Council member fined by State Ethics Commission

Staff Writer

PUNXSUTAWNEY — A member of Punxsutawney Borough Council received a fine from the State Ethics Commission as a result of several violations. Rob Caruso of the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission, said the violations concerned Cynthia Rebuck, a member of Punxsutawney Borough Council, who was found in violation as a result of Punxsutawney Borough employees taking vehicles to her husband Dennis Rebuck's business, Rebuck's Southside Service (RSS) for repair and that what she did that violated the conflict of interest provisions of the law.

"Cynthia voted to approve invoices and issue payments to the husband's company for the services that the company performed for the repair of borough vehicles," Caruso pointed out, adding that could include repair and towing. "We did not look at accident towing done by the Punxsutawney Borough Police Department," Caruso said. "The complaints we looked at occurred from January 2016 through July of 2017 and there were invoices issued to the borough from her husband's company that totaled roughly $4,800."

Caruso said the breakdown was $2,900 in labor and towing costs, and then the parts and supplies that were used to repair the vehicles cost approximately another $1,900.

"Her violations would have been related to voting to pay those invoices," he said. "One of the expenditures was for a vehicle that was utilized by the Sewer Department, and that payment came out of the Sewer Fund, and Rebuck voted to approve that."

Caruso added that some of it was repairs that were made to a fire truck, and one of the repairs was for an exhaust on the Punxsutawney Borough street sweeper that needed cleaned and then repaired.

"There was a towing fee involved with that, as it was towed to Rebuck's Southside Service (RSS) and then RSS couldn't repair it, and it had to be towed to another company who could repair it," Caruso stated. "There was a bill submitted by RSS to fix it, and it included his repair fee, which was approximately a $2,800 bill, which was one of the big ones that we had looked at."

Caruso said that Cynthia voted to pay that bill in February 2017. "Her violation was when she voted to make payments on those bills," Caruso pointed out.

"Punxsutawney Borough Solicitor Jay Lundy had told her (Cynthia) that she should abstain from voting on anything involving her husband (and RSS), which she didn't abide by," Caruso stated, adding that Cynthia received a $500 fine and $250 in costs to the Ethics Commission costs, which has already been paid.