Williamsport briefs

August 10, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

Town to hold special meeting tonight

WILLIAMSPORT - The Williamsport Town Council went into executive session at the end of Monday's meeting.

Councilman Earle R. Pereschuk Sr. requested the closed session, which was not on the agenda, to discuss "personnel."

Mayor James G. McCleaf II polled council members, one at a time, to see if they wanted to go into executive session.

Five said yes. Assistant Mayor Monty R. Jones, who typically objects to closed sessions, said no.

Under Maryland's Open Meetings Act, government bodies are required to conduct business in public. However, public bodies may - but are not required to - go into executive session for limited reasons. A discussion of a specific employee is one of those exceptions.

After Monday's executive session, McCleaf called The Herald-Mail to say the council will hold a special meeting today at 7 p.m. The council will take action on something discussed in Monday's executive session, he said.


Usually, Clerk/Treasurer Bonnie J. Errico sits in on executive sessions. However, she said Tuesday that all town employees were asked to leave the room.

Man who exposed self among July incidents

WILLIAMSPORT - One case handled by the Washington County Sheriff's Department's resident deputies in Williamsport in July was a man accused of exposing himself.

Deputy Mike Palladino said a woman and children driving on Sunset Avenue near Springfield Middle School saw a man who had been sitting naked in his car with the driver's door open.

The man stood and waved at them as they passed him, Palladino said.

The woman went home and told her baby sitter, who drove to see if the man was still there, then followed his car and took note of his license plate number.

A C&O Canal park ranger who heard a dispatch of the call chased the car toward the West Virginia border, but didn't catch the man.

Palladino said he obtained warrants charging Robert Thomas Mast, 45, with indecent exposure and several traffic infractions.

Palladino said witnesses picked Mast's photo out of a lineup twice.

Although Mast gave a Frederick, Md., address, he probably has no fixed address, Palladino said.

The arrest briefly was noted in the July 2005 report presented Monday to the mayor and town council.

It also mentioned that the sheriff's department used DNA evidence to charge a burglary suspect.

The report says the sheriff's department's resident deputies responded to 228 calls in Williamsport in July.

Two adults and three juveniles were arrested.

Deputies issues six speeding tickets and 20 other tickets. They gave out 12 warnings.

Town votes down sewer rate increase

WILLIAMSPORT - Two town council members voted against a 20 percent sewer-rate increase Monday, but it passed 4-2.

Councilmen James C. Kalbfleisch and Nelson F. Deal voted against the hike. Neither spoke about his vote.

That marked the first time in three opportunities that anyone on the council voted against the idea of an increase.

In June, the council voted 5-0 to approve a 2005-06 budget that factored in a likely sewer-rate increase.

In July, after a public hearing, the council unanimously approved considering the increase at the August meeting.

The increase approved Monday will take effect Aug. 28.

The sewer rate will go up from $10.86 for 2,000 gallons per month to $13.03 for that same amount.

Before last year, the rate was $8.69.

Council approves equipment prohibition

WILLIAMSPORT - Town employees are prohibited from using town equipment outside of their regular work, under a measure unanimously approved Monday.

At July's town council meeting, it came to light that employees have been using town equipment when they're not on duty. They were performing odd jobs for residents, charging less than what contractors charged and keeping the money.

Mayor James G. McCleaf II said later that week that he would stop the practice until the town council discussed it in August.

"From everything we've seen, we just can't do it," Assistant Mayor Monty R. Jones said Monday, calling for an end to the equipment use.

The council unanimously approved the prohibition.

Council gives woman deadline to leave

WILLIAMSPORT - A woman who has lived rent-free at a house owned by the town for four years has been given until Aug. 20 to leave.

Since 2001, Patricia France has lived at a farmhouse on Springfield Lane under a curatorship agreement that required her to make scheduled improvements.

In a May 5 letter, France gave the town 60 days' notice that she was leaving.

But, seven weeks later, she told the town that she couldn't be out by July 5.

Town officials have said France didn't make the improvements she promised and decided they wanted her to move out as soon as possible.

Town Attorney Edward Kuczynski sent France a letter Monday saying she is "to vacate the premises immediately."

"At this juncture, the Town of Williamsport considers you a trespasser upon Town property," Kuczynski wrote.

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