Lansdale council OKS settlement with former LCPA employee
On a night Lansdale Borough Council approved a grant application for A500,000 to help rebuild its arts center at 311 W. Main St., council also approved a A12,000 settlement with a former employee of that center’s previous incarnation.
That agreement was described by borough Solicitor Mark Hosterman as a deal reached between Anne M. Yannarella, the former employee, and lawyers for both the borough and two other board members for the former Lansdale Center for the Performing Arts.
Hosterman explained to the pubOLF WKDW YDnnDUHOOD’V VuLW wDV fiOHG “seeking wages that were accrued while the Performing Arts Center was still open, and the wages that were claimed after it was shut GRwn DnG WKH GRRUV wHUH ORFNHG.”
The 311 W. Main St. property is still owned by the borough and was operated as the Lansdale Center for the Performing Arts in 2009 and 2010 under the oversight of the North Penn Regional Council of the Arts, which was named along with its four board members — borough council President Matt West, Borough Manager Timi Kirchner, Robert Kerns and Dale Murphy — in the suit by Yannarella.
That suit sought a total of A16,750 in unpaid wages along with damages and legal fees, and Hosterman said April 17 that both parties have agreed on a total sum of A18,000, which he termed “a good settlement ... being split by the defendants Kerns, 0uUSKy, :HVW DnG .LUFKnHU.”
The borough is paying the A12,000 share for West and Kirchner because “they were on the board of directors xof the NPRCA] as a result of the lease between the borough of Lansdale and the NPRCA, so for that reason the borough SURYLGHG FRYHUDJH IRU WKHP” DnG will pay their share of the settlement cost.
That payment will likely come from the borough’s general fund and Yannarella will likely receive “two checks, one from the borRuJK” DnG RnH IURP .HUnV DnG Murphy, Hosterman said.
Still outstanding is another suit fiOHG Ey IRUPHU LC3$ E[HFuWLYH Director Marja Kaisla alleging defamation of character against West, Kirchner and several others, including Lansdale’s newspaper The Reporter. Hosterman said April 17 that that suit remains on hold due to a stay issued in federal bankruptcy court for Goodson Holding Co., parent company of The Reporter.
The settlement with Yannarella was approved after a roughly 15-minute executive session at the start of the April 17 meeting, with the only public comment VHHNLnJ FODULfiFDWLRn Rn wKHWKHU the A12,000 payment from the borough was part of the overall A18,000 settlement.
Prior to that vote, Lansdale’s council also held a public hearing related to 311. The borough is seeking A500,000 in state grant money from the Keystone Communities Program and part of that process requires that a public hearing be held, Hosterman said.
“The potential improvements that this grant can be used for are facade improvements to the structure itself, streetscape improvements in the area of the structure and potential interior renovations; those are the three that our grant writers have their HyH Rn ULJKW nRw,” KH VDLG.
A similar meeting for another Keystone grant application seeking funds for public improvements related to the Madison Parking Lot redevelopment project was held by the borough’s parking authority last week, according to Hosterman, and the only comments in that hearing were to describe the basics of the planned redevelopment.
During the 311 hearing, council Vice President Mary Fuller said she “certainly will go on record saying I obviously think this is a great thing to do. I am behind it 100 percent for the borough to seek the A500,000 Keystone JUDnW.”
Councilman Mike Sobel, who chaired the borough’s 311 W. Main St. task force, which recommended a rebuild of the center last year, echoed that sentiment: “Let’s go after the PRnHy.”
Both the grant application and the settlement agreement were approved by unanimous votes, as were several other actions taken during the April 17 meeting: council approved authorization for the Fairmount Fire Company to purchase a new rescue pumper, authorized street closures for the rest of 2013’s First Fridays, approved payments for road reconstruction on West Fourth Street and adopted an annual update to its Equal Rights and Opportunities Policy.
West and Kirchner both declined to comment on the Yannarella settlement.