Mayor files ‘sunshine’ complaint in Pa.

Mayor Paula M. Brown filed a criminal complaint alleging that the council had broken the state’s open-meetings law by failing to advertise a meeting this month.

 

Darby’s mayor files complaint against council

By Tina Moore
Philadelphia Inquirer

DARBY BOROUGH, Penn. (January 30, 2004) — In a move that the Darby Borough Council president called “grandstanding,” Mayor Paula M. Brown filed a criminal complaint yesterday alleging that the council had broken the law.

“It’s the only thing I can think of that’s going to make them comply with the law,” Brown said.

In the complaint, Brown, three council members, and three residents alleged that five council members violated Pennsylvania’s open-meetings law, the “Sunshine Act,” by failing to advertise a meeting this month. The complaint also alleged that the council violated the act by refusing to allow Brown to speak at meetings.

Defendants in the criminal complaint are Council President Janice Davis, Vice President Helen Thomas, and Councilwomen Anne Blackson, Doris Grosso and Jennifer Parks, five of the six council Democrats. Raymond Santarelli, the borough solicitor, is also listed as a defendant.

“She’s just grandstanding,” Davis said. “She’s always grandstanding.”

Davis said the Jan. 14 meeting to which Brown referred in her complaint was not advertised because of a clerical mistake and “wasn’t intentional.” She said that Brown is sometimes stopped from speaking because she disrupts regular business at meetings.

“She screams and hollers, she grandstands, she carries on,” Davis said. “She will not allow me to hold a meeting.”

Brown delivered the complaint to District Justice Thomas Lacey. His office will transfer the complaint to official forms, and it will be sent to Delaware County District Attorney G. Michael Green’s office. He will decide whether to pursue the case.

Green did not return calls seeking comment.