Council will look to the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs (PSAB) for a list of potential firms available to do such an audit, at which time each will be contacted.

By: Lauren Fitzsimons

Quakertown Borough Council voted unanimously, April 5, to obtain price quotes for an audit of borough operations, including evaluations and subsequent recommendations regarding the future employment of Borough Manager David Woglom and Borough Solicitor Charles Fonzone.

Council will look to the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs (PSAB) for a list of potential firms available to do such an audit, at which time each will be contacted.

The decision came in the form of a motion last Wednesday, made by President Dennis Hallman, following a discussion of the recent lapse in bidding procedures for Premark 20/20 Plus, a heat-sensitive tape used on speed humps installed on Mill Street.

The issue, as reported in The Free Press by reporter Toni Becker and columnist Richard Woldow, though not on the agenda, was addressed under the approval of vouchers.

"Council will be issuing a memo to all departments reinforcing instructions that all transactions must follow the borough code from here on in," Hallman said.

"And that is concerning the check for $8,166.38 to Flint Trading Inc."

The borough is required, for purchases of $4,000 to $10,000, to obtain at least three phone quotes.

In this case, Woglom contacted only Flint Trading Inc., a manufacturer of the material.

Hallman, who admitted to the borough's "mistake," read two after-the-fact bids taken by Woglom from retailers U.S. Municipal Supply Inc. of King of Prussia and Reliable Sign and Striping in Slatington for $8,953.96.

Seeing that this is not the first time borough policies have been violated, or the actions of the borough manager questioned, Councilman David Wilsey voiced apprehension.

"I have a great and increasing concern over how we are doing business daily in the borough," Wilsey said. "We've made a couple other mistakes with the Sunshine Law we talked about publicly before."

That said, Wilsey motioned to have an audit of operations performed by an outside entity.

"I think the audit should include a review of our borough manager's performance, as well as our solicitor's," Wilsey added. "The final report should include an assessment of our compliance with all laws governing borough operations, as well as recommendations pertaining to our future employment of our manager and our solicitor."

The motion was seconded by Councilman David Zaiser.

Zaiser said the audit must be done because, "I feel that we are losing the faith of our electors-the people who put their trust in us to do the right thing."

While Vice President L. James Roberts agreed that something must be done, he did not believe that the action taken needed to be so drastic.

So, before a vote could be taken on Wilsey's motion, Roberts made a substitute motion to merely meet with Woglom and Fonzone in executive session.

"As a council, let's meet with these men and talk about these issues very particularly. And out of that meeting may come a further desire to do what you're saying officially," Roberts said to Wilsey.

But when the vote was taken, Roberts' motion was defeated 3-3, inferring others felt more decisive action was in order returning the focus to the original motion for an audit.

However, further discussion revealed questions regarding the price of such an audit.

Councilman Donald Rosenberger cautioned an audit could be "extremely expensive."

"What you're suggesting," Rosenberger told Wilsey, "could account for a quarter of a million dollars.

"I would be more comfortable," he continued, "voting on a motion to pursue a review or an audit, to scope it out first, to approve getting the information together, so we can sit here at the next meeting or two meetings down the road with a proposal before we lock ourselves in and say that we are going to do an audit."

In response, Wilsey said he would be willing to amend his motion to prevent a $250,000 expense, but that his motion was intended to commit council to an audit.

Wilsey's motion was defeated 2-4.

Finally, with the dialogue coming to an end, Hallman asked for additional motions on the matter.

Hearing none, Hallman said, "I will make the motion that we contact PSAB and find out what firms do these types of audits, and contact those firms and ask for price quotations to do an audit of our operations, procedures, and we'll go from there."

The motion was seconded by Zaiser and passed by a 6-0 vote.

Lauren Fitzsimons is a freelance writer for The Free Press.

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