Emails Expose Previous Economy Council’s Hiring Process For Chief

Councilwoman Courtney Barthelemy

Councilwoman Courtney Barthelemy

Weeks after a newly elected majority of Economy Borough Council voted to appoint Economy Borough Officer Mike O’Brien to Chief of Police, remnants of the former majority continue to cry foul.

Councilwoman Courtney Barthelemy and ousted Councilwoman Michelle Lapinski have continued to speak out at public meetings, angry that the process they spearheaded as members of the Public Safety Committee to select a Chief of Police had been scrapped.

But emails obtained by the Beaver Countian are now raising questions about the propriety of actions taken by those same Council members during their own selection process for Chief of Police last year. The former Council had conducted an “exhaustive” search that lead to three finalists from outside of the department for the position.

Councilman Donald Sivy and Councilwoman Michelle Lapinski were defeated in last year’s election by Frank Morrone and Patricia Skonieczny, two candidates backed by supporters of Mayor Poling. It was enough to shift the balance of power, leaving Councilwoman Barthelemy and Councilman Larry Googins as the remaining two members of the former majority. The newly elected majority balked at the process conducted by the previous Council, choosing instead to promote a Chief from within the department.

While Councilwoman Courtney Barthelemy had insisted that her Public Safety Committee engaged in an unbiased and objective search for a new Chief of Police, the following email from Dan Kline, a candidate for the position, casts doubt. In the email to Courtney Barthelemy, Michelle Lapinski, and Larry Googins, Kline talks about meeting a group of Council members at Barthelemy’s own home for a party. Kline thanks Barthelemy for her “continued support,” and asks how he might help with the other members of Council.

From: Dan Kline
To: Larry J. Googins; Courtney B. Barthelemy; Michelle A. Sovich-Lapinski
Subject: 12/20/13 Christmas Party

I just wanted to take a moment on this busy day to say THANK YOU to all of you for your continued support. Lisa and I felt like we were at home at Courtney’s home and we appreciate the fact that you and your family welcomes us in as friends.

Please let me know if there is any other avenues that I could take to assist in any way. I thought about trying to send emails to the rest of the Council members thanking them for their consideration, however, didn’t know how that would go over?

In either event, What is meant to be, will be I suppose.

Again, Lisa and I truly appreciate the warm welcome that we received last night.

God Bless all of you this Christmas season and we pray that you all have a peaceful, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Lisa and Dan Kline and Family.

[Kline's phone number appeared in this location and has been redacted]

PS- any feedback on how you all felt things went last night with the new council member would be appreciated.

Dan.

As part of the “objective” process to hire a Chief of Police, the previous Council decided to hire a professional consultant. In this exchange from last July, former Councilwoman Michelle Lapinski instructs Borough Manager Randy Kunkle to contact consultant Bill Gamble and tell him that he needs to meet with Council to discuss the contracting of his services. Lapinski tells Kunkle to let Gamble know he will need to say he is appearing at the meeting “free of charge,” but that he can “make up the billable on the back end of the deal.”

The exchange makes it clear that the votes necessary to contract Gamble had already been lined up.

From: Michelle Lapinski
To: Randy Kunkle

Randy,

Regarding the meeting on Wednesday, there are some issues with “some people” about meeting with Bill on Wednesday because we haven’t officially voted on it although [former Economy Borough Solicitor] Dale [Fouse] doesn’t think this is an issue because everyone seemed to be on board then. NOW, all of the sudden it’s an issue!

Therefore, could you contact Bill and let him know the issue and that “he’s meeting with us free of charge on Wednesday to answer the remaining questions we had regarding his services, etc.”

He can make up the billable on the backend of the deal. I’m sure he’s run into this before.

Let me know if this is a problem

Thanks,
Michelle

From: Randy Kunkle
To: Michelle Lapinski

Spoke with Bill and he understands the situation and has seen it before. I reiterated that he is not under contract and nothing is guaranteed but that 5 on council are solidly behind this process and fully intend to see it through. He’s good to go.

From: Michelle Lapinski
To: Randy Kunkle

Ok, good! We WILL contract with him. If you or he could send out an email to the committee that there will be no charge for the meeting on Wednesday due to no contract being signed.

Councilwoman Barthelemy has said she would not run for reelection when her term expires if a Chief of Police were hired outside of the process conducted by her Public Safety Committee.

 

46 comments

  1. What the hell?  Why would Barthelemy have a candidate for chief over to her house for a Christmas party?  Something is up.

