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March 31, 2003 Meeting Minutes
BETHLEHEM CITY COUNCIL MEETING
Tuesday, March 31, 2003 – 7:30 PM – Town Hall
2. PLEDGE TO THE FLAG
3. ROLL CALL
President Gregory called the meeting to order and offered the invocation which was followed by the pledge to the flag. Present were Jean Belinski, John B. Callahan, Robert J. Donchez, J. Michael Schweder, Magdalena F. Szabo, and James S. Gregory, 6. (James A. Delgrosso resigned as a Member of Council effective March 12, 2003 due to his appointment to fill the vacancy in the Office of Mayor on March 11, 2003 by City Council.)
President Gregory announced that the purpose of the Special City Council Meeting this evening is to take action on filling the vacancy on City Council and no other business will be considered.
4. COURTESY OF THE FLOOR (for public comment on Resolution to be voted on by Council this evening)
A. Council Member James A. Delgrosso - Letter of Resignation
The Clerk read a letter dated March 1, 2003 from James A. Delgrosso, as follows:
"I hereby resign from the position of Bethlehem City
Councilman effective March 12, 2003. Please file this letter
of resignation with the official records of the City. I would
like to thank…my fellow members of City Council for
your assistance, kindness and friendship to me over the many
years that we have worked together. I look forward to continuing
to work with you in my new position as Mayor."
B. Letters of Interest – Filling Vacancy on Council
The Clerk read the 11 letters of interest that were received,
Letter from Ismael Arcelay - 1750 Easthill Drive - Bethlehem PA 18017
"This letter is an application to be considered for the presently vacant City Council seat. As an active Bethlehem citizen and successful business owner for the last 12 years my commitment to this community is paramount. Bethlehem offers many of residents' safe neighborhoods, excellent school systems, and a vast array of constituent services. During my three minute presentation I will further expand on my qualifications and commitment. City Council will see that I share similar goals and values towards a continued fluency of services to its whole population. I look forward to augmenting City Council. Again, thank you ahead of time for your time and consideration in reviewing the attached resume and our future interview."
Letter from Patrick A. Herrity - 732 Hawthorne Road - Bethlehem PA 18018
"Please accept this letter of interest as my application for the vacancy on City Council of the City of Bethlehem, as a result of the resignation of James Delgrosso. I look forward to answering any written questions you may have and will be happy to avail myself personally for interviews with you individually should the need arise. Enclosed please find a brief resume for your review. Thank you in advance for your consideration."
Letter from Gregory A. Kuritz - 819 Beverly Avenue - Bethlehem PA 18018
"It occurs to me that I have spent a significant amount of time happily campaigning for Democratic candidates who would be responsive to my concerns about municipal, state, and federal government issues. However, I believe it is time that I move from the sidelines and actively participate in the preservation and growth of our unique city instead of expecting others to do it for me. As a result, I am submitting my name for consideration for Mr. Delgrosso's former seat on City Council. I look forward to meeting with you and to sharing information."
Letter from Esther M. Lee - 431 Pawnee Street - Bethlehem PA 18015
"This letter comes to indicate that I, Esther M. Lee, am interested in the open Bethlehem City Council seat. Please advise me of any other information I need to supply."
Letter from Wayne Maura - P.O. Box 4136 - Bethlehem PA 18018
"This is to notify you that I, Wayne Maura, resident of the city of Bethlehem at 625 West Union Boulevard, do hereby humbly submit my application to be considered for the appointment to fulfill the term of the now vacant seat on Bethlehem City Council. As the son of lifelong city residents, and having lived most of my life in our city, I can think of no greater honor than to be of service to my fellow citizens in this time of unexpected need. I have had the privilege of witnessing the conduct of two of my family members during their time of public service in this city and would regard this appointment as an opportunity to follow the exemplary models they have provided. Examples untarnished by scandal or controversy and built on the simple premise of doing the right things for the right reasons, always making decisions guided by law and procedure, based solely on the merits of the issue at hand. It is not without sober reflection that I make this submission, for I am well aware of the commitment required to serve our city on council and I am fully prepared to make that commitment. I would welcome the challenge of being a part of, if only briefly, the governing body of our city during this most difficult transitional period. I have enclosed my resume for your review and thank you sincerely for your consideration."
Letter from Robert M. McGovern, III - 1628 Millard Street - Bethlehem PA 18017
"Please accept this letter as my application to fill the council seat recently vacated by the appointment of Mr. Delgrosso as interim Mayor. For your consideration in this matter, I wish it to be known that my immediate intention will be to serve until a permanent member is seated upon completion of an open, General Election. I have no desire to seek my party's nomination, but wish to serve in a temporary capacity to ensure continued smooth operation of our city's government. I am anticipating the opportunity to meet with Council and discuss my qualifications."
Letter from John M. Moroney - 2634 Covington Avenue - Bethlehem PA 18017
"I would like to submit my name for the vacant position of City Councilman for Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. As a lifelong resident of Bethlehem, a local businessman, member of the Chamber of Commerce, and a retiree of the Bethlehem Steel Company I feel close to Bethlehem and its needs. After almost 30 years with Steel Company I opened Clever Closets and have been in business the past 15 years. I graduated from Mount St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Maryland and have a MBA from Lehigh University. If you need any additional information or would like to speak with me in person, please contact me at 610-868-3918 or my cell #610-972-1126. Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you."
Letter from Craig D. Neiman - 222 Georgia Avenue - Bethlehem PA 18017
"Please accept this letter as an indication of my interest to apply for the vacant position on Bethlehem's City Council. I've included a professional profile to briefly introduce myself. I look forward to further discussions regarding this opportunity. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions."
Letter from David Sanders - 69 East Goepp Street - Bethlehem PA 18018
"I would like to inform you that I, David Sanders would like to be considered for the city council seat that has been left vacant by Mayor James Delgrosso."
Letter from James H. Schantz - 232 East Union Boulevard -
Bethlehem PA 18018
"As per our telephone conversation of yesterday, I am faxing to your attention my letter of intent to seek the vacancy created on the Bethlehem City Council when James Delgrosso assumed the duties of Mayor of Bethlehem. Please feel free to contact me at (610) 360-7094 if any further information is required. Thank you for your help and assistance on this matter."
Letter from Jeffrey R. Zettlemoyer - 1304 East Sixth Street - Bethlehem PA 18015
"I would like to be considered for the vacancy that exists on City Council."
Procedure - Filling Vacancy on Council
President Gregory affirmed that the Members of Council received copies of the letters sent to each of the eleven candidates outlining a procedure for this evening, as follows: The candidates will be recognized in the order in which their letters of interest were received; Each candidate is to make a three minute presentation about themselves and how they could contribute as a Member of Bethlehem City Council; Members of Council would then have the opportunity to ask each candidate up to two questions.
