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    Happy New Year!

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    RANTS&RAVES: into the 11th year

    RAVES to readers here for providing another year of emotional support to keep this column online and website into an 11th year.

    New readers are always a kick when they share their support or even long-winded, nasty or politely stated differing opinions.
    Most new readers become regular readers.

    Long-time readers continue to be much appreciated for relaying honest feedback -- whether the feedback comes via email, snail
    mail or shout outs from the next grocery or department store aisle.  Interestingly enough, some of today's long-time readers were
    once angry-as-can-be strangers, approaching to ask if we're all crazy or what here.  

    Possibly, but when they followed through and took advice to attend a live meeting, or at least watch a video, they reported shock
    that two commissioners, staff and solicitors came unprepared for meetings and violated county codes left and right. They were
    surprised that readers rarely knew these things reading about meetings in the newspapers.

    So many of them -- as reflected in Al Ambrosini's loss in the general election -- ended up so disappointed in his post 2012
    audacious personality and rule that they helped to vote Ambrosini out of office in overwhelming defeat.

    Others, sometime always send anonymous snail mail that borders on physical threat for doing nothing but asking for Right To
    Know information and writing about it.




    Starting into the 11th year, Rants&Raves' political commentary usually either wins over or completely annoys readers. In these 11
    years, any of the two incidents in which incorrect information was presented as fact, corrections ran very quickly. Any and every
    time someone ranted or not raved as enthusiastically as he or she would have liked sent in an electronic or hard copy rebuttal,
    those communications were either linked electronically or scanned and made available online very quickly.

    Opinions can change, and sometimes opinions changed here. Nobody here makes any apologies for any feelings hurt over
    opinions or commentary expressed here and published here, however.  The best of the rants, too often, depicted and represented
    the county on some of its worst days.  


    Starting into the 11th year, Rants&Raves so looks forward to raving an open county government that works productively together,
    it seems to be a make or break time for Fayette County.

    May the new commissioner attend commissioner training classes, as he seemed lacking in knowledge of County Code, when he
    and a business owner talked amongst themselves at a county meeting, about what a waste of time it was for the minority
    commissioner to bring up that the County Code was not being followed.  The 2016 county commissioners have Alfred&Vincent's
    scattered messes to clean up, in addition to doing the expected new work.

    All 3 need to know what they're doing.

    Happy New Year!
    31 Dec 15
    jt


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    "Quotes Of The Day"

    "What the f do we know! I thought the one who designed the graphics for fayettetruth.com would be named the new Informational
    Technology guru and go off to work next month in the private sector out source."
    Dave, this morning at the diner, reading the paper, about yesterday's special county meeting in which umpteen impromptu
    raises were given and a new job was created for a lame duck commissioner's assistant

    "No, he's probably needed more to coordinate and handle Dem campaign contributions and kick backs from corporate welfare
    recipients and drilling at the parks."
    Pete



    Funny, funny "Quotes Of The Day" not to have read to you before the anesthesia fully wears off
    -- when, medically speaking, laughing is not yet an allowed activity

    "I walk away from this knowing I maintained my honesty, integrity and my business and personal ethics."
    Al Ambrosini, commenting in today's paper about his 4 years on the county's payroll

    "Three times during the meeting, Ambrosini called for the sheriff’s deputy to escort members of the public out of the meeting for
    being unruly, but on all three occasions, Zapotosky suggested that the person should be allowed to stay and no action was taken."
    heraldstandard.com, "Pay adjustments, new hire made by commissioners"


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    Former controller staff pens letter to ed to counter Alfred's feeble ramblings

    RAVES to former county controller's department worker, Eric Blanda, for penning a letter to the editor of the local paper (as shown
    on the right side of this page), taking Al Ambrosini to task for derogatory comments the official made in the paper about the poor
    performance of the controller's office since former controller Sean Lally left office in 2014.

    RAVES to Blanda for not allowing Ambrosini to shoot off his mouth without consequences for his actions. (27 Dec 15)
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    No agenda for Monday meeting?

    RANTS that the public notice ad ran mid-week for a special meeting tomorrow at 10 AM of the Fayette County Commissioners,
    but there's still no agenda for the meeting posted on the county's website.

    One would think if there was enough time to run an ad, there would be time to draft an agenda for public information, public input
    and comment purposes. (27 Dec 15)

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    Monday, more spending awaits!

    On Monday, Alfred&Vincent will hold what, hopefully, is their last possible public meeting, to do God knows what else to Fayette
    County's mockery of a 2016 budget. The notice in the paper advertising the meeting did not list a specific purpose of the special
    meeting.  

    Front and center, expected are the reshuffling of 2 county staff currently under the direct supervision of the county commissioners,
    transferring to newly created or vacated positions in the human resources and parks departments. If staff are competent and
    skilled in their current jobs, why would they be so very rattled by the thought of having new bosses? (25 Dec 15)

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    Christmas on the patio!

    RAVES to temperatures in the 60s so close to Christmas. While it is special to have at least a faint coating of snow, this last
    minute shopping with the roof open or off in the car this whole week has been special, too.

    RAVES to finding a special kind of Christmas this year on the patio! (25 Dec 15)

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    Or is the ed smarter for pointing out a 165-year-old jail?
    Is the incoming DA wiser, smarter, more aware than the local editor?

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note of confusion and a chuckle as to why an editorial in today's local paper* recommends
    studying other county specialized courts, as though it's an original idea never before pursued.

    Readers here know full well that Al Ambrosini took his little jail ad hoc work committee on a roadtrip to Franklin County almost 36
    months ago to see that county's then 7-year-old jail and new Day Reporting Center and that Fayette's Day Reporting Center has
    been operational for about 27 months.  Readers here know, too, that Fayette has been able for most of 2015 to count Fayette's
    inmates housed out of county on a few fingers on just 1 hand.

    That all said, RAVES for once, however, that the banner on the piece today wasn't "The answer to Fayette's problem must be a
    new jail" and that the paper finally acknowledges specialized courts are helping to divert incarcerations.   

    While the former jail planner, Tom Crabtree, unconvincingly, told us repeatedly that jail population would only grow in spite of all
    efforts to divert incarcerations through specialized courts and a day reporting center, and folks such as the outgoing district
    attorney chose to focus only on pushing for an all-new jail and rehabilitation center and ignores the existence or influence of
    Fayette's specialized courts and day reporting center, today's recommendation again to revisit other counties isn't entirely absurd,
    but is largely a silly waste of time. It appears to be a plea from someone not up to speed at home -- or possibly someone too afraid
    to speak up and point out a functional, efficient jail older than ours.

    At this late 2015 date, there should be data on Fayette's own prisoners and ones whose incarcerations were diverted through
    Fayette's own specialized courts and day reporting center. Reviewing that data should be where the new DA should begin the
    process. Is Fayette's day reporting center and specialized courts helping to accomplish anything else but to lower out of county jail
    numbers?  

    Sure, it's always a good idea to review what other counties are doing to look for ways to improve services and efficiencies. It is
    especially interesting that the county that the local editor recommended that the incoming DA consult with has an outstanding,
    historical prison built in 1865 that houses over 1,000 inmates.  





    The new DA should be up to speed on where Fayette sits with the courts, recidivism and crime rates. Considering all that the
    paper has done was to put on blinders and focus only on promoting a new jail, we here hope that the incoming DA is more up to
    speed on the data or outcomes of this county's specialized courts and day reporting center than is the ed piece writer.

    If the incoming DA is as clueless, we certainly hope he knows -- or that someone tells him -- that most of the answers he needs
    can be found already, downtown in the data gathered at home, here in Fayette.

    That the Ambrosini group put on their blinders and detoured away from visiting a well-maintained 165-year-old county lock up in
    Lancaster is quite understandable, though. (20 Dec 15)

    * "Worth exploring," heraldstandard.com


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    "It's too late for your lame ducks who promoted corruption!"
    Law student sends easy read tutorial to aid incoming Fay officials  


    Today, after watching a video of the November meeting and Tuesday's December meeting of the Fayette County Commissioners and
    the ridiculous lack of preparation of the agenda, the ridiculous reliance on 1 commissioner to make sense of the mess and the surreal
    type of pressure applied from public employees and wealthy private business owners to do the wrong things, and the published news
    accounts that failed to document any of the illegal or improper meeting shenanigans, a regional law student with area ties, previously
    mentioned below, sent in this primary-type tutorial to aid incoming Fayette County officials to recognize and do the right thing.

    The thought was quite unsettling for him to witness (November) a newly elected commissioner and a private business owner state,
    "This is ridiculous" to one another in their seats, when the minority commissioner did her due diligence to assure that County Code was
    followed and note when it was not followed. (19 Dec 15)



    "Research on political corruption suggests that a primary contributor to good governance (and through that broadly shared economic
    growth) is a free press that informs and invigorates lively but respectful political discourse and high electoral participation. This essay
    summarizes this research, recent trends in media ownership and investigative journalism, and increasing problems with crony
    capitalism."


