Montgomery County's commissioners have been squabbling for two years, with public meetings resembling schoolyard fights at recess.
It does the county little good to see little Jimmy Matthews and Joey Hoeffel trying to settle scores with Brucey Castor. It's time for them all to grow up.
The petty spats boil down to power struggles that are unprofessional and unproductive. Now comes word that Matthews and Hoeffel routinely meet at a diner, where they allegedly discuss county business, which could violate the state Sunshine Law.
Matthews and Hoeffel initially said the breakfast meetings were strictly social, with them talking about sports, family, and food. But the Norristown Times-Herald said a reporter overheard the two in the restaurant discussing bond issues, board appointments, and obtaining state money for road repairs. Those items discussed over breakfast appeared on the agenda at subsequent public meetings.
Hoeffel later said he and Matthews received briefings from county staff at the diner, but didn't discuss the information until the next public meeting.
Castor doesn't believe Hoeffel's revised version of events. He's not alone. District Attorney Risa Vetri, who replaced Castor in that job, has launched an investigation into the breakfast meetings.
Matthews, like Castor a Republican, has shrugged off the controversy. He plans to continue meeting with Democrat Hoeffel, and quipped that he may hand out agendas with the menus.
Such a flip response to a serious allegation isn't what taxpayers want to hear from the chairman of the commissioners in the state's wealthiest county, which employs 3,000 public workers and has a budget of $400 million.
The Sunshine Law is fundamental to running a democracy. Matthews and Hoeffel need to demonstrate to taxpayers that they respect and follow the law.
Even if the two aren't discussing county business at their regular breakfast meetings, the appearance that they are erodes public confidence.
More broadly, most taxpayers are fed up with the constant bickering among the commissioners. Apparently, so are the party leaders who appear ready to dump Matthews and Hoeffel from their respective endorsed tickets in the 2011 election.