Mr. Henkel, a council member since 1984 and chairman from 1993 to 2015, held the responsibility of signing checks approved by the council between 2010 and 2015. During that time, he voted on eight bills totaling $8,881 from Ron’s Auto Repair, owned by Ron Henkel on Wilkins Avenue since 1974.
The four-member commission in Harrisburg found that the repair referrals were made by police Chief Dean Helinski or Councilman Charles Arthrell, who said they chose Ron’s Auto Repair because it was a longtime borough business, its costs were reasonable and the work met expectations.
The seven borough council members voted to pay some invoices individually and some with more than a dozen other auto service shops.
The commission ruled that Mr. Henkel “made a good faith effort” to abstain from voting on bills involving his brother’s shop. The occasions when he did were when it was part of a mass payment.
The commission also decided that since Mr. Henkel signed checks only after the council approved payment, no conflict of interest existed.
We would like to thank The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for reprint permission.