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    Snow squalls galore tonight: next week, back to 60s

    RAVES tonight for getting safely through blinding, 30-mile-long and steady snow squalls, through Allegheny, Washington,
    Westmoreland, then, finally, finally closer to home, into Fayette, where the light dusting of snow and clear roads were a welcome
    blessing.

    RAVES, too, to going outside 30 minutes later to retrieve one last item from the trunk and finding that the white, winter wonderland
    really had followed us home. (18 Dec 15)
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    Prayers, positive thoughts & energy: please keep it coming

    Please keep the area toddler mentioned at the end of the below "Quotes of the Day" in your thoughts and prayers. For the first
    time since the little trooper was rushed to ICU 5 days ago, he woke up yesterday, opened his eyes and was removed from a
    ventilator.

    While he is still very critically ill with a long road ahead, RAVES that he is finally awake, breathing on his own and that his family
    can finally take a breath, too.

    Please share your prayers, positive thoughts and energy focused his way. (18 Dec 15)
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    Just another theft of public funds, property

    RANTS that financially strapped school districts and other public funded entities have a growing problem with theft of funds or
    services from insiders. Yesterday's release of a long-overdue arrest of a former Connellsville School District IT director illustrates
    how hell-bent some are to steal and try to cover their tracks.

    RANTS that it took 6 months for charges to be filed after the staff resigned last spring. At the time, he admitted that he breached
    the district's trust by removing about $380,000 worth of computer system equipment and misspending another $71,000 of district
    funds to replace the pricer network switches. A total of about $450,000 loss came to light in 2014, when the man stopped working.
    Lets hope that courts demand repayment in full for the infamous theft. (18 Dec 15)

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    College poly-sci students get chuckles from Dysfunctional Duo

    RANTS that Alfred&Vincent continue to be such a royal embarrassment, by drawing laughs from out of county political watchers
    and being critiqued in a regional college political science class as classic examples of how not to run a government entity.

    As per some of those readers, a recent Trib quote was noted to demonstrate how the two create such a farce of mismanagement
    of county government by coming to meetings ill prepared, failing pitifully to do their due diligence or even just think before they
    speak.

    RANTS that the Dysfunctional Duo once again spouted off irrational thoughts to the paper and used their warped sense of
    reasoning by jumping the gun to think aloud about wanting to implement an illegal bidding preference for the acquisition of  
    bidding contracts.  

    Drawing laughs was the plan the DD had to implement an illegal purchase plan to give local vendors -- i.e., likely their campaign
    contributors -- a contract when the bid is within 2 percent over the lowest price quoted.

    “I don't know if this is the parameters of the law, but we have a buy-local program... This is the county's version of buy-local,” as
    Vincent stated to the Trib.*

    This really got the future lawyers going.

    "Are they for real?" one student asked in email today after video of a meeting played in snippets to them.  

    Yes, unfortunately, future lawyers, they are far too real.  (17 Dec 15)

    * "Fayette to consider tourism grants to for-profit companies"


    Editor's Note: Video of the class watching the Fay meeting video and the discussion about the plan to implement the
    illegal practice is being obtained for airing here.
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    "Quotes Of The Day" or what's missing in the newspapers

    "So neither local newspaper today even bothered to mention that the near-million dollar contract given to Alfred's campaign
    contributor's company yesterday was an unsolicited, no-bid contract."
    Pete, today at the diner, shaking his head at the positive way the no-bid contract was presented in the papers

    "Zimmerlink did suggest to the small army of that company's staff in attendance that they should pull their proposal that Alfred
    received because County Code must be followed."
    Moi, in reply

    "So what do you think would have happened if Zimmerlink hadn't attended (Tuesday's regular county commissioner) the
    meeting?
    Dave

    "A resolution to buy 3 vehicles would have been approved with no vendor named. BHA staff's promotions and new salaries would
    have been incorrect. A FACT driver's new full time job would have been approved incorrectly for last year. A UMWA court
    appointed bargaining unit agreement would have also been approved for an incorrect year, instead of January 1,  2016. The $7
    million dollar TRAN note would have been approved without naming the bank. The Hotel Tax MOU would have been approved
    with incorrect wording. A resolution to consider approval of a public notice announcing a public hearing to inquire into the creation
    of a county sports exhibition authority would have been approved without mention that the notice already was advertised in the
    paper... just to name a few things."
    Moi, trying to recall everything while also glancing at an incoming email that left a lump in my throat and caused pauses in
    getting out those last few words, as they asked what's wrong

    An area toddler is critically ill in ICU and needs all of our prayers, positive energy and thoughts.

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    _
    Another day: 2 more meetings

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note that Alfred&Vincent are said to be expected to return to work -- for a rare two-consecutive
    day appearance at the courthouse -- to hold 2 meetings of the county's salary and prison boards.

    Expected are moves to approve other jobs for inner-office commissioner staff transfers to other departments. (16 Dec 15)

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    Alfred&Vincent thumb noses at county retirees, flip the
    bird to budget, County Code



    RANTS that 1 of them just didn't stay home today.

    Today's county commissioner meeting pitifully maintained status quo, with jam packed, incorrect agenda items and resolutions
    and plenty of eyes rolling in the audience, from people either indebted for their jobs or no-bid gift contracts to the departing lame
    duck dysfunctional duo.

    In a nutshell, a no-bid contract exceeding $800,000 was given to Alfred's political campaign contributors to take over the county's
    IT department. This follows the recent furlough of a county IT staff said to have a very good work record. When pressed to explain
    why this no-bid contract could not wait to be addressed to follow County Code to advertise for best price by the next board in 2
    weeks, the reasoning given was that a 14-year-old could hack into the county computer system any minute.

    Some emergency, eh?

    Also maintaining pathetic status quo were the blank stares and shrugged shoulder responses that neither Alfred&Vincent nor the
    chief clerk knew, when asked whether a cool half-million dollars in the 2015 budget ever was transferred to the county employee
    retirement accounts. Ditto were the status quo responses when asked if money is going into the retirement fund in the 2016
    county budget. Recall the saying, what have you done for me lately?

    RANTS that eyes continued to roll -- again as usual  -- as the minority commissioner had to correct the agenda resolutions and
    pull teeth to get answers to correct it, with Alfred&Vincent remaining mute during the tedious correction process.

    RANTS, then, that after all of the many revisions that required a clear head and a brain were completed and the agenda from
    there on out was cake, that Vincent sternly reminded the public just who's really in charge until the fourth day in January.


    On the other hand, RAVES that it could have been worse -- you know, that a guard could have hauled out a vocal octogenarian
    Obstructionist, who understands County Code obligations and First Amendment rights, and that a long-delayed $700 refund
    check to a winning zoning appeal Obstructionist couple, could have got lost in the mail.

    Instead, the check has to wait another few weeks because the county is frigging broke and can't write a simple check till the
    TRAN is completed. No kidding.  Had they been Alfred's supporters, that refund check would have been cut before the election.




    All that said, this column couldn't agree more with the director of the veterans department who said that the county should run as
    a business and has not. How could it under direction of Alfred&Vincent who spend like there's no tomorrow?

    Oh, and while someone's at it, can county professionals in 2016 be forced to show up for public meetings properly attired, with no
    fear of something falling out of their blouses?  

    If not, can someone on the 2016 board have a guard force a professional to cover up with a sheet of paper or one of those green
    campaign Tee shirts that so bothered Alfred&Vincent before the election? (15 Dec 15)


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    Milestone: Alfred&Vincent's final county meeting day is here!

    RAVES to saying that today, in all likelihood, marks the final monthly meeting of the current county board of commissioners. Two lame
    ducks have packed today's meeting agenda with a shameful no-bid contract over $800,000 for a county informational technology
    contract, extended a health care contract through 2019 and plan to implement a policy that limits competitive bidding, among other
    things.

    Summing it up, so eloquently, is a citizen who shared the below message this dawn's early light:

    "Quote Of The Morning"
    "Wonder when Al will establish his government in exile? Man it has been a long 4 years. Hope the next 4 are better for Fayette."
    Citizen, who in 2011 supported Al Ambrosini as the great hope for Fayette's economic recovery, but realized, as did many,
    just a few days after 2012 started, that he was conned into believing that Ambrosini was all he said he was in pre-election
    campaign... referring to leaders who must go into exile to continue ruling and plan one day, some day, to return to power
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    Who has been protected from prosecution?
    Will new DA ignore the sealed grand jury 5th Presentment?

