygdala (which detects threats) and creates felt-safety. When we mirror someone’s behavior, posture, thoughts, feelings, and interests, we create togetherness. We create connection.

Behavior matching is a bridge between you and me that says, “I see you. I hear you. You matter.”

 

While considering the “WASD Anti-Racism Board Resolution” last June, Reeves weighed in.

On Wed, June 12, 2020, 1:38 PM Barbara Reeves (REDACTED) wrote:

“Thank you Dr. Bowers for sharing that information. This is a rough one for me. While the statement will not be in support of Black Lives Matter, I hope we can all agree that black lives matter!!!

This is just a time that people of color need the world to acknowledge that they value their lives. This is especially true for colleagues, friends and acquaintances.

We are talking about a people who were considered as 3/5 of a person.

How long should it take to gain the respect of the other 2/5 that makes a whole.

It’s not enough to be colorblind because that means that you do not see me!”

The only question is, Jennifer Lake, what happened, where were you?

 

WASD Superintendent, Dr. Bowers has already provided the mechanism for his resignation, IN HIS OWN WORDS.

Maybe Jennifer Lake will join him after Bowers previously shared this text with your Tuesday night table mate;

Bowers supplements his response to Jane Penman:

“In my opinion our actions are more impotent (important) than our words.”

That quote came from the text message records of Dr. Timothy Bowers on Thursday, June 11, 2020, either 6:03 PM or 8:03 PM between WASD school board members Jane Penman and Lori Baer as noted in “The anatomy of the WASD Anti-Racism Board Resolution” – PART I.

Penman is not seeking reelection in the May primary election.

Since Jennifer Lake failed to sit with Barbara Reeves at the meeting this past Tuesday; again missing a moment to demonstrate her devotion to the cause – she must resign, immediately.

Jennifer Lake, based on the “WASD Anti-Racism Board Resolution” you had a strong role in authoring and  volunteered to read into the record; Barbara Reeves demands your resignation for failing her on Tuesday.

This is a developing story on TalkWilliamsport.com.

 

 

Previous article links:

The anatomy of the WASD Anti-Racism Board Resolution – Part I

The anatomy of the WASD Anti-Racism Board Resolution – Part II

The anatomy of the WASD Anti-Racism Board Resolution – Part III

The anatomy of the WASD Anti-Racism Board Resolution – Part IV

The anatomy of the WASD Anti-Racism Board Resolution – Part V

OP-ED: Jennifer Lake Wokebegone – PART V

ENDGAME

OP-ED: Jennifer Lake Wokebegone – PART IV

OP-ED: Jennifer Lake Wokebegone – PART III

OP-ED: Jennifer Lake Wokebegone – PART II

OP-ED: Jennifer Lake Wokebegone

Schefsky WASD School Board Resignation Letter obtained

Pictured: Standing from left is Patrick Dixon, Barbara Reeves, Marc Schefsky, Star Poole and Adam Welteroth. Seated from left is President Lori Baer, V.P., Dr. Jane Penman, Dr. Nancy Story Somers and Jennifer Lake.

Todd Bartley, TalkWilliamsport.com

News@TalkWilliamsport.com

TalkWilliamsport.com, through a Right to Know Law request obtained the Marc Schefsky resignation letter from the WASD School Board.

It is dated March 31, 2021 and it reads as follows:

“Dear WASD President Lori Baer, et al,

It is with great regret that I must inform you of my intention to resign from the WASD school board. Although I have enjoyed my time working with this board, it has become increasingly more difficult to maintain my full attention and commitment. I have been spending increasingly more time in Florida due to the declining health of my father. I am spending 5 days per week traveling to Florida to provide him with 24 hour care. I expect this to continue for the forseeable future. During my time in Pennsylvania I will be staying outside of the district. I am grateful to the board and the district for the honor to serve on this board and look forward to watch the district continuing to grow albeit from the outside looking in.”

When did Lori Bear become the WASD President, is she not the WASD school board President?

