The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 30, 2012

Readers' Forum 11-30 | School pact doesn’t shut out nonunion bid

Submitted by Readers

— I am responding to the Nov. 17 Readers’ Forum letter by Len Facciani Jr., “School-bidding plan shuts out local business.” The letter was in regard to a project stabilization agreement between the Conemaugh Valley School District and the Johnstown Building and Construction Trades Council.

First and foremost, the school district did not enter into an agreement that has taken away the opportunity for nonunion contractors to participate in the bidding process. The school district signed a document that provides a criteria that ensures the contractors bidding their elementary school project employ highly skilled and well-trained craftsmen and women.

The stabilization agreement has criteria that can be met by union and nonunion contractors. The language in the agreement is written in a manner that will provide the school district with responsible contractors that will put people to work from the local area.

This is not the first project stabilization agreement that the Johnstown Building Trades has entered into with a client. Projects such as the Cambria County Prison, Greater Johnstown High School and  Johnstown’s Point Stadium renovation, to name a few, were completed under a stabilization agreement.

The Johnstown Building and Construction Trades are affiliated with 16 craft unions covering all aspects of the construction industry and serving Cambria, Somerset and Indiana counties.

Our local crafts take great pride of taking on the responsibility to the owners and the contractors to complete the project on schedule and under budget.

Donald M. Arena

President, Johnstown Building and Construction Trades Council 

Dam workers’ actions above the call of duty

Our most recent storm, Hurricane Sandy, had the potential to do extensive damage to the Greater Johnstown area.

Due in part to the men and women who maintain and manage the dams of the Greater Johnstown Water Authority, that damage was kept at a minimum.

Thanks are in order for the employees of the authority’s manager, RDM-Johns-town LLC, and consulting engineer, Gibson-Thomas Engineering Co. Inc.

Special thanks to five men who lowered the water levels of our dams beginning on Oct. 27 and who monitored those levels on the evening of Oct. 29 and the early-morning hours of Oct. 30.

They are dam tenders Vince Akers and Louis Duman; RDM’s resident manager, Michael Kukura; operations manager, Jeffrey Smith; and production manager, D.J. Baumgardner.

Their efforts went far beyond just doing their job. It was selfless dedication in adversity, coupled with many years of specialized training and experience that cannot be measured.

We take our hats off to each of these valuable employees.

Edward J. Cernic Sr.

Chairman, Greater Johnstown Water Authority Board

Tomahawks’ presence bolsters little Warriors

The Johnstown Warriors hockey organization would like to thank the players and coaches of the Johnstown Tomahawks for their willingness to participate in the Warriors’ annual Thanksgiving Day game festivities at the Cambria County War Memorial Arena.

A special thanks to Tomahawks General Manager Rick Boyd and Jean Desroches, director of business operations, for permitting their players to take time out from their busy practice schedule to assist in handing out medals to our young hockey players.

Our little Warriors were in awe of their Tomahawks counterparts.

It’s obvious that coaches Jason Spence and Mike Letizia are doing an outstanding job of molding these young Tomahawks athletes into outstanding men on and off the ice.

Their willingness to interact with our young players was evident and the Tomahawks players helped create many unforgettable Thanksgiving memories among the Warriors.

Congratulations to the entire Johnstown Tomahawks organization for bringing young men of such high caliber to Johnstown, and best of luck throughout the remainder of this season and for many seasons to come.

Erin Goins

Johnstown Warriors Hockey Organization

Answer to fiscal mess seen in secret vote

Want to know how to get Congress to do something about the fiscal mess our nation is in?

It’s simple. Have a secret ballot vote on the Simpson-Bowles debt-reduction proposal. This bipartisan proposal is a comprehensive solution that was almost agreed upon earlier this year, but partisan politics scuttled it.

A secret ballot would allow both Republicans and Democrats who are in favor to approve it without being afraid of disapproval from their constituents, lobbyists and peers.

In other words, such a ballot would allow them to put America first and party politics second.

These special situations where party politics create deadlocks that threaten the welfare of a nation demand extraordinary measures. Such voting would be only on bipartisan commission proposals where compromise from both sides has occurred, as it has in the Simpson-Bowles proposal.

Such voting would allow Congress members to act on their individual beliefs and convictions, and not be swayed by party loyalty.

Just like us when we vote secretly and don’t have to worry about being confronted by neighbors, bosses and others for not voting like them, our Congress members would vote their consciences and, in my opinion, make for a better type of democracy.

George Merritts



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