Welcome to Burek's Blog.....
Happenings in the Borough of Slatington
                                                                                                                                                                            January 1, 2013

Hello……
        ………….…….welcome to my website.


This is my blog.  For those not familiar with the term, the definition is:

blog (a noun):  a website on which an individual or group of users record opinions, information, etc. on a regular basis.

Although many people believed I was responsible for the “improve Slatington” website, I was not.  But thank you for the compliment.  It was a very informative, well written, professionally organized website.  All the charges were backed up with real documents, evidence and video tape.  

But this is my website.  I own it, I write it and these are my opinions.  You don’t have to agree with me and similarly, I don’t have to agree with the nay Sayers of truth.

So let’s get started with the first entry.  Let me ask you something…….


Did you ever have a job where the boss never, I mean NEVER showed up at the workplace??  If that happened, do you think the employees would…..

1.  Do whatever they damn well pleased?

2.  Cheat on their timecards?

3.  Steal company property, (hey no one is looking, right)?

4.  Couldn’t give a damn about the boss’ interests, property or rights?

You probably answered “yes” to these questions and you would be right.  With no oversight, people become irresponsible and corrupt.

Well people of Slatington Borough, you are a boss of 7 people on Council and the Mayor……..and YOU NEVER SHOW UP TO CHECK ON YOUR EMPLOYEES.  Why is that??

You can’t believe that without checks and balances, these people are looking out for YOUR best interests, can you?  

Sure, you can get your gossip updates at the garage or grocery store, but nothing beats seeing how the employees behave when the boss is watching.

Let’s go over some astounding issues the boss doesn’t know about or care that they exist.


Slatington Board of Health

This Board is appointed by Borough Council.  Each year they schedule four meetings.  However, they NEVER SHOW UP FOR THE MEETINGS.  That’s right!!  If you, the public (the Boss) wanted to present an idea, ask a question or just attend the meeting, you are out of luck!

When this was questioned, a former Councilman stated that “they only show up when we need them”.  Did you ever have a job that you come to work only when the boss needs you?  How can that approach have the Borough’s best interests in mind?  And why aren’t they showing up for the meetings they schedule and advertise?

This Board is not proactive enough to do positive things for the Borough, such as:

  1. Flu shot clinic
  2. Smoking cessation program
  3. Weight management program
  4. Safety program for senior citizens
  5. Safety program for children


But where is the Boss?   Why isn’t he/she demanding a better performance?  Complacency?  Don’t give a damn?  Where the heck is the Boss anyway????  Doesn’t the Boss want a healthy Borough?


One of John F. Kennedy’s favorite quotations, which he attributed to Dante, was that “The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of moral crisis preserve their neutrality.”   Is that you??

Don’t know when the meetings take place?  Visit the calendar page on this website for a list of all Slatington municipal meetings.   All meetings listed are open to the public and held at Borough Hall, unless otherwise noted.

As I said earlier, these people are appointed by Borough Council.  Let’s take a look at more folks that SHOULD be representing you.

 
President of Council, Dan Stevens

Abraham Lincoln once said “Most men can handle adversity,  but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

Dan Stevens can only be described as “drunk with power”.  He has forgotten that we operate in a democracy not a dictatorship.  His mannerisms are hostile, rude and unprofessional.  He was told by a District Judge in a legal action brought against him by a citizen, to improve his customer service skills with the public and he has yet to heed that advice.  

I don’t think Dan had many toys as a child because he now has a gavel and he just can’t stop banging that thing!  Recently, a visitor was asked a question by someone on Council in the course of a meeting.  As the visitor proceeded to reply, Dan told the person to be quiet.  HUH???  Really Dan……this is your idea of professionalism??



Vice President of Council, Bryon Reed (a/k/a) “The Slumlord of Slatington”

To say that Bryon Reed lives in a world of double standards would be an understatement.   While people in the Borough get citations for not mowing their lawn or for putting out their trash too early, Bryon owns this hazardous piece of property at the entrance of the Borough.  Please note the shredded blue tarp.  




When citations were issued against Reed for this property, it resulted in the Borough Manager, Herb Pfeiffer losing his job.  Galen Freed then made magic by getting all those citations to disappear.  Any citizens get special treatment like that?  I doubt it!!

Here is the news article that appeared in The Morning Call:

http://articles.mcall.com/2009-08-10/news/4421353_1_vice-president-bryon-reed-slatington-officials-entire-dilapidated-structure

The Borough has an abandoned vehicle ordinance.  However, it does not seem to apply to Reed.  Please note the vehicle in the picture below.  



