Baldwin Borough Councilman's DPW committee status unclear
A Baldwin councilman who was charged with theft last month after he was accused of stealing $11 worth of mulch from the municipality now has been relieved of the reading of his public-works reports at borough council meetings.
Eighteen-year Councilman John “Butch” Ferris — who asked the public-works supervisor and borough manager if he could take some mulch to spruce up his flower bed but said he got no definite answer from either — has been chairman of the council's public-works committee for several years.
Baldwin Borough police filed charges of theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property against Ferris on Aug. 15 after he was accused of taking about half a cubic yard of mulch from a borough pile in Colewood Park in April. Ferris later returned the mulch.
Council President David Depretis asked borough manager John Barrett to handle the public-works report at the Sept. 10 council meeting, where the agenda listed “TBD” — which stands for “to be determined” — next to the public-works report instead of Ferris' name.
After Barrett completed the public-works report and Councilman Michael Ducker gave the parks-and- recreation report, Ferris, appearing surprised, asked about changes in his public-works duties.
“Mr. Depretis, can I ask you a question? Why am I being stripped from my uhh, public works, uhh?”
“We're trying to protect you. That's all I'll say,” Depretis said.
Ferris asked that his remarks be included in the meeting minutes.
Borough leaders have assigned committee leaders in different ways, Barrett said.
Typically, it is up to the council president to name the committee leaders on council, yet in the past, all members of council have had a say in the committees to which they were named, he said.
Barrett said he is uncertain whether this is a permanent removal of Ferris from the position of chairman of the public-works committee.
Council likely will discuss the issue before a decision is made, Barrett said.
“It's kind of a wait-and-see type thing,” he said.
There was no name listed for the public works report on Tuesday's council agenda. Depretis once again asked Barrett to read the report for the public works committee.
Depretis declined to comment about the public works assignment Tuesday.
Ferris said he has heard nothing further about why he is no longer reading public works reports at council meetings.
“This is all political,” he said. “It's a witch hunt.”
Ferris is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on his charges in front of District Judge Pat Capolupo in Pleasant Hills on Oct. 30. District Judge John Bova, based in Baldwin Borough, recused himself from the case.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Baldwin Community Day to have something for everyone
- Baldwin Borough pool closes for repairs, residents may use Brentwood pool
- Pleasant Hills family’s beach vacation takes tragic turn
- Baldwin settles lawsuit for $7,500
- Baldwin Borough woman awarded $5K for damages to apartment
- Overgrown trees leave Brentwood residents frustrated