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    • Confused? Who is the new councilman

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      • Tom Fetkovich is the latest addition to the fabulous 4 bipartisan committee goofs on eb council. That’s who that Kline made reference to.

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    • Don’t be confused.  Letters went out to all candidates that the process was suspended in early to mid November?  The email clearly states a date of the Christmas party on December 20, 2013?  Obviously he was a likeable guy.

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  2. This is an excellent example of corruption in politics. It is no wonder why the new council is conducting a forensic audit of the boroughs finances.This is grounds for all involved to resign immediately.

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  3. The question I have is how did John Paul get an email sent between Kline, Barthelemy, Lapinski, and Googins?

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    • Strange, If I am not mistaken, any correspondence between elected officials/”public servants” (and I use that term loosely), is covered by a Sunshine Act, ie., they are public record and must be available if requested. As it should be…

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      • This is not covered by the Sunshine Act.  The act prevents official business from occuring outside the public view, only when there is a quorum.  All correspondence is not covered by this act; that is simply wrong.

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      • crimestopperineb

        Mickey you must be Dan Kline himself. You need to go back and put your glasses on when reading the Sunshine Act. It was violated when the almost chief wanted to know what he could do to help (meaning the other side of council) People in Economy aren’t fools and are sick and tired of being treated as such!

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      • Crimestopper, you need to read the Sunshine Act if you think Dan Kline violated it.  He can’t violate it because he is not in public office.  If you think otherwise, then you are a fool in Economy.Laws are as they are written; laws aren’t what you make up in your head.

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    • @strange, all public computers used for government business are subject to public exposure. What is strange is you’re questioning of how emails were obtained rather than the fraud and corruption in economy that these emails clearly indicate.

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      • Great point jingles; a clear case of attacking the messenger…

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      • My question would be, “WHERE ARE ALL THE EMAILS FROM ALL OF THE ELECTED OFFICIALS?”  Why just a few? 

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    • Pennsylvania law is all records of municipal government and agencies  – documents, papers, letters, information maintained electronically, etc. – are legally public records. Every record (including e-mail messages) created, received or retained as of January 1, 2009

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      • This is awesome to know.  Also, there are public records of council meetings posted on line that are recorded, transcribed and posted so the public knows the truth.  For an example.http://www.economyborough.org/economyminutes/MinutesDec102013.pdf

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      • crimestopperineb

        trouble is no truth came from Lapinski, Googins, Sivy, and Barthelemy. Only lies and deceit -  I guess we shall see who Fetkovich really is and why these people brought him to the table. If I were him, I’d stay away from these people or he’ll end up down town also.

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  4. outraged in economy

    This is absolutely outrageous. Do these characters still work for the Boro?  They have admitted to fraud.  They should have to return the $ to the taxpayers. 

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  5. I find it outrageous that Courtney Barthelemy has been publically criticizing the new hire of Chief Obrien and the new majority of council for their decision to hire from the EB pd. She has literally gone to residents door-to-door and the Beaver County Times with her bag of tricks and deception. I also can’t believe that she continued to lie about the hiring process to the public and the audacity to chastise the new council elect for hiring Mike Obrien as chief. This woman doesn’t earn the trust to be a dog catcher let alone a council woman in Economy! 

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  6. Lapinski is a dirty rat. Always has been and always will be. Politics are politics I guess

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    • You’re correct Lapinski and her slick husband are both dirty. This isn’t politics, this woman needs to be arrested.

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  7. You know when he refers to the three council members and the new guy, that makes 4 and is violation clearly in the sunshine act law, and saying to make it up on back end hiring a person as contractor that is completely admitting fraud

    Turn that ti the attorney General office and bammm so long law degree and public office for the chick and few others won’t be able to serve also

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    • Having a quorum does not make it a violation of the sunshine law.  If they have a quorum AND meet to take “official action”, then it is a violation.  You can find what “official action” means on the state website.Meeting for a Christmas party does not constitute a violation.  You could argue that if they discussed the hiring and agreed to vote a certain way, then it is a violation, but nothing from the emails proves that.

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  8. LOL THE BEAVER COUNTIAN SITE IS CRAZY NOW THEIR GETTING PEOPLES EMAILS!!!!!!!  LUV IT!

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    • I think this stuff is funny.  I think I’m going to file a right to know request on all of the council members emails and other activities on Tax dollar time?  THAT WOULD BE INTERESTING?

