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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Munhall officials may have violated Pennsylvania's Sunshine Act

Munhall officials may have violated Pennsylvania's Sunshine Act when they opened and discussed sealed bids during a closed-door finance committee meeting on Feb. 10, according to a media law expert.

During that meeting, all three council members on the committee — chairman Rick Brennan, Joe Ballas and Bernie Shields — opened bids from four private lenders offering the borough a private tax anticipation note loan because the borough failed to obtain one from a bank.

At a public work session on Feb. 12, interim borough manager Harry Faulk said the committee had decided during the meeting to accept a $500,000 loan at 5.25 percent interest offered by a group led by Munhall resident Joe Leonello of Homestead-based Franjo Construction. Council is expected to officially accept the bid during a meeting on Wednesday evening.

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Munhall officials may have violated Pennsylvania's Sunshine Act

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Matt Galla's response to the Post-Gazette Article of February 9, 2014

Dear Residents of Munhall,

Here is my response to the Post-Gazette article of February 9, 2014:

Regarding the "surprises" Council claims to have found, let me address them, one-by-one. Council claims that salary histories are missing from the Borough Office. More than anything, I wish they would find them. It would vindicate everything I have been saying for months and months to the FBI and others. Please, let's find them so we can show the public how I was explicitly directed to do so many things. Wait until I share with the D.A. the "whole story," and what I was directed to do. Those now on or who were on worker's comp should be worried.

Odd that both digital and printed copies of payroll are missing, yet we reconstituted 2013 payroll (i.e. tax withholdings, number of dependents, elective deductions, etc.) from 2012 and prior printed records that were filed in the Bankers' Boxes in the Manager's Office with the accompanying guide. Hmmm. Who has been destroying stuff since I left? Emails I plan to give the D.A. will tell the truth. The list goes on and on. 

By all means, I will help anyone reconstruct what occurred. I am not sure Munhall Borough and the Council want me to reconstruct it. Has the Mayor ever mentioned, by the way, that HE was the one who damaged the payroll computer and knocked it to the concrete floor while getting water? Ask the folks who worked there. I really want to say so much more at this point, but I must await my meeting with the D.A., and perhaps I should seek the assistance of the Attorney General, where I can show her evidence.

Councilors were aware of financial problems and bid rigging at the Borough, as early as my 2010 emails to them, and did nothing to stop it. They even responded in writing to me and others in kind via their attorney that it was not my job to question Munhall Council regarding spending or expenditures, as it was "their responsibility as Council." Correct! They took the words right out of my mouth for what they did for years and years. The D.A.'s office will read it with their own eyes. Wait until the D.A. reads the dialog from a Councilor who admits that bid rigging was a "regular occurrence."

As for the Mayor claiming to be so involved and concerned, all we ever heard about in the office was "Joe's Mentor," "Sunshine Law Violation," and "The 4." Enough with the Mayor trying to back pedal on issues. He is as much a part of the problem as he could have been the solution. He chose to play politics as well.

As for taxes needing to be raised, while it is unpopular, it was necessary. You cannot continue to have your expenses rise, year-after-year-after-year and continue to award luxurious employment contracts, buy cars, trucks, tractors, repairs, and other items, ignoring cash-flow, and expect to be able to cover the costs with the same amount of money year-after-year-after-year. Ocean View Suites in Maryland where the Best Western or Holiday Inn might suffice. Nothing but the best for Munhall employees. We did not raise taxes for three years, but we spent, spent, spent, even spending the same money twice! The D.A. will soon discover.

As for the audits. I absolutely did tell them I was conducting audits and the former Secretary and Intern were part of them. However, the audits the Mayor, the Council President and others saw on the conference table in my office was that of the Pension Audit, the Worker's Comp Audit and the Insurance Audit. Because they chose not to participate is their issue. As for the general audit, the Secretary and I (for the short time they employed her) assembled all relevant documents for any auditor to review. Munhall Council Management elected to "Do a 'Dan Lloyd' and kick the can down the road." We categorized every invoice, by month, by year. That might be different today, given the Council, the Mayor and other Official's intentions, however we can provide testimony and evidence. But, have those records disappeared too? Have those records changed or disappeared from the vault or filing cabinets?

Unfortunately, we can't speak to the condition of those documents or records - eight (8) months later. Lots of folks have had access to the Manager and Secretary's office and the vault which I plan to share with the D.A. After all, look at the allegations from the Tax Collector and the people she claimed had access to her office, "Trying to make her look bad." She even insisted back around April / May of 2013 that the Police Department - the Dispatchers - had keys to her office and were trying to make her "look bad." Why? That is in addition to all the others she claimed had access. I am not making this up. It is in the newspaper. People came to Council meetings. Joe Ballas and his crew did everything possible to deflect from her and protect her. He even blamed Legal Tax Service for her errors. She said her office was broken into and the footage from that day only was deleted. Really? They only one who could delete it was the Police Chief. Was he in collusion with her? Remember, Residents? Check it out. Ask the questions. How could footage be deleted? And if all her audits are fine, as Mr. Ballas, Mr. Falce and others claim, then what with the break-ins and stale checks for which they blame their former Secretary? The Tax Collector should have no issues, right? How could the former Secretary, Intern and others have caused her such consternation?

