Council Disagrees on how to Remove Beeman - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Council Disagrees on how to Remove Beeman

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Erie County Council is divided on how to handle their colleague, Ebert Beeman.  They all want to throw Beeman off council, but they disagree on how.                                                        

Beeman was sentenced last week on four counts of Social Security Fraud. He's scheduled to report to prison in about 40 days.  However, Beeman still wants to remain an Erie County Councilman.

"His desire is to continue to maintain his service to his constituents and, right now, that is what he intends to do. He intends to serve in office until he is voted out of office by the voters," said Jeffrey Del Fuoco, Beeman's Attorney.

Erie County is governed by a document called the Home Rule Charter. The Charter states that any incumbent official, who is convicted of any felony, shall forfeit that office immediately. Councilman Fiore Leone wants his colleagues to schedule a special meeting and vote Beeman out, in accordance with the Home Rule Charter.

His colleagues said no.  They say state law declares that the county district attorney must file a motion in court to have Beeman removed.

"We have to follow what the state says. In a sense, the State Constitution is trumping the Home Rule Charter, and we have to follow that," says Phil Fatica, Council President.

Leone does not understand why the Home Rule Charter is not being followed.

"If council is not going to abide by it, then what good is the Home Rule Charter? What good is any part of it? If that's the situation, why follow any part of the Home Rule Charter?"

District Attorney Jack Daneri has already filed his motion. However, the process takes time. Beeman's attorney, Jeffrey Del Fuoco, says he has 20 days to file a response.  He says action may be taken after the court ruling.

"Assuming for the sake of argument, an adverse ruling against Councilman Beeman, then an avenue of approach is an appeal to the Pennsylvania Superior Court, and then, ultimately, to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court," he said.

It could be that nothing is resolved by council's next official meeting on August 14. It could be Ebert Beeman, a convicted felon, could be taking his seat at that meeting.  Beeman does not have to report to prison for another 40 days.  Leone will wait to see if Beeman shows up.

"There's more to come," Leone says. "At that particular meeting, if that meeting does exist, they'll be more to come. Wait and see."

Leone would not say what he plans to do if Beeman shows up at that meeting.

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