Shefsky states, “During my time in Pennsylvania I will be staying outside of the district.”

How long has he been “staying outside of the district”?

Some may call this line from Schefsky irony;

“and look forward to watch the district continuing to grow albeit from the outside looking in.”

WASD school board President Lori Baer received the Schefsky resignation email on March 31, 2021 at 11:55:59 a.m. and forwarded it to WASD Superintendent Dr. Tim Bowers and WASD Solicitor Fred Holland from her iPhone on April 1, 2021 at 9:51 p.m.

On April 1, 2021, TalkWilliamsport.com made an email request for the resignation letter of Bowers, Holland, Special Counsel Jeff Litts and WASD school board secretary and Open Records Officer Wanda Erb.
“Would it be possible for the WASD to provide the Marc Schefsky WASD school board member resignation documentation via email today?
Thanks in advance for your attention to this matter.”
The email went unanswered.

TalkWilliamsport.com has confirmed from multiple sources that Marc Schefsky remains under investigation by the Lycoming County District Attorney.

Nancy Somers pictured above had previously resigned from the WASD school board.

An Appeal is also being filed with the PA Office of Open Records regarding the timeliness of the WASD response to the request of the Schefsky resignation letter.

This is a developing story on TalkWilliamsport.com.

 

Previous reporting on the WASD School Board by TalkWilliamsport.com.

Marc Schefsky, WASD School Board member announces intention to resign

WASD School Board major changes are forthcoming

WASD solicitor Fred Holland wants $20,000 retainer and a raise for ’21-’22

BREAKING NEWS: Resignations to be announced at the WASD School Board meeting tonight

Nancy Somers resigns from WASD school board

Residents circulate petition for immediate removal of Marc Schefsky from WASD school board

Lycoming County District Attorney office confirms receipt of Marc Schefsky non-WASD residency complaint

WASD School Board to discuss vacant board seat tonight

WASD School Board candidate petitions obtained, connections run deep

Caught in the Middle

Photo: Lycoming Commissioners Rick Mirabito, Scott Metzger, Tony Mussare, Administrative Manager Lycoming County Commissioners, Eileen Ebner and Lycoming County Controller, Krista Rogers.

The battle lines are drawn for fiscal operations of Lycoming County.

Todd Bartley, TalkWilliamsport.com

News@TalkWilliamsport.com

Today is the day Brandy Clemens becomes the Director of Budget & Finance for Lycoming County joined by Administrative Specialist Heather Lehman, General Accountant Matthew Tierney and Financial Technician Cynthia Gira moving from the Office of the Controller.

All of the moves were enacted during the Lycoming County Commissioners meeting and Salary Board meeting on Tuesday, taking effect today.

In 2019, the Lycoming County Commissioners merged the staff from the Office of Budget & Finance with the existing staff in the Office of the Controller.

Originally four staff members were “merged”; of those four, Lehman and Gira remain employed by Lycoming County.

The feud over the fiscal operations control of Lycoming County has been brewing for nearly the same amount of time.

The feud boiled over on Tuesday between the Lycoming County Commissioners and Lycoming County Controller, all four of whom are duly elected officials with powers and responsibilities memorialized in the Lycoming County Code.

BACKGROUND

According to the THE COUNTY CODE ACT OF August 9, 1955 P.L. 323, No. 130 state law, ARTICLE V, COUNTY COMMISSIONERS AND CHIEF CLERKS
(a) Commissioners, Section 501. Election; Vacancies.–(a) Three county commissioners shall be elected in each county in the year one thousand nine hundred and fifty-five, and every fourth year thereafter. In the election of commissioners, each qualified elector shall vote for no more than two persons. The three persons having the highest number of votes shall be elected.

