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Anger surfaces at meeting

  • CHRIS PARKER/TIMES NEWS Coaldale resident Linda Miller, center, was among the overflow crowd who attended a borough council meeting Tuesday to question and criticize how officials are handling matters.
    CHRIS PARKER/TIMES NEWS Coaldale resident Linda Miller, center, was among the overflow crowd who attended a borough council meeting Tuesday to question and criticize how officials are handling matters.
Published December 12. 2012 05:03PM

An angry, overflow crowd spilled out of Coaldale Borough Council chambers Tuesday, peppering council with questions that ranged from whether officials plan to eliminate the police department in January to how much a councilman is paid to take care of the Coaldale Complex to whether a council member was convicted of a felony.

Resident Linda Miller asked council which member has the felony conviction. According to the borough's bylaws, she said, a convicted felon should not be permitted to hold office. Miller also suggested that Mayor Richard Corkery, who is facing trial in Carbon County court for allegedly viewing sexually suggestive images of underage boys on his work computer, should resign.

Council did not respond to her question about the felony conviction, except for President Susan Solt, who said it certainly wasn't she. Miller also said she believes some council members have "hidden agendas" and are seeking office for personal gain.

Resident and CHOSE President Angela Krapf asked several questions, which she said others had asked her. The questions included whether council members Thomas Keerans and David Yelito were in a "turf war" over which was the "head honcho" of the town. Each man denied that.

Krapf also wanted to know how much Yelito is paid to take care of the complex. The answer, according to former secretary/treasurer Louise Lill, is $300 a month. Krapf also asked whether repairing sidewalks with blacktop was against borough rules. Yelito said the sidewalk at the complex was blacktopped before, and the same material was used to fix it. Yelito said a previous administration had changed that rule.

Krapf also asked about a ramp going into the property of the complex. Yelito said he wanted to eventually have a parking area there. Krapf also asked whether the recent roof repair at the borough hall had been put out on bid. Lill said that she had called contractors for estimates on the repairs, which were needed after a hail storm damaged the roof. She said she would get information about who was called and what prices were quoted for Krapf.

The job was done by borough resident Francis Hutta.

Another question she posed concerned who was creating the police schedule. Krapf's husband was one of three full-time officers laid off this year. State police, along with some part-time officers, now share the job of protecting residents.

The answer was that the mayor does the scheduling. That prompted former Councilwoman Joanne Melloy to question whether he should be doing that when he is on house arrest. Her question drew an angry reaction from Yelito.

Solicitor Michael Greek said Corkery is an elected official whose duties include police scheduling, and that he has yet to stand trial.

Krapf also said the CHOSE building has been vandalized, with obscenities scrawled on it, the door pried open, and benches broken. She also told council they should attend borough functions.

Bob Melloy asked whether council planned to rehire the laid-off police officers, and called state police patrols a "false sense of security." Councilman Keerans said he didn't know when or if local officers would be called back to work.

Ruth Weiss said that "come the first of the year, if we don't have any police officers in our town that belong in our town, and that we have to rely on the state police, we're going to have a lot of people in this town who are not going to be happy."

Council denied that was being planned. Yelito said the January police schedule was done, and the February schedule was in the works.

"There's going to be no change," he said.

Resident Stella Trubilla said she had never seen a state police officer in town, and asked when they patrolled. Councilman Joseph Hnat said council would not release that information. Keerans said state police work about 10 rotating shifts a month.

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