October 29th, 2005

Curse leads Throop Borough council president to quit


THROOP — A cursing incident prior to a council meeting led Daryl Menichetti to step down from her position as council president Friday.

“It was a decision I had been thinking about for a while, probably since the beginning of September,” said Ms. Menichetti, who will remain on council until her term ends Jan. 1. “I tried to see it through but after last night I decided it’s not in my best interest to stay.”

The cursing issue — discussed in a closed-door session Thursday prior to the regularly scheduled meeting — was aired in public by Ms. Menichetti, who accused Borough Manager Robert Hegedus of cursing at her.

Ms. Menichetti said Friday evening she grew tired of the lack of respect during meetings among council members, and the argument with the borough manager helped her decide to give up the presidency.

Ms. Menichetti said another factor is that the borough’s finances are in “a state of chaos.” She said bills and loan payments are overdue and key employees are being denied credit to conduct borough business.

“I don’t feel comfortable signing checks when I can’t account for anything,” she said. “I don’t see any bills being paid.”

Efforts to reach Mr. Hegedus were not successful Friday.

But after Thursday’s Borough Council meeting, he said he “mumbled” an obscenity at Ms. Menichetti after she burst into his office in the afternoon, accusing him of stealing petty cash from the borough office.

“She showed up, throwing papers around saying, ‘What’s this? What’s that?’ ” he said. “She continued to belittle me after I told her to stop.”

Borough Council voted 4-3 late Thursday night to issue the embattled borough manager a written warning.

Council members Cindy Johnson, Susan Shortz and George Marushock, along with the president, voted yes to the reprimand against Mr. Hegedus. Councilmen James Barnick, Thomas Lukasewicz and Joe Barone voted against it.

It came at the tail end of a nearly-five-hour meeting at the Throop borough building.

Mr. Hegedus said he plans to contact his attorney to see if the action is legal, being that he wasn’t given a hearing on the matter.

Since he started on Sept. 9, Mr. Hegedus’ tenure as top administrator in his hometown as been rather tumultuous. He resigned on Sept. 16, but came back three days later.

About a week later, Council voted 3-0 to accept his resignation anyway. However, Mr. Hegedus remains on the job, while Ms. Menichetti awaits an opinion from the borough solicitor on whether Mr. Hegedus is still an employee.

Ms. Menichetti has publicly criticized Mr. Hegedus, accusing him of mismanaging borough funds.

Contact the writer: mkemeny@timesshamrock.com

This is a follow-up to Quit1, Quit2, and Quit3. I’ve been waiting to hear more on the Hegedus drama for a month, now.

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