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      • @Blessings government computers are not owned by the individuals that message on them and through them. Therefore if council members are sending messages to and from government computers which are paid for with tax dollars they are subject to be viewed by the general public. If correspondence was made only on council’s private pc’s and correspondence was not sent to the borough’s government computers these emails would be considered private.

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  9. SpeakTheTruthToo

    At least in Economy they know how to dress for a Council meeting.

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    • Ya, RJ Burns looks appropriate but the tight red dress has to go. This is a government meeting not a disco from the 80′s. Notice the crooked mouth of Barthelemy? That’s from all the speaking from both sides of her mouth. She’s become deformed. 

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      • Wow.  I was looking at the red dress and thinking something totally different.  Looks like Courtney has 2 good reasons for me to start going to Economy meetings.  If only I was 30 or 40 years younger…..

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  10. More in depth investigation needs to be done on the Lipinski’s there tied to many no profit  organizations

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  11. Well Well, looks like these dirtballs never stop do they? Barthelemy needs to be turned into the PA Bar Association ethics department. Her license to practice law needs revoked. Lapinski needs to be charged with fraud of tax payers dollars, and Kunkle needs booted immediately as boro manager. This terd Bill Gamble needs to give back every dime he took from eb tax payers. There was NEVER any process – the fix was in and the proof is above in the first paragraph of this article.

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  12. I think this is a great example of the right to know. What is particularly funny is all the hub bub and accusations of wrong doing! As previous articles and documents will show. The search for a new police chief was officially terminated in mid November. So how does one conclude wrong doing or corruption by a Christmas party invitation?

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  13. Now this is funny.  Its all on tape.  Its recorded and published.  LET THE RECORD SPEAK FOR ITSELF.  Economy Borough has been obviously duped.  http://www.economyborough.org/economyminutes/MinutesDec102013.pdf

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    • Thank-you Blessed, for providing the link. According to those recorded published minutes  Mr. Gamble stated the process was suspended not terminated and that newly elected council would make that determination in January after taking office. So, you see at the time of the Christmas party the process could have continued, if council agreed in January. Also it was at that meeting where the cash basis fund was revealed in the budget of a whopping $1,112,732 that the finance chairman Mrs. Lapinski and the committee forgot to include in their budget. Glad these minutes are available now.

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  14. crimestopperineb

    The Councilwoman Lapinski’s email to the borough manager should be the headline. The chief hire is over. The people of Economy Borough have been violated. They’ve been lied to about the cost of consultant fees and the real numbers in their budget.  This is outrageous, This email is fraud of tax payers dollars and THIS ALONE IS worthy of a full investigation. As a resident of Economy borough, I don’t believe anything these former council members did or didn’t do. Everything comes under scrutiny because of their refusal to be transparent. This is obvious, this is the fact and I want to know what course of action is coming?

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  15. In writing Mrs. Lapinskis E mail makes it clear that at the least she committed fraud and misappropriation of tax dollars. Also by using her position forced Mr. Kunkle to be part of the fraud and lies. Now put your common sense to work. What other reason would Mr. Kline be at this party,[meeting] ? Four of the then reigning council members were also invited to this meeting. What do you think the subject of conversation was? Mr. Kline also in writing, questions whether he should contact the remaining members of council. I’m sure the discussion was not about the holiday season! 

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  16. By her own words; Council woman Barthelemy made a long winded statement on December 10, 2013 at a borough council meeting page 5. “Further, I wish to point out that this process was proceeding as anticipated and
    absent the imposed delay, this Borough should have had an imminently qualified candidate assume
    the position of our Borough Chief, effective January 1, 2014.” A Christmas Party came before January 1, 2014 according to my watch. Dan Kline had no business being at a Christmas party of the head of public safety with the other members of council. This is exactly what it appears to be. Barthelemy and Lapinski were the ring leaders and had predetermined Dan Kline was the new chief.

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  17. Besides all the lies and corruption of the council. They were picking a good police chief. I personally know Mr. Kline and he would have been an excellent candidate.

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  18. After Reading this article and other information published in the Beaver Countian about all of the “maneuvering” in the governing of Economy Borough, I have to question how the Borough Manager was not relieved of his position when council reorganized in January. Seems to me that all of the emails that have surfaced after the fact are sent through him and to him (re: Wal-mart photo shoot attendance & now this).

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  19. That place looks like they need a hair stylist and fashion consultant

    The guy in picture has poor posture and needs shave but his man boobs look more perky than the woman who is cute but needs some conditioning treatments and hair style

    Anyways looks like some criminal charges are soon to come if half its true looks like some trouble a brewing

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  20. Your writing is do awful.

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