CHARLESTOWN TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
The Reorganization Meeting was held at the Charlestown Elementary School. John B. Sauser, Robin J. Kohn, Irene W. Ewald, James E. McErlane, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Linda M. Csete, Secretary, and those on the attached attendee list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 8:00 P.M. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
Mrs. Ewald moved to nominate Robin Kohn for Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Kohn declined the nomination and moved to nominate John Sauser for Chairman. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion, stating that while last year she supported Mr. Sauser’s nomination, this year she is unable to do so. She stated that Mr. Sauser has acted unilaterally in a number of instances and on occasion has contradicted a majority decision of the Board. She stated that questions regarding allegations of bribe taking and bid rigging have gone unanswered. Mr. Kohn agreed that the supervisors should act more closely as a Board, but stated that he believes Mr. Sauser to have the best interests of the Township at heart. Mrs. Ewald said that Mr. Sauser has created legal difficulties for the Board, citing one instance where he made public statements following an executive session that were contrary to what was decided at the session. Mr. Sauser called Mrs. Ewald’s remarks false and insulting and accused here of political grandstanding. He seconded Mr. Kohn’s motion. Mrs. Ewald called for a role call vote. Mrs. Ewald voted nay and gave the reasons previously stated and added that supporting his chairmanship would compromise her integrity and that of the residents. Mr. Kohn and Mr. Sauser voted Aye and the motion passed.
Mr. Sauser moved to nominate Mr. Kohn for Vice Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Sauser moved to nominate Linda M. Csete as Secretary-Treasurer of the Board of Supervisors. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to nominate James Thompson for both the positions of Roadmaster and Animal Control Officer. She asked if Mr. Thompson would be willing to serve as Animal Control Officer in addition to his current position of Roadmaster, and Mr. Thompson responded affirmatively. Mr. Sauser seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Mr. Sauser moved to nominate Surender S. Kohli of Kohli & Associates as Township Engineer. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Sauser moved to nominate Surender S. Kohli of Kohli & Associates as Zoning Officer and Building Inspector. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Sauser moved to nominate Frederick C. Alston as Fire Marshal. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to nominate the law firm of Lamb, Windle and McErlane, P.C. as counsel for the Township. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to nominate Thomas J. Comitta of Thomas J. Comitta Associates as Land Planner. Mr. Sauser stated that this appointment is not necessary as it’s not a requirement of the second Class Township Code. Mr. Kohn seconded Mrs. Ewald’s motion and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald stated that a proposal by Emory S. Todd, CPA was received by the Township in response to the advertisement seeking an Independent Auditor to audit the 1996 township accounting records. She moved to nominate Mr. Todd for Independent Auditor. Mr. Sauser called for discussion. He stated that he disagrees with the need for an Independent Auditor. He said that the elected auditors are required to be more through in their procedures, which include reviewing every invoice and every payment. While some elected auditor boards may lack expertise, Mr. Sauser stated that the current board is composed of a mathematician, a banker, and an attorney who also served as township supervisor in the past. He added that the cost difference is significant, and stated that having an independent auditor increases costs for the township without producing any added benefit. Mrs. Ewald stated that in December 1996, the Board of Supervisors chose to appoint an independent auditor by a majority vote. She said that one of the reasons given for appointing an independent auditor was that one of the elected auditors has a conflict of interest as determined by the Auditor General’s office where the rules clearly state that this person isn’t eligible to serve. She suggested that this person could serve the township very well through an appointment to the Zoning Hearing Board.
Mr. Kohn said that he can’t speak to Mrs. Ewald’s comment on the conflict of interest question, but he did second her motion to nominate Mr. Todd for the position of Independent Auditor.
Mr. Sauser stated that Mrs. Ewald’s statements are incorrect and inaccurate. He said that the Auditor General did not rule on this specific situation but provided information of a general nature to the township. He went on to state that the township even received a letter of commendation from the Auditor General’s office for the 1995 audit.
