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Lehighton school director files lawsuit

Published September 22. 2018 07:22AM

A Lehighton Area School District director put his name Monday to a second lawsuit in Carbon County Court against the district alleging Sunshine Act violations.

The latest complaint stems from an Aug. 27 meeting, when board member David Bradley Sr. said a citizen was prevented from speaking before an official action was taken.

“Larry Stern (Lehighton board president) allowed others to speak before the vote on the new motion, but specifically impeded, and prevented, Tom Wertman, a citizen and veteran, from speaking,” Bradley, who is representing himself, wrote in the complaint.

The motion referenced in the lawsuit was to allow public comment at the end of a board meeting without having to fill out a form before the meeting starts, which is current district policy.

The board voted it down, with several members requesting the proposed change go through the policy committee first.

“If you had the opportunity to speak, your comments may have sparked other ideas within the community,” Bradley told Wertman. “It is our school policy to engage all stakeholders.”

Wertman was eventually given the opportunity to speak and supported the district’s policy that requires the public to fill out a form if they want to comment at a meeting.

At Monday night’s board meeting, Bradley made a motion for the district to formally apologize to Wertman, who said he didn’t need one.

“Mr. Stern did not intentionally mean to overlook me,” Wertman said. “Mr. Stern recognized after things were said, he did correct himself, I don’t think I need an apology. Shame on you Mr. Bradley for trying to use me to exploit this.”

Bradley took issue with a district policy that requires residents to fill out a form before the start of a board meeting if they wish to make public comment.

“History shows these tendencies to silence a community go back decades,” Bradley wrote. Comments from stakeholders can combine to make our government a government of the people, by the people and for the very people that live across America, and attend our government meetings.”

Director Wayne Wentz questioned Bradley’s motives with the lawsuit.

“I’ve known you a long time, Mr. Wertman, and I think you are being used for (Bradley’s) benefit, not ours, and certainly not yours,” Wentz said.

“I definitely agree with you,” Wertman responded.

The Lehighton Area School Board is the only defendant listed in the most recent case, while Bradley and the “Community of Lehighton” are listed as plaintiffs.

A copy of the complete minutes from the Aug. 27 meeting, where the violation is alleged to have occurred are available at https://bit.ly/2QQ2cKi. The discussion on the board’s public comment policy begins at the bottom of Page 62.

Bradley also joined Frances Flickinger and Janice Bowman in filing a lawsuit against the district and Stern in December.

The trio allege Stern called for an official vote on a non-agenda item on Dec. 4, “without calling on Bowman or Flickinger, who had their hands raised.”

They also allege Stern refused to allow public comment at a Dec. 21 meeting.

In an answer to the lawsuit, which is still pending, Stern denied seeing any hands raised by audience members and said no board member alerted him that a member of the public wanted to make a comment.

Comments
Better to watch the actual video of the meeting as the minutes do not reflect what actually occurred. The part where Mr. Stern asked Mr. Wertman to wait for someone else to speak is not in the minutes. Then the vote 0n the NEW motion was taken without letting Mr. Wertman speak. This is a violation of the Sunshine Act. Mr. Wertman had not filled out the form to speak at the public comment portion of the meeting, but should have been allowed to speak on the new motion that was raised prior to the vote. Intentional or not, it is about time these public meetings were run according to the rules, not the whims of the majority of the Board. ANYONE, who is present when a Sunshine Act violation occurs can file. It does not have to be the person who was the subject of the violation. Contrary to what has been stated on some Facebook pages, this is not suing the Board but is a violation of a state law. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXtO9ya90wk
I am impressed. Well researched, factual. Bravo! Please run for office and be a lawful leader.

Once better in the mean time...
Where board members sit doesn't change the requirement for their lawfulness. In the next meeting, you can be my guest speaker, on every motion. I can use my rights to seek counsel from constituents as our government should, to let us have your input. If you are willing, I will give you the bully pulpit of my seat. I will sit in the audience at the next meeting and you can take my seat at the table. I will remain quiet (as possible, haha), and allow you to help deliberate on every motion. Legally, I must cast the vote as an elected official, but the ideas, and voice to are yours to prevent the community from being silenced. There is an open seat next to me, sometimes two, feel free to sit at the table, and I will call on those that do for every motion.

If you think this offer is only to those 'wise in the ways of science', social science, like yourself, it is not. We are a government of the people. Anyone in the audience that has pertinent input, AT ANYTIME, just raise your hand and get my attention. I will call on you as my adviser, to assist me in the deliberation of EVERY MOTION on the floor. It is my prerogative as your elected official in compliance with Lehighton School Policy 011, seeking Stakeholder input.

The offer is legit. It is how the PA School Code and our district policy were written. I am but a humble elected servant, directing, yes directing, the will of the community in the safe operation of YOUR public government schools.

Sincerely,


Citizen David F. Bradley, Sr.
When it is time to raise taxes because of all of this nonsense, Mr. Bradley and his cronies will not take any responsibility for any of it; they will blame it on the building projects, etc. They speak of elderly people not being able to afford their taxes, they certainly aren't making any effort to be part of the solution.
Why does Mr. Bradley think it is always necessary to point out who is a veteran speaking at school board meetings? My father, and father-in-law are both veterans; I believe they would find it outrageous that someone is using their service to our country as a pawn item. Not once, has a school board member, except for Mr. Bradley, mentioned ones service to our country as a reason for taking a certain action at a school board meeting.
His latest lawsuit is filed on behalf of the "Citizens of the Lehighton Community". Funny, I don't remember agreeing to his lawsuit; I must not count.

When it is time to raise taxes because of all of this nonsense, Mr. Bradley and his cronies will not take any responsibility for any of it; they will blame it on the building projects, etc.

USING CAPS - NOT AS YELLING BUT TO DIFFERENTIATE MY RESPONSES TO THE COMMENT

ACTUALLY - THE DEBT, INTEREST AND PSER's PAYMENTS ARE BUSTING THE BUDGET.
NO MONEY WOULD BE SPENT IF LARRY STERN REVIEWED THE TAPES, ADMITTED TO WHAT HE DID, AND APOLOGIZE TO THE PEOPLE FOR SILENCING THEM.

They speak of elderly people not being able to afford their taxes, they certainly aren't making any effort to be part of the solution.

DOGMATIC SPENDING, AND POOR PLANNING WILL ONLY BE FIXED FROM THE INSIDE, AND BY A CHANGE IN ATTITUDE OF THE BOARD. WE CURRENTLY SCAN EVERY INVOICE, BILL AND EXPENSE AND HAVE FIXED THE FOUND WASTE.

Why does Mr. Bradley think it is always necessary to point out who is a veteran speaking at school board meetings?

NO BIAS HERE ON RACE, CREED, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER, AGE, BUT I WILL WORK EXTRA HARD FOR OUR VETERANS, WE ARE HERE AS FREE CITIZENS BECAUSE OF THEIR BELIEF IN FREEDOM. SO YES, I FIND IT ESPECIALLY POOR TASTE NOT TO PROVIDE A VETERAN WITH EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO EXERCISE THEIR RIGHTS THEIR SERVICE PROTECTED. SO STERN AND BOWMAN, WENTZ, KRAUSE SHOULD ALL APOLOGIZE FOR THEIR DISRESPECT TO VETERANS, SILENCING THEM, AND IMPEDING THEIR RIGHTS.

My father, and father-in-law are both veterans; I believe they would find it outrageous that someone is using their service to our country as a pawn item. PROTECTING IS NOT USING, AND RATHER STATING YOU BELIEVE, JUST ASK THEM, WHY NOT LET THEM SPEAK THEIR OPINIONS, DON'T SPEAK FOR OTHERS, LET THEM SPEAK, THIS IS AMERICA. I DID NOT FILE THIS ACTION FOR TOM W. SPECIFICALLY, BUT FOR THE RIGHTS OF THE COMMUNITY TO BE RESPECTED.