    Exactly who is being protected by keeping the sealed grand jury 5th Presentment sealed this past year? The public that pays to
    fund grand juries, most certainly, deserves to know, but may never learn the answer to the question of who is being protected
    from prosecution unless the 5th Presentment is unsealed.

    As the Fayette Searchlight blog quoted below states, the current district attorney chose not to unseal the Presentment and chose
    consciously to keep the matters under wrap. When asked today whether the incoming new DA would be able to address the
    matter, the writer of Fayette Searchlight, Rob Frasconi, provided much helpful insight into the matter.




    "I think the technical answer to your question may hinge on whether the grand jury officially closes by the time DA-elect Bower
    assumes office," Frasconi said.

    "The jurors have been released, but the grand jury is still listed as active on its docket sheet due to the sealed 5th Presentment
    and the continuing prosecutions of Cheryl Lynn Bozek and George P. Bozek.

    If it officially closes, the question may be whether a DA has the power alone to open a Presentment from a closed grand jury, or
    whether that DA must petition the court to do so.

    "Of course, with the office of the district attorney being the primary law enforcement office in Pennsylvania counties, it has power
    to investigate almost anything it desires at any time. For example, suppose the grand jury officially closes. Upon being presented
    evidence of alleged wrongdoing and criminality involving the grand jury, DA Bower could then decide to use his office to
    investigate, and nothing could stop him from so doing.

    "In fact, DA Bower has the power to conduct an in-house investigation, or he could call for another grand jury any time he sees
    the need. In short, in Pennsylvania, the office of the district attorney has vast power," Frasconi said.



    In Pennsylvania, he said, citizens have the ability to bring criminal matters to the attention of the office of the district attorney via
    the Private Criminal Complaint procedure. See: http://web.co.lancaster.pa.us/518/Private-Criminal-Complaints.

    "The office of the district attorney must officially answer such complaints, for decisions by the office of the district attorney are not
    final, but subject to appeal to the Court of Common Pleas, which decisions are subject to appeal to the Pennsylvania
    Commonwealth Court, and so on up the line to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court," Frasconi added. (14 Dec 15)


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    "Quotes Of The Day"

    "The only comfort that Fayette County citizens can take from outgoing Fayette County District Attorney Jack R. Heneks, Jr., and
    his "management" of Fayette County Grand Jury No. 2 is that "outgoing" precedes the name of this dastardly and derelict DA.
    On January 4, 2016, at long last, the night of his terrible, tyrannical tenure as Fayette County district attorney will come to an end.
    Sic semper tyrannis"
    Fayette Searchlight, "Fayette County Grand Jury 5th Presentment Sealing Reaches 1 Year," referring to Heneks' failure to
    follow the recommendation of a Grand Jury, unseal the 5th Presentment and issue an indictment one year later in a series of
    DA actions and non actions that the blogger says are "high up on the list of the worst miscarriages of justice in the annals of
    Pennsylvania jurisprudence."
    RAVES to the bloggers who write what the fluff newspapers shamefully ignore.


    "...our healthcare consultant contract does not expire until December 2016, yet they extended it through 2019. They authorized
    payment to disputed consultant invoices amounting to more than $275,000. Some of their personnel decisions are set for litigation
    and appeals. They are set to restructure our IT department by entering into a no-bid five-year $840,000- plus contract. They are
    set to change the structure of our hotel tax ordinance, and they placed on the agenda a resolution which limits competitive
    bidding. In addition, numerous personnel decisions ranging from creating new positions, changing job descriptions, hirings,
    terminations and salary adjustments have been made."
    Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, "Lame Duck And Jail Repairs," about the actions and spending of the 2 lame duck
    commissioners and their refusal to follow recommendations in other counties that lame ducks do not lock the county into long-
    term contracts that will pose fiscal and possible legal problems for the next board of commissioners





    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Agenda for Alfred&Vincent's last county meeting

    Three days ago, the lame duck county commissioners added last minute items to commit the next 2 boards of county
    commissioners and taxpayers to no-bid sweet deals for political campaign contributors.

    While the back room politics ever stop in Fayette? Or will the next board in 2016 continue the sordid practice? RANTS to unbid
    contracts that give Fayette County a bad name and to county solicitors who just kick back and endorse the shenanigans.

    Meanwhile, none of them will be around to help play magician and pull out budget funds to cover their no-bid, 5-year business
    contracts.

    To review the agenda, please click on the above yellow link. (11 Dec 15)


    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Will Killinger have to write a 5th letter to the ed?

    Like Mick Jagger, RANTS that former county ad hoc jail committee architectural leader Jim Killinger has got no satisfaction after
    penning 4 letters to the editor of the local paper and making numerous phone calls, bothered by a certain white jeep parked in a
    no parking zone behind the county 911 building.

    Back on January 1, when most of us were relaxing and enjoying the day, Killinger wrote his first of 4 letters to the editor about it.
    In yesterday's letter, he relayed that the city was out of blank parking tickets when he reported that the jeep was parked illegally
    again in the spot at 10:30 PM on Saturday.

    While this column salutes the retired state trooper for his vigilance in this illegal parking issue, we here have to shake our heads
    wondering why he did not react similarly to other laws being broken -- i.e.,  when his little ad hoc committee continued to push for
    a no-bid $1.25 million land deal for a new jail, why he didn't perform a citizen's arrest when a commissioner attached the name of
    the county controller without her knowledge for an illegally published request for bids with the building trades, when one
    commissioner accused another of bid rigging in the construction project and why, o, why, he was not bothered to continue to meet
    in breach of the Sunshine Act for the non-advertised meetings of the jail ad hoc committee.

    The county jail crew could have long ago broken ground and could have been building their new jail in Dunbar Township if
    someone with a brain for laws, county codes or professional ethics had stepped up with similar respect for the law as he shows in
    this illegal parking situation. He may be right about the parking situation, but RANTS that a former officer missed the boat on other
    violations going on right under his nose that he could have stopped and didn't. (9 Dec 15)


    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    "Quotes Of The Day"

    "Did anyone guess December 7?"
    Pete, this evening at the diner, looking down the wager list at the guessed dates when the county jail warden's lawsuit against the
    jail doctor and some county officials and prison board members would come to light

    "Nope. But your wife selected December 5 as the day he might realize there might be a second vote in 2016 to fire him."
    Dave, double checking the list for accuracy, clarifying with Pete's wife that she hadn't meant to guess November 5 or the last
    election day

    "Did anyone guess that the warden would sue Vince Zapotosky and accuse Zap of gaining from kick backs if methadone had
    been dispensed at the jail?"
    Pete, reading the late afternoon news story* that provided no specifics on that piece of the suit, aloud wondering if the legal
    definition of the term used, "pecuniary gain," could possibly mean free drugs instead of monetary kickbacks


    * heraldstandard.com, "Fayette County Prison warden sues board members over suspension"
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    New media push for new jail overlooks Alfred's shadiness

    RANTS that a current media blitz series, pushing for an all-new county jail, continues to push without one word referencing
    community opposition to a $1.25 million no-bid land deal, breaches of the Sunshine Act and subsequent counter charges of $32+
    million construction contract bid rigging that 2 commissioners levied against each other, as critical factors that derailed last year's
    build on Dunbar Township pyrite.

    RANTS, as well, that the whole matter gets so unfairly reduced to a reader poll asking the county seat newspaper readers
    whether they believe a new jail is necessary. Oh, please! That type of stupidity implies that opposition to last year's no-bid project
    was completely comfortable with the current situation as is. Nothing could be more untrue.

    While newspapers and unions care less that bid rigging accusations by 2 commissioners stopped the Dunbar Township jail push
    last year, citizens do.

    Likewise, it's a bit too putrid a thought to still have the lame duck king of bid rigging and Sunshine violation controversy, Al
    Ambrosini, still featured as this current media blitz's poster child for a new jail. Nothing about planning a new jail is proper as long
    as he and his baggage have a hand in it. (7 Dec 15)
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Will corruption corrupt new media outlet in town?
    With the Trib-owned Connellsville Courier set to be taken over in buy-out to an out-of-state company, RAVES that
    there may be hope yet to have unbiased county reporting that does not cover up corruption in government services
    and funding.

    RAVES of hope, too, that we won't die of shock if that, indeed, comes to pass.

    Realistically speaking, however, one has to wonder if the area movers and shakers already have gone out of their
    way to court the new media outlet in an effort to make friends -- you know, the kind of helpful friends, who could spin
    the news and neglect to report all the facts that might indicate the true presence of vermin in the house.

    In other words, if staff from the new outlet is parked in a chair in a quiet public meeting, where one county
    commissioner accuses another commissioner of bid rigging, will the new media outlet in town do the right thing and
    report the accusation?

    Neither county paper did so, following an accusation from Vince Zapotosky that he knew prior to bidding which
    contractors would get a once-proposed $32 million dollar jail project that Zapotosky said was more like a cost of
    $40+ million in his estimation. That headline banner never was published by the Trib or Herald Standard, nor even
    casually mentioned in a meeting news report in either paper.

    Since both current county papers turned a deaf ear to the news in this and other cases, lets hope the new media
    steps up the game on corruption, gets Right To Know information, conducts investigative reporting, checks facts and
    lies and does not follow status quo of supporting corruption under the spin of calling it progress.

    RANTS that too few realize that all these grand juries would not have had to be convened to investigate corruption of
    all sorted kinds in Fayette would not have resulted, had the local media even tried to expose the truth when they so
    easily were handed it on a platter to report.  (6 Dec 15)

    ________________________________________________________

    Connellsville Light up night
    RAVES the a community, in such large numbers, went out to take in all the activities available across the city of Connellsville
    today to usher in the holiday season. That was fun! (5 Dec 15)  .
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Union comments tick off immigrant jail mason descendants
    RANTS that the poorly thought out recent tour of the county jail by politicians and the cheap shot media blitz that came to follow
    have come to royally pissed off so many of those largely Italian-American descendants and admirers of the 1800s-era area
    masons. Those mason immigrants mined, cleaned, transported, strategically positioned and joined together the layers of locally
    obtained quarry stone for the jail's outer walls and foundation, during the several years that the jail took to build.

    Some of those mason descendants and admirers of the 1800s-era masons, in fact, are so annoyed by the hoopla of the staged
    jail tour propaganda that the foundation of the jail is about to cave in and collapse the jail, that they -- over what might have
    seemed initially to have been too many beverages consumed -- submitted an alternative and, in their eyes, viable solution to all
    the problems. This column admits, even for us, that this idea seems to be even a bit too far fetched to take seriously.  

    "If everything inside the solid walls has been neglected, allowed to rot or deteriorate or is so antiquated, lets gut the old jail and
    move the outer walls to South Union Township where everyone seems to think the jail will be built."

    "Do you mean recycle the stone with new reassemble and new mortar on the land someplace else?" he was asked.

    "Yes," he said confidently.



    At this point, an inquiry seemed necessary to learn just how many beverages and of what proof alcohol were enjoyed, as well as
    confirmation of just how many years of experience in large stone structure demolition this group actually has.

    Ends up the descendants and admirers of the 1800s-era masons who built the county jail were not intoxicated and believe that it
    would make more sense, historically speaking, to gut the current jail, repair any weak stone mortar connections and add on out
    back.



    "But if the project kickbacks are better for the players on that new land, then they should gut the jail and move the outer walls to
    the South Union site," the one Italian American mason descendant said. Seriously, he appeared to be otherwise to be firmly
    planted and oriented to reality.

    "This artist's rendition of what the current jail will look like on the South Union site is beautiful!" he exclaimed, describing the
    finished structure that his great-great grandfathers worked so hard to build. His shared graphic and artist rendition of a proposed
    relocation of the historical jail appears to the right.

    What artist's rendition? Were they out with Neuman?




    When asked how they proposed to get around that pesty historical landmark requirement that does not allow for demolition, the
    spokesperson of the group shrugged his shoulders and said that the new jail supporters are declaring the building to be crumbling
    anyway. Why not reuse the stone that came from this area's quarries nearly 130 years ago, he asked.

    "The shakers and movers say the jail is collapsing and don't give a fungula if it falls into the courthouse or onto Penn Street
    anyway," he reasoned.

    There simply was no disputing his statement.




    "So you're all offended or angry that the union rep this week said the jail's foundation is crumbling?" I asked.

    "How can we not be? The other buildings that our ancestors built that were maintained are not crumbling," he answered.

    "They did good work back then that should have stood the test of time."  (5 Dec 15)

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Tuesday's agenda

    Please click here to review items up for grabs at Tuesday's agenda planning meeting to advance or not advance to the
    regular monthly business meeting of the Fayette County Commissioners on Tuesday, Dec. 15.  
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Saturday's Connellsville Christmas comes to town

    RAVES that Connellsville tomorrow will offer quite a bit of holiday cheer to kick off the Christmas season. Yough Park
    will be the setting for Christmas in the Park, from 1-4 PM, where children can be photographed with Santa and
    receive treats.

    In addition, the city Christmas parade is set to begin at 7 PM, as part of the Light Up Night celebration.

    Connellsville being Connellsville, it's almost a given that we in the surrounding township can plan on kicking back on
    the patio at some point to see impressive amateur fireworks being set off somewhere nearby, to top off the night. (4
    Dec 15)
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Editor's Note: Please see today's latest downtown electronic message on the right for what seems to be growing
    public opinion on yesterday's staged romp of officials through the county jail.  

    With snow flying today, better yet... please go visit the Fayette Street signs in person and support the brave local
    businesses displaying the ads. (3 Dec 15)  
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Did the township sup have it right?

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note of a flashback happening in the minds of voters today, returning to review a
    pre-election mailing from an incumbent township supervisor, informing voters in his district of behind the scenes antics,
    reportedly, of supporters still then pushing for an all new jail.

    Was the re-elected township supervisor correct with his mailed statement? With yesterday's rally and tour by a
    pictured official and a lame duck commissioner and the intense heat right now going on to push for a new jail, one
    almost has to believe that supervisor was dead on right.

    Confirmation of this accusation, naturally, cannot be made unless that particular site in South Union Township is pulled
    from a hat without bidding.  

    RAVES, too, to Neuman, for sending in his take on the South Union possibility. (3 Dec 15)
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Why didn't Crabtree et al screeeeam in 2013 to abandon ship?

    RANTS that so much structural foundation deterioration is said to have occurred at the Fayette County Prison just
    since the 2013 Crabtree study and other studies assessed the site's feasibility for upgrade.

    Given that 2013 private back room meetings with Al Ambrosini and a handful of even other professional consulting
    firms (as documented in previous Right to Know requests to obtain jail ad hoc work group committee reports) drew
    no red flags or outcry to abandon ship for fear of a crumbling jail building foundation or other at risk exterior walls, one
    is left puzzled today to phantom how so much structural doom and gloom could be predicted by a tour of elected
    officials and union reps -- or to account for why so much structural outer support wall and foundation stone is now
    shifted or crumbling.

    One would think -- don't you think? -- that 2013 professional opinion then should have been unanimous, across the
    board, to abandon the building pronto. That Crabtree did not note these structural problems is remarkable. That
    Crabtree and none of the firms used through back room meetings or formal assessment requests noted significant,
    dangerous risks of collapse, however, is noted here.  (3 Dec 15)


    Who pays for deliberately neglected water leaks?
    RANTS, too, that today's email inbox is full from readers and taxpayers who experienced traumatic shock from having
    undetected water pipe leaks until bills doubled or tripled, showing unusually high water consumption. None checking in
    can realistically imagine deliberately allowing water to run unchecked as it is running onto floors and down walls in the
    county lock up.

    RANTS, as well, that email is full from readers, who have had to shell out beau coup dollars for water leak-related
    structural damages in their homes, rentals and businesses. Those of us in these 2 category groups are outraged that
    taxpayers are left to foot the bill for wasted water leaks at the jail that should have been repaired pronto and then the
    repair of damages to walls, floors, ceilings or even roofs from neglected repair needs.

    All that said, this column stands firmly behind last night's opinion that heads should roll at the jail for wastefully
    allowing leaks to deteriorate public-owned property. RANTS that salaries aren't garnished for the waste and
    unnecessary cost to taxpayers.

    Yesterday's tour and doom and gloom opinion only further reinforces this column's belief that the county must
    upgrade, repair and maintain the building, as historical status of it does not allow the site to be torn down until it
    actually starts to cave in and fall down. That dismal prediction cannot be allowed to happen, with or without inmates
    and staff inside it. (3 Dec 15)


    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Wise inmate sums up the man-made jail mess

    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note of amazing coincidence today that toilets were disgustingly clogged, water
    pipes and sinks were leaking into an incredible mess and doors would not open, just as the union top guns and
    cameras toured the county jail and declared it to be a safety and health hazard.

    Summing it up nicely and wisely was an inmate, who on video filmed by heraldstandard.com stated that the water
    from a clogged sink in the next cell "just runs on the floor all day.

    "Maintenance still hasn't fixed it... I've been here 3 weeks. It has been like that."



    Like or unlike the unnamed source who definitely brings in deadly contraband narcotics into the jail -- i.e., walked in,
    and not passed magically through the thick stone walls, either -- it's all just another day of big mystery -- or not -- why
    maintenance has not fixed the clogs and leaks.

    As previously shown here with a photo sent our way, even a 10-year-old neglected, high tech jail cell with rust and
    peeled paint in Beaver County looks almost as bad as cells do in Fayette's 127-year-old neglected lock up.

    Heads should roll in both places for allowing county and public-owned property to deteriorate without upkeep. Period.  
    (2 Dec 15)

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    Slow day in Harrisburg?

    RAVES and welcome to the wave of Harrisburg IPs checking in today to catch up reading Rants&Raves, their
    forwarded links sent to an early November commentary piece, "How will Vicites and Lohr behave in meetings?" and
    something now 6 months old, "Even after Zap's claim of bid rigging? Have Zap and Al really made up?" and "Zap's
    county car."

    Thanks, Harrisburg, for killing a day with us. (1 Dec 15)
    ________________________________________________

    "Quotes Of The Day"
    "Have you guys learned for sure if we can still make fun of public figures slash elected, lame duck officials after
    they're out of office, for the things they did while in office?"
    Pete, to a law school student slash rocket scientist couple friends of his, earlier today, in the diner, as chatter
    centered on terror attacks the past 2 Fridays, the newspaper's story with 2 commissioners putting the county in great
    risk of a lawsuit from slammed designer professionals for damaging statements that contradicted previously made
    positive reviews of the same designer's work

    "I don't understand how a newspaper story on the shelved prison plan could be written without a reporter asking
    Ambrosini and Zapotosky why they accused each other of illegal bid rigging."
    Pete's brother, in for the holiday, returning a high five to their grandmother

    "I don't understand how 2 newspapers never reported that Zapotosky said in a public meeting that he was told who
    would get the construction contract for Ambrosini's proposed jail before a legal request for bids went out."
    Dave's wife, in response, adding that she hopes that the 2016 commissioners do not have Ambrosini be a consultant
    for the new jail

    "I would hope that it would be a unanimous no or a 2:1 vote against any lame duck accused of bid rigging to to do
    anything for the county after December 31, especially with the same project!"
    Pete's brother

    "The 2016 commissioners can't overlook the fact that the people Ambrosini called Morons in the paper today are way
    smarter that he is and would have completed zoning applications correctly."
    Dave, referring to Ambrosini's mistake-ridden application for zoning exceptions for his shelved Dunbar Township jail
    project and his $1.25 million dollar no-bid land deal

    "If they're honest, decent people, the 2016 commissioners won't ignore and forgive all the red flags that Ambrosini's
    particular plan draws."
    Pete's wife



    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Below is an often requested repeat from 2006, from a drive in the wee hours, slowly across the Lane Bane Bridge,
    where there was a hushed magical sight, only once a year. The many still burning luminary candles in the breathtaking
    view towards the right, the downtown and south side areas, and in the view straight, towards the north side and the
    castle, is simply remarkable among other goose bump moments.  


    Brownsville Light Up Night
    RAVES to Brownsville, PA, as you sparkle and shine with beauty each Friday after Thanksgiving, when volunteers
    place luminary candles on miles of your old streets throughout town that burn overnight. It's a great community
    tradition that brings people out and kids by the score to talk to Santa and get their treats.

    Long after other traditions on that night, such as the Charity Jam at the old Stanley, went by the wayside, your Light
    Up Night is one that even those of us who moved 25 miles away still drive through to see and experience goose
    bumps at your site. It's a magical night, old town, that used to be as hustle and bustle busy as you are on Light Up
    Night every weekend night.

    I see your downtown, now a virtual ghost town, and want to cry, because even I in my 40s remember it differently as
    the happening town my grandparents called home and I, too, called home for 23 years. On Light Up Night, I can
    almost still see my grandparents taking me to Naples Restaurant in the Square and other long ago gone places that I
    can't remember, in all your empty, boarded up buildings.

    Borough and county officials should all hang their heads for allowing Brownsville to die a slow death -- that can almost
    be forgiven, just this one night a year, on Light Up Night, the Friday after Thanksgiving, when Brownsville is still one of
    most beautiful places around. (27 Nov 15)
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Happy Thanksgiving Day
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Zap's fired, then rehired fiscal guru
    Talking out of both sides of his mouth?

    RAVES of chuckles -- though it really  is not a joking matter -- reading the morning paper quotes of newly re-hired fiscal guru Sam
    Lynch about the proposed 2016 county budget with a $2.4 million deficit. Lynch blames the shortfall on a bad 2015 budget, yet
    last year gave that same 2015 budget a thumbs up. Grand stand much?

    The budget proposed yesterday, hopefully, will be pared down prior to it being passed before 2015 ends.  The public, by County
    Code, has at least 20 days to review the proposed budget. RAVES if the proposed budget is placed on the county website so that
    more citizens can review it.


    ...oh, and what about Zap's mouth?
    RANTS, too, that Vince Zapotosky referred to citizens questioning the budget and their right to speak about it as "the peanut
    gallery."

    RAVES to the so-called Peanut Gallery. Citizens known for speaking out might sometimes be wrong, but RAAAAAVES that Fay
    has such devoted watchdogs. None deserved the "choir" crack shot from a former solicitor and none deserved Zapotosky's rant
    yesterday. The public has a right to review agenda items prior to a meeting and speak about them.  (24 Nov 15)

    ______________________________________________________________________________________________

    Chicago media acts as media should

    RAVES to the media of Chicago, for taking a denied Right To Know request for police dash cam video to court. After a $5 million
    settlement was made in the death of a man by a cop, media challenged the effort to keep the matter quiet. The video that all of us
    saw on international news feeds last night of the young man running, being shot while fleeing after attempting to break in cars,
    contradicts earlier statements about how the shooting death occurred. RANTS that the cop shot to kill and overkill with multiple
    shots as the young man fell to the ground. Cops such as the shooter and all the ones who tried to protect the shooter and hide
    the evidence give good cops a horribly bad name and make their jobs tougher to do. RAVES, again, to the media there for acting
    as media should. When media looks the other way, well, it results in places such as Fayette County, where corruption is protected
    and supported by the media. (24 Nov 15)   
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    RAVES that we're back home...

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    Why hijack a blogger’s web control panel?

    Not that ransom notes ever came in, mind you.

    The closest oddity received was a mouth dropping drive-by of an often-ranted, losing incumbent official, his ever devoted wife,
    and an even scarier looking second, dark-tinted window car behind them, all ignoring  signs clearly posted “Private Property,” “No
    Through Traffic: Private Road” and the traditional “No Trespassing” signs, last Sunday afternoon on their road trip here.

    With the deed of the control panel switcheroo dating the prior day, Saturday, nobody here implies that these visitors from their
    vehicles on Sunday actually took over any web control panel to block any revisions or additions to it from being published.

    It was, however, difficult to shake the first thought that came to mind -- i.e., that one could have imagined finding a dead duck
    carcass or some other type of calling card, had there been no witnesses to the Sunday drive through.

    Was it a twisted, little victory lap? Yes? No?

    One has to imagine, also, that if the driver of the red truck was able to read lips, looking back through his rear view mirror, he
    should have blushed.

    During a two-day planned down time period for this site’s web provider to upgrade and be outsourced now in almost entirety to
    another country, someone, reportedly, hacked into this website’s publishing control panel and assumed the role of site
    administrator.

    How dare the miserable SOB!

    Had to be a Rants&Raves website critics, right? Or maybe it was terrorists? Or how about an irate customer service rep in
    whatever country that  is, answering the web publisher’s calls these days?  How dare the SOB!

    How dare he!

    Now over a week or so later, there’s the submission of proof of domain ownership, domain purchase versus  review of the
    cowardly throw away phone IP that the apparent publishing wizard used to hack. At least that is the professional, unanimous
    opinion of a half-dozen techies who design, build and maintain websites for a living.  

    Hopefully, all that will be worked out before the web builder gets its act together to put correct links for migration to the new web
    publishing tools. Both factors brought this Facebook Rants&Raves to the web.

    As was the case of the politically connected campaign worker/county employee --  who a keen,  observant reader source here
    uncovered,  had authored an anonymous trash website to try to discredit a political challenger --  this site’s bungling hacker left a
    pretty large fingerprint on the transfer of administrator request and copyright fringe.

    In fact, the humor in the bungling makes the situation more bearable. More information on that may become available soon.

    Until the legalities are worked out, everyone affiliated with the writing, publication and management of this Rants&Raves column
    and this website

    wishes to thank everyone who has expressed concern or provided helpful information.

    Most of all, I truly must thank the culprit of the dirty deed from the bottom of my heart. Yes, that is correct.

    That someone went to so much trouble to try to pull the plug on this site means the world to us, especially me. That means this
    site rattles some who need to be rattled.

