Hostile ‘Happy Hour’

By , on November 18, 2015

Council  objects to wine fund-raiser 

by  Patrick Burns & Gary Klinger

Ephrata Library’s request to serve wine at an Extra Give ‘happy hour’ event didn’t sit well with some Ephrata Borough Council

Ephrata Mayor Ralph Mowen

Ephrata Mayor Ralph Mowen

members.

But, thanks to a tie-breaking vote by Mayor Ralph Mowen,  the event will happen on Friday at the library,

Tempers flared when library staff explained the fundraising at the Nov. 9 council meeting.

The library’s Extra Ordinary Give planned to invite other local non-profits to use the library facilities and free wi-fi to allow contributors to make donations to any organization during a day long event on Friday (Nov. 20).

Festivities include  a  6-8 p.m “happy hour,”  featuring the traditional Celtic band, Fire in the Glen, and  illusionist Arioch.

Fire in the Glen

Fire in the Glen

Joy Ashley, Ephrata  library fundraising specialist, reasoned that many Ephrata area non-profits lack Wi-Fi and computer access.

 

She said the happy hour was designed to appeal to the young professionals who go out and socialize on Friday evenings.

Illusionist Arioch

Illusionist Arioch

But controversy mounted almost immediately regarding legal questions on ordinances, PLCB expectations and advertised admission charges.

Some council members, including council president Dale Hertzog, cited risks worries with serving alcohol on borough property. The debated followed considerable discussion at council’s work session on Nov. 2.

Ashley explained the wine was donated from various sources and would be served and monitored by library staff from the circulation desk.

Police Chief William Harvey and Jim McManus, borough solicitor confirmed the event was within PLCB parameters.

“The PLCB allows a non-profit to supply alcohol so long as a fee or donation or like compensation is not required to serve that beverage,” McManus said.

“Council is not looking at a resolution that is going to authorize anything that is unlawful but specifically in compliance with the PLCB,” McManus siad.

Joy Ashley, Ephrata Library Fundraising Specialist

Joy Ashley, Ephrata Library Fundraising Specialist

Councilwoman Susan Rowe suggested that library fliers solicited a $25 donation for admission.

McManus rejected that notion and what actually happened at the event mattered . If  no  actual admission was not asked for or collected, everything would be fine.

Hertzog chastised library officials for delaying its request before council.

“If the library had sought clarification of council and/or the PLCB before bringing the resolution, it would have made this all cleaner for council,”  Hertzog said.

That’s when things got heated.

“How much time do we give them to get the proper information to us,” Hertzog snapped.

Ephrata Police Chief William Harvey

Ephrata Police Chief William Harvey

“I’m not sure how things got changed from one iteration of the flier to the other. Ms. Ashley, you have three-and-a-half minutes. Use it well,” said Hertzog.

Even as Ashley tried to explain the situation and the background, Hertzog was undeterred, saying her information was irrelevant to the matter at hand and that she only had about a minute left.

Ephrata Council President Dale Hertzog

Ephrata Council President Dale Hertzog

“Is that all you have?” Hertzog asked Ashley. “You have a minute and a half left.”

Again Ashley attempted to make sense of it all.

“This is a special event. It is appropriate for this event,” said Ashley. “You cannot give cash on this day of giving.”

After a roll call vote produced a deadlock, Mowen cast the deciding vote to allow the event.

Mel Weiler, Vic Richard, Rowe and  Hertzog voted no.

Anthony Kilkuskie, Bob Good, Tim Barr and Tom Reinhold voted to approve the measure.

 

One Comment

  1. Rosemary Weidman

    December 3, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    I can see why people do not want to serve on these committees.

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