President Gregory asked whether Members of Council have any comments or questions on the procedures. Hearing none, President Gregory stated that he would accept a motion to follow the procedure.
Mr. Donchez and Mr. Callahan moved to follow the procedure outlined by President Gregory.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 6. The motion passed.
Remainder of Former Council Member Delgrosso’s Term – 2004 and 2005
President Gregory, highlighting the fact that the individual chosen will fill the vacant City Council seat through the remainder of 2003, pointed out that the Northampton County Democratic Executive Committee will choose a person whose name will be placed on the ballot for the General Election in November 2003. The individual elected in November 2003 will serve as a Member of City Council for the remainder of Mr. Delgrosso's term that is for the two years of 2004 and 2005. President Gregory added that Joseph Long, Chairman of the Northampton County Democratic Executive Committee, will advise the procedure for those individuals who may be interested in serving for the remaining two years of the term.
Presentations by Candidates for Vacant City Council Seat
President Gregory recognized each of the eleven candidates in the order listed to make a three minute presentation, followed by Members of Council to ask up to two questions of each candidate.
John M. Moroney, 2634 Covington Avenue, said he was born and raised in Fountain Hill, Pennsylvania, married his wife in 1965 and moved to Bethlehem, has three children and five grandchildren. He was graduated from Bethlehem Catholic High School in 1961, and from Mount St. Mary's College, Emmitsburg, Maryland, in 1965, and received an MBA from Lehigh University in 1972. Mr. Moroney stated that his business career includes 28 years at Bethlehem Steel Corporation where he filled various supervisory positions. Since leaving Bethlehem Steel, Mr. Moroney advised he has owned and operated his own small business called Clever Closets that designs and installs closet organizing systems. Mr. Moroney expressed the belief that his educational and business experience lends itself very well to City government. Mr. Moroney continued on to say he has experience working in a large corporate environment, as well as his current exposure to running a small business. Communicating that during the course of this year many new and unforeseen problems will arise that have to be addressed, Mr. Moroney expressed the belief that he has the analytical skills to confront these problems, will bring an open mind to the table, and deal with the situations objectively and honestly.
Mr. Callahan asked Mr. Moroney what he thinks is the most important issue facing the City now.
Mr. Moroney, responding he thinks the budget will be an important problem, noted that the economy is slow so tax revenues might be down. Mr. Moroney stated that if property taxes are increased a lot of people in the City will be hurt such as retired steelworkers who have lost their benefits.
Mr. Donchez inquired if there were a proposed tax increase which areas of the City's Budget would Mr. Moroney propose reducing without having a negative impact on City services.
Mr. Moroney replied he would have to study the matter before he could give an answer.
President Gregory queried if Mr. Moroney thinks it is fair for Council to choose a candidate tonight who might presently be running for a City Council seat.
Mr. Moroney, advising he is not running and has not put his name on the ballot, said he does not have a problem with it. Mr. Moroney added he thinks if someone is running for office and they applied for the position "so be it".
David Sanders, 69 East Goepp Street, said he has been a resident of Bethlehem all his life and received his education in Bethlehem. Mr. Sanders stated that he has been self-employed at Lump's Deli for 15 years and has been a landlord for 15 successful years. Mr. Sanders expressed that, along with that business experience he can bring to City Council, he has attended City Council Meetings for roughly a year and a half. Advising he has attended Zoning Hearing Board meetings and has met City officials affiliated with Zoning matters, Mr. Sanders stressed that he thinks zoning is one of the most important parts of Bethlehem's government. Mr. Sanders continued on to advise he has attended Planning Commission meetings and has come to understand those functions. In addition, Mr. Sanders pointed out that he has attended budget hearings, understands the need for budgets and why budgets must be balanced, as well as the reasons and uses for bond issues. Mr. Sanders said he has met members of Authorities and why there are Authorities in Bethlehem, including the Parking Authority and Water Authority. Mr. Sanders informed the Members that he has met the operator of the sewage plant. Mr. Sanders explained he can bring commitments to City Council such as working quickly and honestly with Mayor Delgrosso, and each Council Member. Mr. Sanders denoted that he knows the Committees that each Member of Council heads. Mr. Sanders communicated that he could come to City Council and ask questions in order to give good, honest answers. Stressing that his commitment is more than two nights a month to City Council, Mr. Sanders pointed out that owning his own business gives him the opportunity to have flexible hours and could be available at need. Mr. Sanders said "given the opportunity and the consideration to replace Mr. Delgrosso would be a great honor for me."
Mr. Callahan asked what Mr. Sanders thinks is the most important issue facing the City now.
Mr. Sanders responded he would say the most important issue is budget. Mr. Sanders said he understands "we’re very tight on the budget, we need taxes, we need development, we need help in every department. I understand our Bethlehem library is about to lose $400,000." Mr. Sanders reiterated he would say the budget is the most important issue to make sure the City's money is spent wisely, needs to be spent, that department heads understand the matter and work within the budget.
Mr. Donchez inquired if there were a proposed tax increase which areas of the City's General Fund would Mr. Sanders propose reducing that would not have a negative impact on City services.
Mr. Sanders, replying to be honest he is not quite sure, said he would have to study the matter and the different departments. Mr. Sanders added he thinks that tax dollars are needed for maintenance and equipment.
Robert M. McGovern, III, 1628 Millard Street, said he has lived most his life in the Lehigh Valley, was born in St. Luke's Hospital, raised in Bethlehem Township, and for over 21 years has lived in the City with his wife and children. His family has resided in the area for four generations, having lived in Fountain Hill, and South Side Bethlehem, his grandfathers along with various brothers and sisters worked for Bethlehem Steel Corporation, and the two later ran their own businesses in the City. Mr. McGovern remarked he is proud to say his heritage is nearly as diverse as Bethlehem's; i.e., Italian, Hungarian, Irish, German, English, and some Native American. Mr. McGovern, advising he is employed by First Union/Wachovia Bank in the Lehigh Valley, noted his customer service responsibilities bring him in contact with hundreds of area residents each week. Pointing out he is also active within the community, Mr. McGovern informed the Members he is currently involved with the American Cancer Society's daffodil days, the March of Dimes walk American campaign, and serve on Miller Memorial Blood Center's cruise night committee. Mr. McGovern added he was previously involved with the Celtic Classic, Saucon Fest, Mayfair, Greater Bethlehem Soccer League, Northwest Little League, and Musikfest. Mr. McGovern continued on to say two weeks ago he asked himself the very questions that he will answer this evening: why he wishes to be a Member of City Council, what he brings to the table, and what he would like to accomplish. McGovern said "they were questions that sparked a great deal of reflection, and the answers led me to conclude that it was the right thing to do at this time. I stand before you this evening because I believe that working with our City Council will allow me in some small measure to give something back to our City, an obligation and honor that can never fully be repaid to our community. I also realize that at age 41 that even though I no longer have a child-like spring in my step, I possess a great deal of energy and a desire to learn. I like to play hard, I like to work hard, and I like to win, and I enjoy doing that in the company of a solid team. Bethlehem faces some daunting challenges as we move forward in this new century: homeland security, a shortfall in revenues, the revitalization of former revenue producing properties, and the challenge of integrating an ever-growing and diversely populated community. Over the course of the next nine months I would like to work with our City's leadership in helping two major projects move forward; namely, the development and the use of the former Bethlehem Steel and Durkee Foods properties. I promise to represent all residents of our City with respect, honor, and dignity. I will be here to listen, to learn, and work as a teammate with our Mayor and Council to ensure our continued steps forward. I would also like to make it clear again that I am not a politician by trade, and that I will certainly not be seeking my party's nomination to fill this seat permanently. I am thankful for the privilege to be appearing before Council this evening, but even more so I look forward to working with you and the opportunity to have a continued positive impact on Bethlehem."