This vehicle does not have a license plate or current registration.  A citation should be issued for this infraction, but don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen.  You see Reed has threatened the Ordinance Enforcement Officer for “picking on” him when she does try to enforce the ordinances.  In fear of losing her job, she does nothing.  Is that right, NO!!  But where is the Boss demanding fair and equal treatment of all residents??  More complacency?  You bet!!

Reed is a skilled actor.  He can play the part of a caring person and then deny that he said things when he is held accountable for his decisions.

He is also power hungry.  On January 3, 2012 the Borough held the required Re-organization meeting.  At that meeting, all committee Chairpersons and committee members are selected.  See all meeting minutes at:

http://slatington.org/2012-meeting-minutes/

You will note on the last page of the Re-Organization meeting minutes, Reed was appointed Chairman of the Water Committee and nothing else.  However, beginning with the February 13, 2012 Council meeting, mysteriously Reed is now also chairman of the “Special Sewer Committee”.  Seems Reed appointed himself to chair a committee that cannot be identified as to their function, purpose or intent.  Very slick Mr. Reed!!

Reed’s term expires in 2013.  To re-elect him into office is fool hearty and a complete disregard for improvement in Slatington.  


Galen Freed, Chairman of the Highway Committee

What can you say about Galen that hasn’t already been said?  He shows up late for meetings, he falls asleep during meetings and he curses at visitors at the meetings.  If you need to refresh your memory about this “do nothing” representative, watch the following video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUjgWm84Ugc

Freed has opportunities to save the Borough some much needed money, but he chooses not to do so.  How can he save money?  Here are just 2 methods:

1.  Outsource lawn mowing and snow plowing.  These services would be utilized on an “as needed” basis.  Thus, this would save labor costs, equipment costs, fuel costs and insurance costs   Since these services would be rendered by an outside contractor, they could be put out to bid annually or semi-annually to get the best available price.  In contrast, labor costs (and associated costs such as insurance, pension, uniforms, etc.) continue to rise.

This method would also provide revenue to local businesses and encourage more businesses into the Borough.

2.  All hydrant flushing should be done during normal business hours instead, it is conducted at night.  See the 2012 flushing schedule at the following link:

http://slatington.org/201-flushing-schedule/

By doing this at night the crew gets overtime pay (and associated costs such as higher workers’ compensation insurance, higher pension payments, etc.)  Labor rates are as follows:

Job Classification            Regular Wage         Overtime Wage

Maintenance Staff            $20.52*    x 1.5=        $30.78

Foreman                           $26.49*    x 1.5=        $39.74

*source information:  Collective Bargaining Agreement between Slatington Borough and the Service Employees International Union/PSSU Local 668 effective Jan. 1, 2010 through Dec. 31, 2013

The argument presented by Freed is that people complain about cloudy water when the hydrants are being flushed.  So, I ask you, would you rather have cloudy water for one day or higher taxes that continue to climb?  But, you are the Boss.  If If you don’t speak up about matters like this, it just impacts your finances, your taxes and your cost of living in Slatington.

In the fall, a meeting attendee asked Freed about leaf pick up in the Borough.  He had no idea when it took place, where it took place, who made up the schedule or where a copy of the schedule could be obtained.  Nice going Freed!!  You may now return to your nap.


Robert Steets, Chairman of the Sewer Committee

When Steets first came on Council, I was in a discussion with someone that knows him well.  This person described Steets as “dumber than a bag of rocks”.  At first, I thought that description was rather harsh.  However, after observing this man for the past year I can confidently say this man specializes in stupid.  

He chairs a very important committee and does not have the mental capabilities to grasp complex issues.  

Currently, a potentially explosive situation exists at the sewer plant.  Steets tried to downplay this issue by saying “its not that serious”.  When the Slatington Borough Authority (these folks hold the license for the sewer plant) retained their own engineer to survey the situation, they challenged Steets’ position.  They stated the repair estimate of $125,000 - $150,000 that Steets presented is completely false.  The actual repair estimate for the explosive situation ONLY is estimated to be $275,000.  With only $46,000 in reserve, the mismanagement by Borough Council allows an explosive condition to exist.

As maintenance issues mount and financial reserves dwindle, Steets has no concept of the inevitable financial cliff he is facing.  There is a way to increase cash flow for this account, but we will review that later.  

                                                                                      
When Steets arrives at Borough meetings his attire rese
mbles something from his most recent dumpster diving expedition.  He is argumentative with anyone asking questions.  At one meeting when he was sitting in the audience, he challenged a woman visitor to “step outside, just you and me girl”.  What was he going to do?  Beat up the woman for asking a question?  A resident removed him from the building.  He was shouting so loud outside the building that participants in the meeting could not hear one another.

                                                                                                     

This man is a disgrace to the Borough.        



