Letter: Commissioners hiding anti-union legal, consultant costs

To The Editor,

Letters1The Chester County Commissioners do not believe they are accountable to County taxpayers. The County is currently embroiled in a labor dispute with the employees at the Department of Human Services. On numerous occasions the Commissioners have refused to disclose how much taxpayer money they are paying the anti-union attorneys and consultants they have hired to assist them in this dispute.

Commissioner Ryan Costello has admitted publicly that the County has hired Buchanan Ingersoll Rooney, PC and Peter List of Kulture, LLC. However, when questioned in a public meeting, the Commissioner refused to reveal the cost of these services. Their failure to be accountable to taxpayers doesn’t end there. I personally filed right-to-know requests on 3/18/13 and 3/26/13 asking the County to provide copies of any contracts and itemized expenses related to the firm of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, PC including the services of David Hackett, and of Peter List of Kulture, LLC.

The County’s reply on 4/3/13 included the contract with David Hackett of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, PC. His contract, signed by the Commissioners, prices Mr. Hackett’s services at a cost of $350/per hour. This is a hefty fee to avoid fair compensation for County employees. The reply also indicated that the county does not have any contract with Peter List of Kulture, LLC.

The County requested a 30-day extension to determine the costs and itemized expenses of David Hackett and/or Peter List. A timeframe that would fall past the April 11, 2013 DHS vote to unionize.

Presumably, Buchanan Ingersoll has hired Mr. List on the County’s behalf. Although Mr. List operates in complete secrecy, you cannot contact him except via email, a 2011 article quotes the price for Mr. List’s services at $2,500 per day for “consulting” on a similar project in Florida.

What are the county commissioners hiding? if the County is willing to pay between $2,500-$2,800 per day to keep the workers from unionizing, wouldn’t they be better served to just incorporate that money into the workers’ salaries? Is this what we stand for in Chester County?

When all is said and done, Chester Countians will see that the County did not pursue the fiscally responsible course in this matter. It is time for the County Commissioners to stop hiding and start being accountable. Whatever happens with the DHS union vote on April 11th, we, as taxpayers and voters, must take a serious look at who our elected leaders truly serve.

Samuel C. Stretton,

West Chester

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One Comment

  1. Can anyone trust Sam Stretton? says:

    Trust Sam Stretton?…sounds like he will say anything…

    “Zagorskie said that when interviewed by county detectives, Stretton had provided only secondhand information and had declined to name his sources.

    Sarcione said the entire episode could have been avoided had Stretton quietly gone to state or federal authorities if he did not trust the District Attorney’s Office.

    “Instead, he chose to gather whatever political publicity he could generate without any evidence to support his claims,” Sarcione said.”

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