Editorial no. 1
July 23, 2004
Countys officials need a refresher in ethics laws
Its obviously time for elected officials in Chester County to stand up, raise their right hands and state, "I will not take part in any vote or use my office in any way that specifically benefits myself, my spouse, or members of my immediate family in an economic fashion."
Elected officials pledge essentially the same thing when they enter office and promise to abide by Pennsylvanias law. But it looks as if we need another pledge with this specific ethics-related language; some Chester County township supervisors simply are not getting it, or following it.
In March the Pennsylvania Ethics Commission fined Sadsbury Supervisor Ralph T. "Joe" Garris Jr. for participating in his townships decision to contract his sons auto-repair business and its decision to hire his daughter as its part-time secretary and treasurer.
On June 8 the commission fined Thornbury Supervisor Barbara Iacovelli $500 for voting on a project that included constructing 40 feet of curbing adjacent to her South Concord Road property.
Also last month, the ethics board fined Upper Oxford Supervisor Betsy Huber $1,000 for voting numerous times to retain her husband as the townships zoning officer and to set his salary.
Huber on Tuesday acknowledged her mistake but also expressed her frustration.
"When you spend a lot of your time working for the township for a salary of $1,800 a year, its upsetting that somebody would go to this length to attack you and defame my character in the press," Huber said.
We dont deny Hubers 13 years serving on Upper Oxfords board of supervisors: we regularly commend those like her who give a lot of time for very little money. Nor do we want to take this situation out of context: her husband got the job with the township in 1987 -- before Hubers first term. His yearly salary for the part-time position is small; last year he earned $5,035. Upper Oxfords supervisors appoint or reappoint their officers on an annual basis in one motion. So when Betsy Huber voted to reappoint Henry Huber as zoning officer, she was also voting to appoint the townships building inspector and others.
These facts mitigate what Huber did, but dont excuse it; she admirably admits as much. Were sure she will learn something from this expensive lesson. Our hope is others will as well.
©Daily Local News 2004
Name: Victoria Horan
Date: Jul, 26 2004
Name: Lucy Chavez
Date: Jul, 23 2004
Name: George Molnar
Date: Jul, 23 2004
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