Video Here: Heated exchange over public meeting tapes
SUNBURY — “This is a circus.” That was overheard Tuesday by a member of the public sitting through the Northumberland County Commissioner meeting. It was in the midst of a heated exchange between Commissioners Vinny Clausi and Rick Shoch. The topic was the deletion of the past 15 years worth of tapes from Northumberland County Commissioner meetings. Upon seeing that the topic would be on Tuesday’s agenda, Shoch filed a standard right-to-know request to get copies of all audio recordings from the public commissioners’ meetings from January 1, 1997 to February 28, 2013.
Shoch says he was not confident in having the tapes destroyed and wanted to make a copy before they were. Clausi says there is 760 hours worth of tape and to have an outside firm do the copies, it would cost $56,000. Clausi then recommended Shoch copy the tapes himself, with his own time and money. Clausi then brought up boxes and boxes of the tapes and told Shoch to take them. A heated argument ensued, which led to accusations being made by Clausi that Shoch only comes to the meetings to make trouble. Shoch says it is not his mouth getting people in trouble, implying that Clausi was to blame.
Commissioner Stephen Bridy says destruction of the tapes is the best practice to county taxpayers. He says not destroying the tapes opens up the county to litigation.
In the end, a motion was passed that, going forward, all public meeting tapes would be destroyed after the minutes of the meeting were adopted. Clausi and Bridy voted in favor. Shoch voted against. (Jillian Lewis)
Watch video of the exchange here: