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Spotlight PA’s Tioga Borough Survey Spotlight PA State College

This story was created by Spotlight PA’s State College Area Departmentis an independent, nonpartisan newsroom dedicated to investigative and public service journalism in Pennsylvania. Sign up for our local newsletter, Talk of the Town.

Tioga Ward made national headlines in early July and became known as the small Pennsylvania town that hired the police officers who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in 2014. Attention to Tioga soon faded, My work at Spotlight PA was just beginning.

The news of Timothy Lohmann’s hiring is significant, with initial reports raising a myriad of questions. For example, a news article misspelled Roman’s name in the previous month, or whether background checks on her were done properly.

Tioga Mayor David Wilcox said the allegations that some city council members misled him about the identity of the officer indicated a bigger problem was at stake. A letter from state Attorney General Josh Shapiro to then-Chairman Steve Haslett made false allegations suggesting that Tioga broke the law in making the hire.

At the peak of the controversy, I arrived in Tioga, the first of six trips to attend a special session of the Borough Council on July 12, in search of answers, more puzzled than ever before.

I returned to Tioga to hold another legislative session, filed four Right-to-Know requests, and spoke with experts and government officials to discuss how local government should work and how it collapsed in Tioga. I have a better understanding of what I did.

The breakthrough came in September when former Tioga Council member Bob Wheeler agreed to speak on record about details he said were missing from the news coverage.

Some sources who were originally hesitant to speak to me believed that the bad publicity Tioga received was based on partial information and that the record needed to be set. It led me to more documentation and helped clarify a perplexing situation.

I slowly developed an understanding of how Tioga’s local government was crumbling. I reviewed his two-year Tioga Borough Council minutes and Facebook posts by officials and residents. What I found was that the Borough government was crumbling under the weight of personal revenge, and Roman’s employment exposed long-simmering problems in a very visible way.

What sets Spotlight PA’s journalism apart is taking the time it takes to get the full story and get it right. It was especially important in the writing and editing process to confirm the factual details supported by the documents and go beyond rumors to corroborate first-hand testimony. The investigation could not have been fair and comprehensive.

With the help of Wellsboro Gazette reporter Donna LaSchander, we were able to figure out who Tioga was. My report benefited from her knowledge and kindness.

Ultimately, this Spotlight PA survey reveals how quickly small-town governments crumble under the weight of personal rivalries and vendettas, and more than 2,500 Pennsylvania cities, towns, townships and boroughs are taxpayers. raises the question of whether to best serve They sorely lack critical oversight of their work.

support this journalism Help energize local news in north central Pennsylvania. spotlightpa.org/statecollegeThe spotlight PA is foundation and readers like you Those working in public service journalism with accountability and results.

https://www.spotlightpa.org/statecollege/2022/12/tamir-rice-loehmann-tioga-pa-pennsylvania-spotlight-investigation/ Spotlight PA’s Tioga Borough Survey Spotlight PA State College

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