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Permanent replacement for secretary sought

Published May 25. 2011 05:00PM

Lansford council at a special meeting Tuesday accepted the resignation of secretary-treasurer Renee Slakoper, and after some discussion agreed to hire temporary help until a permanent replacement is hired.

Council will publish a detailed list of requirements for the jobs, and will accept applications until the close of business June 8.

Slakoper, who was hired in March of 2010 to replace Nicole (Tessitore) Beckett, who left to take a similar job in Lehighton, suggested in her letter of resignation that she had been "bullied" by some council members.

Several council members have in recent months expressed concerns about bills not being paid on time, including a borough water bill. Council recently received a delinquent notice from the Lansford-Coaldale Joint Water Authority. At least one local business has cut the borough off because of unpaid bills.

On Tuesday, Councilwoman Rose Mary Cannon said those concerns were valid.

"As employers we have the right, and as elected officials, we have the obligation, to see that ... especially finances, are handled efficiently, timely and correctly. These were legitimate concerns," she said.

Cannon said that Slakoper "came on board with intentions of doing a very good job, and she certainly tried to do that."

Slakoper mostly had been working from home as of late due to her sensitivity to mold in the borough offices, above the fire station on East Patterson street. She had also not attended the past few council meetings.

Council at a special meeting on May 18 voted 4-3 to allow Slakoper to work from home, coming to the office from 2-4 p.m. to do treasurer work. Councilman Lenny Kovach, council President Adam Webber, Danielle Smith, Andrew Snyder voted in favor. Council members Tommy Vadyak, Mary Kruczek and Cannon were opposed.

Kruczek and Vadyak challenged Kovach's vote, noting that Kovach and Slakoper have a close relationship.

Solicitor Michael Greek, contacted by phone, said their challenge would be noted, but that the vote would continue and Vadyak and Kruczek could take their complaint to the state Ethics Commission.

in other matters Tuesday, Cannon questioned the numbers of meetings council has held.

Last night's meeting was the fourth special meeting in five weeks. Council held a regular meeting on April 13; a special meeting on April 26; a special meeting on May 6; a regular meeting on May 11 and a special meeting May 18.

Although a public notice published in the TIMES NEWS described the meeting Tuesday as "special," council for the most part discussed routine matters. The meeting ran from 6:30 p.m. to 8:13 p.m. The few people who attended the meeting, including former mayor and borough businessman Bob Silver, left en masse a few minutes after 8 p.m.

Webber said he called Tuesday's special meeting because there were matters that council "needed to move forward on."

Kruczek said that special meetings ought to address only those matters that cannot wait until the regularly scheduled meeting.

"All this extra stuff should not even be added to (the agenda)," she said.

Webber said he added the items, which included the fire company report, PSATS Webinar notices and other matters, in order to cut down on the length of the regular meetings.

"We're here now, we might as well hash everything out," he said.

Council earlier this month had agreed to begin holding two regular meetings a month instead of one beginning in June.

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