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Ex-district judge named to B. Vernon Council post

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Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 12:31 a.m.
 

One Belle Vernon Council member's resignation was accepted and a second member's tabled for a second time as council seeks further clarification on Joe Minniti's intent.

Mary Beth Secleter's resignation was accepted Monday night. She submitted a letter last month, but it was unclear at the time if she was leaving the board or just stepping down from her post as vice president.

She was immediately replaced by retired Magisterial District Judge Jesse Cramer, who had sought the position.

The other letter

Minniti told The Valley Independent on May 9 that he decided to resign after learning the newspaper had requested information about bills for merchandise the borough purchased from his business.

His letter of resignation was read at the May 13 meeting but made no mention of the bills.

Before the minutes of the May 13 meeting were ratified, Solicitor Mark Galper suggested they be amended to remove a sentence that indicated council had voted to re-ratify payment of the invoices from Minniti Motor Sports.

At its April 14 meeting, council approved payment of bills, including $229.19 to Minniti Motor Sports in Rostraver Township. Minniti owns the business.

The Valley Independent subsequently learned that council had authorized more than $800 in payments to the business over an eight-month period.

Galper indicated that on Monday morning, he, a reporter from The Valley Independent and Councilwoman Carolyn Cherocci listened to a tape of the May meeting and determined the vote was never taken.

The Valley Independent reported last month that the re-ratification vote was never taken.

Galper said the missing vote was an oversight by council, adding that on the tape he heard himself at least twice remind council to vote on a motion that had been made.

Cherocci said that in listening to the tape, she heard Councilman Shaun Delaini make the motion to re-ratify the bills and Councilman Lou Stiltner second it. No vote was taken, she acknowledged.

On Monday, council approved a motion to re-ratify payment of all invoices to Minniti Motor Sports.

Galper said that in advance of the meeting, he sent an email to each council member recommending that anyone who does not intend to vote should publicly indicate so and why.

He also recommended that any votes involving the expenditure of cash and ratification of the budget be taken by roll call.

Before ratifying an additional invoice from Minniti Motor Sports on Monday, Galper suggested the board vote on Minniti's resignation.

Resident Chad Riggle said Minniti told him the councilman did not show up for Monday's meeting because he had received a large load of auto parts at his business.

Council directed Galper to send a letter to Minniti to ask his intent. The most recent invoice was approved, at first by a voice vote. Delaini then asked for and received a roll call vote.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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