Mr. Callahan asked if Mr. McGovern could change one thing about the City what would that be, and what would be the change.
Mr. McGovern replied he does not know if he would want to change anything in the City. Mr. McGovern said being a life-long resident of the area and a very proud resident for the past 21 years he is very proud of what has been accomplished in Bethlehem. Mr. McGovern stated he would like to see Bethlehem keep moving forward as it has been.
Mr. Callahan asked what Mr. McGovern likes most about the City of Bethlehem.
Mr. McGovern replied "the fact that you could do practically anything in the City. You can find practically anything. We've got a multitude of restaurants…of entertainment, education facilities bar none I think for a community of our size, and the people of our community."
Mr. Donchez inquired, if the Mayor proposed a tax increase, which areas of the budget would Mr. McGovern try to cut without having a negative impact on City services since it is Council's role to review the budget.
Mr. McGovern said he thinks it would be very difficult to look at paring the budget and paring areas without carefully studying the budget. Mr. McGovern stated the areas he would not cut as the services crucial to the running of the City: police, fire, and public works.
President Gregory queried if Mr. McGovern thinks it is fair for Council to choose a candidate tonight who might presently be running for a City Council seat.
Mr. McGovern, responding he has put these limits on himself because in his instance he feels it is only fair to serve the temporary nine months, said later on if he sees fit he may run later on.
Jeffrey R. Zettlemoyer, 1304 E. Sixth Street, thanked Council for this third opportunity to apply for a City Council vacancy. Mr. Zettlemoyer said he thinks he comes with the unique perspective since he was a member of the Administration here for 13 years. Mr. Zettlemoyer advised during that time he served on 38 different non-profit boards of directors, helped to create the Bethlehem Community Housing Resources Board, writing the by-laws for BEDCO and setting up their membership, and also working with various other non-profit groups. Mr. Zettlemoyer continued on to say "my roots go very long into this community. I am a direct descendant of the Rau family who donated the green space next to our family proprietorship which was an apothecary next to the Moravian Church. My great grandfather was also a founding member of the Republican Club…and I am a direct descendant of the Kutz family from Kutztown, Pennsylvania as well. So I think I can intrinsically speak for the City since my roots go back some 250 years in this community. I think what I'd like to start off with is a quote from…Frank O'Keefe, the manager of the Hotel Bethlehem, who said 'the City of Bethlehem will always be a City of great potential'…I think it's very poignant that we had snow this evening because a single snowflake will melt on your finger but together and collectively we have to listen to snow every time we plow the streets of our fair City. And that's what I would like to bring to this Council, a coming together, a working together. I have a copy of your latest Comprehensive Plan and throughout it it's rife with the idea that Council and the Mayor should work together for a better Bethlehem. And that's what I'd propose to do if I am so chosen to be a Member of Council." Citing family history, Mr. Zettlemoyer communicated that he thinks he can bring a human touch to City Council that "we have a concern and compassion for all of our citizens that what we do affects the lives of everyone." Mr. Zettlemoyer, referring to questions that have been posed to candidates, said he thinks economic development is needed in the City desperately, and "we need to come together to provide it."
Mr. Donchez inquired, if the Mayor proposed a tax increase, and since it is City Council's responsibility to review the budget and to approve it, which areas of the budget would Mr. Zettlemoyer try to reduce or cut without cutting City services.
Mr. Zettlemoyer, responding that economies of scale would be the most important thing to look at, said one of the first things he would do would be to fold the Redevelopment Authority into the Housing Authority. Stating "they're doing housing work right now", Mr. Zettlemoyer remarked "it would be a great way for getting people out of the Housing Authority into first time home ownership, having the Redevelopment Authority provide the funds to have them fix up any home, and also fix up the City's housing stock, and it's just a natural. Across the nation, there are…National Organization of Housing and Redevelopment Authorities. Most cities operate with them together. We have them separated. I would probably push for a combination of a lot of different things. I would also take a look at possibly going with a County-wide health organization. For years the City has carried the water on this issue, and I think it's time that the County steps up to the plate on that. I would also start taking a look at regionalization as far as policing and fire. I would start taking a look at various budgets within budgets. As you well know, each department has a budget that also has contingencies and yet we have an overall contingency. So, I think it's about time we start eliminating some of the contingencies within budget line items. I’d also call in the professional experts to take a look at where we can save on water and sewer. And, we might even take a look at turning over our employees over to the Bethlehem Authority and making them employees of the Authority since they serve more than the City of Bethlehem."
