Council members file lawsuit
Crafton councilmen Dan Cindric and Tom Byers have sued the council president and borough solicitor, saying they were prevented from doing their duty as elected officials in a dispute over the fate of the borough’s joint planning commission.
Cindric and Byers petitioned this week for an injunction against Mike Crown, the council president, and Fred Wolfe, the solicitor, in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.
The lawsuit focuses on Cindric’s failed attempt in August to force council to reconsider an earlier vote that favored removing Crafton from a joint planning commission with Rosslyn Farms and Thornburg.
Cindric supports the commission, formed in the 1980s, but he sided with five other council members in July who voted to begin proceedings to leave the commission. He later introduced a motion to reconsider, and while Wolfe and Crown accepted Cindric’s motion they rejected Byers’ second to the motion.
In effect, they said Byers couldn’t vote to reconsider an earlier action, because he already had voted not to leave the planning commission in the original vote.
Cindric said Friday that Wolfe and Crown misinterpreted Crafton’s rules of government.
“This is not a matter of politics or anything personal,” he said. “It’s a matter of right and wrong, and whether I have a right to do this — and I think obviously that I do.”
Crown said he stands by his decision, made with Wolfe’s advice.
“This lawsuit is a joke. In July, Dan changed his vote at the last minute just so he could do this. Now, he is just wasting taxpayers’ money,” Crown added.
Neither Wolfe nor Byers could be reached for comment yesterday. The lawsuit asks that Byers be allowed to second Cindric’s motion, at the next council meeting to follow a ruling.
Wolfe, meanwhile, is proceeding with action that would remove the borough from the joint commission. The commission’s original goal was to provide more development options than the three small boroughs could offer individually.
But in recent months, as council considered a new development with a Walgreen’s pharmacy, some council members said they feared the commission eventually could pose a threat to Crafton’s autonomy. Supporters of the commission say without support from the two other boroughs, Crafton would have a tougher time applying for state and federal funding.