I said it before. They can't even tell the truth to you, their residents, when they are trying to lie and set someone up - my bond anyone? Remember a few weeks ago? Remember Rob Falce, at the special Council Meeting, recorded on video acting like a preacher with his fire and brimstone, saying, "The money was in the budget, we told him to get bonded, and he said he did but he didn't!" Funny. Remember my bond I posted publicly? What is their excuse now? They didn't know, all the sudden? As the Finance Chairman for years, Mr. Falce is now claiming to have never even seen it? The Council President never saw it? Isn't that something, I don't know, kind of important to see? Wouldn't you use it to, perhaps, set your budget for the following years? You would in any municipality but Munhall.

But, it's not what he and his cohorts said a couple of weeks ago and is thus a total and utter lie. They are like shifting sands in the desert. They keep shifting their story and throwing things at me and others to see what will "stick." 

But now, today, they claim everything in the Tax Collector's office is fine? How? Her deposits and records reflect on the Borough's. If our audits weren't done, how can they claim everything in her office is "perfect?" So odd. How do our records match hers if our audits weren't done?

If, as they claim, they were so concerned about the Borough's general annual audits, why didn't any of them - 7 Councilors and a Mayor, along with other Officials, ever ask to see one? Over the course of what, three (3) years? Ask yourself that question. Could you get away with it at your job? Isn't it a basic budgeting tool? I will share the reasons why with the D.A. and other Officials.

As for R.A.D. funding, I cannot wait to discuss that with the D.A. The Borough has already contradicted themselves on the issue. Just hold tight and see.

Mr. Ballas can deny everything he wants. So can all of Council. The forthcoming emails and documents will bite them in the ass. And, as for bid rigging, I cannot wait until I deliver to the D.A. the long article - in writing from a Councilor - and emails, in writing, from Councilors, who stated they knew bid rigging, worker's comp fraud and other irregularities were occurring yet they did nothing to stop it. Why? Politics? Favors? Good Old Boy's Club? Why didn't they go to the D.A.? Why not to other agencies? It will all come out in the wash. I notified them as early as 2010, in writing, that there were irregularities but I was quickly threatened and put in my place. It will all come out.

If Mr. Ballas, as President of Council, was so concerned about audits, why didn't he raise any red flags about the tax office not having audits performed for two (2) years? Why did she get away with it for two (2) years, even with all the dismay and issues from her office? Why wouldn't that prompt him to ask me to see our audits since her actions reflect directly on the Borough? Ahh, yes, because we had to "protect" Donna from Mr. Lloyd, Mr. Shields, and the public from her irregular tax issues.

As for retirement contributions, again, I will discuss that with the relevant authorities. I hope that certain Councilors can back up what they claim.

Might I remind all of you again...

Munhall originally claimed, "A criminal investigation is taking place into Mr. Galla by the D.A." Channel 11 reported it. Channel 4 reported it. The Post-Gazette was the only one to accurately report as of February 9, 2014, "Mike Manko, a spokesman for the district attorney, said his office has received information from Munhall but that it is premature to say an investigation is taking place."

Not my words, the District Attorney's. It just shows you how your politicians in Munhall will twist and bend the truth to benefit them. They "cut their suit, to fit their cloth," so to speak. Wait until the emails come out.

Remember... I have said since day one. I offered to do the sit down. I will have everyone present. I will have the news record it. I will have the D.A. present. If Munhall is so confident, why not do the sit down? Why don't they want all of my witnesses present and the documentation presented? Doesn't make sense. As for their attorney, a major conflict of interest. I will share my communications regarding him with the D.A. as well. And here is the question du jour... Why are Public Works vehicles and marked Munhall Police Cars (along with the unmarked white Police Ford Explorer and the blue F-150 4x4) driving by, slowing, in front of my house or stopping across the street where they have no jurisdiction? And, when I see them, and acknowledge them, they speed away toward Munhall? Intimidation? Retaliation? I have heard of the tactic from prior Councilors being targeted but couldn't believe it.  Obviously, it is true. Is this the intimidation and retaliation they have claimed?

--Matt Galla

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Matt Galla's Letter Concerning His Continuous Public Official Bond

Dear Residents and Tax Payers of Munhall:

I am embarrassed by your elected officials. Even when they are trying to crucify me and paint me the villain, they can’t even be honest with you, their constituents.

I watched the video of the Council Meeting of January 31, 2014 where Councilman Rob Falce lied to you and the news media, when he said, and I am paraphrasing here, “We had the money in the budget [for Mr. Galla to become bonded]. He said he did but he never did it and never got bonded.” While I’m not surprised by Mr. Falce’s statements, I was saddened to see that other Councilor’s concurred.

Therefore, I am releasing to all of you a copy of my Continuous Public Official Bond, which was issued in the same amount as the former Borough Manager. They claimed in earnest that I did not have one and that I lied to them. What do they say now? They have just demonstrated in a public meeting that they can’t be honest with you, me or the media.

You may see that I have redacted certain portions of the bond for this public display and that is for my protection. Given that my bond is my personal guarantee, contains personal information and considering the tenuous situation Munhall finds itself in, I cannot trust them as they may attempt to make a false claim against my bond.

My releasing this bond to all of you, the residents of Munhall, is so that you may pause and ask yourself if your elected officials are really being upfront with you, or if they are just trying to find a scapegoat to blame for their own misdeeds and actions.

I have never wavered from day one regarding what I have said to any of you, my attorney, the FBI or any other authorities. Don’t just take my word for it, ask the others who have worked in the office and were privy to what took place and have since been fired. Ask them what “really” happened.

And as for those who are curious to have a “salary” discussion, it will all be disclosed in the appropriate venue. Don't judge a book by it's cover.


Matt Galla