Butler County Commissioner Eckstein's behavior prompts more security, judge says
Butler County President Judge Thomas Doerr on Friday singled out Commissioner James Eckstein's behavior as the reason why he increased security in the commissioners' office.
“You've become more agitated and more aggressive,” Doerr told Eckstein.
“I'd rather be accused of overreacting rather than caught wondering why I didn't take appropriate action if something happened,” Doerr said during a meeting of the county's safety committee.
Eckstein angrily denied that he's a security risk, saying he did not have a criminal record and did not own guns. He added that his conduct during meetings constituted “free speech.”
“For a judge to say I'm the security risk, to call a public meeting and say that, I was shocked. I thought he slandered me,” Eckstein said, adding he would file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board over Doerr's order.
A deputy will patrol the government center and make unannounced visits to the commissioners' offices on the fifth floor beginning Monday, Sheriff Michael Slupe said.
Doerr on Nov. 19 issued an order placing a full-time deputy within the commissioners' office but reconsidered Friday after a discussion with the county commissioners. He said a roving deputy should be enough to guarantee safety.
Doerr, a Republican, said he has received reports of Eckstein, a Democrat, shouting at Republican Commissioners Bill McCarrier and A. Dale Pinkerton and employees of the office.
Eckstein has exhibited a “pattern of verbal abuse” to employees, including former chief clerk Bill O'Donnell and solicitor Julie Graham, McCarrier said.
Commissioners' meetings have become more contentious, the judge said, and he has watched tapes of the meetings showing verbal battles between Eckstein and the public.
“You're basing this on intuition. There is no factual basis. It's just your feeling,” Eckstein told Doerr.
Eckstein said he was satisfied the extra security would not cost additional taxpayer money. The county is considering a 2-mill tax increase for the 2013 budget.
“There are people out there who don't have enough to eat and need housing,” Eckstein said. “Is this a compromise? I guess so.”
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or email@example.com.
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.
- Charges expunged against Butler County man in ’61 lunch-counter protest
- Excitement building for new farm store at Clearview Mall
- Butler County housing exec on leave
- Media lawyer: Butler County citizens should know why housing chief put on paid leave
- Butler Area School District to tweak policy for weather alerts
- Butler County communities debate charging for mutual-aid responses
- Fireworks festival hopes to draw crowd to Cooper’s Lake