locally owned since 1854

Editor's Voice: Does this really require an "investigation?'

Posted 4/8/14

 

Middletown Borough Council has voted to direct its solicitor to investigate the conduct of a Middletown Borough Authority member whose conduct toward a citizen speaking at an authority meeting was, frankly, rude. While we appreciate …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Editor's Voice: Does this really require an "investigation?'

Posted

Middletown Borough Council has voted to direct its solicitor to investigate the conduct of a Middletown Borough Authority member whose conduct toward a citizen speaking at an authority meeting was, frankly, rude. While we appreciate council’s attempt to get the facts before possible action, we can’t help but think an “investigation’’ is unnecessary, producing billable hours for a lawyer in a situation that could be more easily handled.

 

Here is what has led to this latest borough investigation: Authority member Robert Louer Jr. snapped at resident Dawn Knull at an authority meeting on Thursday, April 3 as Knull voiced her concerns about the safety of children along a proposed detour for the future upgrades of Union Street infrastructure. There was no reason to take her concerns personally – and do you really want to be rude to someone like Knull, who has been a tireless volunteer in community projects, including some borough initiatives? Our story on what happened appears on A1 of this edition.

 

Couldn’t council simply ask for the authority’s recording of the meeting? Or the opinion of the council members – at least two attended the meeting – who were present?

 

We doubt the borough’s solicitor will draw a conclusion on whether Louer’s conduct was morally right. That is a conclusion that each councilor will have to reach. Eventually, this investigation will land squarely in council’s lap anyway.

 

And though council, which appoints authority members, could use its political clout to ask for, or demand, an apology, or a resignation, we doubt it could forcibly remove an authority member for being rude. Council had to go to court to remove former authority chairman Pete Pappas, who had fallen out of favor – and council had law on its side.

 

You can’t help but wonder if an investigation could have been avoided if someone at the meeting had defended Knull, or reprimanded Louer for his comments. Perhaps the authority will do so at a future meeting.

 

We do agree, as some of our political leaders have stated, that public officials should be held to a higher standard of conduct. While we understand that councilors who weren’t at the authority meeting in question want to hear what happened for themselves before rendering judgment – a motion to direct the solicitor to investigate was approved by an 8-1 vote – we think an “investigation’’ by the solicitor is unnecessary.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment