As many of your readers will now know, I filed a motion for declaratory judgment against some of my fellow Council members for a violation of the Sunshine Act in June. These 6 council members, who are led behind the scenes by the GOP, had illegally engaged the Upper Darby Township council in a baseless lawsuit against the administration. He illegally violated the Sunshine Act because they did so without a public vote. Contrary to their stated justification, you cannot enter into litigation by inference.
Nearly two months later, at our August 17, 2022 Board meeting, President Burke acknowledged their unlawful act by seeking ratification of the Board’s actions against the administration. Unsurprisingly, that action passed with the same GOP-led 6-5 vote. Supposed “Democrat” Matt Silva even acknowledged his GOP allegiance by calling Council Democrats “the other side.” As this motion has now been ratified and this specific violation of the Sunshine Act has finally been corrected, I have now agreed to withdraw my complaint.
Councilwoman Wagner’s (R-1st arrondissement) repeated rage and outbursts during the meeting when I mentioned their correction shows how embarrassed they are to have to admit they got it wrong (again). However, I am encouraged that my colleagues have finally acknowledged their violation of the law. Apparently, this was done at the request of their lawyer, Mr. Christopher Boggs. Mr. Boggs has already publicly admitted that he informed the 6 of their likely violation of the law on or before June 7 of this year (more than 2 months ago) and called their defense “weak”. While the GOP-led team was careful with its wording, Wednesday night should be seen as nothing less than an admission of guilt, as actions speak louder than words. Additionally, on Wednesday night, they also attempted to introduce a petty motion that was not only illegal, but actually violated the Constitution of Pennsylvania. I find it concerning that the same council members who criticize our township attorney for not trusting his advice are also ignoring or circumventing the advice of the person they hired to replace him.
Some of my fellow Council members are so obsessed with finding any new “evidence” in an effort to salvage whatever credibility they once had that they would literally break the law to do so. Meanwhile, the slim majority has still failed to allocate even a single dollar from ARPA, and while parts of the funding have moved forward, bonuses for our township workers and support essential to our small businesses and non-profit organizations are still being held hostage.
While I’m glad the GOP-led team finally did the right thing on this case, it shouldn’t have taken a trial and two months of wringing their hands to do it — especially when their own lawyer had already told them that their case was weak. They say sunlight is the best disinfectant – maybe that’s why the GOP Upper Darby keeps violating the Sunshine Act.
Councilman Andrew Hayman