Gwyneth Neff, Chairperson of Finance/Planning/Zoning

Let’s not forget Ms. Neff’s behavior when she was a visitor at these meetings.  For your viewing pleasure, a video of her potty mouth.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEhVdi1auOU

She states that she is a title agent.  This is a position that is licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania after satisfactorily passing an examination.  Ms. Neff is NOT a licensed agent.  You may see for yourself by going to the following website.  

http://apps02.ins.state.pa.us/producer/ilist1.asp

The Commonwealth states that anyone claiming to be a licensed agent who is not is perpetrating a fraud.  It is a criminal act.  I wonder if First American Title knows she has misrepresented herself this way?

Sadly, Ms. Neff is also lacking in mathematical skills.  When a resident questioned why water and sewer rates were not applied to each apartment in the Borough as they are applied to each homeowner, her argument was “we can’t do that, we have bills to pay”  WHAT???  Ms. Neff I realize you do not possess a sharp business acumen, but when an enterprise wishes to increase revenue it can be accomplished by increasing the number of customers.

When Neff could have shopped for better insurance premium costs, she never “got around to it”.  When asked in August if work on the budget had begun, she was full of excuses.  In mid-November during questioning by a resident, she admitted they had “just started” working on the budget.  

Isn’t this the person that pushed a business toward bankruptcy with her bad business advice??  And she is Chairperson of Finance???  Really???  This is the best qualified person for the job?  Heaven help us!


Jon Rinker, Chairman of Public Safety

This guy has failed in how many businesses?  Now he is handling safety in the Borough.  How confident do you feel about that?  If he manages the Borough’s affairs in the same manner that he manages his body, we are in serious trouble my friends.  

When a local person heard Rinker was appointed to Council to finish Paul Hoffman’s term, the local responded “If Jon Rinker is the best Slatington has for the job, you guys are in serious trouble!”

When it came to light that stray dogs were being held at the sewer plant for almost 6 months, a resident questioned why that was happening.  Jon’s hostile demeanor was evident when he told the resident “whadda want us to do with da dogs……maybe we should tie them up on your porch.”  Nice customer service skills Jon.  Maybe you and Stevens can take a class together to work on that.  

It was later learned that Rinker applied for a kennel license, which was returned 3 times by the Commonwealth because the application was incomplete.  Then it was learned that a kennel license would cost the Borough over $5,000.  Hey Rinker, don’t you think you should have looked into that from the start??

Rinker comes to meetings dressed like another dumpster diver.  He is unprepared for the meetings, cannot make decisions and every item he is working on is “tabled” for yet another meeting.  



David Schnaars, Chairman of Human/Community Services

We had high hopes for David when he ran for office.  Unfortunately, we have come to see that “doing the right thing” is obviously not part of his  beliefs.  

David arrives at meetings wearing a large wooden cross as some sort of identity piece.  Perhaps we should give him a history book with particular emphasis on the separation of church and state.

Let’s hope David acquires a backbone in the near future and starts doing the right thing instead of playing the “go along to get along” game.  You are a sad disappointment David!


Walter Niedermeyer - Mayor

Here is a man who sexually harassed a Borough employee and it cost the taxpayers over $25,000 for his bad behavior.  

Walter is disconnected from reality.  He only attends municipal functions that offer a free meal.  As mayors of other municipalities actively participate in the budget process, Walter runs in the other direction and ignores budget issues.   Did this loser present a projection of what he wants for the Borough in the coming year?  NO!  

When Hurricane Sandy occurred, Borough Hall was without power over 4 days.  The police department had to relocate to the fire department building.  Did our brilliant Mayor contact the media to alert people of this change in police services? NO!  

Let me ask you this……..in a time of crises, is Walter Niedermeyer the person you would trust to lead the Borough.  Not me, thank you!  The hurricane was a good example of his inept skills.  

I would like to add that all meetings are video taped by Mel Gildner.  He was prompted to do this due to the selective memory of several council members about events at various meetings.  


Now I know that there will be people who after reading this, will say something like “Burek is just bashing the Borough”.  To the contrary.  I want..… no……I insist on nothing but the best for this Borough.  In this performance evaluation of our employees, you can see we are NOT getting the best.  When you accept second best, you will get second best.  Let’s raise the bar and demand excellence.  We have earned it, we deserve it and we should settle for nothing less.

Thomas Jefferson said……

“In a Democracy, the people get the government they deserve.

If the citizenry do not hold their officials to standards, then any government gets out of hand. So the question goes beyond taxation, and becomes how can we ever have a sound government, and the answer is by a principled populace. “



Come back for further updates about happenings in the Borough of Slatington.  Hope to see you soon!






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