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Wayne Independent - Honesdale, PA
  • A small case is a big win for the people of the area

  • Justice was served in a small courtroom in Hawley on Tuesday.
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  • Justice was served in a small courtroom in Hawley on Tuesday.
    All seven members of the Honesdale Borough Council were found guilty of violating the state's Sunshine Law.
    Judge Bonnie Carney ruled there was sufficient evidence to show the members acted knowingly in violation of the law.
    The council members do have 30 days to appeal the decision.
    Though the small fine and court costs which have to be paid by the council members isn't a huge deal, the fact they were found guilty sends a loud and clear message to the borough members.
    For too long, members of this council and many other boards and commissions have simply chosen to violate state law and do their business behind closed doors.
    But this time, someone stepped forward and wanted justice to happen. That person is Sgt. Ron Kominski, officer in charge of the Honesdale Borough Police Department.
    Everyone in the public should tip their hat to Kominski for having the guts to call out the members of the council for what they did — break the law.
    And the judge should be commended for closely hearing the case and making her decision. She took detailed notes and referred to them regularly during arguments by the attorneys.
    This might be a small case in a small area, but the ramifications are huge. It sends a clear message to elected officials that they are sworn to an oath and part of that is upholding the law.
    The money they spend is not theirs, it is that of the taxpayers. It seems that too many times, people get elected to office promising to change things and make it more transparent, and then it slips away.
    Page 2 of 3 - Two leaders on this very council came into this office before taking their seats on council and professed to be open and have very few executive sessions.
    That has simply not been the case.
    In fact, more and more executive sessions are creeping into the routine of this council and now they have been caught with their pants down. By a judge.
    It's about time.
    And it's about time this council — and other public officials — take note and make sure they are following the law. It's not rocket science, elected officials. The Sunshine Act is very clear and is a serious matter.
    These types of laws are written for the public, not the news media. It is the public who has been wronged by this council and now a court has agreed.
    People are growing weary of business being conducted behind closed doors. So much so, they get to the point where people throw their hands up into the air and just give up.
    That, too, is the wrong approach. If you want things to change on this council or any other board, put your name on the ballot and run for office.
    There are many good people out there who are sick and tired of public officials violating the law and it's time for those people to come forward and do something about it.
    Sure, it's not easy, but when the money of the taxpayers is on the line, nothing is more important.
    Honesdale Mayor Ed Langendoerfer has been very consistent on this issue. He has said from the start there are shenanigans happening involving Judge Ted Mikulak and the relationship with the police department.
    Page 3 of 3 - That was apparent during the hearing on Tuesday and though not a lot of details came out, it's painfully obvious there are major problems.
    But who has paid the price?
    Kominski.
    This 13-year police veteran has never had a formal complaint filed against him and has operated the department without flaw since taking over in July.
    Now his name has been dragged through the mud by the very council who appointed him to run the department.
    This entire episode smells to high heaven and there is simply no reason it had to happen this way. The council members could have done the right thing, but personal agendas got in the way and now they have been caught.
    The flying monkeys cannot rescue them this time around.
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