The officer in charge of the Honesdale Borough Police Department has filed a private criminal complaint against each member of the Honesdale Borough council.
The complaints allege the members violated the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act. In addition, the complaint contends the members violated state statute 4904, "Unsworn falsification to authorities," which is a criminal violation.
The complaint was filed Tuesday in Wayne County by Sgt. Ron Kominski, who has been running the police department for the past couple of months following the resignation of former chief Joe LoBasso.
Attorney Mike Lehutsky said it was his understanding the cases will be handled in the court of Magistrate Bonnie Carney.
The complaints were filed individually against council members F.J. Monghan (president), James Brennan (vice-president), Scott Smith, Juanita Pisano, Bob Jennings, Harry DeVrieze and Sam Mikulak.
The complaint stems from the Aug. 12 meeting of the borough council which involved an executive session with local Magistrate Ted Mikulak, brother of councilman Sam Mikulak who was just recently seated on the council.
According to the complaint, it alleges that Judge Mikulak was a member of the gallery and "near the conclusion of the meeting an executive session was called for the announced purpose of discussion (of) one personnel matter and the borough police contract negotiations."
It states that Kominski left the meeting at that time.
It says the council, along with Mayor Ed Langendoerfer and solicitor Rich Henry, "convened in executive session."
The complaint says that once in executive session, Monaghan "produced a letter dated August 12, 2013, signed by Ted Mikulak."
It says that Monaghan "proceeded to read the letter" to the other council members.
The letter, according to the criminal complaint, read in part, "I respectfully request a place on this evening's agenda (executive session) with regard to the conduct of Officer Kominski in a matter that occurred today. His actions were tortious and mirror activities involving other officers as well as in the recent past."
Page 2 of 3 - The complaint says that at no time prior to this was Kominski notified of the magistrate's complaint, given an opportunity to address the complaint or provided an top for public discussion of the issue.
The state's open meetings law do specify that if personnel matters are to be discussed, those involved have to be notified in advance and also have the option to have the discussions in a public forum.
In a recent interview with this newspaper, Komiski said he would have requested an open meeting.
According to the complaint filed by Kominski, after the letter was read, a "discussion began among the council members related to Kominski's conduct."
It further states that Mayor Langendoerfer "objected to the discussion as improper and in violation of the Open Meetings Law, but the discussion continued."
It alleges that council members "allowed Magisterial Judge Mikulak into the executive session to address his complaint. Mikulak addressed the council members and voiced numerous complaints against Officer In Charge Ronald Kominski and the Honesdale Borough Police."
It further states that Langendoerfer "repeatedly objected to Mikulak's presence and the discussion of his complaints as violative of the Open Meetings Law. Nonetheless, the discussion continued with all council members present ... without objecting to the discussion occurring in executive session."
It says following the discussion, the council then proceeded with discussion of contract negotiation, which"had been identified in the meeting agenda as the stated purpose of the executive session."
The complaint says that is in violation of the state's Sunshine Act.
Violation of the state's Sunshine Act can carry a fine of up to $100 per person. In addition, a provision in the act does allow the plaintiff to collect reasonable attorney's fees.
Further, the complaint alleges the council members violated criminal code entitled "Unsworn falsification to authorities."
That code reads:
Page 3 of 3 - § 4904. Unsworn falsification to authorities.
(a) In general.--A person commits a misdemeanor of the second degree if, with intent to mislead a public servant in performing his official function, he:
(1) makes any written false statement which he does not believe to be true;
(2) submits or invites reliance on any writing which he knows to be forged, altered or otherwise lacking in authenticity; or
(3) submits or invites reliance on any sample, specimen, map, boundary mark, or other object which he knows to be false.
(b) Statements "under penalty"--A person commits a misdemeanor of the third degree if he makes a written false statement which he does not believe to be true, on or pursuant to a form bearing notice, authorized by law, to the effect that false statements made therein are punishable.
(c) Perjury provisions applicable.--Section 4902(c) through (f) of this title (relating to perjury) applies to this section.
(d) Penalty--In addition to any other penalty that may be imposed, a person convicted under this section shall be sentenced to pay a fine of at least $1,000.
(Nov. 29, 2006, P.L.1481, No.168, eff. 60 days)