To the editor: It has been a quiet 2 3/4 years since Vinny Clausi filed a lawsuit against Joseph Jones, Michael Boris and your writer. At my counsel's request, I remained silent, keeping my opinions and observations to myself. During that time, I have watched the current commissioners' management of Northumberland County fall further and further down into mediocrity from the wonderful job Jim Kelley, Chap Lewis and Cal Wolfberg did while I worked for the county.

On July 24, I represented Monte Peters, the eight-year head of the Northumberland County Planning Commission, at a hearing wherein he was removed from the commission for unexpressed political, not performance-related, issues. We requested tabling of the hearing until the Point Township paperwork issues were resolved. Although the Point Township DCED loan issues were favorably resolved with no money due from the Township to DCED, this was the excuse Commissioners Clausi and Stephen Bridy used to remove Mr. Peters, who coincidentally serves as a Point Township supervisor where Commissioner Richard Shoch is solicitor.

After Mr. Clausi berated Mr. Peters that July day, I asked Mr. Clausi if he intended to resign when it came out that he had failed to properly oversee the management of $200,000 DCED funds. I asked if he was going to pay back that money when DCED came calling. His response was, "that's not why we're here!" I'm asking the question again, is Mr. Clausi going to resign now that this is why we're here?

I was taught to question things that don't make sense. It is apparent that Mr. Shoch had a similar upbringing. On Dec. 1, he brought to the attention of the taxpayers the costs of the decisions and management by Commissioner Clausi. Commissioner Clausi called a press conference, which was to be held in the commissioners' meeting room on Wednesday to respond to Shoch's allegations.

Mr. Clausi handed out a prepared "written response," which he did not share with the members of the public who were present.

Mr. Clausi said "I could read this but it would take a long time." As an interested taxpayer, I asked Mr. Clausi, "Would you please read the response to us?" (In my opinion, if Clausi knew what he wrote, it should take no time at all to read.) Mr. Clausi ignored my request. He waited for the press to read whatever was typed on his behalf before he began to briefly address the first issue, the DCED money that taxpayers of Northumberland County may have to pay back because of his lack of oversight.

Mr. Clausi told the press that he refused to sign the DCED grant because it was to benefit the "banks," not the taxpayers. He also said the DCED paperwork did not explain how the money was to be used. Curiously, I happened to have a copy of the July 21, 2009 resolution passed and signed by Clausi to obtain funds through the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). I read the minutes and no dissent was expressed by Mr. Clausi or any other member of the board.

I asked Mr. Clausi if he had read the DCED documents. He gave no response. Rarely can anyone obtain money from the state without an expressed purpose and with very specific requirements laid out for proving the requisite use of those funds. I asked Mr. Clausi if he understood the DCED loan requirements. He gave no response. I then asked the question that has been long overdue..."Mr. Clausi do you read and write the English language?" He stood up, made an inaudible response, then looked at me and loudly said, "You can go to hell!" Then Clausi made some derogatory reference to my lineage involving an insult to my mother. Mr. Clausi stormed out of the room into the planning commission room, into which I was not welcome to observe his further prepared remarks.

I am seriously concerned with the quality of Mr. Clausi's leadership skills and abilities. He acts no better than any other school yard bully. He avoids the people he cannot intimidate or hold influence over.

I am in no way suggesting that Mr. Clausi is not intelligent. He knows numbers. However, Mr. Clausi appears to have problems understanding the words that go with the numbers. The question the taxpayers in Northumberland County should be asking themselves is, "Is Commissioner Clausi smarter than a fifth-grader?" My opinion is, maybe not. After all, most fifth-graders have no difficulty with math word problems.

Considering all the jobs that have been eliminated from the county, maybe the position that needs to be eliminated is whoever has to read and explain things to Mr. Clausi to permit him to function as a commissioner.

It is my opinion that it will take divine intervention to help us if Mr. Clausi has to make a decision based upon his own reading concerning the serious county issues that will present themselves over the next several years.

Sincerely,

Gregory A. Stuck

Northumberland