Greencastle Council vice president admits to confidential meeting with Antrim Township supervisors

September 03, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- A Greencastle Borough Council member said members of the Antrim Township Board of Supervisors arranged a confidential meeting with members of the Borough Council weeks ago to discuss parts of the $29,750 management study that led to the dismissal of six township employees.

At the Tuesday Borough Council meeting, Council Vice President Duane Kinzer read a statement, saying he and President Charles Eckstine met a few weeks ago with Chairman Curtis Myers and Vice Chairman Fred Young for an "out of town" luncheon at which the four talked about potentially combining resources to fund an engineer and about the sale of township equipment.

Antrim Township supervisors used the report by a California-based firm to eliminate six positions from the township payroll. Included in the cuts was longtime Township Manager Ben Thomas.

"The Township Supervisors gave us, President Eckstine and myself the courtesy of a confidential meeting as Borough Officials, several weeks ago to discuss some items from this report (the township management study)," Kinzer wrote. "The meeting lasted about two hours and we paid for our own lunch."


"It did not violate the (Pennsylvania) Sunshine Law," he said.

Kinzer, who is president of a local real estate management firm, said after the meeting that he determined himself whether he and Eckstine could or could not meet in confidence with Myers and Young.

When asked about the basis of his comment on the Sunshine Law, Kinzer accused members of the press of asking questions aimed at muddying the issue.

"You have been nothing but negative about this township business," he said to reporters. "You don't write about what they are trying to do out there, all you are trying to do is to dig up dirt."

Kinzer praised the township for making changes with "a Taj Mahal on its books," and asked the press to write "what is really going on."

He said he felt he had enough knowledge of the Sunshine Law to declare the meeting not in violation.

When asked for comment, Borough Solicitor Melissa Dively said she was "dismissed" and not willing to answer questions.

In his written statement, Kinzer said no personnel issues were discussed during the confidential meeting. He said supervisors did ask the borough to not buy any equipment without contacting the township first as it might have some items to sell.

As for meeting out of town, he said the supervisors did not want to draw attention to the meeting and added "what did you want us to do: meet at the Antrim House?

Kinzer said he did not remember the exact date of the meeting and apologized saying it was his intent to share the date, but he forgot to include it in his statement.

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