VANDALISM? CORRUPTION? HAVE NO WHERE ELSE TO TURN? NO STORY TOO BIG OR SMALL THE OSN WILL INVESTIGATE! Please email news tips to Hildelysiak@gmail.com
By Hilde Kate Lysiak
The Selinsgrove Borough has made the decision to continue funding for Dauntless Hook & Ladder Fire company despite revelations that several members of the company broke the law.
Following the revelations, the Selinsgrove borough office had told the Orange Street News it hadn’t made a decision on whether it would continue funding the volunteer fire department. However, recently Borough Officials have come to the decision that the funding will continue.
“We have no reason to (pull the funding,)” Paul Williams, the Borough Manager, told the OSN.
After seeing the same report Penn Township decided to withhold nearly $80,000 in donated funds until they see a full financial statement, sources told the OSN.
The report by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale found that the fire company “did not comply with state laws, contracts, bylaws, and the receipt of state aid and the relief association funds,” from January 1, 2013- until December 31st 2016.
According to the report, the rule breaking include:
– Inadequate Relief Association Bylaws
– Failure To Adhere To Relief Association Bylaws
– Inadequate Minutes Of Meetings And Approvals Of Financial- Related Business Of The Relief Association
– Insufficient Surety (Fidelity) Bond Coverage
– Failure To Disclose Related Party Transaction
The OSN has asked for an on the record interview with DH&L and is still waiting for statement from the fire company to get both sides of the story.
After the OSN broke the story, DH&L Fire Company Chief Brandon Ulrich told the OSN that the information should have never gone public. “This is a internal investigation that should never have been leaked out and will be handled accordingly.”
Despite the funding, the company isn’t out of trouble.
Soon after the OSN exclusively reported that laws were broken many fire fighters went on strike hoping that it would lead to a change in management.
Only two firefighters from DH &L showed up to a fire on April 29th at Burns Tae Kwon. The Fire had to be put out by neighboring firefighters from Hummels Wharf, Shamokin Dam, Kratzerville, Middleburg, Sunbury, Northumberland and Kreamer.
Sources told told the Orange Street News that firefighters care deeply about Selinsgrove, but feel like they have no choice if they want change.
“They are on strike until there is change. These are firefighters who care so much about the community but they don’t know how else to get anyone’s attention. It sick what has been happening. Their leadership is corrupt. They won’t go to work until there [are] changes at the top,” a source told the OSN.
“We essentially don’t have a fire company right now. When a matter of seconds can be difference between life and death, this puts our whole community at risk. And having to depend on our neighboring fire companies does just that,” added the source.
DH and L Firefighter Sean Christine stood up before the Borough Council meeting last month representing the DHL Fire Company Relief Association and gave a passionate speech spelling out the corruption in shocking detail and discussing the need for change which included:
“President Dawayne Betzer said he couldn’t find the meeting minutes but he wanted to let everyone know that the minutes were made up anyway. He went on to elaborate that he had fabricated the minutes for several relief association meetings because no meetings were actually held.”
Alleges that “falsified official documents of spending of close to a quarter million of dollars without approval.”
He was told by DH&L leaders that “if you think that was the only law broken here your kidding yourself.”
Leaders “made a motion to remove the entire board of directors that had been investigating the matter,” and got the vote through by “stacking the deck.”
Warns that ” system that with entrenched leadership that discourages transparency, retaliates against discipline, has fiduciary responsibility over 100,000s of dollars with insufficient oversight is a potential recipe for disaster.”
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