Borough council reverses itself; status of Earley’s job altered
On Monday, February 13 at the Honesdale Borough Council bi-monthly meeting, B. F. Monaghan, the president of the Honesdale Borough Council, reversed an action of the board taken at a recent meeting that condemned an allegedly improper removal of pieces of mail meant for two borough policemen that informed them that they would be laid off.
The original motion made by councilman Bob Jennings asked that the matter be taken up by the state attorney general and not by the county district attorney, the reason being a possible conflict of interest on the part of the District Attorney Janine Edwards, who served on the council before her election to the DA position. The alleged removal had been called “mail fraud.”
“We contacted several postal inspectors in Scranton and elsewhere who said that no violations occurred since the mail arrived at the intended destination and reached the recipients properly,” Monaghan said. “They said that it was an internal matter. We wish to apologize to former borough chairman Michael O’Day and former councilwoman Barbara Lewis, for any pain caused by our actions.”
The council’s position on the status of borough zoning officer Wayne Earley, however, did not have a happy conclusion for him. During the course of the meeting, the council removed Earley from any dealings with water issues in the borough.
Earley has been involved in a grant of $431,095 to install a retention pond in one of three problem streams that have habitually caused serious storm water runoff damage. The entire project was to cost $1,226,723. The funding came from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Monroe Gaming Program.
Earley has been the subject of several articles in the Wayne Independent about two break-ins in the zoning office at the borough hall between December 2010 and February 2011. The first break-in resulted in missing files and about $20 in petty cash. The second involved files and $40 in cash and a lap-top computer.
In the wake of disclosures about the break-ins, a special executive session meeting was called by the council on February 9, at the urging of Mayor Ed Langendoerfer. When the council returned after the executive session, Monaghan said there would be no comment on what went on in the session. Langendoerfer would not comment after the meeting since matters from an executive session are not to be made public.
When questioned during the press comment period on February 13, Monaghan claimed that Earley’s job description was being scrutinized, as is going to happen with all borough employees, and was not meant to single him out. The council also moved that Earley should attend every meeting of the planning commission.
[Editorial disclosure: This reporter is Lewis’ partner.]