Respect questioned at commissioners meeting
BY STACI WILSON
Like most government meetings, Susquehanna County Commissioners meetings typically begin with the recitation of the “Pledge of Allegiance.”
Mid-way through the flag salute at the Oct. 23 meeting, Commissioner MaryAnn Warren halted the recitation.
“Excuse me,” she said. “I don’t think Vera is ready.”
Audience member Vera Scroggins was seated at the time, readying her video camera for recording.
Commissioner Chair Alan Hall asked Scroggins if she was ready to proceed with the salute.
Scroggins answered, “No,” and remained seated.
The commissioners and others in attendance then restarted the recitation of the “Pledge of Allegiance.”
In the public comment portion of the meeting, Scroggins posed a question to Commissioner Michael Giangrieco about landowner rights.
In addition to serving as a county commissioner, Giangrieco is a practicing attorney.
Scroggins asked Giangrieco if a landowner whose property was undergoing natural gas development could give a person permission to look on the site.
“No comment,” replied the commissioner.
Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation was granted a preliminary injunction Oct. 21 barring Scroggins from coming onto any property leased or owned by the natural gas company.
The anti-gas activist visits and brings tour groups to sites where natural gas activity is taking place.
At the meeting, Scroggins invited Warren to accompany her on a “citizen tour.”
As she was speaking, the commissioners were signing documents and passing paperwork between them.
Scroggins said she found their behavior “disrespectful” to the speakers.
Hall said, “You would actually dare say that to me after you made noise and did not stand for the Pledge?”
Scroggins denied making any noise during the flag salute but Warren said it was a noise that made her turn around and halt the recitation. Scroggins then said that perhaps her camera made noise.
Craig Stevens said Scroggins has the right not to stand for the “Pledge of Allegiance.”
Her right to sit through the flag salute was not challenged by the commissioners.