Pipe Calls on Solicitor to Resign

BELLEFONTE - Centre County Commissioner Michael Pipe released the transcript of his statement from the August 11, 2015, Board of Commissioners meeting calling on the County's Solicitor to resign:

"I’d like to start by sharing some questions Centre County citizens have asked me as I attend events and travel throughout the county.

'Where do we go from here?'  'What does the end of this mess look like?'  'Will people go to jail?'  'Can someone get a fair trial in Centre County?'  'How do I know who’s right and who’s wrong?'

"First, I tell them that the alleged actions of one or two individuals should not tarnish the reputation of the entire criminal justice system.  Rather, there are scores of dedicated public servants who devote their lives to working in our County’s criminal justice system.  Second, I advise them that we must have patience for the proper authorities to conduct the necessary investigations into the allegations and produce their findings. Lastly, once the conclusions are made public we must move forward and if necessary hold people accountable.

"As we all know, on Friday, July 31st, six months after the allegation of forgery against Centre County’s District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, the Grand Jury released its report. In the report, the Grand Jury stated that “the evidence does not support charging” the District Attorney.  Whether you agree or disagree with the Grand Jury’s findings, it is the final say in this matter.

"To truly move forward from this episode, this Board of Commissioners must recognize that when allegations were brought to light, we were given bad legal advice on how to proceed.

"At our public meeting on Tuesday, January 20th we were told that there was not another investigation into the matter.  We have since learned through the Grand Jury’s report that the District Attorney referred the matter to the Attorney General’s Office on Friday, January 16th and on that same day the Attorney General’s Office accepted the investigation.

"We were told that the County Code allowed us to petition the Courts to appoint a special prosecutor but were never advised that the Attorney General’s Office would supersede a County appointed special prosecutor.  Moreover, as stated in the Grand Jury report, we failed to correctly follow the procedures of Sections 1405 and 1406 of the County Code.

"This inaccurate and informal legal advice has damaged the county’s credibility, caused unnecessary confusion, and cost tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars.

"We, as commissioners, do not have all the answers. We are, however, elected to make decisions. So we bring in men and women who are specialists in their field to advise us. We take that expert advice and approve contracts, hire employees and make decisions that affect the lives of our citizens.

"For example, we have a retirement fund for County employees.  We hire financial advisors to invest and manage those funds.  If one of our hired advisors poorly guided our investments we wouldn’t hesitate to part ways with them.

"While I, as a commissioner, am ultimately responsible for my vote, I am not a lawyer; I relied heavily on our solicitor to provide us with an accurate and legally-sound interpretation of our options.  In the end, he did not. In order to move forward in a positive way and to rebuild trust and mend relationships with our constituents and within County offices, we need to part ways with Solicitor Glantz.

"Mr. Chairman, I move to request the resignation of our Solicitor Louis Glantz and to begin the search for a new solicitor."