Section 502. Organization.–The commissioners shall meet on the first Monday of January, in the year one thousand nine hundred and fifty-six, and on the first Monday of January every fourth year thereafter, in the office provided for them at the county seat for the purpose of organization. If the first Monday is a legal holiday, the meeting shall be held the first day following. (502 amended Oct. 24, 2018, P.L.931, No.154)

Section 503. Meetings, Regular and Special; Conduct of Meetings; Notices. — (a) The commissioners shall adopt rules for the conduct and order of business and establish regular times and places of meeting. A copy of the rules shall be posted at all times in a conspicuous place in the county court house for the benefit of the public.

Section 509. Ordinances and Resolutions.–(a) The commissioners may adopt resolutions and ordinances prescribing the manner in which powers of the county shall be carried out and generally regulating the affairs of the county. The commissioners may formulate and adopt ordinances, resolutions, and rules and regulations, pertaining to the use of any property owned or used by the county and the conduct of persons in, on or about such county property, in order to preserve such property and to promote and preserve the public health, safety and welfare.

The THE COUNTY CODE ACT OF August 9, 1955 P.L. 323, No. 130 state law articulates the role of the CONTROLLER in ARTICLE VI:

Section 601. Election and Term; Seal.–(a) At the municipal election immediately preceding the expiration of the term of the controller in office on January 1, 1956, and quadrennially thereafter, the qualified electors of each county of the third, fourth and fifth classes, and of every other county where the office of controller has been or may hereafter be established, including counties in which the office was established by general law, or otherwise, while such counties were in a higher classification, shall elect one citizen of the county, who shall serve as controller for the term of four years from the first Monday of January following the controller’s election, or until a successor shall be qualified.

(a.1) In counties of the second class A, a controller shall be elected at the municipal election immediately preceding the expiration of the term of the controller in office on the effective date of this subsection and quadrennially thereafter.

(b) Each county controller shall be provided with an official seal of the office by the county commissioners of the
county, which shall be used for the attestation of all official papers. (601 amended Oct. 24, 2018, P.L.931, No.154)

Section 602. Eligibility.–(a) No person holding office under the United States shall be eligible to the office of
county controller during continuance in such office, nor until one year thereafter.

(b) The county commissioners, county treasurer, prothonotary, register of wills, clerk of the courts, recorder
of deeds, sheriff and district attorney, and their chief clerks or deputies, shall be ineligible, during their continuance in such office and for two years thereafter, to the office of county controller.

(c) The controller shall always be eligible to reelection or appointment.

(602 amended Oct. 24, 2018, P.L.931, No.154)

Section 603. Deputy Controller and Clerks.

–(a) The controller in counties of the second class A, third, fourth and fifth classes shall appoint a deputy controller and clerks, and in counties of the sixth, seventh and eighth classes may appoint a deputy controller and clerks, and each controller may authorize one or more of the clerks employed in the controller’s office to administer to all persons oaths and affirmations, pertaining to the business of the office, with the same force and effect as if administered by the controller or deputy controller.

(b) The controller may appoint a second deputy controller, who shall possess and discharge all the rights, powers and duties of the principal deputy controller during the principal deputy controller’s and the controller’s temporary absence. (603 amended Oct. 24, 2018, P.L.931, No.154)

Section 604. Solicitor to the Controller.–(604 repealed Oct. 24, 2018, P.L.931, No.154)

Section 605. Establishment of Office of Controller in Counties of the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Classes.

–(a) The office of controller may be established in any county of the sixth, seventh or eighth class by the affirmative vote of a majority of the electors of the county voting on the question submitted, as herein provided, at the general election in which the auditors are in the third year of their term.

(b) The question shall be submitted to the electors of the county whenever county electors file a petition containing
signatures equal to at least five per centum of the highest vote cast for any office in the county at the last preceding general election. The petition shall be filed with the county commissioners at least sixty days before the day of the general election at which the question is to be submitted. If the petition is sufficiently signed the county  commissioners shall cause the question to be submitted in the manner provided by the Pennsylvania Election Code.

(c) If the majority of electors voting on the question shall vote in favor of establishing the office of county controller, the office shall thereby be established, and, at the next municipal election, and quadrennially thereafter, the electors of the county shall choose a citizen of the county for the office of controller in place of the county auditors. (605 amended Oct. 24, 2018, P.L.931, No.154) 

Section 606. Appointment by Governor; Duties of Auditors; Abolition of Office of Auditor.

