A borough in disarray

July 8, 2014

Well, East Washington residents should take comfort that there will not soon be roving bands of militiamen taking to the streets or tanks commanded by breakaway rebel factions disrupting the quiet or rattling the china in the homes along LeMoyne Avenue.

But that doesn’t minimize the fact that the borough – at least in the way it is governed – is in polarized, fractious disarray right now.

At borough council’s Monday night meeting, three council members dramatically tendered their resignations, accusing East Washington Mayor Michael Gomber and fellow council members Tamara Chacko, Guy Tucci and Mary Taufer of planning an executive meeting on short notice so they could plot the future of the police department without the input of the now-departed members of council. After stepping down, the three walked off into the night.

“It seems to be forgotten that we are seven people, but need to work as one,” said Lisa Crosier, one of the now former council members. “I believe what you’re doing is wrong, and I’m removing myself from the situation.”

The resignations of Crosier, along with Council President Bill Adams and third member Robert Dunn, are of questionable value. Though shining a spotlight on what they believe are the missteps of the mayor and their adversaries on council, their departure means they will not be present to provide checks and balances or dissenting votes. The mayor and the four remaining members of council will be able to act as they please, and appoint like-minded residents to fill the three vacancies.

It also probably means a plan to reorganize the borough’s police department, hatched by Crosier and Adams, will go nowhere.

While we believe, and have said so more than once on this page, that East Washington would have been wise to have folded its police department entirely and contracted with Washington city police for protection, that seems unlikely to happen, at least in the near term. Now, officials there are facing a more urgent problem – earning the confidence of their residents, and demonstrating that they are competent stewards.



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