Scranton City Council meets tonight. At the top of its agenda should be a formal request asking the state auditor general to sift the hidden details of the $195 million sewer system sale.
As Times-Tribune Staff Writer Jim Lockwood reports today, the Scranton Sewer Authority board voted Wednesday to keep secret the nature of $3.1 million in legal and consulting fees tied to the deal. This newspaper and others have been fighting for a full accounting of the fees since January. The public is still being kept in the dark about costs associated with the sale of Scranton’s last valuable asset.
Catch up on the cause by reading Jim’s story here.
In it, Jim quotes Councilman Bill Gaughan stating the obvious:
“I think our next move is to call in the (state) attorney general to come in. What are they hiding? Why will they not let the auditor general of the state of Pennsylvania come in and make sure, as Mayor Courtright said, everything is aboveboard?”
Why, indeed. Consider this: SSA board Chairman Michael Parker and members Kevin Whelan and Larry Boccadori chose to go on the record against transparency and accountability. If they’re willing to choose such a damning optic, how damaging must the alternative (the truth) be?
Consider this, too: Scranton Mayor Bill Courtright, chief salesman of the SSA deal, said he didn’t see a need for a state audit of the deal, but the decision should rest with the authority board. It was made by Parker, Whelan and Boccadori — all appointed by Mayor Courtright.
The mayor has abdicated his sworn duty to protect the interest of the citizens he was elected to serve. Council must now take the lead. The public deserves answers. Council must demand them, starting tonight.