The vote to appoint Emory S. Todd as Independent Auditor passed 2-1, with Mr. Kohn and Mrs. Ewald in favor. Mr. Sauser was opposed.
Mr. Sauser moved to nominate Michael Churchill, Vincent G. Kling, Sr. and Charles Phillips for appointments to the Planning Commission to serve four year terms. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald introduced Jim Quay, who sent a letter of interest to the Township regarding his willingness to serve on the Parks & Recreation Board. Mrs. Ewald stated that Mr. Quay is actively involved in team activities at Charlestown Park and elsewhere. She moved to nominate Mr. Quay to a four year term on the Parks and Recreation Board. Mark Connolly, Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Board endorsed her nomination. Mr. Sauser seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Mr. Sauser moved to nominate Peyton R. Biddle Jr. to a four year term on the Historical Commission. Mrs. Ewald moved to nominate Priscilla Crowell, who is extremely knowledgeable in Charlestown history. Mr. Sauser responded that he would like to see some diversity on the Historical Commission and feels that Mr. Biddle, who lives in the historical village would provide it. Mrs. Ewald suggested that the appointment be tabled in order to give the full board the opportunity to acquaint themselves with Mr. Biddle. Mr. Kohn agreed to table the appointment.
Mrs. Ewald moved to nominate Elizabeth Howard to the Vacancy Board. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald stated that Darwin Ferguson plans to retire outside of Charlestown and therefore creates a vacancy on the Zoning Hearing Board. She moved to nominate John C. Martin Jr. to the Zoning Hearing Board for a three year term. Mr. Sauser moved to nominate John Mackey to the Zoning Hearing Board. Mr. Mackey introduced himself and stated that he believes the position to require normal intelligence, courtesy, common sense and fairness. Mr. Kohn acknowledged that Mr. Mackey has been interested in the position for over two years, and seconded Mr. Sauser’s motion. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Kohn voted aye, and Mrs. Ewald voted nay, stating that she believes Mr. Martin to be a better qualified candidate. The motion passed.
After some discussion, Mrs. Ewald suggested setting a salary of $27,760.00 for the Township Secretary-Treasurer, representing an 8% increase which she broke down into a 3-4% cost of living increase with the balance due to the expansion of responsibilities in the position over the past year along with the skill and abilities of the Secretary-Treasurer. Mr. Sauser stated his understanding that the budget planning was based on a 5% increase and that the budgeted amount of $38,000.00 was to provide for additional part time administrative help. He stated that if the Secretary-Treasurer’s salary is increased above 5%, the office hours should be expanded to 5 days per week instead of the current 3 days per week. Mrs. Ewald responded that the Secretary needs some time to work without interruptions from visitors and telephone calls. She stated that the needs of the general public are being met with the current office hour schedule and that the Secretary responds to them as required. Mr. Sauser stated that a 5% increase would be generous, and an 8% increase is excessive. Mr. Kohn agreed with Mrs. Ewald that the current office hours are sufficient. He moved to set the salary for the Secretary-Treasurer at $27,760.00. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to set the Roadmaster’s salary at $7,200.00 per year plus $2,400.00 for expenses, and to set the Animal Control Officer salary at $15.00/hour plus mileage. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Sauser read Resolution #520-97 in its entirety, which sets the depositories for Township funds for 1997. Mr. Sauser moved to approve Resolution #520-97. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Sauser read Resolution #521-97 in its entirety, which names the emergency service providers for 1997. Mr. Sauser moved to approve Resolution #521-97. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Sauser moved to set the 1997 meeting schedule for the Board of Supervisors for the first and third Mondays of each month to take place at 8:00 P.M. at the Charlestown Elementary School. He further moved to make exceptions to the meeting place for the January 20th and February 17th meetings, which will be held at the Great Valley Nature Center Barn instead of the Elementary School, and to change the meeting date for September 1st, which conflicts with Labor Day, to September 8th. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to adjourn the Re-Organization Meeting at 9:00 P.M. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.