I recently read DuBois City Council Member Diane Bernardo’s letter to the editor on April 26, 2023.
I respect every person’s right to an opinion, including Bernardo, but she got some key points wrong. Let’s review the facts:
Bernardo: “He then gave our $200,000 of American Rescue Plan Act funds to Sandy Township based upon his misinformation and lack of inquiry into the city’s finances.”
Response: Decisions at the county level are made by a majority vote of the Board of Commissioners, in a public meeting, and with a public vote.
This decision was made, unanimously, by the entire Board of Commissioners to withhold the funds and re-evaluate once the city’s finances and fiscal processes are shown to be in order.
Bernardo: “He did manage to enrich his family by hiring one family member for a high-wage, Clearfield County Government job.”
Response: I presume this comment refers to my son’s Information Technology internship with the county. This position is an $11 per hour, part-time internship (currently 13-17 hours per week) to gain experience in his chosen field. When my son applied, I immediately discussed the conflict of interest with the Board of Commissioners and recused myself entirely from the hiring process, including publicly abstaining from the vote to approve his hire.
I would also like to note that all Board of Commissioner meetings are live-streamed and are available on the county’s YouTube channel for the public to review at any time.
Misdirection and unanswered questions:
It’s clear that some people don’t allow facts to get in the way of a narrative. Ms. Bernardo’s letter appears to be a misdirection, a way for City Council to continue to avoid answering the questions many of us have been posing over the last month:
- Why was the City Manager awarded a contract extension when under state investigation?
- Why was the City Manager allowed to work, apparently with full access to the building, records and files, for several days after his arrest?
- Why are there not public votes on all employee compensation changes (such as bonuses) and on any contracts the city has entered?
- Does the City Council understand how the Sunshine Act works and how to implement it properly?
- Is the City paying for the suspended City Manager’s legal defense and is that not a conflict of interest? When this question was posed on Monday, why wasn’t an answer provided?
The response from the City Council has not included any remorse for this situation, nor a promise to improve processes and conduct business in a more transparent fashion.
Regardless of personal attacks, I will always ask the hard questions and stand up for the citizens of our county – including those in DuBois.
Instead of questioning my personal integrity and deflecting, I respectfully request that you answer your constituents, who have a right to know what’s going on with their tax dollars.
Clearfield County Commissioner and DuBois City resident