–(a) Whenever the office of controller is established in any county, under the provisions of section 605 of this act, or by a change in class of such county not otherwise provided for by law, the Governor shall appoint a suitable person to act as controller of said county until a successor in office is duly elected and installed.

(b) Upon the appointment of a controller, as provided in this section, the county auditors then in office shall proceed to audit all accounts as required by law, and shall file a report of such audit with the controller so appointed, not later than three months after the controller assumes office, whereupon the office of county auditor shall be abolished and cease to exist in said county. (606 amended Oct. 24, 2018, P.L.931, No.154)

Section 607. Expenses.–The county controller and the county controller’s deputy, clerks, and auditors shall be allowed their expenses necessarily incurred and actually paid in the discharge of their official duties, or in the performance of any service or duty imposed upon them. (607 amended Oct. 24, 2018, P.L.931, No.154)

LYCOMING COUNTY COMMISSIONERS MEETING TUESDAY, APRIL 13, 2021

A spirited back and forth took place during the Lycoming County Commissioners meeting this past Tuesday where Krista Rogers took exception to the actions being taken by the Commissioners.

She offered a press release to the local media after the meeting;

Lycoming County Controller calls for Commissioners to follow law

Shadow government?

Williamsport, PA— 4/13/2021 — Today at the Commissioners public meeting, during the Salary Board portion of the meeting, the Lycoming County Commissioners made a motion to move staff from the Controller’s Office to the office of Budget and Finance. The Commissioners are attempting to remove the checks and balances from the Controller’s office and move them to their own finance office which will eliminate the independent oversight of the County Controller – the taxpayer’s Financial Watchdog – over county spending. This is being done through an illegal salary board action. Per section 1620 of the County Code, State law that governs Counties, (Salaries and Compensations) “The exercise of such responsibilities by the county commissioners shall in no way affect the hiring, discharging and supervising rights and obligations with respect to such employees as may be vested in…. county officers.”. Section 1622 of the same Code (Salary Boards Created), “…the board, subject to limitations imposed by law, shall fix the compensation of all appointed county officers, and the number and compensation, of all….persons whose compensations is paid out of the county treasury…., numbers or compensation…., the board shall meet and consider and shall fix and determine the same.” The salary board has no legal authority to transfer positions out of an office into another office. The Commissioners have no legal authority to strip a duly elected official of staff required to complete the tasks that, by law are the duties of the office to which they were elected.

By this move the Commissioners are risking their ability to pay bills and payroll, and file a financial report. They are eliminating the Controller’s office as the lawful check and balance of county expenditures. They are doing this while Lycoming County has $19 million of COVID relief expenditures awaiting review and final verification, for State and Federal grant purposes. Where is the transparency? You cannot put the fox and hens all under the same umbrella. The office of the Controller was created to be the checks and balances for the Commissioners. Taking the accounts payable, payroll, and accounting out of the Controller’s office puts all control and power under the Commissioners.

The controller stated “These actions are illegally eliminating a critically important separation of powers that the Pennsylvania legislature wrote into the law outlining the authority and responsibilities of Pennsylvania County Controllers. This separation of powers was put in place to protect the taxpayers of this county. I cannot stand by and allow the Commissioners attempt to put a shadow government in place in Lycoming County while they publicly attempt to eliminate the proper checks and balances”.

Krista Rogers, Controller, 570-327-2300 or krogers@lyco.org

Rogers stated her case citing several sections of the THE COUNTY CODE ACT OF August 9, 1955 P.L. 323, No. 130 state law, in the meeting and attached to the press release.

 

Conversely, the Lycoming County Commissioners cited the THE COUNTY CODE ACT OF August 9, 1955 P.L. 323, No. 130 state law, in the meeting and during an exclusive interview with TalkWilliamsport.com.