    We know that some elected and appointed officials are not used to being portrayed in media as liars and crooks, and that being
    labeled audacious, arrogant and stupid is offensive to some maladjusted egos.

    So be it! We call them as we see them, in meetings, conversations or drive bys. (22 Nov 15)


    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    Couldn't hurt: audit of elections?

    In a statement that he released about his request to the county election board to conduct an audit of the recent general election,
    Michael Cavanagh of Uniontown said, "An independent forensic audit would provide the public with peace of mind that everything
    was done properly.:

    In a letter to the editor that he sent to newpapers, he said that it is "well documented that the memory cards can be easily
    tampered with, especially the Hart Intercivic machines that Fayette County uses."

    While the temporary election board members agreed with Cavanagh that it was a good idea, nothing will be done before the
    election results are finalized in a few days. The board agreed to write a letter to the 2016 board of commissioners recommending
    that election audits be conducted to ensure accuracy and honestly of elections.

    "I am in no way saying that there is any problem with this election, I am saying that without an independent audit, the people will
    never know for sure that our voting process is above reproach,"
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________

    JAIL HOUSE ROCK: Pt 2

    RANTS that the saturation of television news today, focused on the county jailhouse mortar and stone issue, is sensationalized
    beyond reason.

    RANTS that nobody inside seems to have a clue as to when this supposed disturbance of mortar and stone actually occurred.
    Why not?

    When the county has time and money to waste 6 man power hours for staff to sit through county meetings without a purpose of
    their being there, it's a bit much that nobody county has had time to review jail surveillance video.

    Before jail administrators go on television news and state we need a new jail, jail administrators should have made time and
    manpower available to review surveillance video. Instead of preparing to watch a marathon of hundreds of hours of video, why
    hasn't it occurred to administrators to do some random checks? You know, lets try 2 PM last Wed., then go backwards or
    forwards in time and surveillance video, depending on when the first disturbance is noted.

    Jail staff should have been aware when this supposed disturbance of rock and mortar actually did occur. That was Tuesday when
    it was discovered. This is now Thursday. Absolutely no tapes have been reviewed yet? Come on!

    RANTS that this incident, more than ever, demonstrates clearly that close inmate supervision, maintenance and regular cleaning
    of the jail are not priorities.

    As shown below, in a photo sent from a Beaver County guard to Rants&Raves about 1 year ago, this cell in a 10-year-old high
    tech jail there appears as rusty and paint chip-ridden as does Fayette's 127-year-old lock up.

    Anyone believing that a new Fay jail, under current administration, would look any better than the below 10-year-old jail cell does,
    is about as goofy as it comes. (19 Nov 15)
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________

    JAIL HOUSE ROCK

    RANTS that someone on the inside was joined by someone on the outside of the county jail, trying to remove mortar from stone
    today.

    While it is believable -- i.e., given that inside some suicides tragically hung undetected for 30 minutes -- that an unsupervised
    inmate might have time to work at removing mortar with a spoon, it seems odd that someone on the outside could work at
    removing the mortar undetected.

    Whether this was a plan to move stone to escape or to tunnel a path for contraband remains to be seen, pending an investigation
    of the spoon digging.

    RAVES that video exists that should offer some insight into what happened and who is responsible. (17 Nov 15)
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Laskey suit gathering depositions

    Depositions from DEP, township supervisors, the Redevelopment Authority and others have been taken in the Laskey case
    recently. Readers here recall that Steve Laskey, who owns a restaurant machine supply company in the Mt. Braddock Industrial
    Park, made an emotional plea to the county commissioners to help him on 2-26-14 with frequent flooding and sewage back ups at
    his supposed industrial park-ready pod developed with public money. For background, please read, "Audacious Al's geo-technical
    wasteland survey RTK: Part I."


    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Duo's double standards?
    Zap a no show for county pension board meeting

    RANTS that retirees from the County of Fayette say that they previously were promised a cost of living pension adjustment, but
    yesterday, like the Rolling Stones, got no satisfaction.

    Nothing was agreed upon at Wednesday's county pension board meeting, as lame duck Vince Zapotosky did not attend and later
    by phone agreed with Al Ambrosini that the decision should be made by the next board of commissioners. Zapotosky, as per the
    source, previously had promised the retirees a COLA.

    "Ambrosini and Zapotosky on Tuesday moved forward with other issues that could have waited for the new commissioners to
    decide, but with our pension COLA the next day they have double standards!" the retiree exclaimed.

    As per the source, a couple dozen retirees attended the chaotic pension board meeting yesterday to meet about that COLA.

    "They spend, spend, spend, come to work for salary board meetings, but don't think enough of us, the retirees who worked hard
    for the county, to even show up and show up prepared for a reasonable pension discussion."

    Another retiree source questioned the priorities of the 2 lame ducks and wanted to bet lunch that both will attend a just scheduled
    salary board meeting tomorrow, Friday, at 10 AM in the commissioner's courthouse conference room.

    A two-fold bet, the source also wanted was to bet lunch that the dysfunctional lame duck duo tomorrow will take action to benefit
    select lame duck political supporters.

    Of course, there were no takers here for that bet. It's pretty much a given. (19 Nov 15)
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________

    More county lawsuits over Alfred and Vincent?

    With a few lawsuits already in the works and more about to hit the fan -- Steve Laskey from the Mt. Braddock Industrial Park, for
    instance -- RANTS that a contract was pulled earlier in the year, another awarded without bidding to political campaign
    contributors and the same campaign contributor's contract was expanded significantly today, again without bidding.

    RANTS that the words "against county code" meant nothing to 2 commissioners and a solicitor today. Amazing and disappointing
    RANTS galore, too, are noted that professionals in attendance, benefiting from county gaming funding for their businesses or
    departments, dared to comment to one another and to a commissioner-elect in attendance -- and, disappointingly, in agreement --
    that it was a waste of time to talk about following county codes.

    RANTS that those who should care about Fayette's Nam reputation as a cradle for corruption, apparently don't care to listen
    objectively to reason or even just read the frigging codes for themselves. (17 Nov 15)



    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Paris under attack

    RAVES of horror watching the terror unfold in Paris today and so many die horribly or become seriously injured.

    The video of Parisians singing their national anthem while filing out of a stadium under attack brought unforgettable, tearful
    memories to mind of Parisians weeping and singing "God Bless America," by candlelight on 9-11-01 for us.

    RAVES of thanks that a Pittsburgh native legal friend of this site, working now in corporate law out of Chicago and Paris, was not
    at home for his usual Friday night out in Paris seeing American bands, but instead had gone on to Amsterdam and was out of
    harm's way a day earlier.

    RAVES, too, that some of the French publishing crew friends of this website and fiction pieces we jointly publish also are
    physically fine after this latest terror attack in Paris.

    That 129 in Paris mercilessly were slaughtered and some of the hurt hundreds are critically injured must guarantee VIP tickets
    straight to Hell for the assassins. (13 Nov 15)
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Neuman's page updated
    Apologies, once again, to Neuman, for a publishing snafu that is now corrected. The highly requested photo or photo progression
    reprint is added to "The Adventures of Alfred and Vincent Part 14: Alfred and the Amazing Propoganda
    Machine."
    ________________________________________________________________________________
    RAVES of hope that former county commissioner and recent commissioner candidate Sean Cavanagh does not fade from the
    county government scene. Though it would have made more sense for voters to have given him a return to the county board of
    commissioners than it did newcomer Dave Lohr, who never bothered to read jail studies, county prison board meeting minutes,
    etc., it did not happen. Cavanagh's questioning of 2 commissioners over the gas lease at the park was amazing to watch. He,
    Vicities and Zimmerlink could have been a dream team of commissioners at a key time. Lets hope that Sean comes out to more
    meetings and continues to question what he thinks needs questioned.
     
    ________________________________________________
    Come again...
    What's the least Al coulda done???
    RAVES of chuckles reading quotes from today's Herald Standard article, "Commission chairman to maintain time limits for public
    comments" about yesterday's county agenda planning meeting. Seriously, the man doesn't know how funny he is.
    "We’re going to conduct the meetings in a very professional way,” the article quotes Al Ambrosini.
    “We will implement the resolutions that have already been passed, so the new board of commissioners will be able to have civil
    meetings, not the political pep rallies we’ve had to deal with over the past year... This is the least I can do as I leave office."

    No, the very least he could have done was get bids for $1.25 million land deals, not engage in bid rigging (as Vince Zapotosky
    accused him of doing), not pad the county payroll with umpteen new jobs for his friends, complete legal paperwork correctly and
    play by the rules and provisions of the county codes.