Patrick A. Herrity, 732 Hawthorne Road, informed the Members that he was born, raised, educated, and employed in Bethlehem. Mr. Herrity further stated he has had the opportunity to enjoy the parks, pools, rivers, creeks, nature sanctuary and other elements that make the City such an enjoyable place to live. Mr. Herrity communicated he would like this opportunity to give something back to the City by serving as a Member of City Council. Mr. Herrity said he would like the opportunity to defend what needs to be preserved, enhance what needs to be improved, and change what truly needs to be changed. Mr. Herrity continued on to say “as a frequent attendee of your meetings, both Committee and full Council, I feel I have a familiarity with the process and of the issues you currently face. While not yet privy to all the information at your fingertips, I feel I can make intelligent decisions based on the rich history and assessment of our true current needs, and with an eye to what would make this City a better place in the future. My membership on the Recreation Commission has made me aware of the many challenges facing Charlie Brown and Jane Persa in the maintenance of our parks and public property and the creation of innovative programming that is responsive to the needs of the public. Through my membership in the Vacant Property Review Committee I’ve been made aware of just how much hard work and persistence is necessary by the Redevelopment Authority and the code enforcement bureau to maintain a strong housing stock which is the cornerstone of any city. As a member of the Monocacy Creek Watershed Association, I have learned an incredible amount about the natural beauty that is present in our City, things that I may before have overlooked. I’ve also learned about what it takes to preserve these precious resources. As a member of the Elmwood Park Association and Block Watch, I have listened to the concerns of my neighbors, and through communication with other block watches I have learned that many of our concerns are similar. It is this diversity and experience that I feel makes me a qualified candidate for this position. Much has changed since my first visit to Town Hall. Then we were seemingly a dying steel town, a city oblivious to all that was inherently wonderful about it. A city in need of a new identity. I was fearful then that we would lose our…gems of architecture and parkland in a headlong rush to create something, anything that would save our City. Fortunately, this has become the road less traveled. Today our City has a vision. The renaissance of the South Side, Bethlehem Works, Bethlehem Commerce Center are some of the elements that have potential to bring a new vitality to Bethlehem. Now comes the nuts and bolts for turning this vision into reality. It is my hope that you will allow me to play some small part in the coming months in this creative endeavor.”
Mr. Callahan asked Mr. Herrity what he thinks is the most important issue facing the City right now from his perspective.
Mr. Herrity responded he has said he was very enthusiastic about the Bethlehem Works and Bethlehem Commerce Center. Mr. Herrity said he thinks that will bring revenue and a new vitality to the City.
Mr. Donchez asked what areas of City government would Mr. Herrity probably be most interested in, and maybe become his expertise.
Mr. Herrity replied the areas of parks and public property are areas of interest to him. Mr. Herrity added that having been part of the Elmwood Park Association he knows how much parks can bring neighborhoods together. Mr. Herrity, noting that the City is a group of diverse neighborhoods, communicated that parks are very much a point where people can and should focus, and he thinks they should be nurtured and improved.
President Gregory inquired whether Mr. Herrity feels Council should choose a candidate tonight who might presently be running for a City Council seat.
Mr. Herrity responded he really has no problem one way or the other.
President Gregory asked if Mr. Herrity feels that would give that person an advantage running in this election if they were chosen to sit on Council.
Mr. Herrity replied “if they performed well, perhaps it would.”
President Gregory stated that, as he mentioned before, anyone who is interested in getting on the ballot that is not chosen tonight could go to the Democratic Chair. President Gregory also mentioned that anyone who is a Republican could go to the Republican Chairperson and then be considered by their executive committee.
Esther Lee, 431 Pawnee Street, advised she is currently employed as an administrative assistant for the Bethlehem Area Council of Churches. Ms. Lee pointed out that she has had a history of working prior to this particular time. Ms. Lee noted she is currently president of the Bethlehem Branch of the NAACP, and has served six years as a school director for the Bethlehem Area School Board in the 1970’s. Remarking that she has “been around for a while”, Ms. Lee said she hopes that is part of what Council will take into consideration. Ms. Lee stated she is a member of the Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem, the Northampton County Human Relations Council of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission, and has served on most boards and committees in Bethlehem. Ms. Lee noted she has had the pleasure of receiving her education, living and working most of her years in Bethlehem. Ms. Lee added that she and her husband have raised two children, and educated their family in the Bethlehem area. Ms. Lee communicated that she has seen Bethlehem from varying degrees, as a prospering community with many thriving businesses to the now low since the number one industry, Bethlehem Steel Corporation, a prior employer of hers, has gone out of business. Ms. Lee continued on to say “this has created a vacuum in the labor market for good paying jobs. I believe to ensure and maintain the quality of life and living conditions for all residents we must continue to provide an economic foundation for this City. Bethlehem’s on the right course. In most cases, rather than tear down properties, the City has made loans available to citizens to upgrade their homes, and this is a plus. You as a Council, too, have had to make unpopular decisions since [September] 11. I have watched as many people’s lives have been and continue to be affected throughout the City. Tensions at times rise high. With the increase of people moving into the area, we must continue to review our current regulations. We need to broaden our tax base. This town has changed. Many industries are outside the City. Plans are being developed to improve the fate of South Bethlehem, but parking continues to be a growing need, and it needs to be addressed. I believe I can make future decisions for projects which will affect Bethlehem. I’d like to join the team and help to develop a better Bethlehem.”
Mr. Callahan asked if Ms. Lee could change one thing about the City what would that be.
Ms. Lee, responding she would not change the City, said “Bethlehem has a rich heritage for all of us, and it has been for years. And I think that’s one of the strategic and the most human things about us here, that we all learn to grow, we work together, and we’ve just been allowed to develop right here within this community. I don’t think I’d change a thing. There are things that we affect with our administration, but as a town, nothing.”
Mr. Donchez asked what area of City government would Ms. Lee probably be most interested in.
Ms. Lee, replying she would continue in the vein of community development since she now works with the Community Action Development Committee in the South Bethlehem project, said she would be interested in the development of Bethlehem as a whole. Ms. Lee, noting there are a lot of things going on right now, stated she would be very interested in maintaining surveillance.
President Gregory asked what Ms. Lee thinks about the proposed Lowe’s development at the former Durkee spice plant site on Eighth Avenue.
Ms. Lee responded she thinks that as Members of Council, the Members need to at all times consider where people are and what their needs are and listen intently to them. Ms. Lee said “I think we need to strengthen our tax base, and I think that that’s an indication enough of my views.”
Craig D. Neiman, 222 Georgia Avenue, said he has been a resident of Bethlehem for approximately the past ten years, four of which he spent at Moravian College and was graduated from Moravian College in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and a minor in Psychology. Mr. Neiman, stating that he currently lives on Georgia Avenue, said prior to that he lived on Brighton Street. Mr. Neiman, advising that one of his main interests is running, remarked he has run practically every road race there is in Bethlehem to run, and is also a member of Central Moravian Church. Mr. Neiman said he married his wife in 1999 in the Old Chapel. Mr. Neiman continued on to say “as far as experience goes, I have absolutely zero experience in politics. Basically, what I have to offer is a four year college degree, and six years of corporate business experience. I am currently a financial analyst for a company with revenues of over $6 billion a year. I’ve been a financial analyst for approximately three years. Three years prior to that I was a logistics scheduling coordinator. So, I have a broad corporate experience not just with numbers, but also with interacting with people. With my company I’ve interacted with truck drivers, corporate personnel, I belong to senior management. I try to…communicate effectively. I also have the ability to understand and solve complex problems as well as see projects through to completion. I also have some financial budgeting experience that I think I can offer to you. Some of my strengths I believe, I’ve heard the word diversity floated around through the newspaper…I’m energetic. I think this City needs young people in it. I mean that with no disrespect to any of our other citizens at all. I think that’s one of the issues facing us. We have all these institutions of higher learning. Yet everyone comes here for a degree and then they leave…I grew up in Reading, Pennsylvania. I came here. I stayed. I liked it. Some of my friends have stayed, some have left, and I think the reason that they have left is that there’s not good jobs here or there’s not enough high paying jobs here. So I think economic development is paramount to Bethlehem as we forge into the future. I have a strong interest in the future of Bethlehem as my wife and I plan on raising a family in the near future. And while I may be registered Republican I don’t really see any party lines. I’m young. I haven’t been influenced by any political motives to this point. So, I’m looking out just for the best interests of the City. So, I would be honored to certainly stay.”
