Independent News and Opinion for Lancaster County, Pennsylvania LLC, Publisher         Chris Hart-Nibbrig, Editor              Jilly Harris, Web Editor

Statement by Commissioner Dick Shellenberger:

December 14, 2006

It is with reluctance that I accept responsibility for the charge by our District Attorney today regarding the violation of The Sunshine Act. I do so even though I did not intentionally engage in any deliberate wrong doing. To the contrary I relied in good faith upon the guidance of the County’s former legal counsel.

I would never have participated in any meeting that violated the Sunshine Act, had I been advised by the County’s attorney that my involvement would constitute a violation. Indeed, one of the meetings in question was with the former Solicitor at his office, and I understand members of his law firm were fully aware that all three Commissioners were to attend the second meeting. Nonetheless, I was never advised that my involvement in either meeting would lead to a Sunshine Act violation.

I had to weigh the cost to my family of challenging this charge, and facing the possibility of tens of thousands of dollars in legal expenses that would be associated with a lengthy grand jury and the proceedings. Thus, I have concluded it is best to resolve this by entering this plea and paying two $100 fines.

By accepting this agreement, I hope to contribute to a lessening of the bitterness and rancor that seems to dominate local politics. I can understand disagreements over policy, but I am concerned that those disagreements have become personalized, the attacks bitter, and the politics ugly. Residents of Lancaster County deserve better.

My goal now is to move on, to work through the issues facing our County and to continue advancing and protecting the best interests of County residents. Good government takes dedication and hard work, and I commit to work even harder as I serve in this capacity in local government.