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Article published May 10, 2013
End hearsay criticisms
Itzi Meztli Slippery Rock Borough
On May 7, the Butler Eagle printed a letter written by Susan W. Trufley of Franklin Township that attacked me by regurgitating comments found in an anonymous student blog that “rates” professors at Slippery Rock University. That discredited website carries no validity in evaluating academic faculty; it can’t even verify that those anonymous individuals commenting are students. Nonetheless, Trufley submitted a similar letter earlier this year with the same accusations. By now, she is becoming a broken record, constantly attacking me falsely by referencing anonymous hearsay. For the record, I have been teaching at SRU for 10 years. I’ve had no complaints from students. If people like Trufley want to attack me because of my criticism of elected officials, such as Butler County Commissioner Jim Eckstein, they are free to do so. However, their attacks should be aimed at my political stances or advocacy of county issues, instead of making baseless, libelous accusations that I am “anti-white,” and other untrue hearsay. Trufley’s letter criticized the fact that Steven Hively and I had written a letter to the editor that was printed in the May 2 edition of the Butler Eagle. Our letter complained about Eckstein dragging our names into his defamation lawsuit during an April commissioners meeting. In that letter, we alleged witness tampering and intimidation by Eckstein as he verbally discredited our credibility for allegedly being the “main witnesses” for Commissioner Dale Pinkerton. Furthermore, during the commissioners’ May 8 meeting, it was Eckstein’s lawyer who engaged with impunity in blatant witness tampering, criticizing our same letter with disparaging comments, again at a public meeting. During this commissioners forum, Hively stated publicly that he wasn’t going to be a main witness, as Eckstein had proclaimed — not for Pinkerton, Eckstein or anyone else — in any future trial. And, for the record, I don’t plan to be one either. We don’t care to be dragged into personal litigation between two private individuals who happen to be fellow public officials. As to Eckstein, I criticize him for skipping a salary board meeting scheduled for 10 a.m.; for missing two days of work to attend a four-hour training session in human resources, reserved for county staff; and for babbling ad nauseam during meetings. Eckstein is a guy who doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut. Finally, I don’t just critique Eckstein. I also went after Pinkerton and Commissioner Bill McCarrier for voting to cut in half the public’s right to speak during meetings, in order to avoid listening to more criticism of their proposed new office annex — one that the two commissioners are trying to ram down county taxpayers’ throats. At that meeting, the entire board of commissioners — including Eckstein — voted to hire a construction manager for an office project that they keep claiming publicly “hasn’t even been decided yet.” Any new construction will definitely raise our taxes, and taxes will go up further when the county hires more employees to fill the new building. Instead of listening to our concerns, the commissioners have decided to silence the public by limiting speaking time. What a shame!