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Beaver County Times reporter David Taube dropped his private criminal complaint against the three Beaver County Commissioners today, following a meeting between the Commissioners and executives with the paper.

Taube filed summary charges against the Commissioners back on February 24th, alleging they violated provisions of the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act by discussing matters in executive session which should have been discussed in public meetings, by failing to provide thorough enough notice to the public about the matters to be discussed in executive sessions, and by misleading the public by having discussions in executive sessions that are different than the ones which were announced.

The Commissioners had denied any wrongdoing and insisted the matters discussed in executive session were privileged and exempt from provisions of the Sunshine Act.

The Times and County Commissioners have released the following joint statement:

“The Beaver County Board of Commissioners and editors from the Beaver County Times, together with their respective counsel, recently met to discuss open government. A positive discussion ensued, and we agreed that transparency and open government are vital to a healthy democracy. We have chosen to look forward with an ongoing commitment toward transparency in regards to open meetings and open records while at the same time maintaining confidentiality when mandated under the law. We all view this as a fresh start with renewed respect for the challenges each faces and are committed to open government. Our sincere wish is that the public benefits the most.”


  1. “When I weighed the job offer at The Times last summer, one of the items on the pro side of my pro/con list was the reputation Pennsylvania had as a strong open-records state.” — Shane Fitzgerald, Beaver County Times.  Not so, Shane. 

  2. Seems like the crime was committed against the public. How can the prosecutor allow the charges to be dropped or not refile them on behalf of the public?

  3. No payoff. The Commissioners called their bluff. The Times doesn’t have the money or the resources to take them to court. They can’t even contest obituary reprints, let alone a laundry list of RTK violations. Fitzgerald knew this, and the Commissioners knew this, so they waved a white flag, recalled the troops, and sat down in a philosophical pow-wow in the enemy camp to save face. He put a positive spin on it for the public to save face and subscriptions, and left the reporter hanging out to dry. Fitzgerald is new, he is naive, in spite of his published editorial insights, and he believes that he is swimming at Sea World with the dolphins and not in the ocean with the sharks. This is serious, because he has lost any potential clout and credibility, and he can kiss any future challenges against the courthouse gang goodbye. The effusive article of apology in the Times is a transparent embarrassment of naive political doctrine which belongs in the Boy Scout Manual.  As for a public challenge? That would be as possible as predicting George David’s trial date. 

  4. Remember the time sheriff pulled his sheriff listings ads from the Times and then they quit writing about him and then started kissing his ass to get the ads back because they needed the money?  The Times is weak.



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