Commissioners Metzger, Mirabito and Mussare agree “this is not a power grab.”

They added, “we are ultimately responsible for the fiscal operation of the county.”

“There are systemic issues that cannot continue and we believe this temporary move will allow these employees to be better trained.”

When asked about the threshold to “return to normal”; Commissioners Metzger, Mirabito and Mussare had no definitive date or thresholds to meet.

They have had issues with the Office of Controller for some time and Commissioner Mirabito provided an email from Rogers dated March 17, 2020 with a subject line of 1095.

A Form 1095-C, according to the IRS website “is filed and furnished to any employee of an Applicable Large Employers (ALE) member who is a full-time employee for one or more months of the calendar. ALE members must report that information for all twelve months of the calendar year for each employee.”

Mirabito made hand written notes;

1). 1095’s were due March 2

2). Krista refusing to do it.

Rogers noted in the email, “this information is no tracked in our financial system AND that Lori Weston is the only employee with prior experience doing these, we are herby passing this to HR/Lori Weston (under Commissioners) to complete for 2019. Lori has everything related to this process.”

Commissioners Metzger, Mirabito and Mussare made the personnel moves based on Sections 1701 and 1702.

Section 1701. Functions of County Commissioners.–The county commissioners shall be the responsible managers and administrators of the fiscal affairs of their respective counties in accordance with the provisions of this act and other applicable law.

Section 1702. Functions of the Controller.–(a) (1) Subject to the power and duty of the county commissioners to manage and administer the fiscal affairs of the county, the controller shall supervise the fiscal affairs of the county including the related accounts and official acts of all officers or other persons who shall collect, receive, hold or disburse, or be charged with the management or custody of, the public assets of the county. The discretionary powers of the controller shall be applicable to matters or official acts involving the accounts and transactions of officers or other persons of the county including those indicated in section 1705. The discretionary policies of the controller shall not be applicable to the establishment and adoption of the fiscal policies of the county commissioners.

Rogers responded via email to TalkWilliamsport.com;

“This is the section I referenced Section 1705.
Financial Records.–The controller shall maintain a full and regular set of financial records, including the general ledger, in electronic form or otherwise, which support financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles of all the fiscal operations of the county, embracing as many accounts, under appropriate titles, as may be necessary to meet Federal and State reporting requirements and to show distinctly and separately all the property of the county, its revenue and expenditures, and all debts and accounts due by the county officers or others, and the amount raised from each source of revenue, and the expenditures in detail, and classified by reference to the objects thereof.
The controller shall select and administer the form and manner of maintaining the official financial records in connection with the fiscal affairs of the county. Where the controller prescribes a change in the form and manner of maintaining the official financial records, any costs necessary for implementation shall be subject to the approval of the county commissioners. In counties without a controller, the requirements of this section shall be fulfilled by the office of the county commissioners. (1705 amended Oct. 24, 2018, P.L.)”

“Also, as a follow up, the Commissioners mischaracterized the payroll mistake. While there was an error during the payroll process; we did correct it, and pay the employee properly. The check the employee received was correct. I then took them, to cash the check (at the county’s bank) and to deposit the funds at their bank, since they don’t drive. The correction we made was to the direct deposit, which is how payroll is normally done, and we had to issue her a paper check. I had notified the Commissioners of the error so that they had all information, they did not uncover, or discover this information in any way.

My office is not the problem. I cannot be stripped of my powers and be expected to fix problems. The Commissioners keep bringing up two years, during that time Fiscal Services was in chaos, without leadership, and the Commissioners did not give them direction. Rather than taking the time to understand and give their own employees direction and bring that chaos under control, two years ago, they are trying to rebuild their power base while jeopardizing the county’s financial well-being, i.e. the annual financial report, accounts payable, and payroll.

Also, in 2020, my office put out a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report during COVID, while being blocked in communication, training, and information gathering by the Commissioners Fiscal Services Director, who has since retired.

We, my office and employees, can and will work with the Budget and Finance office to do our job under the law.”

