By Francis Scarcella
SUNBURY — A tearful Vinny Clausi defended himself Wednesday before a room full of residents, county workers and the media while rebutting allegations he has cost taxpayers millions of dollars by the way he governs.
Clausi hobbled his way into the commissioners office after having Thanksgiving Day surgery to hold the press conference he called following Friday night’s allegations by fellow Commissioner Rick Shoch.
Then the second-term Northumberland County commissioner begged reporters and residents for help.
As Clausi began speaking, Northumberland attorney Greg Stuck, who at one point represented two fired county deputy sheriffs against Clausi, asked the commissioner to read the statement Clausi had prepared for the media.
Clausi responded that if he read the letter, it would take him some time, and that’s when Stuck challenged Clausi’s ability to read English.
Clausi, who was born in Italy and moved to the United States in the 1970s, has acknowledged in the past that he has difficulty reading English, but can do so at a slower pace.
Clausi asked Stuck to leave him alone and said he was there only to answer questions from reporters.
Stuck objected, saying he had a right to ask questions at a press conference called by a public official.
Clausi stood and said he would address only reporters in a nearby conference room — and that Stuck was not allowed in the room.