MOUNT POCONO — Two consecutive meetings of the Borough Council have been canceled, apparently by interim Mayor Michael Penn, with the only explanation being a lack of a quorum.

The July 19 and August 2 meetings were canceled. The July meeting was canceled within an hour or so of the Borough Manager’s distribution of the meeting packet and agenda; the August 2 meeting was canceled a full week before the meeting.

Two members have understandable and tragic reasons to be absent. Council President Fran O’Boyle’s wife recently died, and Ron Emilie is undergoing treatment for cancer (we only reveal this because the mayor publicly disclosed it on Facebook).

However, business can be accomplished with only four members of the council.

“Myself, Stacy [Stewart-Keeler], and Aida [Montanez] were prepared to attend the work session on July 19th, and were told the rest of the council would not be in attendance,” council member Claudette Williams told us. Williams went on to say she was told the other council members would be there for the July meeting.

Montanez confirmed Williams’ statement and said that her request for information about who cannot attend was ignored.

“I was elected to a position that requires my attendance at two monthly meetings. I was available for the [July] meeting and am still available for this upcoming [August 2] meeting,” Montanez said in an email to The Boro & Towne News. “I only recently received an email stating the meeting was canceled due to a lack of a quorum and I replied requesting who was unable to attend the meeting. My email did not receive a response. Maybe you’ll get answers before I do.”

We didn’t. Council members Patricia Bucco refused to respond and Tom Neville ignored our request to say if they were available for either meeting. Only one of them would have been needed to allow the borough to do business.

Asked who canceled the meetings, Williams said, “Mike Penn. He texted Stacy about the cancellation of the meeting without notifying me or Aida.” Penn denies canceling them. The emails and text we saw appear to coincide with Williams’ statement.

Williams also suggested that Bucco and Neville stayed away because Penn was fearful that he would not be able to control the majority of the votes at the meeting. “I don’t think that the government should be run on a personal agenda and schedule.”

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