It appears this struggle is headed for litigation at taxpayers expense over duly elected officials unable to come to a consensus on the fiscal operations of Lycoming County and the employees are caught in the middle.

This is a developing story on TalkWilliamsport.com

Annual Cutters 5K Race Set for June 12

The Williamsport Crosscutters, in partnership with Hope Enterprises, will be holding the Annual Cutters 5K on Saturday, June 12 at Historic Bowman Field sponsored in part by; Hamilton Patriot, Horizon FCU, iHeart Media, Lamar, Muncy Bank & Trust, Williamsport Sun-Gazette, & Woodlands Bank.

The race, through Williamsport’s West End, begins at 9am with registration open at 8am. The course has runners starting outside the ballpark entrance with the final leg taking place inside the stadium. Both runners and walkers are encouraged to take part in the event.

All proceeds benefit the Hope Foundation and Hope’s TeenLink facility. The TeenLink site, located next to the McCall Middle School in Montoursville, is a community-based learning opportunity for local school districts, BLaST IU 17, autism support coordination and Hope individuals.

“Hope Enterprises is honored to once again be the beneficiary of the 2021 Cutters 5k race,” stated Hope’s CEO/President Rob Labatch. “We are blessed to have the support of the Williamsport Crosscutters, as their devotion to the philanthropic needs of our community is truly remarkable.”

Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place runners in seven male and female age categories with the first-place runners having the opportunity to throw out ceremonial first pitches at the Williamsport Crosscutters game on June 19. Additionally, prizes will be awarded to the top three male and female walkers.

Last year’s race was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and this year’s event will follow CDC guidelines including masking during check-in, and post-race awards along with a timed staggered start to assure safety and social distancing. In keeping with the health and safety guidelines, there will not be a Kids Fun Run held in conjunction with the event this year.

Cutters Vice-President of Marketing Gabe Sinicropi said, “The Cutters 5K continues to be one of our signature charity events and we are thrilled that we can bring it back this year after a year layoff. The Cutters are long-time supporters of Hope Enterprises and their mission and are happy to assist in supporting all they do in our community.”

Registration is $20 per person. All participants registering by June 1 are guaranteed a free a race t-shirt. Online registration is available at FalconRaceTiming.com (click on Registration).  Entry forms and more information can be found by visiting Crosscutters.com or the Crosscutters offices at Historic Bowman Field. Sponsorship opportunities are also still available.

The 2021 Williamsport Crosscutters home opener is scheduled for Tuesday, May 25 at Historic Bowman Field as the Cutters begin play in the new MLB Draft League. MVP Club Season Ticket Plans and Bonus Book Mini-Plans are now available online at crosscutters.com or by calling (570) 326-3389. Tickets for Opening Night and other select games go on sale to the general public May 10 at 10am and can be ordered online, by phone or in-person at the Cutters Box Office.

Lycoming County Commissioners taking unilateral action this morning

According to the posted agenda for the Lycoming County Commissioners meeting this morning it appears they plan on taking unilateral action this morning to change a department name and make several personnel changes.

Included on the agenda is a non-budgeted $20,000 item in the 2021 budget.

According to information from the second COVID-19 stimulus bill, Lycoming County could receive up to $19 million in additional funding.

This is a developing story on TalkWilliamsport.com.

OP-ED: Selected vs Elected in the WASD

Todd Bartley, TalkWilliamsport.com

News@TalkWilliamsport.com

The following is an opinion editorial addressing concerns of WASD taxpayers regarding the filling of school board seat vacancies with recent resignations.

In certain circles the adage of being on a need-to-know basis can serve an organization well; however when the taxpayers are footing the $100 million price tag the best practice is full transparency.

Full transparency is something the Williamsport Area School District is already paying a heavy financial price for through their current solicitor Fred Holland and his firm Murphy, Butterfield & Holland as well as the law firm of Kegel, Kelin, Litts, and Lord, hired as special counsel when a Right to Know law request was made directly to Dr. Timothy Bowers, WASD Superintendent last year.

