Former Upland Borough Council President Ed Mitchell will receive the 2016 A.C. Scales Award from the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs (PSAB) at its annual conference banquet next week in Hershey.
In a letter notifying him, PSAB President Jack J. Lawyer said Mitchell was “selected” to get the honor as commendation “for your outstanding public service.”
In an email to The Spirit, Mitchell said he was “proud to receive (it) and, in short, I’m honored to be a councilman. “
Word of the award was good news for the borough that has had its share of controversy over the past few months including a promise by District Attorney Jack Whelan to look for “irregularities” in borough government. An issue involving former Upland Police Chief Nelson Ocasio is still unresolved.
But Mitchell, who has served 17 years on Council, eight as president before being replaced by Vice President Christine Peterson in an unexpected move earlier this year, and many years on the Chester-Upland School Board, remains confident about governance of the community under his watch.
An analysis of spending on the borough-owned Reece Center, for example, over a period between February 2013 and February 2014 that was obtained by The Spirit, shows a total of $324,563.00 was spent on the old armory in which 50 percent of the revenue was generated from a March 2012 resolution that was passed to allow Council to continue collecting “a Parking Tax on the employees of the Crozer Medical Center.”
In the passed resolution, signed-off by Mayor Mike Ciach, a vocal Council critic of late, the funds from the Parking Tax would be halved for “the Reese Center Project” and the remaining 50 perent would be allocated to the “Netherleigh Carriage House Project.” The resolution also reads, “Council places a growing and continuing importance on the ‘Reese Center Project’ (the Armory); and…Council also recognizes the importance to the community of the developing project activities planned for the ‘Netherleigh Carriage House Project’.”
In addition, The Spirit also learned that Mitchell established the equivalent of a borough savings account with the Pennsylvania Legal Government Investment Trust (PLGIT) with a Consolidated Special Parking Revenue Account that showed a balance of $551,248.92. Money from that account was used to finance many of the Reece Center initiatives, such as various security upgrades, paid to Logan Technology, thus saving taxpayers from needing to raise more money.
In recent months, Whelan started looking into potential “irregularities” as they may relate to Upland borough government.
Some of the complaints were prompted by Ciach and incidents involved Peterson, the current Borough Council president, and Ocasio remains suspended.
But of all the transactions of government, Mitchell said his administration ran a clean ship, he’s got the paperwork to prove it and the PSAB award apparently agrees.