Milford Borough adopts code of conduct, Councilman Cooney says it’s ‘a way to keep me quiet’

Milford. The council says the code will protect the borough from lawsuits, and that officials should abide by the same standards that apply to borough employees.

| 29 Oct 2021 | 06:39

The Milford Borough Council adopted a code of conduct for officials, with member Pete Cooney giving the dissenting vote.

Councilman Joe Dooley read the code aloud at the council’s Oct. 19 meeting. He said it will help the borough avoid lawsuits and also reflects the same standards that borough employees must abide by. Mayor Sean Strub said the code gives liability protection to the borough.

Borough solicitor Anthony Magnotta said the code is good to go, and complies with the law. He compared it to sunshine laws that make official actions transparent to the public. The oath of office is another important and binding statement made by borough officials, he said.

“To me it’s a waste of time,” said Cooney, adding that no other of the surrounding municipalities have such a thing. “Oh, this is a way to keep me quiet.”

He said he wasn’t going to “throw it in with this garbage.”

“The board doesn’t want any opposition at all,” he said. “The board wants total control. And they want to quiet me on every issue when they don’t agree with me. There is no reason to try to control the borough council elected officials’ thoughts.”

Dooley disagrees. “No one is being targeted,” he said. “We are not gagging. We are not controlling with respect to thoughts or opinions. We want the best from everyone. If someone does slander us, we want those who don’t countenance that type of conduct. We have an established baseline for proper interaction with everyone. This includes every committee of the council. This includes abusive language and inappropriate threatening conduct.”

He said the board appreciates differing points of view.

“I don’t want to hear about someone attacking someone else,” Dooley said. “We want to protect the taxpayers from any litigation fostered by inappropriate conduct by elected or appointed officials. We are not stifling appropriate conduct. We want differences of opinion to be expressed in appropriate language and conduct. It’s not about any one person. It’s about members of the council and appointed officials. We have a code of conduct for employees of the borough, so why shouldn’t we have one for elected and appointed officials? We should be held to at least the same standards as our employees.”

Cameras: The council approved Maria Farrell’s plans to place two cameras at Ann Street Park and two cameras at the Catherine Street ballfield for a total cost of $9,076, to be taken from the parks and recreation budget. One Stop Electronics will be doing the work. Cameras at the Harford and Broad intersection will be discussed after the borough gets recommendations from its traffic study.
Ann Street Park: The parks and recreation department received a $2,500 grant from the Recreation Technical Assistance Program to do a phased update of Ann Street Park. Farrell and her team will work with Brian Snyder, Pike County community planner, who will help get additional grants once a plan is drafted.
Inspections: Most of the recommendations from the playground inspections are now available. Some structural changes will be addressed with the park upgrades once a plan is in place.
Garbage receptacles: The Milford Enhancement Committee, in conjunction with the Garden Club, is looking at improving the look of the garbage receptacles along borough streets. Members are working with Architectural Iron in Milford to come up with an aesthetically appealing design that will also reduce the illegal dumping of trash. The council approved Architectural Iron moving forward with fundraising efforts and hopes to approve the design once it is completed. Sixteen locations were identified as possible places for the receptacles. The council agreed to start with six receptacles along Harford and Broad.
Grants: Borough president Frank Tarquinio announced one grant for Biddis Park and Vets Park foundational fixups. One grant from the Greater Pike Foundation will repair the monument to Judge Biddis in Biddis Park, where gravel will be replaced on its pathways. The Vets Park foundation will also get a foundational fixup.
“No one is being targeted. We are not gagging. We are not controlling with respect to thoughts or opinions. We want the best from everyone.” Councilman Joe Dooley