Mr. Callahan asked if Mr. Neiman thinks that jobs and economic development is the most important issue facing the City right now.
Mr. Neiman replied absolutely, and coupled with that keeping talented individuals in the area.
Mr. Callahan asked what Mr. Neiman loves most about the City of Bethlehem.
Mr. Neiman responded the history. Mr. Neiman, advising he knew nothing about Bethlehem before he came here, highlighted the fact that he is here still. Remarking he was attracted to the history of the City, Mr. Neiman said that is what he fell in love with.
Mr. Donchez inquired if the Mayor proposed a tax increase how would Mr. Neiman approach the budget as a City Councilman.
Mr. Neiman replied, being a recent homeowner and having heard there has not been a tax increase in several years, to him “that seems that may have contributed to where we are today and some of the crises. Maybe if we had been raising taxes along the way that would have avoided some of the issues we’re in today.”
James H. Schantz, 232 East Union Boulevard, said he is here this evening to ask for Council’s consideration to fill the vacancy created when James Delgrosso became Mayor. Mr. Schantz said “as a lifetime resident of our City I’ve always had a keen interest in the events that have happened here. For the past twelve years I have had the opportunity to serve as a legislative assistant, first to State Representative and then State Senator Joe Uliana, and for the past four years I’ve had the distinct pleasure to serve in the same capacity for Senator Lisa Boscola. In that capacity, I have the opportunity to listen to the concerns of the residents of our city and to have the chance to try to solve many of their situations they face. During my lifetime our City has experienced several transitions from a blue collar town that practically everyone had a loved one who worked for the Bethlehem Steel Corporation to a City that experienced the decline and closure of its primary employer. Through it all, Bethlehem has survived, a true tribute to its residents. Now, we are at the beginning of a new renaissance. With the development of the Bethlehem Commerce Center, the prospect of Bethlehem Works, and the Smithsonian museum Preview Center, and the recent plans for the former Durkee site, Bethlehem is truly on the verge of a new economic promise. To look at our downtown business district, one can see the development and change the past decade has brought. The corner of Broad and Main is no longer a parking lot, the Orr’s building is no longer vacant, and is actually Senator Boscola's new district office location, and Broad Street is no longer closed to traffic. All three are signs of positive economic change. On the South Side the route 412 project promises to bring easier access to our city. Union Station is about to be reborn, and the South Side has its Business District that rivals any other community in the Lehigh Valley. The nation watched last summer as representatives of Bethlehem, the Lehigh Little League, competed in the Little League World Series. Few cities can boast such accomplishments. With all the changes that have taken place, we have a proud record of not having to sacrifice the high quality of our life that our City enjoys. If anything, that quality of life has improved. In order to survive and thrive we must constantly work and keep the delicate balance of economic development and the quality of life that we love. While economic development is important, it cannot be at the sacrifice of our neighborhoods. The greatest gift that anyone can give back to our City is the opportunity to serve it. I would ask for your consideration to serve as a Member of City Council, and eagerly would look forward to doing just that.”
Mr. Callahan asked what Mr. Schantz thinks is the most important issue facing the City right now.
Mr. Schantz replied economic development. With reference to the sites he just mentioned, Mr. Schantz denoted there is great potential there to expand the City’s tax base tremendously by developing those sites and developing some of the other sites that the City has to offer. Mr. Schantz said the key focus should be economic development and the jobs and the tax revenue it can bring to the City.
Mr. Donchez asked Mr. Schantz to give an example of when he might vote against an economic development project because of the interest of the neighborhood.
Mr. Schantz, focusing on two plans that have been proposed for the former Durkee plant on Eighth Avenue, noted the present plans are for a smaller retail space than previously proposed. Mr. Schantz said he thinks the smaller space gives the opportunity to bring new jobs to the City, to develop a site that was abandoned, and yet the smaller site has a more controlling presence than the previous plans had. Mr. Schantz said he also likes the way the current developer has decided to attack some of the problems facing that area such as expanding the Eighth Avenue area by the school which continues to keep the quality of life and safety of children by adding a right turn lane, a left turn lane, and has worked with Bethlehem Steel to widen the right of way at the Martin Tower area, a traffic light, and possibly a second traffic light. Mr. Schantz, turning to Mr. Donchez’s first question, said he came up with a novel challenge instead of trying to cut the budget. Pointing out that the City operates basically on a shoe string budget, Mr. Schantz exemplifying there are a lot of commitments that really cannot be cut such as those that result from long term employee contracts, and the commitment to quality of life in the City. Mr. Schantz said as opposed to trying to figure an area that could be touched, he would propose trying to maximize every tax dollar. Mr. Schantz suggested perhaps looking at some of the sites that are idle and try to bring economic development to those sites.
President Gregory queried what reply would Mr. Schantz give to his boss, Senator Boscola, if she would ask him to vote against the rezoning of the former Durkee property for development of the site with a Lowe’s home improvement store.
Mr. Schantz responded he would “have to honestly sit down with her and listen to every concern she would have…She’s one resident of the City,…granted she’s my employer, but if I had to answer that question…the way I would like to answer that question I would feel comfortable politically opposing my employer on something that would be for the betterment of the City.”
Ismael Arcelay, 1750 Easthill Drive, stated that 13 years ago his family moved to Pennsylvania searching for a better environment, and as many before them they decided to call Bethlehem home. Mr. Arcelay noted that his oldest daughter was graduated from Moravian College and is now a guidance counselor at Liberty High School, his son is serving in the Army as a Lieutenant and upon completion of his B.A. this September will be entering the job market, and his other daughter will be graduating from Northampton Community College this summer. His youngest daughter will be leaving East Hills Middle School with honors and will be entering Freedom High School. Mr. Arcelay, communicating that he shares these values with the community, advised that he distributed over 1,000 books at Donegan and Northeast Middle Schools designed to encourage reading. At Freedom High School and Liberty High School Mr. Arcelay noted has participated in career day initiatives by presenting to students how his education has opened many doors in his career. Since 1999, his family has been awarding scholarship dollars to Liberty High School's college text book awards program. With the Minsi Trail Boy Scouts organization, Mr. Arcelay advised he has participated by providing free web development support for their web site. On community empowerment, Mr. Arcelay said he has participated in non-partisan voter registration drives, helping to add over 1,800 voters. Mr. Arcelay continued on to say that the Democratic City Chairperson, Jack Berk, has counted on his efforts to perform banking and to serve at the polls. For Northampton County, Mr. Arcelay informed the Members he has served as an election commissioner and a member of the personnel committee. As a successful past business owner, Mr. Arcelay served as a member of the communications committee with the Lehigh County Chamber of Commerce. With Bethlehem's Community Action Development Corporation, Mr. Arcelay provided free workshops and shares in his knowledge with fellow business owners. Mr. Arcelay said he would like City Council to know what motivates him: "it's family, my faith in God, and the sharing of these qualities…qualities which led early Moravians to call Bethlehem home. As you can see, I can contribute to the City by applying my commitment for the best representation for our constituents, and I hope that you focus on my resume. It will show my commitment, and ability to lead, an ability to empower, and the awareness to merge various initiatives all working for the fluent constituent services."
Mr. Callahan asked if Mr. Arcelay could change one thing about the City what would that be.
Mr. Arcelay, noting his family is planning on retiring to Florida, said the hardest part of the planning is thinking that they are going to move out of Bethlehem, so there really is not much he would change.
Mr. Callahan asked what Mr. Arcelay loves most about the City of Bethlehem.
Mr. Arcelay replied he loves the diversity, and the different people who are in the different parts of the City. Continuing on to say he also enjoys the parks and green spaces, Mr. Arcelay stated he would like to see more of that incorporated into the development and future growth of the City.
Mr. Donchez asked Mr. Arcelay what area of City government would he probably be most interested in.
Mr. Arcelay responded the public health areas and the parks.
Wayne Maura, 628 West Union Boulevard, commenting that he would not be restating the items already submitted in his cover letter of application or resume, said in general while like most everyone he thinks that jobs, taxes, and education are very important issues, he believes that quality of life issues in the City deserve a bigger share of attention. Mr. Maura said he would like to see some exploration into regulations and ordinances which, if enforced, might improve the look and feel of the City everywhere, not only in the more visible areas. Mr. Maura continued on to comment "in the newspaper article announcing the process for this appointment, President Gregory was quoted as saying something along the lines that he would hope someone could be selected free of I believe political monsters or some sort of reference to that effect. I can tell you now that I am not nor have I ever been interested in politics. I believe, in fact, that politics has no place in good….effective, responsive government. Politics is a technique of interaction that you can find in every activity where humans coexist and do business together. And, I think, in fact when politics gets involved in government that’s where a lot of problems begin. As a member of Council or any other representative body I believe first and foremost that you must listen. Listen to what our citizens are saying about the decisions we would make. How does what we are going to do affect them and their families. We have to remember we are here to represent their choices and not make decisions for them. I think there are ways of making the people's voice more accessible. In this age of advanced technology, maybe perhaps a link on the City's recently redesigned web site might encourage people to log on and offer comments or in fact maybe take straw poles or let them make recommendations about the issues coming before Council in the near future. I would also like to see more of an effort made to publicize meeting schedules, not only for Council, but for the other governing boards, agencies, including special sessions that are sometimes scheduled very close to the day that they are held. I know many people who might otherwise be more involved except that they miss the public notices or don't buy the newspapers. We should do all that we can, I believe, to reach out to our citizens, not just during times of election campaigns, but to solicit their input and guidance in making the decisions that will impact their lives. I must say lately I am very concerned about what I believe to be a lack of a cohesive vision for the future of this City. We're all aware of our need to replace the few sources of tax-based revenue, and I believe we as a City can and must do better at marketing and networking the assets that we have. I believe the variety of experience detailed in my resume that I have had in the workplace and in my own small business has made me keenly aware of what many of our citizens have to deal with on a daily basis to make ends meet. Government should be no less challenged than its citizens. And, I believe we need to do more with less, to think creatively and work cooperatively to come up with new and innovative ways to improve the experience of living and working in this City."
Mr. Callahan asked if Mr. Maura could change one thing about the City what would that be.
Mr. Maura, responding he would love to be able to reverse the fortunes of Bethlehem Steel which obviously cannot be done, said he would like to see the City move back if it could possibly without degrading the advances in technology and the common comforts that technology brings a style of life and living that he was familiar with growing up in Bethlehem, spending a lot f time on the south Side, the north side, and west side. Mr. Maura stated he actually would like to see the City become more homogenous so there is not as much of a separation as there seems to be between, for example, the South Side and other parts of the City. Mr. Maura, adding he wishes more people like Mr. Arcelay would get involved, commented that is one thing he would change.
Mr. Donchez inquired what area of City government would Mr. Maura try to give his expertise to.
Mr. Maura replied he would try to be influential in things that do not fall neatly into categories. Mr. Maura said he thinks the City needs to get outside the box in a number of areas. He further communicated that working together cooperative certainly is one of them. Mr. Maura also mentioned marketing and networking the resources the City has to offer. Mr. Maura expressed that he would encourage bringing the kind of development that can suitably replace a business like Bethlehem Steel, and supply good paying jobs for people to rely on for the long term so they will not think about leaving Bethlehem and going elsewhere, so that people realize this is a place where they can put down roots. Mr. Maura remarked that people need to feel there is the type of business and industry in the City where they want to live that will sustain their lives and growth for the long term.
President Gregory queried whether Mr. Maura would ignore the people's voice if he felt his decision is in the City's best interest.
Mr. Maura replied no, he would not. Mr. Maura, expressing his thought that people have the right to decide for themselves, said "if their decision represented by my vote turns out to be incorrect, they have to live with the consequences."
Mr. Maura said, as an applicant for the vacant City Council seat, he is "sorry that that topic really has come up at all." Mentioning he did not come here tonight to talk about that particular issue although he knows it is important and a pressing issue before Council, Mr. Maura said he would hope his history of support for a cause one way or the other would no less disqualify him as it would any other Member of Council.