Why hire a special counsel?

 

These are just some of the issues the new board members will need to address in the early days of their tenure.

Now, let us explore how a pair of WASD school board seats are being prepared to be filled and contrast that with what the process should look like.

The WASD accepted applications until April 8, 2021 at noon based on the following information posted on the WASD website.

Appointment of a new school director is anticipated to occur on April 13. The appointee shall serve until Nov. 30, 2021. He/she may run for election in the 2021 municipal election.

Qualifications:

  • He/she shall be at least 18 years of age.
  • He/she shall be a resident of the Williamsport Area School District for at least one year prior to the date of appointment.
  • He/she shall not be a holder of any office or position of profit under any government in the Williamsport Area School District, nor shall he/she be a member of council in any municipality in the school district.
  • He/she shall not have been removed from any office of trust under federal, state or local laws for any malfeasance in such office.
  • He/she shall not be employed by the school district.
  • He/she may only be involved in business transactions with the school district as permitted by the school code.

Let us explore the qualifications:

How does the WASD verify the age of a resident?

One of the seats being filled was vacated by a non-WASD resident who by all accounts lived outside the district the past two years. You as a taxpayer were on a need-to-know basis, and obviously you didn’t need to know. So why is this even a qualification?

  • He/she shall be a resident of the Williamsport Area School District for at least one year prior to the date of appointment.

This next qualification is quite interesting, who knew you can have a “position of profit under any government”?

As a taxpayer, does it make you wonder how someone is profiting off you?

Again, you are on a need-to-know basis, and obviously you don’t need to know.

  • He/she shall not be a holder of any office or position of profit under any government in the Williamsport Area School District, nor shall he/she be a member of council in any municipality in the school district.

This next qualification could cause quite the conversation. As an example, a WASD employee works for many years and then retires living of the pension they have accumulated over the years.

By realizing the pension; could that constitute employment with the district from a relational standpoint?

What if in the course of their employment prior to retirement they obtained knowledge of current events impacting the district, could that cause additional issues going forward?

As a school board member the lack of potential conflicts of interest is paramount.

  • He/she shall not be employed by the school district.
  • He/she may only be involved in business transactions with the school district as permitted by the school code.

This is the single most perplexing submission from the WASD; “He/she may run for election in the 2021 municipal election.”

Why would anyone on the May primary ballot submit an application to be appointed to the WASD school board?

By doing so, you are telling the taxpayers and voting public, your vote has no meaning. Instead, you are saying to your future peers, pick me first!!!!

It’s absurd!

The two board members running for re-election (Barbara Reeves and Adam Welteroth); should abstain from voting during this process at a minimum and the entire process at a maximum as to avoid the appearance of any conflicts of interest.

This is exactly why the state law and guidance from PSBA gives the power to appoint to the local President Judge; in this case it would fall to Lycoming County President Judge Nancy Butts to fill both open seats.

At this point, only one seat is actually open since the resignation of Marc Schefsky has not been voted on by the WASD school board.

Schefsky remains under investigation by the office of Lycoming County District Attorney Ryan Gardner.

As the WASD school board seats are filled either by the process outlined on the district website or by Lycoming County President Judge Nancy Butts; the fact remains the new board members will have significant issues to deal with on a going forward basis.

Not limited to but including:

  • Fallout from the Derek Chauvin murder trial of George Floyd since WASD school board member Jennifer Lake decided to issue an Anti-Racism proclamation.

Jennifer Lake who when previously contacted hid behind Carol Fausnaught, “Additionally, the board is aware Mrs. Lake received a phone call from you on Friday, July 3, 2020 requesting the above information. Please be advised that we request that you cease all phone calls and email correspondence to Mrs. Lake.”

Again, you are on a need-to-know basis, and obviously you don’t need to know.

That response sounds eerily similar to current WASD solicitor and Union County Magistrate Judge Jeff Rowe when asked about his lack of response;

Author: “I have called and emailed your office as you asked me to; and no one has responded.”

