Baden Borough is stalling the release of public records that could show whether its Council members conducted a secret telephone vote in a manner which may have been in violation of public meeting laws.

Dozens of citizens attended the January 17th meeting of Baden Borough Council where the hiring of several part-time police officers was publicly deliberated. Individuals who attended the public meeting tell the Beaver Countian that discussions between members of Council were contentious.

Those in attendance say hiring of the part-time officers was ultimately struck down after some Council members expressed concern about the propriety of the employment process. Mayor Samuel Gagliardi cast a tie-breaking “no” vote, joining with Suzie Furr, David Trzcianka, and Dawn Singleton. Ted Kotula, Judy Montell, and John Shelkons had been the minority “yes” votes in favor of approving the hires. Robert Besong was not present.

Sources say the majority expressed to the public their intention to table the hiring of part-time officers until next month’s public meeting, allowing time for a review of the employment process.

Two sources the Beaver Countian spoke with allege that within two days of the public meeting, Council members conducted a second vote privately via telephone where they approved hiring of the part-time police officers. Sources say Suzie Furr changed her prior “no” to “yes,” with Robert Besong also weighing in with a “yes.”

Those sources allege there were emails sent arranging for the telephone vote.

The Pennsylvania Sunshine Act generally mandates votes of a Borough Council occur at publicly advertised meetings and that members of the public be allowed to make comment prior to votes taking place. Public officials who knowingly violate provisions of the public meeting law face fines of up to $1,000 for a first offense.

As part of its efforts to further investigate the allegations, the Beaver Countian submitted an open records request to Baden Borough on Friday pursuant to the Pennsylvania Right to Know Law, seeking a copy of the Borough’s audio recording of its public meeting along with any emails sent from or to members of Council about the alleged telephone vote.

Elaine Klavin Rakovan, Open Records Officer for Baden, responded to the Beaver Countian’s request by invoking a 30-day extension on the production of the public records, which should normally have been released within 5 business days. The municipality claims it needs the added time to conduct a legal review to determine if a recording of a public meeting is a public record that must be released to the public, and whether emails referencing a vote by Council are public records which must also be disclosed.

Baden Borough is represented by attorney James D. Amato of Amato, Start & Associates in Sewickley.

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.


      • At the meeting it was agreed too (read above) not to hire any of them by a 4 to 3 vote, then within hours they took a secret and illegal vote over the phone outside the public view to put those officers on 5 to 2. It’s not the officers they want to hire that is the issue, it’s about the unscrupulous and illegal way they went about it. Then there is the stonewalling on the release of PUBLIC emails that JP is requesting, they surely have something to hide.

    • Otis when did they ever address who was hired or how many applicants were involved. 9 times out of 10 there is more to some shady shit than just how it happened.

      • I agree with you Jay there is much more that went on behind the scenes I was told. I was also informed they read off the names of those they wanted to hire at the meeting, it should be the minutes but I can’t get a copy of them yet. I was told by a few people everything was recorded though……We will see how much of the recordings disappear …

      • Are you saying JW-R works for Rottenchester Boro now?! If so, what a bunch of assholes running that boro.


  1. It’s obvious Baden Borough didn’t learn from the Beaver debakel with J W R an the Looser Lozier trying to keep a public record from J P , when will they learn, bygolly when J.P. wants something, give it to him with a smile an thank you , or prepare to look like a fool.

  2. Finally, someone’s figuring out how these small towns operate. This is normal for this town. Just look who’s on council. Ain’t won dat kan spell there name.

  3. Let’s all get ready for Raven to obsessively fawn over the Costra Nosa as a result of the attorney that was hired.

  4. It would seem to me that until these officers are hired during a public vote (that was advertised in accordance with the law) they aren’t police officers in Baden Boro. In addition to any arrest that they make being thrown out in court any citizen is well within their rights to file a private criminal complaint against these actors for impersonating a police officer.

    If the above commenters are correct that JWR is one of the hires then there are probably more than a few citizens with German Shepherds who are more than happy to offer assistance with his arrest. God knows that they would be more capable handlers than he can ever hope to be.

  5. Same old names in that town. Trazcianka, Besong, Montell…. time for them to leave. Need new blood… Just like the fire department did… drain it!!

    • Mr. Trazcianka voted correctly and stood up for what was right here, as reported by JP above as did Mrs. Singleton. Thank god some people have a backbone to do the right thing.

      • Who will turn on the other members in a minute, Just ask the FD. Drain the swamp. Need term limits, so these politicians don’t become complacent. The town is in shambles just like the school district and this board isn’t helping.

      • Gates96 the fact that the people of Baden keep putting Mr. Besong on term after term (41 years and counting) most of them deserve what they get.

  6. The best way to approach this “issue” is to follow the law.

    If a 30 day extension is permitted, then follow the law and wait 30 days for the answer. If the answer is not in accordance with the law then appeal and do not let the issue die. The citizens in Baden must show up to the next meeting and demand answers to this report.