    At the least. (11 Nov 15)N
    ________________________________________________

    "Quote Of The Day"

    "If there is a moral to this story, perhaps it is to would be to not mess with the truth. It will prevail. The Amazing Propaganda
    Machine has a built in self destruct mode. It is set on the only setting that it has, the dial will not move from the “Truth” setting.
    Anyone care to guess when it will implode?"
    Neuman, exert from "The Adventures of Alfred and Vincent Part 14: Alfred and the Amazing Propaganda Machine"

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Today's county agenda meeting agenda copy       
    I
                      
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Zimmerlink clarifies hire of incoming controller-elect did not
    require commissioner approval

    Because the incoming controller elect is hired at the controller's office now in a different position other than controller, the county
    commissioners did not need to approve the hire. Thanks are extended to Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink for clarifying that fact
    this early morning here for readers. RAVES of hope that the hire was properly documented internally, however, and that there was
    a vacant position for which he was hired.   (10 Nov 15)  


    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Tongues wag with meeting decorum doom and gloom predictions

    RANTS that tongues wagging almost everywhere, unfortunately, seem to be more than just a tad too obsessed with wondering,
    unintelligently aloud, how the new board of commissioners will interact and behave. Please click here to read, "How will Vicites
    and Lohr behave in meetings?" (9 Nov 15)

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Who approved new county controller to start 8 weeks early?

    RANTS that a controller-elect actually started working 8 weeks early, without approval at a public meeting. The new incoming
    controller, somehow, received approval to start early on the county payroll. Sources confirmed that there was no unfortunate
    emergency situation in the controller's office, and that the acting controller was in control.

    Who approved this slick move in a private meeting?

    Is this why there was an unannounced reorganization of the county commission board 4 days ago? Will other row offices be next
    to bring in the 2016 staff early? Are swearing in ceremonies necessary? Not in Fayette!

    So much drama at such a small county courthouse while the Dysfunctional Duo of Ambrosini-Zapotosky remain in charge these
    final days!


    In an online comment to a Trib story, "Fayette controller-elect gets jump start in office," published early this evening about this
    matter, Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink stated that she became aware of the matter only by reading the newspaper story about
    it. She said that the incoming controller represented that department in a meeting with Ambrosini, Zapotosky, auditors, financial
    planner Sam Lynch of Susquehanna, with nobody from the county controller office being present.

    Does the instant hire of the incoming elected controller mean that the acting controller will instantly be downgraded in pay and
    status? How can this kind of thing happening 1 day after the last county commissioner's meeting -- without Ambrosini and
    Zapotosky informing the public or stating for a matter of record that this hire and meeting would happen within 24 hours -- not be
    anything but shameful. (9 Nov 15)

    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Grand jury wasn't 1st time true stories were told
    Citizens concerns blown off come back to bite the county
    with another Grand Jury investigation

    In light of a grand jury recently recommending criminal charges be filed against a fired county jail for a severe physical assault of
    an inmate,  RANTS that the county prison board didn't seem to react appropriately to and take concerns seriously enough,
    expressed multiple times over recent years, from jail advocates Kathryn and Bill Jones of Uniontown.

    Their son, Jonathan Jones, who ran for county commissioner as a write-in candidate, also has focused on inmate treatment at the
    county jail during public comment at meetings. RANTS, also, that former inmate Charles B., seems to have wasted his time and
    effort trying to plead a few years at public meetings  with county jail officials and commissioners to improve inmate treatment and
    care. Why were their concerns essentially ignored? We mean, why were their concerns ignored? We know certainly that
    Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink holds only 1 vote and it takes 2 for county votes and 3 for prison board votes, to change things.

    Except for those unfortunate realities, we mean, why didn't heads roll a few years sooner and why didn't the prison board take the
    Jones' concerns seriously and investigate to ensure that these people were just troublemakers before dismissing them?

    The Jones family, ends up, seems to have much correct, accurate information about jail problems that they have addressed to
    officials. These are people who took their concerns to proper officials and clearly stated problems and offered assistance to
    resolve issues at times.

    Could a Grand Jury have been avoided if the county officials stepped up to investigate the Jones' concerns? RANTS that we don't
    know how many more indictments will result or how high up the chain of commands indictments may unfold. Have we heard the
    extent of indictments or charges? If so, was the jury dismissed too soon?

    RAVES to advocates for reform and hopes that they continue to monitor activity at the county lock up. At times, they appear to be
    the only ones doing so. (9 Nov 15)
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Another drunk DA?

    RANTS if the county ends up with another drunkard district attorney. Why would an elected state official grab the finger of a drunk
    retired row officer accompanying the drunk incoming DA at a post election celebration? Apparently, the two drunk men were
    annoying party guests and behaving poorly, when the former row officer put his finger in the elected state official's finger. All were
    attending a party for a district magistrate candidate.

    Apparently, the retired drunk row officer fell over in the squabble. There's some squabble that the current DA hasn't charged the
    state official who pulled the drunk retired row officer's finger and other squabble that the drunk incoming DA did not insist that
    criminal charges be filed against the state official.

    No charges also are known to have been pressed against the retired row officer, said to have inappropriately touched a party
    guest before the state official pulled his finger.

    RANTS that nobody apparently has yet reported this incident to the cunning folks over at fayettetruth.com to investigate or feature.

    RANTS that citizens, who squabble with elected officials in public meetings for conducting improper business in private that
    should be public, are covered in the daily papers, yet elected and retired elected officials who behave poorly and ridiculously
    inappropriate get no press. (6 Nov 15)

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    "Quotes Of The Day"

    "So Gerrie did not call Alfred that name at the meeting? Then why is it in the paper that she did?"
    Pete, tonight at the diner, reacting to reading the online local newspaper in which a writer claims a citizen called a commissioner a
    jack***

    "There weren't that many people there. Nine people say they did not hear it. Yes, the paper needs to produce the audio or kill the
    comment from its online story tonight and not include it in the hard copy."
    Dave
    "
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Alfred, Vincent* slap Zimmerlink again, reinstate Alfred as chairman

    Without a public notice published in the papers that there would be a reorganization meeting of the board of county
    commissioners  -- and with the county solicitor being uncertain if it's legal to reorganize without a published notice of an intent to
    reorganize --  Alfred & Vincent pathetically soothed Alfred's shattered ego over losing re-election and reinstated Alfred again as
    chairman so he could hold and bang the gavel one or two more times.

    While Vincent said the reorganization was needed in case he gets sick again, Commissioner Angela ZImmerlink as vice chair
    could have chaired a meeting. Any rational person would so assume. Alfred & Vincent aren't rational, though.

    RANTS that the two men behaved so childishly about it and introduced another surprise, never-on-the-agenda-news -- i.e., that
    they signed an agreement September 21, 2015 to hire Sam Lynch from Susquehanna Group Advisors back and included it on the
    agenda today last minute to be ratified. Readers here recall Vincent going off last year because Lynch wouldn't return his calls
    and spoke only to Alfred.

    In other business, commissioners would not comment on the grand jury investigation of the jail staff but did approve the long-
    delayed fencing project for the inmates outdoor area to be built. Amen. (5 Nov 15)

    *with sincere apologies to Neuman... but I just cannot call them Commissioner anymore
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Complaints filed with Election Bureau

    To read 2 complaints filed with the county Election Bureau about voting irregularities or concerns from citizens, please click on to
    this link to Fayette Searchlight. (5 Nov 15)


    __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Commissioners to meet at 10 AM today

    The cancelled October 20th county meeting of county commissioners is rescheduled at 10 AM today, at an alternate site at the
    Uniontown City Hall.

    Will a quorum of commissioners appear to conduct business? Lets hope so because the county's gaming money and the outside
    jail fencing project need to proceed.

    The meeting is said to have the same agenda as the cancelled Oct 20th meeting.



    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Well-run county jails don't draw a Grand Jury, do they?

    RANTS that there would need to be a Grand Jury investigation over a witnessed and video-recorded physical assault 8 months
    ago of a county jail inmate by a county jail guard. Both area papers report that the March 20 beating and stomping of a shackled
    and cuffed inmate was witnessed by other jail staff who testified to the Grand Jury.

    County prison meeting minutes from a March 25 meeting make no mention of this incident, stating an executive session was to
    reverse a highly publicized, prior reprimand of a deputy warden. No county prison board meeting minutes since the March 25
    meeting have been published on the county's website to date.




    Reading both papers' account today of the Grand Jury recommending that criminal charges be brought against the former guard,
    one has to wonder why the Grand Jury had to be bothered at all about this matter. Why did it take a Grand Jury for action? Is the
    Grand Jury system working these recent years as an employment training or job coaching agency for the county's DA? Or, in all
    fairness to the DA, did the county fail to notify the police of the beating?  

