June 11, 2014 —
HONESDALE, PA — The first order of business at the June 9 Honesdale Borough Council meeting was the appointment of Daniel W. Barnes to fill the vacancy created by Carolyn Lorent’s May 12 resignation. The resolution appointing Barnes to a council seat passed 4-2, with President James Brennan, Juanita Pisano, Harry DeVrieze and Bob Jennings supporting his candidacy, Bill Canfield and Scott Smith opposing it.
The only other announced candidate for the vacant council seat was Anita Pineiro, who had also been a candidate for the mayoral and council vacancies recently filled by Jack Bishop and Harry De Vrieze, respectively. The resolution to appoint her was defeated 4-2, with Canfield and Smith supporting her candidacy, Brennan, Pisano, De Vrieze and Jennings opposing it.
Prior to the vote, Barnes delivered a brief candidate statement, introducing himself as a longtime area resident and navy veteran who saw action in the Persian Gulf War. Returning home after an additional five years of naval service, he became a volunteer fireman, first in Tusten and later in Honesdale. He was sworn in by Bishop and assumed his seat immediately afterward, exercising his vote for the remainder of the meeting.
Bishop used the mayor’s report as an opportunity to state his personal beliefs and define his political stance. He remarked that, by virtue of his office, he is permitted to perform civil marriages, but that he will not do so. “I don’t feel qualified to officiate at a wedding. That should be left to clergymen. Maybe then people will begin to head back to church,” he said, noting that church attendance has fallen off in recent years.
Later, the Greater Honesdale Partnership asked Bishop, who had made the revitalization of Main Street a central plank of his mayoral platform, to declare the week of June 29 to July 5 “Independents Week,” a grassroots campaign to support independent businesses in the borough. Bishop obliged, reading aloud the resolution that urged area residents to patronize local independent businesses, many of them family-owned and operated for several generations. Noting that small independent businesses are what make Honesdale unique and give it a sense of place, he pointed out that buying from businesses owned by family, friends and neighbors is an investment in community that will ultimately pay generous dividends.
Jennings announced that the Civil Service Commission has found Police Commissioner Rick Southerton qualified as a Pennsylvania policeman, following successful completion of his training and competency testing. Introducing a resolution to change Southerton’s title to Police Chief and appoint him to a one-year probationary term, Jennings argued with Smith over whether or not Southerton would be a member of the collective bargaining unit. They were advised by borough solicitor Richard Henry that the precise terms of the appointment could be changed at a later date by amendment of the resolution. The resolution passed, with Canfield abstaining.
For complete meeting minutes and information about Honesdale borough governance, visit www.honesdaleborough.com .