Rowe responded;

“If you are not getting a response; that is our response.”

 

  • Fallout from the systemic failure regarding the 2018 “criminal sexual misconduct” incident that occurred on the WAHS baseball team trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

BREAKING NEWS: WAHS student criminally charged by South Carolina authorities in 2018 baseball team incident

AG interviews of Dr. Bowers, Pardoe and Erb confirmed in WASD Legal Services Invoices

How did Pardoe, McCann and Miller all forget the 2018 Myrtle Beach room assignments email?

How did Wanda Erb miss this email on the WASD.org server?

 

  • Fallout from the employment agreement extension of WASD Superintendent, Dr. Timothy Bowers and WASD Fred Holland and Jeff Rowe.

WASD solicitor Fred Holland wants $20,000 retainer and a raise for ’21-’22

 

  • Fallout from the lack of transparency in Right to Know law responses.

“Tens of thousands of dollars spent on Right-to-Know responses” – is forthcoming.

 

TalkWilliamspot.com made a timely informal request followed by a formal Right to Know law request for the applicants names and their application materials this past Friday.

That request has gone unanswered at this writing.

It appears as far as the WASD is concerned; as a taxpayer you are on a need-to-know basis, and obviously you don’t need to know.

Dr. Bowers has already provided the mechanism for his own resignation, IN HIS OWN WORDS and guidance for this particular situation.

As described in, OP-ED: Long past time for Dr. Bowers to resign as WASD Superintendent”

Bowers supplements his response to Jane Penman:

“In my opinion our actions are more impotent (important) than our words.”

For the vacant WASD school board seat applicants who remain nameless at this point; still want to volunteer?

 

This is a developing story on TalkWilliamsport.com

Billy Horton to Manage Cutters in Inaugural Year of MLB Draft League

 Major League Baseball and the Williamsport Crosscutters have announced that former San Francisco Giants minor league manager Billy Horton has been tabbed to manage the Cutters in the inaugural season of the MLB Draft League.

Horton, 47, held several Minor League coaching positions in the Giants’ system from 2012-19, working exclusively with the organization’s Arizona Rookie League affiliates. Horton led the AZL Giants Orange squad to a winning record in his first year as manager in 2018, following a six-year stint on the AZL Giants’ coaching staff (2012-17) that included an AZL championship in 2013. In 2019, Horton served as the AZL Giants Orange squad fundamentals coach. He has also worked in different capacities for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers.

“I’m really excited to get to Williamsport and start working with the coaches, players and front office staff,” Horton said. “We have an opportunity to make a great impact on these players’ lives both on and off the field, and helping prepare them for the next step in their baseball careers is something I look forward to.”

Prior to coaching, Horton, a former catcher, played collegiately at Spring Hill College (Mobile, Ala.) and then played for six different Independent league teams in his four-year professional career, finishing with Cook County of the Frontier League in 1999. His wife, Taleen, was the athletic trainer for the Williamsport Cubs in 1998.

Joining Horton on the field staff will be pitching coach Jim Gott who had a 14-year Major League career with 4 teams and hitting coach Anthony Manuel, the son of former Major League player and manager Jerry Manuel.

Williamsport is one of six founding members of the MLB Draft League, joining the Frederick Keys, Mahoning Valley Scrappers, State College Spikes, Trenton Thunder, and West Virginia Black Bears. Other managers in the league’s inaugural year include; Coco Crisp (Mahoning Valley), Jedd Gyorko (West Virginia), Derrick May (Frederick), Jeff Manto (Trenton) and Delwyn Young (State College).

The 2021 Williamsport Crosscutters home opener is scheduled for Tuesday, May 25 at Historic Bowman Field as the Cutters begin play in the new league. MVP Club Season Ticket Plans and Bonus Book Mini-Plans are now available online at crosscutters.com or by calling (570) 326-3389. Tickets for Opening Night and other select games go on sale to the general public May 10 at 10am and can be ordered online, by phone or in-person at the Cutters Box Office.