EDITORIAL: Ford City Deserves Better Leadership

The outlook for Ford City Council is bleak.

Eden Ratliff, as borough manager, was able to handle the press and paint council in the best possible light. Since the vote to terminate him last Monday, we have seen this council self-destruct as it runs away from the press and hides from anyone who attempts to find out information.

We saw Ray Klukan not only embarrass himself, but bring shame to the residents of the town he has promised to serve – then, hide away as WPXI comes to town. Mr. Ratliff wasn’t there to answer their calls. Neither was Council President Carol Fenyes. She hid behind secretaries who told WPXI reporter Melanie Gillespie she wasn’t available.

During his campaign, Mr. Klukan vowed to get rid of Family-Life TV and the televising of council meetings. Now we know why. He doesn’t want the public to see that he cannot conduct himself in an orderly manner.

Although I sympathize with his recent health issues and wish him well, his outburst was not medically induced. They are not new. This was the same person who during his last term on council in 2009 made similar outbursts and then laughed about it when I brought it to his attention. For him, this type of action is a way of life, not a momentary lapse of judgment.

Mr. Klukan should resign because he is not emotionally able to handle the pressure of being on council. Ms. Fenyes should step down from her position as council president because she has shown her inability to govern and maintain control at the meetings. Someone should call for council to reorganize at their next meeting and install Mr. Marc Mantini as the president since he is the only one willing to step up and actually show some leadership as the other five council members run for cover when Pittsburgh media comes to town. He was also the only one to take control of the meeting last Monday and call for adjournment in the midst of the crisis when Ms. Fenyes lost control.

Last year it was the issue of the borough secretary failing to order salt. This year, it’s a councilman run amuck. The eyes of the world are on Ford City. I hope that soon the town will have something positive to show them.

The views expressed are those of the author.