Council gets apology for blog comment

Journal Register News Service

PHOENIXVILLE -- Although it took several meetings to accomplish, Borough Council Tuesday received a public apology from the Main Street Community Development Corp.

The public apology was given to council at the start of public participation at the council meeting, as CDC President Robb Frees and representative Manny DeMutis walked to the podium.

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Frees read, "Members of Borough Council, Mr. Mayor, Chief, Messers Krack and Rau, and members of the public, on behalf of our Executive Director, Barry Cassidy, the Main Street Development Corporation would respectfully like to apologize for the recent blog incident.

"We appreciate the public/private partnership and the tremendous success we have enjoyed. We look forward to continuing to work together and are sorry for any inconvenience, embarrassment, or distraction from this event."

The public apology was a result of a letter of reprimand sent by Borough Council on June 11 to CDC Director Barry Cassidy regarding an offensive comment on Cassidy's personal blog.

The letter stipulated that three things needed to be done, and if the conditions were not met, the borough could terminate its contract with the community development group.

Council received a letter of complaint from a resident that included documentation of offensive comments from Cassidy's blog, known as the "Blog Of The Century."

The resident asked council to take action about the comments.

Following a closed session on June 8, Councilman Mike Handwerk (D-Middle) made a motion to send a letter of reprimand to the Main Street Community Development Corp. expressing the council's displeasure with Cassidy's comments.

Cassidy resigned from his positions with the Phoenixville Parking Authority immediately and will be departing the CDC in September

Earlier last month, Kirkner said Cassidy's letter of reprimand was sent to Frees on June 11.

"That letter demands that the CDC director do three things in order

to make things right with the private citizen, who has been emotionally harmed by the postings on his blog relating to his role with a public agency that is related to his role in the CDC," he said.

"If not all of those three things are completed, council could vote to terminate the CDC contract immediately, It wouldn't matter if he stays until Sept. 3 or not."

At the July 13 Borough Council meeting, Kirkner said that CDC has done two of the three things that were asked in the letter of reprimand.

"The three conditions that were in the letter was the removal of the disparaging remarks on the website, which has been done," he said. "The second was a letter of apology to the female who was the victim of those remarks, and an email was sent."

After Frees and DeMutis left the podium Tuesday evening, Kirkner thanked both men for appearing before council.

"With the apology read by Robb Frees and Manny DeMutis of CDC, I hope this matter is put to rest and we can all move on," Kirkner said.

Cassidy was not in attendance at the meeting Tuesday evening and has not been in attendance since the June 8 meeting.