    RANTS that it took 2 months after the attack for the guard to be fired and that charges were not filed. When did the prison board
    become aware of the March beating? When did the other guards report this beating? Did guards cooperate in reporting and the
    warden ignore the complaints? Did jail authorities ignore it? Did jail authorities stall or were the witnessing guards also negligent
    by not reporting or delaying? Why wasn't the guard fired until May 27?

    In early June, sources outside the courthouse reported being told by Commissioner Vince Zapotosky that a guard was fired for
    punching a cuffed inmate in the stomach. He, reportedly, was very angry over the matter and didn't appear to have been aware of
    it previously. That said, the DA, another prison board member, possibly might have been aware until late May when the guard
    was fired.



    Regardless of whatever the answer is to whichever option, RANTS that the county jail administration and county needs a frigging
    Grand Jury to recommend charges. This wasn't a beating in the middle of the night on Heroin Alley, where witnesses might be
    intimidated or running from the law themselves and opt to run.

    This beating of a cuffed and shackled pain in the butt inmate inside the county jail in March and delay in termination of the guard
    to late May is bad enough for prison administration. Given that 2 prison administrators during that period just had suspensions
    and reprimands for other things reversed, the Grand Jury probe into the matter should have the prison board convening a special
    meeting.

    That criminal charges were not pursued without a Grand Jury recommendation is quite troublesome. A Grand Jury investigation
    should be the very last thing that a well-run, small jail system should need. RANTS that Fayette's old county jail is not run well.
    Fayette's warden should know what goes on in his jail and should take immediate action when something so horrible happens.

    Video of the beating was shown to the Grand Jury prior to criminal charge recommendation being made. Surely, jail administrators
    must have pulled the video immediately upon learning of the beating to review what happened.





    RANTS that guards testifying to a Grand Jury usually means that administrators were properly informed of staff abuse and failed
    to act.

    While the previous and unrelated suspensions of the warden and deputy warden were reversed last spring, the warden's
    reprimand on May 28, 2014, for failing to report serious incidents from April 5, 2014, was not reversed.  (5 Nov 15)





    ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Votes:
    10,050  Vicites
      7,559  Ambrosini
     8,838  Zimmerlnk
     8,319  Lohr
     6,071  Cole
     6,097  Cavanagh
                      
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    GOP gains majority
    Voters send Ambrosini packing

    While Democrat challenger Vince Vicites received the most votes in yesterday's commissioners' race, Commissioner Angela
    Zimmerlink and Republican challenger Dave Lohr placed second and third to win seats to comprise the 2016 majority board of
    county commission.

    In spite of receiving what has become known as the kiss of political death -- i.e., the endorsement by the local paper -- Ambrosini
    and his history of lying and deceit brought him a 4th place, losing vote total.

    Ambrosini wasted over $3.5 million of public funds on a failed jail construction project and $1.25 million no-bid land deal, as
    readers here well know. He also did not report $34,000 in personal loans from what he claimed was debt from 2010-2011 until
    late 2014 on campaign expense reports and created several new county jobs for campaign supporters. In recent months,
    approved selective $4,000-5,000 raises for key county employees, including one employed as his assistant by day and political
    campaign staff outside the courthouse.

    Ambrosini also falsely touted claims that he created 100 new high paying jobs off Route 201. Towards the end of the campaign,
    he even falsely claimed to be running with Vicites as a team.



    RAVES to voters for showing up at the polls to make it happen. We sincerely wish that the next board  of county
    commissioners can back paddle and catch up to clean up Ambrosini's huge left mess downtown. While it would have benefitted
    the county to have had back challenger and former county commissioner Sean Cavanagh, the results are what they are and the 2
    seasoned vets, Zimmerlink and Vicites, will have to get Lohr up to speed.

    Although Lohr is a registered Republican, he did not receive an endorsement from the county GOP.  (4 Nov 15)


    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Voter intimidation claims at the polls?

    RANTS this Election Day that a few fairly reputable sources report attempts of ringside voter intimidation claims going on in the
    county. Voters from scattered precincts report heavier than usual numbers of voters casting ballots today.

    Reportedly, at least one person is said today to have filed a formal complaint at the county Election Bureau. Email is sent to the
    bureau to confirm or rule out that claim or learn more details if true. (3 Nov 15)
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________


                                                        Must Read "Quotes Of The Day"
    "The documents that exist were given to the RTK officer. Either she failed to give them to you or you just simply do not like what
    you were shown. The final statement was issued to OOR and you will be receiving the copy and if you do not like the true
    attested accurate information then file an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas and lets prove it in court. Lets get Al, Vince and
    staff on record under oath subject to perjury.  Just because you don’t like the answer does not mean I am withholding information
    and you statements otherwise will not go unchallenged by me. I do not put up with liars and people who slander me or are libelous
    on me. I may be an elected official but I do not and will not put up with it...

    "You have something to say stop hiding in letters to editors 2 days before an election. You have something to say where have you
    been at commissioner meetings. You do not like that Zapotosky jumped ship that is your problem and Ambrosini’s problem not
    mine. Not that it did any good anyway. Zapotosky Ambrosini had a political fight no doubt over kick backs, bid rigging, ethic issues
    etc they fought they made up so goes Fayette County’s political games of which you are a player."
    Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink, in an exert, responding on her blog to Jim Killinger, who foolishly posted a
    comment on her blog

    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    What didn't make the paper...

    RANTS that instead of clogging up newspaper space showing us that Slim didn't learn how to read yet and that it's OK to endorse
    political candidates who chronically lie, let out a construction contract for bid illegally and violate the Sunshine Law left and right...
    the local paper could have had us reading about Corporal Brandon Rumbaugh, a veteran who is setting up camp at Uniontown's
    Five Corners, in a tent for a month, to raise money for homeless veterans.

    Rumbaugh, who lost both legs in war, now works as a motivational speaker and helps raise funds to help veterans. Readers of
    this column remember Rumbaugh as the young vet who put a lump in our throats, as he spoke about his frustrating experience
    with the county services at a county commissioners' meeting in 2012.  

    RAVES to him to take up residence in a downtown tent for a month to raise money for such a worthy cause. Please go say hi. (2
    Nov 15)
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Neither a RANT nor a RAVE, but a note of reminder to vote tomorrow. Please read "Election in the air" before voting.

    RANTS, too, that "Election in the air" wasn't available very long before sources started to report that Al Ambrosini's latest lie was
    in flyers snail mailed to voters claiming that he and Democrat challenger Vince Vicites are running as a team. Vicites, reportedly,
    denied Ambrosini's false claim. (2 Nov 15)
____________________________
Thank you, voters of Fayette County!

__________________________________________________________________________

Electronic signs on Uniontown's Fayette Street
Above, is the artist's conception of what the current county lock up would look like if
moved to a South Union site rumored to be called home for the next county jail. The
idea comes from descendants and admirers of the 1800s-era mason immigrants,
largely of Italian-American descendant, who built the downtown historical jail.
__________________________________________________________________________________

Ambrosini ripped for his comments

Posted: Sunday, December 27, 2015 2:00 am  

Fayette County Commissioner Alfred Ambrosini was quoted in your Dec. 15 edition as stating that there is
a “lack of functionality” in the Fayette County Controller’s office, and that “It has been in disarray since the
departure of Sean Lally.”

These statements require a response. Mr. Lally resigned the position of controller in May 2014 and was
succeeded by his Chief Deputy, Jeanine Wrona, who took on the duties of acting controller. Mrs. Wrona
had over 30 years experience in the controller’s office, having performed every job therein.

During her tenure as chief deputy, she was responsible for the daily operations and functionality of the
controller’s office, and she performed the duties of controller during the frequent absences of Mr. Lally.
Her breadth of knowledge and experience in the financial operations of Fayette County government
cannot be disputed.

During her tenure as acting county controller, Mrs. Wrona worked diligently, above and beyond the call of
duty, to provide for the requirements of the controller’s office. This included extended workdays and
weekends. The office continued to be well-run, and at no time did it suffer in functionality in any way. Bills
were paid, payroll was processed, taxes were received and disbursed, internal audits were performed, and
accounting was maintained. Under Mrs. Wrona’s leadership the staff worked together to do more with less.

During my own tenure as her acting chief deputy, I also continued to perform the duties of the county’s
sole internal a uditor, a task formerly assigned to two full-time auditors. I moved on to a career advancing
position on Aug. 3 and Mrs. Wrona retired on Sept. 3. The audit was in process at that time and was not
due until Sept. 30. Mr. Ambrosini’s comments appear to be politically motivated to bolster the perception of
the dubious need for his “financial consultant.'' Mr. Ambrosini’s claims of “lack of functionality” and
“disarray” in the controller’s office are patently false, unsubstantiated by the facts, and constitute slander
and defamation of character not only of Mrs. Wrona, but also of those of us who were privileged to work
under her leadership.

Eric Blanda

Smock
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