Residents don’t need closed-door meetings
This is in response to Cecil Township Supervisor Tom Casciola’s letter about a private meeting with Range Resources held Aug 6. We can’t lose track of the real issue here; a secret private meeting was held without any notice or access to the public or press, in apparent violation of the Sunshine Law. This is just unacceptable.
The motion that passed at the June 3 Board of Supervisors meeting stated supervisors were not to meet with Range Resources privately. Without rescinding that motion at a public meeting, any private meeting is a direct violation of that motion.
The concerns of our residents living near the Worstell water impoundment could have been addressed easily by having a public meeting and allowing Range Resources to answer every question. These questions about how permits were issued, groundwater contamination based on evidence of high levels of barium, strontium, chloride, methane and benzene, and how long this impoundment can remain in operation need to be answered openly for all our residents to hear. This meeting should not have taken place at Range Resources headquarters with a quorum of supervisors present.
The email message sent by Don Gennuso on July 29 asked for a meeting with potential dates of Aug. 6 or the week of Aug. 12. I responded by saying that a private meeting shouldn’t be allowed to take place, and no further communication was ever sent to me. I was never made aware that a meeting was confirmed by the other supervisors. It never occurred to me that members of the Board of Supervisors would schedule a meeting that would violate the Sunshine Law.
Our Aug. 5 Board of Supervisors meeting was a perfect opportunity to let the public, all supervisors and our solicitor know about this private meeting the next day, but nothing was said.
Whether or not District Attorney Gene Vittone determines there was a violation of the Sunshine Law, I agree with the Observer-Reporter that this is a slap to the notion of openness in government and that these three supervisors were at least guilty of poor judgment. Cecil Township residents deserve better than a closed door meeting.
Schrader is the vice chairman of the Cecil Township Board of Supervisors.