A Baden Councilwoman says she was surprised and confused when called as part of a phone vote to hire part-time police for the town, and alleges other members of Council have intentionally excluded her from similar phone votes conducted in the past.

Councilwoman Suzie Furr told the Beaver Countian that she voted against hiring part-time police at the town’s January 17th public meeting because she wanted more time to research the issue.

“In my mind, I wanted to figure out what would be the best way to hire,” said Furr, “another full-time officer or keep going on and on and on with all of these part-timers.”

Furr said although she had voted to table the matter for a month, she received a phone call from the town’s secretary two days later telling her she was taking a phone vote on the hiring of part-time police.

“The secretary called me about this phone vote but she did not say who it was directed by,” said Furr. “I was confused, the thing was we discussed it at the previous Council meeting and said it would be taken up at the next meeting.”

Councilwoman Furr said she voted “Yes” believing it to be an affirmative vote to keep the matter tabled until February, “I thought I voted to keep it tabled because we specified we would wait until February’s meeting to do the hiring.”

She later learned her “Yes” vote was actually recorded as being in favor of approving the hires immediately.

Furr said this was not the first time Baden Council conducted votes privately via telephone instead of during a public meeting and that she has previously been excluded from those votes.

“I am usually not even called on these phone votes that’s why I was surprised,” said Furr. “They have their block, the majority, and I was never included which really upset me.”

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.

See Also:

Baden Borough Stalling Release Of Public Records – Sources Allege Council Hired Police In Secret Vote

Baden Councilman Says He Objected To A Private Phone Vote To Hire Police

Baden Borough Stalls Release Of Additional Public Records So It Can “Assess The Cost Of The Request”

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.

25 COMMENTS

  1. So the secretary is conducting this orchestra? The only one that is getting paid a wage that she depends on to support her family. She is the only one that really has anything to lose. They put her in the hot seat now!

     
  2. It sounds like the epitome of laziness to me, Ms. Furr. Not only did you agree to an unconventional phone vote, you know that it has happened before. Your vote was amidst confusion in your mind. You could’ve have said that and refused to vote at all. Speak up; don’t just go along. Were you hoping to stay in favor with the majority? Also,how are these phone votes recorded in the minutes? This one sure sounds sneaky, especially after the vote to table.

     
  3. All you conspiracy theorists. This whole idea of council refusing to give JP the council minutes is a bunch of misinformation or misconstrued facts. He can’t get the minutes because they are not a public record yet. The minutes do not become a public record until council votes next month to accept the minutes from the previous meeting. Not defending either council or JP. That’s just the real facts.

     
    • That would be an accurate comment except for one minor detail: I never requested the meeting minutes.

      I requested copies of emails, a copy of an audio recording of the meeting, and surveillance video.

      That’s just the real, real facts.

       
      • Correct. You are asking for an audiorecording that is transcribed to create the minutes. Once again, not a public record until the minutes are approved. You are certainly entitled to the video and the emails. That is if the emails were created or responded to on a borough device. They should not be stalling you on the video.

         
      • You are misinformed on this issue.

        The audio recording and the minutes are two separate, independent public records. While the Borough may choose to record a meeting in order to aid in the creation of minutes, the approval of the minutes has nothing to do with when the audio recording becomes a public record. If the Borough makes a recording of a public meeting, the recording instantly becomes a public record covered by the Right-to-Know Act.

        The reason that meeting minutes are not considered a public record covered by the Act until a subsequent meeting of the Board is due to exceptions in the law related to draft documents – see the exception under Section 708(b)(21): “Draft minutes of any meeting of an agency until the next regularly scheduled meeting of the agency.”

        The legislative intent of this provision is to allow members of the Board an opportunity to review the minutes for accuracy prior to public dissemination.

        The audio recording is not a draft document and is not exempt under any provision of the law. One has nothing to do with the other as far as Pennsylvania’s Right-to-Know Act is concerned.

        It is important the public not be misinformed about its rights to public records.

        http://openrecords.pa.gov/Documents/RTKL/pa_righttoknowlaw.pdf

         
  4. It should be mandatory People applying for Government / City Counsel/Public Official positions must take an exam based on the U.S Constitution and State Constitution as their job would apply an pass that test, before being hired , in my opinion , it would cut down on Civil Rights Law suits , such as , Public Officials in office withholding Public records , F.O.I.A , SunShine Act. , Patrolman/Patrolwomen violating the 1st, 2nd ,4th,5th 8th , 14th Amendmendment of the U.S Constitution.
    My first question to any of these new recruits would be , What is the 21st Amendment of the Pennsylvania Constitution , an where is that Document held ? ( how many would answer accurately )
    Instead as seen here, we see City Counsel members scattering like cockroaches when the light shines on them , rats running for the exit, pointing fingers at one another ” I didn’t do it ”
    Come on people do your Dame Job , know it an own it !!

     
  5. Once again this will go nowhere. Minutes will be legally amended at the next meeting. The phone improper vote means nothing because that was in violation of procedure. No police officers were hired and will be brought up in the next meeting. JP will get to see who came in and out of the borough building between 7-10pm that night. Sorry folks. I just don’t see a story here. Believe what you want and thumbs down all you want.

     
    • It is a story, a dame good one, Public Officials withholding Documents from the public, period, there’s a Law for that, the Citizens have a RIGHT TO KNOW,
      as once said When the People fear their Government , this is Tyranny , When the Government fears its people, this is Liberty .
      Thomas Jefferson .

       
    • Once again this will go nowhere.

      That’s a pretty heavy bet you’re laying down there Mr. Getitright, but that’s what assholes like you in government count on, don’t you?

       
  6. While you were wasting your time with this. You just missed a huge story in the courthouse about a certain official you did an earlier story on.

     
  7. If you are running any agency that is funded in part, or in whole by taxpayers money…anything you do is a matter of public record. Delaying that is not going to ever stop it from being a public record. You know the old saying….” Tell me now, cause I’m gonna find out anyway”.
    And Miss Furr this sounds to me like a failed attempt to cover your own ass. That’s my opinion anyway.

     
  8. This fucking Mr. Getitright sounds like he has a “borough device” implanted up his ass. These are the likes of what is the management of Bsaden Borough.

     
    • Speak of the devil. John Q dipshit. Mr conspiracy theory himself. Is this RICO case too? Hurry let’s call the FBI. I see you got nothing better to do than troll this site with your jibberish day after day after day. I read JP’s articles, some are really on point and then some are nothing more than theatre for fools like yourself. Hey I am still waiting on those indictments!

       
      • The reason you haven’t seen any indictments is because Benyo isn’t the District Attorney. Time will change that.

         
  9. Ignorance is no excuse. Concilwoman Furr your grown you lived in Beaver County your whole life. You know what time it is. You didn’t know you were being hustled?

     

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