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2 Williamsport Council members nix financial report

October 09, 2007|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WILLIAMSPORT ? Two Williamsport Town Council members voted against Clerk/Treasurer James R. Castle's financial report Monday without saying why.

At each month's council meeting, Castle presents a line-item report of the town's finances. Revenues and expenses are detailed for the current month and the year so far, with both actual and budgeted amounts.

On Monday, the council voted 4-2 to accept the report.

Councilmen Jeff Cline and Earle R. Pereschuk Sr. voted no. Asked by Mayor James G. McCleaf II about their votes, Cline repeated that he voted no and Pereschuk said he didn't want to explain it at a public meeting.

At the end of the meeting, McCleaf said the council needed to go into executive session to discuss a lawsuit.

Cline said he'd only vote for the executive session if it didn't involve his opposition to the financial reports.

Castle also urged Cline to explain his no vote, but Cline wouldn't.

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On Tuesday morning, Cline said during a phone interview that his no vote is connected to an ongoing battle he's having with other town officials.

The council voted to go into executive session.

After the meeting, during a call to The Herald-Mail, McCleaf said the executive session was about a possible lawsuit. He said he was advised by Town Attorney Edward Kuczynski not to say who the potential plaintiff was.

The financial report was not discussed during the executive session, McCleaf said.

Maryland's Open Meetings Act requires government bodies to meet publicly. However, they may ? but are not required to ? hold closed sessions to discuss topics in any of eight categories of exceptions. Getting legal advice about pending or potential litigation is one of the exceptions.

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