Sitting Fayette County Commissioners Vince Vicites and Dave Lohr believe they are exempt from questions from citizens. For his part, Commissioner Lohr apologized to the citizen. However, in a retaliatory action, a political minion was called upon to sign his name to a derogatory letter to the editor with disparaging remarks against the citizen and they even included me. Go figure. Though I did not have anything to do with the matter politicians use their minions to attack me and I am not even running for re-election. They certainly must be concerned with their own re-elections.
Rather than me explain what occurred read Melany Chrash’s letter to editor. She is a resident of Fayette County, a voter, a taxpayer, an elected GOP state committee person (she holds the female seat while Lohr holds the male seat). Her comment/questions concerned the state mandate for new voting systems.
In response a political minion, Gene Hajek of McClellandtown, was called upon to sign his name to a letter in response. This political minion has served on Fayette County’s Tax Assessment Appeals Board since 2016. To date he received $3,800 tax dollars for his service. He has worked on Vince Vicites’ campaign in the past and no doubt will do so this election. I choose not to reprint Hajek’s letter because it is rude and filled with false statements.
People of Fayette County need to wake up …By Melany Chrash 2/19/19
I had the opportunity to attend the Fayette County Commissioners agenda meeting last Tuesday. This does not happen often with my work schedule as these meetings are always scheduled for 10 am during the week. I find it interesting that one commissioner has a difficult time with punctuality; in fact, he was almost 15 minutes late! I have heard this is a common occurrence for Commissioner Vince Vicites.
Our county commissioners have a significant amount of federal, state and county tax dollars to spend on projects and services. At this meeting, they authorized proposals for the Fayette County Redevelopment Authority, a Fayette County Athletic Complex Project, the Adult Probation Office, Behavioral Health Administration, Children and Youth Services, Election Bureau, a number of new hires, Planning, Zoning & Community Development, Public Works and Recycling/Storm Water Management. They announced board appointments will be made to the Zoning Hearing Board, Assessment Appeals Board and a census committee. These boards, authorities and committees exert a significant amount of control and regulations relating to our quality of life. It is sad to say that I was the only citizen in the room.
For my part I had a specific concern: What were the commissioners doing about the mandate from the Governor’s office regarding the purchase of new voting machines? There was much explanation on the part of the commissioners. The only commissioner who appeared to know the specifics of the mandate was Angela Zimmerlink. The other commissioners openly argued with her on the facts, which I later verified with the election office and that Zimmerlink was indeed correct, despite Vicites noting he “had the memory of an elephant” even though his memory of the facts were incorrect.
Vicites does not want to purchase new machines until he knows how much the governor will reimburse the counties for the machines. This does not make sense to me because “reimbursement” occurs after a purchase and this mandate requires the purchase. I prefer my commissioners to make decisions based on accurate facts and not the inaccurate. They could have easily verified this information by asking the election office which is right next door. In fact, they just had to open the door and get clarification, but would not do it despite Zimmerlink requesting this.
I noted that other counties had indeed already purchased voting machines because it has been strongly recommended that these new machines be implemented by November 2019 to help assure the public of the integrity of the vote and work out any bugs in the new system before a 2020 presidential election. It has been noted by state leaders that to delay would be a grave mistake and irresponsible. Commissioner Dave Lohr noted that he thought it would be better to work out the bugs and try out the new machines for the 2020 election because there would be less candidates. Lohr and Vicites are concerned that there are too many candidates on the ballot in this “off year” election (2019) and that would compromise the vote.
In my opinion, the number of candidates is not the issue, it is the number of people using the machines, having mishaps with the mechanics and creating long lines and ultimately disenfranchising voters. Smaller number of voters show up for the midterm elections. And yes, I understand that these two commissioners are on the ballot this time around. I think their primary concern is that they do not want to be the “guinea pigs” for the new machines. If the election board chooses wisely, will that even be a valid concern? Erie County just last week had the certified vendors demonstrate the choices for new voting machines and thousands of citizens showed up for the demonstrations. Why are we so far behind? I raised this concern because I do not want Fayette County to be the Broward County of Pennsylvania. When I continued to raise the issue of statistics, I was summarily shutdown by Lohr noting, “this is just a waste of time.” He assured me this was not a personal insult, but I do believe my question to be valid and timely and not a waste of time. How much longer are we going to wait?
When Zimmerlink attempted to come to my defense, Vicites, inaccurately noted that Zimmerlink waited to the last minute to purchase our current machines back in 2006. Vicites refused to be corrected on the matter and the meeting was adjourned. All this was very disturbing. WE THE PEOPLE need to be heard. Attend the meetings! They work for us! Meetings are the 3rd Thursday of the month, 10 a.m. (or when they show up) in the 911 building.