by David Croyle
How far should you trust a politician?
Simple answer: Never! Trust must be earned. It is earned through proper disclosure of information and transparent explanation of the budget process.
During public discussion prior to railroading the vote through for a new police chief, the public kept asking for the financial plan. After all, last December, they said they were not going to hire a police chief and they were cutting the hours of the codes officer to save money. It was a reasonable request for information.
Councilwoman Kim Fox promised there was a plan and it would be unveiled after the vote. It wasn’t. Instead, Council President Schiano told the residents: “You’re just going to have to trust me that we’re gonna make it work!”
First of all, this type of thinking is the proverbial cart before the horse. Plans should be explained in detail before a vote is taken so that the public and the council persons are adequately versed on the subject.
The truth is: there is no plan, except to move money from one fund to another. This is why both Fox and Schiano didn’t want to discuss a plan.
Then Schiano demeans the intelligence of local voters in Kittanning Borough by telling us that there is no need to show us the plan. He implied that this plan is so difficult to understand that we, as average taxpayers, would not be able to comprehend it. So he slapped us with the ultimate statement: “You’re just going to have to trust me that we’re gonna make it work!”
The majority of Council agreed with him. They didn’t ask him to explain the details. They were: Mike Rosenberger, Betsy Wilt, Joie Pryde, Kim Fox, and Chris Schiano.
Ange Turko abstained when he should have voted no. There was no reason for the abstinence except he didn’t want to be named among them – yet he did not want to be labeled with Dick Reedy and Andy Peters! Too late, Mr. Turko! Your vote to abstain now lumps you into those who refuse to discuss the plan.
These members did not gain our trust – in fact, they destroyed it. There was no disclosure of information and transparent explanation of the budget. The reason? The information would have revealed their decision was laced with personal agendas and the budget information does not support their vote.
In running for Councilman of the First Ward, I pledge to you that I will not permit a vote to be taken on any subject until there is an adequate plan unveiled with a budget that supports that plan. Thank you for your vote.