Councilman Chastised for Action News Interview
Lansdale Councilman Rich DiGregorio talked to Action News 6abc about the potential smoking ban in the borough. Councilman Dan Dunigan and council President Matt West said DiGregorio did not follow protocol on media interviews
Council President Matt West said he was shocked to turn on the TV to Channel 6 Wednesday evening and see a familiar face — that of Councilman Rich DiGregorio.
However, Councilman Dan Dunigan said at the end of Wednesday's public council meeting that DiGregorio did not follow protocol per borough orientation for incoming council members on media interviews.
"While I'm sure Councilman DiGregorio did represent the borough well, I'd appreciate if he would remember next time the orientation process we all went through about interactions with the media, at least advising the borough manager and the president," Dunigan said.
"An administrative function presenting the best face would be helpful, if that would have been at least tipped off," he said.
Dunigan told the public and DiGregorio that council members are a power of nine and have no power individually. He said those situations are "critical from a PR standpoint."
He said it is a different situation if DiGregorio were, for example, sidetracked at a borough event and a question was posed to him.
"To drive over to Stony Creek Park and talk to a news crew, I don't think is in keeping with the spirit and discussion that we had relative to what we agreed to through our orientation process," he said.
Dunigan compared the borough and its council members to a business and managers. If he were a business owner, Dunigan would be very concerned if one of his regional managers decided to speak for the company.
"He may have said nothing. I haven’t seen it. I presume he said nothing. I didn’t hear anything other than tonight," Dunigan said. "However, let's think a little bit more through the entire process just in the off chance we mistakenly shoot ourselves in the foot."
West said he wasn't informed at all about DiGregorio's interview.
"I would appreciate that," West said.
Recently, Councilman Jack Hansen — DiGregorio's neighbor — was interviewed about the issue of Towamencin requesting to change Exit 31 from Lansdale to Kulpsville.
"Jack," West said, "you were there and involved in the last TV interview. You let us know and it worked well."
Hansen said he was present during DiGregorio's interview with Action News.
Hansen lauded DiGregorio's interview, which had occurred prior to Wednesday.
"I happened to be standing there watching. I want to say, you did a wonderful job representing the borough," Hansen said.
Hansen also praised the borough's work on the possible smoking ban.
"This possible smoking ban we’re talking about here in the borough has gotten a lot of interest. I want to say that I'm very proud of everyone in the borough who is working through this and putting out good information to the public," Hansen said.
On Wednesday night, news crews from Action News and WMFZ in Lehigh Valley were present at borough hall to cover talks on the smoking ban.
"What I've heard from other communities, others have done this — maybe not to a huge extent, maybe in small areas — but it's a good step we're taking and follow through with it," Hansen said.