As controversies were starting to rage about large tuition payments being made by the Aliquippa Water Authority for its Chairman, Kenneth Thornton, the organization’s board passed a new “Media Relations Policy” threatening to terminate any employee who spoke to the press.

According to a copy of the Board’s minutes from July obtained by the Beaver Countian, the Water Authority approved the resolution proposed by Chairman Kenneth Thornton.

“Mr. Thornton motioned as he has been acting in the capacity as General Manager he sees the need for a media policy,” read an entry in the minutes for July 22nd of this year. The policy states in part:

“I hereby agree, upon an inquiry of the media concerning matters of the Authority, I will not answer any of their proposed questions or requests, nor will I make a statement or comment, but will immediately refer their inquiry to the General Manager. An appropriate response would be to say ‘I’m sorry, I cannot comment on this matter at this time, please contact the General Manager of the Authority.’ I understand and agree that if at any time I answer a question or request, or make a statement or comment to the media about Authority matters without prior approval of the General Manager, I will be subject to disciplinary action including possible termination.”

Board member Joe West (who works as an employee of the courthouse as Assistant Director of the Planning Commission) motioned to approve Thornton’s resolution which passed unanimously.

The Aliquippa Water Authority’s broad and far-reaching policy would not likely hold constitutional muster, as courts have found that public employees have a First Amendment right to discuss matters of public importance.

Kenneth Thornton resigned from the Water Authority earlier this week.

John Paul
John Paul is the founder of the Beaver Countian. He reports full-time for the site, specializing in investigative journalism with an emphasis on public corruption.

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Ravens Spawn
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Ravens Spawn

Let me guess Moron Sianovich is their solicitor. Only he could write something as stupid as that. Just like the commissioners playing stupid about their media policy. That was Bernie “the former catholic priest ” Rabik’s bright idea. Another lawyer like Sianovich that knows very little about the constitution. Keep crawling up their asses JP. They are all starting to squirm under the pressure.

Raven
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Raven

“…he sees the need for a media policy.” You should have taken my advice, Ken. It looks like you will be needing a lot more than a media policy to make this one go away. And forget about the Ph.D., ’cause this was just plain dumb.

Ravens Spawn
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Ravens Spawn

You got that right mom

Nobama
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Nobama

I know for a fact they have a lot to hide. For one, nepotism in all aspects of that city. From the water Auth. to the public school system. Believe me, it’s all connected in a straight line from the M.W.A.A. to the High School and all depts. in between. Classic examples of WHO you know.

jaybird
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jaybird

A DOCTORATE? in GLOBAL LEADERSHIP? For a MUNICIPAL WATER AUTHORITY? What cereal box did you find THAT one in? Hey, I’m all for education, but if it’s not work related, pay for it yourself like everyone else. So, you got called out, pulled the old “gag order” trick, and then resigned. Keep digging that hole, DOC.

Joe West, who WORKS IN THE COURTHOUSE, motioned to approve your attempt to silence employees. Patricia Grimes, who also WORKS IN THE COURTHOUSE, resigned from the MWAA, reason unknown. Why? Does anyone notice a trend here?

Just how many employees that work for the MWAA are also employed by, or have connections to, the Beaver County Courthouse? Maybe you could hire George David as the new Chairman?

Nobama
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Nobama

ALOT of it leads back to George David. More than most will ever know.