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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • Issue about loader was unnecessary

  • Controversy erupted Monday night during the regular monthly meeting of the Honesdale Borough council.
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    Controversy erupted Monday night during the regular monthly meeting of the Honesdale Borough council.
    The biggest issue which arose had to do with a loader at the borough's department of public works.
    (Another issue which arose has to do with the baseball complex in Honesdale. We are currently working on that story and it will appear in an edition in the near future.)
    With regard to the loader, the controversy arose when Mayor Ed Langendoerfer and Rich Doney, director of public works, had a disagreement about the piece of equipment.
    Doney says there are major problems with the loader and it needs to be replaced. He feels like the borough has invested too much in this 2004 machine and a new one should be purchased.
    Enter the mayor, who says there is nothing wrong with the loader. The mayor said he talked to the owner of a local repair shop who said there is nothing wrong with the loader.
    Doney says those at that same shop are willing to come in front of council and say something is wrong with the loader.
    This is truly a case of "he said, he said."
    The discussion grew from last month's meeting when it was learned the borough was going to collect around $75,000 more in taxes than expected. That was because of an error on the part of the borough.
    It was during that meeting when Jim Brennan, chairman of the streets committee, brought up the issue of the loader.
    On Monday night, Brennan admitted he had only learned about the matter "20 minutes before the meeting" last month.
    Therein lies a major problem.
    If something as major as a piece of equipment worth more than $50,000 comes up just before a meeting, the matter should only be mentioned.
    Page 2 of 2 - Last month, there was nearly a vote on whether or not to purchase the new equipment — on taxpayer money they didn't expect to collect.
    As Langendoerfer put it Monday, last month it was almost an emergency purchase, based on the urgency conveyed.
    At best, it may be a problem but no emergency. Loaders can be rented or even hired pretty much anytime.
    The issue should have been brought up this month after a lot of research was done but that apparently didn't happen.
    Instead, the matter turned into a major disagreement between the mayor and the director of public works.
    If there is a need for a new loader, that's something that has to be planned for with capital outlay budgeted by the borough.
    This entire episode was an unnecessary exercise in futility.
    And it all goes to process and procedures.
    There has to be in place certain steps when it comes to how a board considers issues. Unless there is a meteor heading for town, there's very little which can't wait until the next meeting — or at least until a special meeting is called.
    In the end Monday night, councilman Bob Jennings suggested an independent source look at the loader and give an assessment. That suggestion was taken and is apparently going to happen.
    It was a good suggestion and the right thing to do. Now, we will see exactly where everything stands and we might learn a thing or two about everyone involved, as well.
     

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