A pair of Johnstown City Council members missed Wednesday’s meeting due to illness and two others left minutes after it began, creating the lack of a quorum that left 26 voting items, including one calling for the termination of the city manager, unresolved.
The Rev. Sylvia King and Dave Vitovich provided prior notice they would not attend.
Then, during roll call, Jack Williams reported that he and Charlene Stanton planned to leave, which would result in the seven-member council lacking the four members present needed to conduct business.
Solicitor Elizabeth Benjamin suggested altering the agenda to go with “ordinances for final read and items for which we had public hearings, and then perhaps the authorization for grant applications that may have timeliness elements” first.
Williams and Stanton called for proceeding as normal with the city manager’s, solicitor’s and engineer’s reports, but Mayor Frank Janakovic, Deputy Mayor Marie Mock and Ricky Britt opposed. A motion was then made to first jump to the legislative part of the agenda, which Britt, Mock and Janakovic supported, since they felt those matters were more important than the reports.
Stanton and Williams did not vote on the matter and left the meeting.
“They didn’t want to follow the order of the agenda and that was the solicitor report, city manager report, engineering report,” Stanton said.
“There are some very interesting items that I wanted to bring up. The city of Johnstown is in violation of numerous items and I wanted to get that out to the public and also to the news media.”
Williams said he wanted all members present to consider the subjects, including the resolution concerning Hayfield’s employment.
Removing the city manager would require five votes. None of the other council members have publicly supported getting rid of Hayfield.
“We have issues with sewer, issues with the termination of the city manager, which requires five votes for any action,” Williams said. “I’m sorry that someone’s sick.”
Williams and Stanton contend that Hayfield violated the Home Rule Charter numerous times, including by allowing line item expenditure accounts to enter into deficit balances, making improper funds transfers, failing to conduct a required inventory of city-owned property by a March 30 deadline, not properly collecting parking fines, failing to provide supporting documentation for positions in the Department of Community and Economic Development and not having an agreement/contract in place for the purchase of a John Deere 850K crawler.
“Nothing happened, so there’s nothing to say,” Hayfield said about the matter.
Mock, Janakovic and Britt felt Williams and Stanton wanted to have the city manager report first so they could attack Hayfield and then depart.
“What they wanted to do was waste time with George and everybody else and then say, ‘We’re leaving,’ " Janakovic said. “They had no intention on voting on anything.”
While gesturing toward Hayfield, Britt said, “I’ll tell you what the problem was, they wanted to shoot at him. That was all planned.”
Williams has missed some recent meetings due to illness.
“If Mr. Williams was sick, we can understand it,” Janakovic said. “I’ve got no reason why Councilwoman Stanton was leaving.”
Mock added: “I don’t know why she threw a hissy fit and stormed out of here. My goodness. We’re here to conduct business.”
Janakovic called it “showboating.”
Along with the resolution about Hayfield’s employment, the agenda included items dealing with using Urban Development Action Grant Program funds for blight removal, development of a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance zone, the ongoing citywide sewer remediation project, resolving issues with the 2018 budget, the municipality’s vacant property ordinance, adopting an official banner for Johnstown and transferring a liquor license to the Sheetz convenience store on Haynes Street.
But none of those matters were discussed before the meeting was adjourned after approximately 15 minutes.
“It’s a shame that the city of Johnstown can’t get no service out of these people that are elected to serve the city,” Britt said. “These childish acts, that was all pre-planned. That’s a shame.”
No date was immediately selected to hold the rescheduled monthly meeting.