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2023 – Another Year at the Circus Sideshow

Welcome to 2023 in Lower Saucon Township, home of 4 clowns and their ringleader attorney!  Let’s see what they’ve been up to already!

Photo by Vidal Balielo Jr. on Pexels.com

Tuesday, January 3, 2023, was the township reorganizational meeting.  That’s something all municipalities have to do by law and it’s usually pretty cut and dried – appointments, election of officers, setting of fees, hiring of consultants and solicitors, various policies.  In LST’s case, Carocci and Yerger didn’t even bother to show up in person, but phoned it in. With most councils, you can assume they’re doing the right thing.  Ah, but not here.  Let’s see what we had.

Here’s something interesting.  In the appointment of a labor solicitor they have now morphed the position into a special projects solicitor (translation – library legal stuff) at an hourly fee of $290.  Their work is no longer required to be approved by the council as it was before but instead will be assigned by the solicitor and the township manager.  And, here’s the best part, all the work they did in 2022 which totaled $25,523.61 through November 30, not including the additional work in December?  It gets approved ex post facto. Council had no say in it before those expenses were incurred.  Why?  How can that be fiscally responsible? Well, it can’t but the excuse Banonis is using is that back in January 2022 when the first batch of s**t was hitting the fan relative to the library, you’ll recall that he pushed through a resolution that gave Ringleader Treadwell carte blanche (the actual words are “in his sole discretion” – remember them if they pop up again) to do whatever he needed to do on the library issue.  Apparently that included hiring any lawyer he wanted who knew more than he did about library issues (that wouldn’t have been a hard person to find) and setting that person loose.

And so we now have pending lawsuits against OCL and HAL and the PA Department of Education for taking exactly the action that LST Council requested in May. And Council had no voice in whether they wanted those lawsuits filed and we as residents have no recourse but to watch our tax dollars just get chewed up in useless legal actions.  And no one can rein these people in.  I don’t think that’s how this is supposed to work.

Here’s something else that I’ve always found annoying.  All of these various appointments and such are made by separate resolution but Banonis – because we know he doesn’t want to waste a minute more of his time than is necessary on township business – lumps them all together and asks for one of his toadies to make a motion to approve them.  Therefore they’re approved in batches of six, eight resolutions at a time. Suppose as a council member you don’t approve of one or more of those resolutions and you’d like to vote against it?  Too bad – either vote against all of them or none of them.  I find it hard to believe that Robert’s Rules of Order doesn’t have a motion that can force those resolutions into separate votes.  I’d ask the Township Manager to look into that but since he’s too busy to respond to taxpayers’ emails, I’m sure he can’t be bothered looking that up in Robert’s Rules.

And now here comes another behavior designed to completely hide how the township is run.  The Township Manager gets to recommend who should be appointed to various boards and committees.  We get no information on who might have applied to whatever openings were available on various committees.  The Council is just expected to smile and nod and vote yes on all of them as a lump.  Not individually by committee.  Just all at once.  This, folks, is how boards and committees of the township get stacked with yes-men (and almost all of them are men, I’ve noticed) who don’t raise objections when things like zoning changes and developers’ plans come before them.

At last Tuesday’s meeting, Laura Ray, a member of the Environmental Advisory Council, demanded to be heard in the public comment period after the agenda about the appointment of Carocci as the voting member of the EAC earlier in the meeting.  Banonis tried to shut her down because “that was an agenda item” but Ms. Ray insisted on being heard because, as she pointed out, she couldn’t know that he was going to be appointed the voting member because that information was not on the agenda.  In fact, none of the appointees for any of the boards or committees were on the agenda.  She objected to the fact that, unlike in the past when the EAC had done its own organization of its Council, it was now left to the Township Manager. The EAC had already chosen which of their members they wanted designated as the voting member and it was not Carocci who has pathetically little knowledge of environmental issues to be in that position.  In fact, it’s insulting to the members of that Council who are well-versed in environmental issues.

If you’d like to see Carocci in action in all his glory in an EAC meeting, I recommend you watch the video shot by Mark Ozimek at the last EAC Council meeting.  It would be laughable if it weren’t so pathetic.  You can find it here: https://youtu.be/0og0Qsfmjgc

Of course, Banonis was having none of it and repeatedly tried to gavel Ms. Ray down, finally resorting to moving to adjourn whereupon all his little toadies voted “yes” as well.

So we’re off to a good start!

And just in case that’s not enough, I’d like to share that about 8 or 9 LST residents went to the Southern Lehigh Public Library’s Board meeting this evening to hear what they’re planning to do in connection with LST’s latest pressure tactics to get them to accept LST into their service area.  Imagine our shock and surprise when we read in their December 20 Board meeting minutes that in conversation with their solicitor, Atty. Leeson, Ringleader Treadwell suggested that LST would pay SLPL $10,000 per month to provide library services to LST residents.  Just to be sure that we understood that’s what we were hearing, one board member was kind enough to explain that’s what had been offered.

A little quick arithmetic – $10,000 per month times 12 months equals $120,000 for a year of library services which would 1) be more than HAL had requested in the agreement refused by LST and 2) provide fewer services than we had at HAL because SLPL wouldn’t be able to offer us PA Access services since we are not in their service area and could not possibly be before 2024 at the earliest.  Once again, great fiscal responsibility on display here.  Spending more for less and putting everyone through hell to get there.

It’s gonna be a great year.

On Wednesday’s Agenda

On the agenda for Wednesday night is an item to set a hearing date for a Conditional Use Application that Bethlehem Landfill hurried up and submitted to the Council in the hope of ramming all of this through as quickly as possible.  However, with a pending lawsuit filed last Friday against the zoning changes that were approved last month, it is completely inappropriate for the Council to schedule a hearing when the very basis of the zoning change is under legal attack. If the zoning change is found to be defective, no conditional use changes can even be considered until the zoning change is corrected.  That could take months to resolve.  But hey, let’s snarl this up in as much bad law as possible.  If you’re looking for something to comment on, that would be a good subject to bring up.

Some Housekeeping

My apologies for the lack of livestream on January 3.  Laura Ray had graciously agreed to do that for me because I had an orchestra rehearsal.  It was my fault completely that she could not access the livestream app.  Hopefully I’ll get it right this week.

If Mark Ozimek also records Wednesday night’s meeting, I’ll post it as soon as he gets it up on his YouTube channel.

NEXT COUNCIL MEETING: WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 6:30 PM SCHEDULING OF CONDITIONAL USE HEARING

As a service to the community, the January 18 Council meeting will be live-streamed on the Saucon Shenanigans Facebook page.

DAYS WITHOUT FULL LIBRARY SERVICES: 18

DAYS TILL THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION: 293


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