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Accountability is needed

To the Editor,

Mr. Joe DiBartolomeo resigned for the second time his tenure as city manager. During his remarks the majority of council walked out, most of whom had once thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Apparently, the council and the city manager have been at logger-heads for quite sometime with Mr. DiBartolomeo now calling for an investigation into the misuse of council executive sessions, using Brickstreet for workman’s comp for five years without exploring other options, and some local officials holding dual government positions.

In small town America, there is the tendency to conduct ‘the peoples’ business’ the good-ole-boy way, especially when department heads and council members are at the helm too long. Mr. DiBartolomeo is a lawyer and knows the rules. And the first rule in any endeavor — is to know the rules!

I would like Mr. DiBartolomeo to add a few more items to his investigative list for public transparency and accountability.

1. How ethical is it for the director of the BDC to obtain government grants to clean up local sites, transfer the properties to Frontier and wind up on Frontier’s payroll being a pitchman to the city?

2. What is the ethics of council saddling Weirton’s citizens with $40 million of debt to double water and sewage capacity for “economic development” which will enrich Frontier who holds the reclaimed industrial sites?

3. How is it that for a quarter of a century the city contracts only Thrasher Engineering to perform our engineering needs?

4. Who was responsible for signing the contract for a $5,000 feasiblity study to build a conference center in Weirton that stipulated the results of the study could not be disclosed?!

5. Where does all the fracking waste water that is being transported by tankers around the clock down Freedom Way and transfered to storage tanks in a facility next to our water treatment plant wind up?

It is sweet some Weirton politicians have sugar plum dreams for our town. But redeveloping Weirton by reindustrializing with petrochemicals enriches a few while exposing our community to tons of a cocktail of toxic air polluting chemicals year round. We already have more than enough toxicity emanating from the coke plant in Follansbee.

I am happy someone in the know is now on board to hold local government accountable. Heaven knows, I have tried over the years — in vain!

Blaise Hogan

Weirton

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