Hempfield Area Puts Brakes on Emergency Meeting

Article excerpt

An emergency meeting of the Hempfield Area School Board was canceled Tuesday after some directors questioned its legality.

The unadvertised meeting was to have been held to discuss, and award, a contract to an insurance broker, solicitor Dennis Slyman said.

Unadvertised meetings are permissible under the state's Sunshine Act, but only for emergencies that pose a "clear and present danger to life or property," according to the act.

Several directors yesterday said they did not feel that awarding an insurance broker's contract constituted an emergency. Directors Betty Valerio and Tony Bompiani said they would not have gone to the meeting.

"It's not an emergency as far as I'm concerned," Valerio said. "It's just about insurance. Nobody's going to live or die."

Slyman said he felt the matter constituted an emergency because the district's contract with McDowell Associates Inc., of Greensburg, is set to expire.

"Code does allow for an emergency meeting if you are dealing with life and/or property," Slyman said. "I consider property to be either real or personal property, and personal property is insurance."

An attorney with the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, Teri Henning, disagreed. …