May 24 — Now might be a good time for the community to talk to the exploratory committee of the Chambersburg Borough Council charged with looking into the need for non-discrimination ordinances for the LGBTQ+ community as well as a possible Human Relations Commission to investigate, adjudicate and enforce complaints.
If you would like to speak to the committee, send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can mail it to the Attention of the Exploratory Committee, Borough of Chambersburg, 100 South Second Street, Chambersburg, PA 17201.
The committee will meet this Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
The committee includes Vice President of Borough Council and Member of the Second Ward, Mike Herbert; Council Member from Ward 5, Heath Talhelm; and Council Member from Ward 3, Kathy Leedy.
Allen Coffman, Council Member from the First Ward, spoke with Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen on First News this morning.
Jansen asked, “On any further agendas the borough puts out if they’re going to mention this non-discrimination ordinance and the exploratory group can you have them add LGBTQ+ non-discrimination ordinance because every time they’ve mentioned it thus far in agendas, they’ve neglected to put that qualifier on. So that any person that doesn’t know about this and is reading the agenda for the first time would not have a clue that this is for that group specifically.”
All it’s listed as is the special exploratory committee of town council.
Jansen is asking for transparency. “I want all stakeholders to understand,” she said. “I also requested how do I get experts in my own research there and I don’t have an answer to that yet so we’re moving forward again without the broader stakeholders understanding how they can participate more, have their concerns addressed. Why are we moving so fast?”
Ryan said, “I call on you, President of Borough Council, Alice Elia, I am calling on you to be transparent and to put this thing out here. Where is the announcement? Why are you hiding? Why don’t you want people to know these things? What are you worried about? Who is pulling your strings?”
Coffman said, “I don’t know that they’ve called anybody or will call anybody to be invited with the group of three. Three members of council and they’ve all pretty much to me have shown what direction they’re going to go with this decision they’re going to make.”
Jansen added, “So they’re going to do this meeting on Wednesday. Maybe they’re actually going to try to inform other stakeholders and say this is how you can get information to us before we move forward on something we don’t know very much about. I’ll try to give them the benefit of the doubt that maybe they’re going to have some concerns about how do we make sure all stakeholders of the community get informed and can be involved in this. It would be nice.”
In terms of Coffman’s censure from emails between him and a business owner in Chambersburg, he basically received a hand-slap.
Jansen pointed out, “He was also invited to come to some training. Which apparently they’re going to make the whole council take based on an incident that in my opinion looking at all the evidence was a non-existent incident.”
“Well that’s not what six members of council thought,” Coffman said.
Ryan said, “I’d like to know who’s paying for that and who’s the facilitator of the training. Do I have to fill out another RtK (Right to Know) report to find out how much borough council is spending of taxpayer’s money?”
Apparently the sensitivity training will be held two evenings in June and Jansen would like to attend as well.