Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dee Deakos- The Taxpayers' Demagogue Part 1

The roll of honor consists of the names who have squared their conduct by ideals of duty- Woodrow Wilson

Men walk among their peers who judge them by their actions, not their words. Sometimes the actions are so loud the public can't hear what one is saying.

In the case of Dee Deakos it is time that the public examines her record to see if she justly deserves the title "taxpayer advocate".

Recently Ms. Deakos attacked Hazleton City Authority Board Member John Keegan over his abstention from voting on Resolution 26 of May 24, 2011 where money was being transferred from PNC Bank to Landmark Bank. She tried to insuate with her questioning that the reason Mr. Keegan was abstaining was because he was hiding some financial gain. Anyone with common sense would know that if there was a possible financial gain Mr. Keegan would have to abstain and that would be a legal action. How does one abstain to "hide" financial gain? An abstention is the duty of the board member in that case.

Mr. Keegan refused to answer her question because his potential conflict of interest has been published in the Standard Speaker no less than three times. December 24, 2010, December 26, 2010, and July 26, 2010 The last article is the one that caused the confusion with Deakos since it incorrectly mentions that Mr. Keegan was a member of the Board of Directors of the Bank. However, as one can see the subsequent articles adequately cleared up that mistake.

Properly, Mr. Keegan and the board's solicitor, Attorney Peter O'Donnell told Ms. Deakos that she could avail herself of the Open Records provisions and make a Right to Know request to see the documents that would answer her question.

However, Ms. Deakos was not satisfied with trying to follow the law. She approached the board with the matter again at the next meeting. Her false allegations made the press in this article that appeared in the Hazleton Standard Speaker.

Ms. Deakos is summarized asking making this statement by reporter Sam Galski.

Deakos, however, asked why Keegan couldn't provide a reason publicly if he wasn't realizing any financial gain. It is published in the newspaper no less than three times yet she said he didn't state his reason publically? Even if Mr. Keegan would have realized a financial gain due to the transaction he abstained which is the proper thing to do.

What the public should ask Ms. Deakos is why she didn't question the other board members who DID vote to secure the loans from the bank. She was told that no less than three banks were approached for the first loan by the HCA manager and CPA. Not one board member was involved in the process. In the case of the second loan even more were given the opportunity to submit a proposal.

The State Ethics Commission concerns itself when a board member uses his or her position for financial gain, NOT when he/she abstains from voting to prevent the conflict from influencing the outcome.

Mr. Keegan told Ms. Deakos his abstention was not for conflict of interest on Resolution 36, therefore, needed no explanation. He also reiterated that every time he felt he had a conflict of interest he followed the law and submitted in writing that he had a conflict.

What Ms. Deakos didn't tell the public was her involvement on prior occassions with the board trying to secure financial gain for herself by soliciting the board for no-bid work. The following observation by reporter Sam Galski was made in This article that appeared on December 9, 2010 in the Standard Speaker.

Audience member Dee Deakos, who offered to merge the city and authority data bases through her firm, Pharmahouse, estimates that the process could take about a month.

That action wouldn't be her last approach to the board. After a board meeting she approached four of the five members of the board to discuss her proposal. By doing so she may have inadvertently caused the board members to face the accusation of an illegal board meeting in violation of the Sunshine Act. Ms. Deakos's actions went unnoticed until now.

The public trust falls prey when the end game is the "booty" to be had.

It is a shame that the Hazleton Taxpayers Association doesn't have a code of ethics that forbids any member from seeking financial gain from boards, commissions, and councils for which it claims to be a "watchdog" over. Of course it remains to be seen if that organization is still meeting on a regular basis.

Part 2 HUD installment

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