Part of creating responsible journalism and informed editorials lies in checking facts and hearing both sides of an issue before publishing articles and offering op-ed pieces. The Observer-Reporter was guilty of both errors this past week regarding the private meeting between Range Resources and three Cecil Township supervisors.
The facts are as follows:
1.) The Cecil supervisors voted at a public meeting to meet privately with Range Resources to try to resolve some of our ongoing litigation matters. Upon the advice of our insurance attorney, that we should not meet with Range regarding litigation issues, we then publicly voted to cancel that meeting.
2.) At the same public meeting, residents near the Worstell impoundment raised questions and concerns about 24/7 traffic, noise and health issues. We stated that we would look into their complaints. The board subsequently set up meetings with the Department of Environmental Protection and Range Resources to address the concerns of the residents.
3.) But first, at the request of the board, township manager Don Gennuso called our insurance attorney about the board meeting with Range concerning the Worstell impoundment. Our attorney informed us that as long as we weren’t discussing matters currently under litigation, we were free to meet with Range all we wanted. No one “defied the advice” of our attorney.
4.) Gennuso sent an email message to all five supervisors about the date and time of the Range meeting. Every supervisor was asked to attend.
5.) Four supervisors met with the Department of Environmental Protection and three of the four supervisors met with Range Resources regarding the Worstell impoundment. As soon as possible, we will set a meeting with those residents to relay information we have about the Worstell impoundment.
Private meetings to gather information and ask questions about pressing township issues are not against the law and do not violate the Sunshine Act. It’s ideal to have every meeting occur in a public venue. But the Worstell impoundment is not of great concern to the majority of residents who live far away and in other parts of the township. The residents near the Worstell impoundment have no one to turn to except their elected supervisors. They deserve answers any way we can get them.
Thomas A. Casciola
Casciola is the chairman of the Cecil Township Board of Supervisors.