Montgomery County Commissioner Bruce Castor says Chairman Jim Matthews and Vice Chairman Joe Hoeffel did violate the state Open Meetings Law, or Sunshine Law, with breakfast meetings they held over a period of more than two years at two East Norriton restaurants. He says a newspaper reporter caught them and wrote a story about it, which may not be a big deal by itself, but it says a lot about the way they conduct county business.
“I know as a fact that this is the way they operate the government.”
He says he can make a stronger case on a meeting they held with American Revolution Center Chairman of the Board Jerry Lenfest, who sent Castor a letter about it.
“Hoeffel and Matthews met with Lenfest on a matter of county business that was pending before the county board two doors down from me while I was there and never said anything to me about it. Now, you don’t have to be a constitutional scholar to realize I’m one of the people that the voters elected to be involved in making important government decisions, so I called Lenfest and asked him, ‘What’s going on?’ He said, ‘I can’t believe it. I walked in and thought I was going to be meeting with the three commissioners and there were just the two of you there. I knew that was wrong, so I so I sent you a letter to make sure that you were in the loop.’”
He says it’s just one example of two elected officials meeting routinely outside of public view and discussing county business while excluding the third commissioner. He says they are power-hungry and arrogant.
“These two think that with their two votes they can do anything they want. They think that they can pass a law which tells the other elected officials what to do. They think that they can pass a law and a set of policies that can control the activities of the DA’s office. Understand the DA has the power to investigate the commissioners. If the commissioners had the power to tell her employees what to do, that would be insulating themselves from potential criminal investigation.”
Castor says the breakfast meetings might not be too serious, but when they try to take control of the DA’s office, that’s about as serious a problem as you can have in county government.