Gregory A. Kuritz, 819 Beverly Avenue, said he has been thinking about why he is qualified for this position on City Council and what makes him unique. Mr. Kuritz continued on to say "but the truth of the matter is that I am very ordinary. I am an average citizen who works hard, and wants to live in a safe, prosperous community. I was raised in Fountain Hill, and my family had a long affiliation with Bethlehem Steel. In fact, nine of my uncles…were featured in a recent television special about Bethlehem Steel. Responsible for 100% of my college expenses, I worked at a local convenience store and painted houses to put myself through Kutztown University where I earned a Business Degree in management and marketing. I'm not a flashy look at me kind of person. No one will ever describe me as slick or smooth. However, I am methodical and reasonable. I enjoy working as part of a team but I am not afraid of making the difficult, potentially unpopular decisions. I think my best qualities are my strong work ethic, and that people know they can count on me. Since 1986, I have worked at Erie Insurance, a property, auto, and life insurer. I currently am a senior claims supervisor. My wife…[a] former English teacher and I live on Beverly Avenue, and have five…nieces…Among other activities, I am a committed volunteer for local and national political candidates, a Red Cross volunteer, a Bethlehem Halloween Parade judge, and have a special commitment to Fox House, a shelter for women and their children. I'm usually a behind the scenes kind of person; however, I think being patriotic is more than slapping a flag on my car. For me, it is moving from the sidelines and actively participating in the preservation and growth of our City instead of expecting others to do it. Every day on my job reminds me that most people play by the rules and expect those who make decisions to be there for them. My uncles and grandfather proudly and gratefully labored at Bethlehem Steel. I have been lucky to earn a career in management which is a considerably easier life. Too often in Bethlehem we focus on our differences instead of on what is really important which is that most of us actually want the same things. We want our families to be well, and to live in an attractive, healthy environment. We are willing to work hard, live in comfortable homes, in safe neighborhoods, with good schools, and reasonable property taxes. We also expect civility among elected officials; otherwise, public confidence is undermined and participation in the process discouraged. Bethlehem is a unique City, with a truly significant contribution to the development and strength of this country, as well as to the protection of the world. I would feel privileged to be a part of City Council to help find that delicate balance among historic significance, economic growth, and a high quality of life for our citizens."
Mr. Callahan asked what Mr. Kuritz thinks is the most important issue facing the City right now.
Mr. Kuritz, replying there are several issues, thought one of the most important issues is protecting citizens from a safety standpoint and trying to figure out how to pay for it.
Mr. Donchez inquired what area of City government would Mr. Kuritz probably be most interested in.
Mr. Kuritz responded the biggest area he would be interested in is applying his knowledge to save money for the City.
President Gregory queried if Mr. Kuritz were sitting on City Council and eleven people came before him to ask him for a City Council job, knowing that ten would not be entirely happy with his decision, what does he base the decision on to hire the one person.
Mr. Kuritz, stating that the ten before him are excellent candidates, said Council is charged with making the most difficult decision the Members have made in a while in choosing who should take over for Mr. Delgrosso. Mr. Kuritz stated that personally he would pick who he thought was the most qualified candidate.
President Gregory, affirming this is a tough decision for Council, pointed out there are many tough decisions before Council but when there are eleven excellent candidates who took the time out of their lives to present themselves before Council, and Council has to choose one individual, remarked he cannot imagine there are many other decisions tougher than this. President Gregory expressed the appreciation of Council for the candidates time and interest. Reiterating that the individual chosen would fill the vacant City Council seat through the remainder of this year, President Gregory again noted that the candidates can contact the Republican or Democratic county committee people in order to be considered for the remaining two years of Mr. Delgrosso's term.
Mr. Callahan, thanking each of the candidates for coming forward tonight, said it is very admirable of the candidates to put themselves before Council, and to be asked questions. Mr. Callahan stated that the City would do well to have any one of the eleven candidates serve on Council and is a testament to the quality of the citizens of Bethlehem. Regardless of the outcome, Mr. Callahan encouraged the candidates to continue to be involved and volunteer for boards, and so on.
Filling Vacant City Council Seat
President Gregory asked Christopher Spadoni, City Council Solicitor, to confirm the number of votes necessary to fill the vacant City Council seat.
Attorney Spadoni advised that, pursuant to his memorandums of March 14 and 19, 2003 and P.L. 53 4406 a, it would require four votes, that is a majority of the remaining Members of Council, being six Members voting.
President Gregory recalled that, when Ms. Szabo was chosen to fill a vacancy on Council and there were less than that amount of votes, then anyone who received two votes or more went on to a second round.
Mr. Schweder recounted at that time four people were nominated two of whom received two votes a piece. The determination was that the low person in the ballot, no one receiving four votes, was then removed, and Council voted on the remaining candidates. Mr. Schweder, commenting he would assume the same would apply this evening, noted if a candidate received three votes, another received two votes, and another received one vote, then the candidate with the single vote would be omitted from the next ballot.
President Gregory asked if that is agreeable with Members of Council. Members of Council indicated their agreement.
President Gregory asked Members of Council for nominations at this time. President Gregory confirmed that, in order for a name to be placed in nomination and voted on, it must be seconded.
Mrs. Belinski nominated Patrick Herrity. Mrs. Belinski enumerated her reasons are "actions speak louder than words. What stands out for me among the candidates is the person who has shown through his actions that he has earned a place on this Council. Mr. Herrity has attended Council Meetings for 14 plus years. How do I know that? Because I myself was in the audience attending meetings for 8 years before I earned my seat on City Council, and I'm in my sixth year now…, and so I have observed him. And his attendance at the meetings shows his commitment for the welfare of this City. It's self-evident. His involvement in the various activities he described in his presentation over the years shows that, and also during his attendance at our many…meetings he has, on occasion, come to the podium and always asked very intelligent insightful questions about what is going on in the process of the meeting. So, that's why I feel Mr. Herrity is the best person, and I nominate him.
Ms. Szabo seconded Mrs. Belinski's motion. Ms. Szabo added that Mr. Herrity not only attends City Council Meetings, but participates in many of the programs and gives of his time to not only his neighborhood but other neighborhoods. Ms. Szabo exemplified that at the summit meeting about South Bethlehem a few years ago Mr. Herrity, who does not live in that area, not only came to the meeting but also volunteered and became chairperson of one of the committees, and devoted his time to the program.
