Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Supporters of Fired Naturalist Speak at Commissioners Meeting for Third Week in a Row

At the outset of the meeting, the Commissioners held a moment of silence in memory of former County Commissioner Paul Paes, who, Commissioner Chair Dennis Stuckey related, passed away on January 19th in his home. Paes served as a Commissioner from March 1973 to January 1976.

During public comment at the Wednesday morning session, Debra Scoen Lower Windsor Township in York County said, "I'm disappointed to see that Lancaster County has posted a vacancy for a Park Naturalist, presumably to replace Lisa Sanchez, and I'm very disappointed that five weeks after Lisa Sanchez was fired, no one has contacted Lisa Sanchez to hear her side of the story except for one meeting with her supervisor, who had already demonstrated his disrespect for her by dismantling her classroom."

"Lisa has declined to speak to the press, but she will speak to you," Scoen continued.

Commissioner Scott Martin said, "I would just like to say that I find it quite admirable to see so many people coming in and taking it as their civic duty to speak up and although we can't talk about anything that has to do with this issue, we truly appreciate your voices of concern."

Commissioner Craig Lehman, the lone Democrat on the board, said, "I would only add that it's a difficult situation for us because we cannot respond...I just want you to know that we respect what you all have to say and we are listening."

Tim Scoen of Lower Windsor Township responded, "I know you heard what we said. What we want to know is, will you personally take action on this issue?"

Lehman, appearing impatient, said, " I guess I would ask if you could give us the courtesy of giving us the benefit of the doubt, maybe, if that's possible....I think it's important for us as a Board and also for employees to know that when it comes to these types of issues, that the only responsible choice to have respects for all partied, is to do what we're trying to do, at the same time being respectful to you all - and maybe that isn't a good system - but if I have to take a hit from you all because of what I think is being respectful to all parties, I will do that.

Martin and Lehman said that they were surprised and disappointed to see that an advertisement has been posted for a new Park Naturalist.

Bill Bonanno of Rapho Township suggested that the Commissioners remove the job posting.

Just before adjourning, Commissioner Chair Dennis Stuckey said, "We'll look into that."