Not once, has a school board member, except for Mr. Bradley, mentioned ones service to our country as a reason for taking a certain action at a school board meeting. His latest lawsuit is filed on behalf of the "Citizens of the Lehighton Community". Funny, I don't remember agreeing to his lawsuit; I must not count. FUNNY, LIKE FUNNY STRANGE OR FUNNY HAHA? BECAUSE I DIDN'T ASK YOU PERSONALLY, BUT AS A CITIZEN, YOU TAKE AN OATH, PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE UNITED STATE OF AMERICA, AND THEREBY THE US CONSTITUTION, WITH ITS FIRST AMENDMENT, AND IF YOU LIVE IN PA, YOU ACCEPT THE PA CONSTITUTION, AND ITS SUNSHINE ACT, AND PA CODE 5301 ABUSE OF OFFICE, THEREBY, ANY CITIZEN CAN REDRESS OUR GOVERNMENT FOR ACTIONS THEY TAKE. WE CAN ASK, AS I HAVE FOR THEM TO FOLLOW THE LAWS. WE CAN INSIST, THEN WE USE THE COURTS TO ENFORCE. FINALLY, THE VOTER POLLS, AND MY NAME WILL NOT BE ON THE BALLOT AFTER MY TERM, BECAUSE I BELIEVE IN TERM LIMITS, AND I AM THE CHANGE I WANT TO SEE IN THIS WORLD.

I welcome your reply, a meeting, a discussion, a review of the Sunshine Act, PA Code 5301, and LASD Policy 011 engage stakeholders, and the rule on maintaining a freedom government. If you feel the politician sucks, just take their seat. Once elected, follow the laws and serve the people. Those following their campaign funding are easy to spot. (Exercise your rights, get a copy) Did you ever pull up the funding sources for the REACH committee? Lobbyist in our government have permeated your local government, financial reports for this volunteer position are available.

Sincerely, and respectfully submitted,

Citizen David F. Bradley, Sr.
Dear Silenced Community,

No district money is spent when following the law. An admission of guilt, with a sincere apology to the community, with the sincere promise to stop the bad behavior is what I feel is needed. And then here are some key parts:
STOP SILENCING THE PEOPLE and FOLLOW THE LAWS. Honor the oath of office.

The petition to the court is the final action against an arrogant and stubborn crony crew. The district's choice to actively defend such actions far outweighs the court order to 'follow the law' and fine ($100). So it is the district cronies, the old guard, which voted to spend money by going to court and fight for the right to silence people. There is NO excuse to silence people. Even when one of them agrees with the oppressors. Government has no right to oppress or break the law and impede the rights of any citizen, regardless of age, race, sexual orientation, intellect or lack thereof, political party, or idea to be expressed.

President Stern and VP Wentz, have trouble letting people speak, I will fix it from the inside. Through Education or the courts, the laws must be followed; it is their choice to pick the method. So far, they have chosen to pay for defense lawyers rather than review the recordings, see the problem and just 'stop silencing the people'.

The district's choice to fight is not a wise business choice. If moaning about a director exposing the lawlessness, consider the idea; one man of character is all it takes to stop evil.

My email address for government activities, such as these is dbradley@lehightongovt.org

I feel some in this community suffer from Stockholm syndrome, being silenced for decades. Yelling at the messenger, asking to be treated without the benefits of our laws, silenced in an effort to protect their government is not way protect the community. Victims come in all shapes and sizes, as do hero's. Now, I am no hero, but the law is the law, and everyday hero's know their rights, and exercise them. We as a government should NOT be allowed to break the law, even if the community begs us to.

Sincerely,

Citizen David F. Bradley, Sr.

- Big thumbs, old eyes and little screen mistakes were corrected

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