    If there is a violation of the law, or stalling to cover up a violation of the law, all persons responsible should be prosecuted by the District Attorney regardless of what family they are from, who they are, who they know or what political party they represent.

    Historically nothing has been done in Beaver County as to governmental units violating the law. This must change if there ever is going to be government responsible to citizens and taxpayers. When the law is broken, it is a crime.

    • Well stated, but as we ALL know, an you comment on , nothing will be done until YOU are the new District Attorney !!

    • Agreed GB but, knowing what I do, you can’t possibly believe that our wannabe idiot of a DA has the guts or even the knowledge to do the right thing.

    • economyresident, There is one person on Baden Council (stated above) with those initials and it’s John Shelkons. The only other person that ran in November, (and lost was Michael Stuban) according to the beau of elections there were no other candidates, what am I missing? The people of Baden would be much better served by the likes of Mr. Stuban over the who they currently have. You don’t have to like somebody personally to respect them professionally. The majority of current members of council have their own agenda. They are disconnected and facts mean nothing to them, as they act with complete indifference to the voters, it’s just not a Baden issues it is widespread throughout the area. They simply do as the please and follow each others lead with a few exceptions, it appears only 2 in Baden think for themselves and do the right thing.

      • Forgive me for my error made by multitasking on social media. What I intended to say was at least they didn’t elect him, Jack Spencer, Mayor in November…

  7. It is very clear that Otis64 is Mark Kolakowski. The same deputy who got fired in Palm beach, Florida for lying after what 12 years?? . Then weasels his way back to PA as a constable to piss every single judge and elected official off. This guy lives in a fantasy world with conspiracy theories and lies. He is living in his mothers basement , pays no taxes to the borough,steals off his mother, and yet will be the first one pounding on council members doors asking them to hire him as a police officer in the very same town that he argues and belittles them in. Baden council told Mark he would be hired in a secret meeting he had with each one standing on their front porches. Then when the votes came in as no to all hires He really showed his true colors.

    He went about this whole situation all wrong and this is his crying ventetta against the Baden Council for not hiring him as a police officer. Talk to him for 10 minutes and you will see why you or they do not want him as an Police officer in any town. Also, Baden needs to drop Amato. Between giving the council too much bad information and never really knowing the answer to anything. They should just throw their money away.

    • The only thing that proceeds your arrogance is your ignorance Goebbels15003 seems to me that you guys have some issues to work out, you know where to find him, right? I know him very well and the two things that come tome to mind with Ski is honesty and integrity. The way you bash people behind their backs has always been the way you conducted yourself, two faced as always and still don’t know your facts. Sadly nothing you posted is remotely accurate and is slanderous (complete and total bullshit and you know that). Just shows the true colors of the folks that run Baden. The truth will come out and the facts that JP will post will speak for itself. The last thing you need is an honest person who calls you, other dirty cops, and politicians out, am I right?? About time somebody had the balls to the right thing. JP is the only person that stands up for the truth in this county, can’t wait for the next shoe to drop! What lies will you be posting in the next story??? If anyone that is reading this knows the individual your bashing they know your a dirtbag and a lair and they know who you are. Disgraceful that the Police have nothing better to do tonight…….Try doing the job your getting paid to do!!

      • SKI, The police?? Who ever said I was the Police. Just because I am informed doesn’t make me an informant. Who do you think I am ?

      • Looks like Deputy Kolakowski got his job back in Florida as well as a nice settlement when he sued the Sheriff. Seems like there is a lot more to that story, and since the paper only put in the Sheriffs (losing sides) comments I would take those with a big grain or boulder of salt. I am betting the police and powers to be a terrified of hiring someone who worked in many areas of a large and highly trained and professional organization. He probably has more training and experience that the entire Baden PD put together. I have met Mr. Kolakowski, does he call it like he sees it? Definitely, but he is one of the most honest people around and seems to speak out when he sees wrongdoing and corruption. I am betting that he terrifies the powers in this little town. I know they have learned to fear his name at the courthouse, not because of wrongdoing, but being able to recognize and speak up about it when he sees it. Funny how an elected constable with a lot of law enforcement training (and lives here) is less qualified than a political insider who with less than a year’s police experience is not going to be serving our community but overseas serving our country for an extended period of time (thank you for your service not knocking you). The council wanted 10 officers until they saw that they would not have 10 they could control then all of a sudden we only need half that amount. As for living in his basement with his mother, I for one respect someone who would give up the nice weather of Florida and moves to a depressed little political town to take care of his elderly mother rather than abandon her to be taken care of by the state and our tax dollars like so many people do these days.

  8. Ooooh, look! It’s Beaver Police Week again on The Countian. Can’t hear enough about the workings of the Beaver police department. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz



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