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May 13, 2014

City "not guilty" in Sunshine Law complaint

SALIX — Johnstown council members were found “not guilty” of violating the state Sunshine Law following testimony at a summary trial today.

A Johnstown woman who had hopes of filling a vacancy on council brought the private complaints alleging that the five council members illegally voted during executive session to reject her application because it came in late.

Charlene Stanton, of the 100 block of Sell Street filed summary charges against council members Marie Mock, Pete Vizza, Nunzio Johncola and David Vitovich, along with Mayor Frank Janakovic.

Acting as the prosecutor, Stanton asked city Manager Kristen Denne, “When did you become aware of an executive session?”

City Solicitor David Andrews, acting as defense attorney for all five council members, interrupted to object that there was no evidence of an executive session.

District Judge Rick Varner upheld Andrews’ objection, barring any more questions about the executive session unless further testimony showed that one was held.

Janakovic was the only defense witness.

“Council never went into executive session,” Janakovic said.

Andrews then asked Varner to dismiss the summary charges, saying there was no evidence an executive session was held.

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