Mr. Schweder stated that everyone who appeared before Council this evening is very well qualified and versed on the issues and any one of them would be an asset to join the Members on City Council. Mr. Schweder, recounting that he and Mr. Donchez are still relatively young in their 50's and started in politics almost 30 years ago, said while it is fascinating to listen to people who come before Council it is "frightening" to see the son of someone they had worked with and then the grandson. Mr. Schweder communicated that as he has looked through the resumes and experiences of the individuals he tried to look at some requirements for his own interest in the matter. Mr. Schweder explained he thought it important that someone had experience in the political process and in government at some level whether a board or agency. In addition, he considered community involvement an important criteria. Mr. Schweder stated he also felt strongly there was a need for someone who sought the position to say they would actively seek election to this post for the remainder of the term and considered it an important criteria. Mr. Schweder observed in this way someone could carry on with continuity through the time they served and would be a candidate for election, regardless of the party. Mr. Schweder said he also thought there needed to be diversity among the Members of Council that he thought was obviously covered by the candidates who are before City Council this evening. In making his decision on who he is going to nominate tonight, who is Ismael Arcelay, Mr. Schweder denoted that Mr. Arcelay is an individual who he has known only for the last several weeks. Mr. Schweder advised he was contacted by at least four of the candidates during that period expressing their interest. When he looked at the criteria, talked with them, and looked at those and the others before Council tonight, Mr. Schweder commented it seems apparent to him that Mr. Arcelay had the experience in politics, is a worker for a number of years on the City committee, is involved with the election board, has community involvement, and a commitment to run for the remainder term is something Mr. Arcelay made to Mr. Schweder. Mr. Schweder stated that another interesting aside that came to him in the last few days is that everyone who sits on Council over the last two or three years has either publicly or privately expressed serious concerns and reservations about the information technology in this City, and the website or the lack thereof that has existed. Focusing on the concerns raised last year, Mr. Schweder said it is interesting that Council unanimously voted for the restoration of a job in the City's Information Services Bureau. Mr. Schweder said when he looks at the credentials that Mr. Arcelay brings he thinks that is an added criteria. With the changes that President Gregory has made, the chairmanship of the Committee that is vacant is the one that will deal with personnel, and Mr. Arcelay has served on that type of committee for County government, and is also the committee that would deal with whether positions are filled and the criteria within the information technology area. Mr. Schweder stated that, for a whole host of reasons, he thinks Mr. Arcelay brings a diversified background that would be an asset to City Council and it is his pleasure to place in nomination for the vacant City Council seat the name of Ismael Arcelay.
Mr. Donchez seconded the nomination. Mr. Donchez said Council is very fortunate to have eleven outstanding individuals submit their names for consideration for City Council. Mr. Donchez restated that, as Mr. Callahan had expressed, he hopes the individuals will stay involved in City government and the process.
President Gregory, noting that he came to the Meeting this evening leaning towards Mr. Herrity because of his involvement and attendance at Council Meetings, communicated his mind was changed somewhat tonight. Focusing on community involvement, diversity, background in government, membership on the School Board and requirements mentioned by Mr. Schweder, President Gregory added that Mrs. Lee in addition has the wisdom that comes with age as well as a strength of will that he considers extremely important to this position. President Gregory stated he is going to nominate Esther Lee. President Gregory, recounting that Mrs. Lee has tried many times as a candidate for Member of Council, remarked it is tough to get elected when someone is outspent twenty to one.
Mr. Schweder seconded the nomination. Mr. Schweder, affirming that while he has nominated a candidate, said with respect to Mrs. Lee and the process followed six years ago, he is making the second.
Mr. Donchez moved to close the nominations. Mr. Callahan seconded the motion.
President Gregory stated the names of candidates who received nominations, as follows: Mr. Herrity, Mrs. Lee, and Mr. Arcelay.
President Gregory advised that, each Member of Council, as
their name is called by the Clerk, will state a name, and
then the Clerk will announce the Tally.
Mrs. Belinski stated the name of Patrick Herrity. Mr. Callahan stated the name of Ismael Arcelay. Mr. Donchez stated the name of Mr. Arcelay. Mr. Schweder stated the name of Ismael Arcelay. Ms. Szabo stated the name of Patrick Herrity. President Gregory stated the name of Mrs. Lee.
The Clerk announced the tally, as follows: three votes for Ismael Arcelay, two votes for Patrick Herrity, and one vote for Esther Lee.
President Gregory confirmed that, as was discussed, there are two finalists, and since Mrs. Lee received one vote, the roll will be called on the two finalists.
Roll Call on Two Finalists – Patrick Herrity and Ismael Arcelay
The Clerk called the roll on the two finalists, as follows: Mrs. Belinski voted for Patrick Herrity. Mr. Callahan voted for Ismael Arcelay. Mr. Donchez voted for Mr. Arcelay. Mr. Schweder voted for Mr. Arcelay. Ms. Szabo voted for Mr. Arcelay. President Gregory voted for Mr. Herrity
The Clerk announced the votes, as follows: four votes for Ismael Arcelay, and two votes for Patrick Herrity.
President Gregory asked the Clerk to read the Resolution for Filling the Vacancy on City Council with the name of the Finalist, and congratulated Mr. Arcelay.
A. Filling the Vacancy on City Council – Appointing Ismael Arcelay to Fill Council Seat Vacated by James A. Delgrosso
Mr. Schweder and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 14,030 as follows:
"Be It Resolved by the Council of the City of Bethlehem
that pursuant to Third Class City Charter Law Sec. 406 (a)
(53 P.S. Sec 41406 (a) Ismael Arcelay is hereby appointed
to fill the vacancy on Bethlehem City Council, as a result
of the resignation of James A. Delgrosso effective as of March
12, 2003, and who shall so serve until a successor is elected
and is duly sworn into office on January 5, 2004."
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Schweder, Ms. Szabo, and Mr. Gregory, 6. The Resolution passed.
Swearing In Ceremony
President Gregory announced that the swearing in of Mr. Arcelay will take place on Tuesday, April 1, 2003 at 7:00 PM in Town Hall, prior to that evening’s City Council Meeting.
7. COURTESY OF THE FLOOR
Anthony Rybak, 408 Adams Street, noted that former Mayor Cunningham chose to take the office furniture paid for by the taxpayers when he left office. Mr. Rybak pointed out this has been a tradition for outgoing Mayors in Bethlehem, albeit a costly one. Referring to newspaper reports today, Mr. Rybak read a quote of Mayor Delgrosso, as follows: “in due time, I will probably have Council bring an end to this practice of taking the furniture.” Mr. Rybak wondered exactly what in due time means especially when the prospect is being faced of replacing this costly office furniture right now. Mr. Rybak respectfully requested that Mayor Delgrosso continue to use the steel desk provided by the Parks and Public Property Department until Council can address this wasteful tradition; or, in the alternative, Mr. Delgrosso should provide his own desk in case he wants to take it with him when he leaves.
Comments of Mayor Delgrosso
Mr. Rybak, saying that he takes offense to Mayor Delgrosso’s comments as reported in the March 26, 2003 edition of the Morning Call, quoted from the article, as follows: “if you’re going to live in dirt then you might as well get used to living inside a pen.” Mr. Rybak expressed the opinion that, taken in the context of the article, Mr. Delgrosso was referring to Southsiders as pigs that he felt was an outrageous comment and for which Mr. Delgrosso owes an apology.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:04 p.m.