Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Richard Llgenfritz

Former T/E School District Transportation Supervisor Arrested for Stealing Gas from Taxpayers

I don’t think any of us like paying the gas prices these days, but what’s the alternative? Apparently, if you are 60-year old Toni Pulcini you figure out a way to get taxpayers to pay for your gas. Philadelphia’s news networks are reporting that Pulcini, the former supervisor of T/E School District’s transportation used the District issued gas credit card as her own. Over the course of a year, between November 2011 and November 2012, Pulcini ran up gas receipts in excess of $8,000 using the District’s gas credit card for her own vehicles.

In today’s Main Line Suburban article, Rich Llgenfritz explains that T/E School District reported unusual activity on the credit card and reported the matter to Tredyffrin Township police in December. The investigation by the police indicates email exchanges between Pulcini and the District’s business manager Art McDonnell where she apologizes and offers financial difficulties as an explanation for her actions. Pulcini claims that someone she met online who took out a loan in her name scammed her.

In one of her email exchanges, Pulcini writes, “I have loans for $30,000 and then I had to pay for rent, food and all that. I needed to get to work so I was desperate, scared and just trying to survive. Sometimes I didn’t even have money for food.” However, it is interesting to note that Pulcini not only used the gas card to go back and forth to her TESD job from her home in Easton, MD but the gas receipts indicate that she also traveled to the Jersey Shore for vacation. I am finding it difficult to be sympathetic to Pulcini’s financial woes, when I read that she had money for a family vacation; at the taxpayer’s expense.

Pulcini was arrested this week and charged with 151 counts of ‘access device fraud’ and three counts each of theft by deception, receiving stolen property and theft of property. A preliminary hearing is set for March 6. Good investigative work by the Tredyffrin Township Police Department.

In Pennsylvania, access device fraud is defined as follows:

Access Device Fraud Title 18 C.S. 4106

Under the law, a person commits access device fraud if he or she uses a credit card, debit card, automated teller machine card, plate, account number, personal identification number or other means of account access to obtain or attempt to obtain property or services; of if they publish, make, sell, give or transfer to another the means of account access knowing it is counterfeit, altered, incomplete, or belongs to another person.

Sounds to me like Pulcini just added major criminal problems to her financial situation. For the record, Pulcini retired November 30, 2012 from the T/E School District. Here’s a question, I wonder if this arrest will affect her retirement benefits (healthcare and pension).

Tredyffrin Township Website Policy — Vote TONIGHT!

Although the agenda for tonight’s Board of Supervisors meeting does not include the policy for the use of the township website by supervisors — the policy will be presented and voted upon tonight by the supervisors. In response to my inquiry to Michelle Kichline, I received an email from Vince Donohue, township solicitor, stating that the agenda will be revised to include a vote on the policy.

It was my understanding that the Sunshine Law required the township to notify the public at least 24 hrs. in advance of a vote. I asked this question of the solicitor and his response was,“The Board intends to adopt a policy by resolution, which does not require any advertisement. “

How much will the public’s opinion matter with regards to the township website — shouldn’t we have a copy of the resolution in advance to review? For those that are just tuning in, the communication policy is a result of John DiBuonaventuro’s use of the township letterhead, township website and township resources for his September 5 letter to the citizens.

As a result of DiBuonaventuro’s letter and personal attack on me and Community Matters (in addition to traditional news sources, including Main Line Media News), my attorney, Sam Stretton, sent a letter to the members of the Board of Supervisors on October 25. Vince Donohue responded to Stretton on November 8 where he detailed the new township policy would include.

According to Donohue’s letter, the communications on the Township website would pertain to Township issues. He also states that the it would be clear about the source of the communication, whether it was from the entire board, a subset of supervisors or an individual supervisor. Donohue writes, “ … The purpose of the policy is not, however, to restrict any Supervisor’s ability to communicate with Township residents on matters each deems appropriate.” If this language is contained in the communication policy, it is problematic. There is nothing to keep any supervisor from using the government website (or any other township social media tool, i.e. twitter, Facebook, etc.) as their own personal ‘bully pulpit’ whenever the mood strikes.

What’s to keep a supervisor from labeling their communication to the citizen as ‘township business’ and then the website becomes theirs to use. Who has the oversight on what constitutes ‘township business’? Read DiBuonaventuro’s letter again — especially where he speaks of my 2009 supervisor race. Yes, I ran for the Board of Supervisors in 2009, three years ago — what in the world constitutes that as ‘township business’ in 2012? So … will this new ‘communication’ policy protect the rights of DiBuonaventuro (and the other 6 supervisors) to use the government website whenever feeling threatened by the local news media, Community Matters or the township citizens. If an individual supervisor is permitted to the use of the government website for whatever he/she feels is township business, how about next year, when three of the supervisors are up for re-election — what keeps them from the use of the website as a campaign platform? If you think the suggestion ridiculous, remember DiBuonaventuro used the government website a personal attack on a private citizen, including a thee-year old political campaign!

We learned in Richard Llgenfritz, Main Line Media article of November 8, Majority of Tredyffrin supervisors may not have approved DiBuonaventuro’s letter posted to website’, that several of DiBuonaventuro’s fellow supervisors had not seen nor approved his letter on the township website. I have subsequently heard that at least a couple of the supervisors would not have approved the letter, had then seen it in advance. So … will the communication policy of the township prohibit something similar in the future? Or will the policy force supervisors to ‘act alone’ without needing the ‘team’ behind them. From my vantage point, I hope that this communication policy contains strict guidelines and oversight or what’s the point?

Community Matters © 2024 Frontier Theme