TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

MINUTES - JANUARY 4, 1999

 

The Organizational Meeting of the Board of Supervisors of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on January 4, 1999. Mrs. Godshalk called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

Those present:

 

 

 

Board of Supervisors:

William Strahle, Chairman

 

Wesley Hackman, Vice Chairman

 

Frank Fazzalore, Secretary/Treasurer

 

Grace Godshalk, Member

 

 

Others:

Terry Fedorchak, Township Manager

 

Jeffrey Garton, Township Solicitor

 

Duke Doherty, Township Engineer

 

Charles Ronaldo, Chief of Police

 

 

Absent:

Scott Fegley, Supervisor

PUBLIC COMMENT

Mr. Bill Bayer of the Gatefield Development stated at the last meeting it was his understanding that a Realen representative indicated he would schedule a meeting with himself and some of his neighbors. He stated this has not yet occurred and he wanted to make sure that no action was being taken this evening on the Loberg Estates matter.

Mrs. Godshalk stated nothing further has occurred and the matter is not on the Agenda for this evening. She stated the Board did indicate at the last meeting that they would visit the site prior to the next meeting when this matter is discussed. Mr. Fedorchak was asked to contact Mr. Dwyer and remind him to meet with the neighbors prior to the matter coming back to the Board for discussion.

Ms. Claire Risoldi stated she has lived in the Township for twenty-seven years and has learned of some disturbing activities taking place with regard to the Police Chief. She stated they had a meeting in Edgewood Gardens, and she and her neighbors are very concerned and do not want any changes made to the Police Department. She stated she does not feel a Township of the size of Lower Makefield needs a Director of Public Safety. She feels the Board should wait until the Chief decides to retire before making any changes. She stated the Police Chief is always responsive, and there will be strong opposition if any changes are made. She feels the Township residents should have some say in this matter. She stated Chief Ronaldo has put in many years of service to the Township.

Mrs. Godshalk stated Chief Ronaldo is not being thrown out of office and is not being demoted. She stated the Board of Supervisors was just advised of a potential lawsuit being brought by the Chief, and at this point this would be a personnel matter.

Ms. Risoldi stated those Supervisors voting against the Chief will not be re-elected.

Mr. Hal Lefcourt of Tullytown stated he was very concerned when he read the newspaper articles about the problems Chief Ronaldo is having. He stated he came tonight to read a letter in support of the Chief from the State Organization of Constables, but will not do so this evening since it is the Organizational meeting. He would agree to hold his comments to the next public meeting when this matter is to be discussed.

Mr. Emanual Cordi stated he resided in the Township for fifty years and has learned there will be an increase in his taxes. He does not feel the Township needs the additional cost of $70,000 to hire a Public Safety Director. He does not feel Chief Ronaldo should be displaced since he is doing an admirable job.

Ms. Tracy Titus stated she was appalled reading the article over the weekend about Chief Ronaldo. She stated she finds it hard to believe there is the possibility of removing someone who has dedicated his life to the community. She feels this will be a loss to the community. She feels the Chief should make the choice when he will leave.

Mrs. Godshalk stated she is disturbed to hear that people are indicating Chief Ronaldo will be removed and stated this is incorrect. She asked from where people were getting this information, and a number of people from the audience indicated it was from the newspaper.

Mr. Bayer stated it was reported in the Inquirer that Chief Ronaldo was being unseated or that there will be shared responsibility for matters he previously handled on his own.

Mr. Bob Strempeck stated he has been a resident of the Township since 1977 and a friend of Chief Ronaldo since 1970 when Mr. Strempeck was in charge of the training center in Collegeville, and the Chief was one of their greatest supporters. Mr. Strempeck stated the Township is contemplating hiring a Public Safety Director for $70,000 who will be overseeing the Police Department. He added the newspapers indicated that the Public Safety Director will also be overseeing the Emergency Squad and Fire Department. He stated these are volunteer organizations and he does not feel those organizations will want to report to this individual. Mr. Strempeck stated what is being done to Chief Ronaldo is an affront to the Police Chief. He stated he does not feel the Township is ready for a Public Safety Director at this time.

Mrs. Godshalk stated under the Municipalities Planning Code, which is passed by the State Legislature, the Township Board of Supervisors is responsible for all emergency services and this includes both fire and ambulance.

Mr. Strempeck stated operating with a volunteer organization is a lot different than dealing with salaried people who are subordinates.

Mr. Richard Whitley stated he backs Chief Ronaldo as Chief of Police and would hate to see his position undermined. Mr. Whitely stated he does not feel Lower Makefield Township is big enough to support a Public Safety Director post. He feels the Board of Supervisors should demonstrate that Chief Ronaldo needs to be replaced or supervised. He stated he feels the Township has one of the best Fire Departments in Pennsylvania and possibly on the East Coast. He stated if there is a paid supervisor over these people he feels there will be nothing but problems and this will result in an increase in taxes to pay for a full-time Fire Department.

Ms. Elizabeth Christopher stated she has seen the community grow over twenty-five years and feels the Police Department does a marvelous job considering how little help they really have. She feels the $70,000 would be better spent hiring additional police officers or purchasing additional fire/rescue equipment. She feels Chief Ronaldo has done a great job and feels the Lieutenant position should be put back in place.

Mr. Lefcourt stated he has available this evening the article which appeared in the Inquirer today which discusses this matter. He read from the article which indicates that this is a demotion of Chief Ronaldo and a blatant attempt to force him to retire. It also indicates that the Board of Supervisors eliminated the Lieutenantís position. Mr. Lefcourt stated for a Township of the size of Lower Makefield, he feels the Board should make Chief Ronaldo the Director of Emergency Services and put him in charge. He provided this evening a copy of the letter from the Pennsylvania Constables Association in support of Chief Ronaldo.

 

APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS FOR 1999

Mr. Garton, serving as Chairman Pro-Tem, called for nominations for Chairman of the Board for 1999.

Mr. Hackman moved and Mrs. Godshalk seconded to appoint William Strahle as Chairman. There were no further nominations, and the motion carried unanimously.

 

APPOINTMENT OF VICE CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS FOR 1999

Mr. Garton called for nominations for Vice Chairman of the Board for 1999.

Mr. Fazzalore moved and Mrs. Godshalk seconded to appoint Wesley Hackman as Vice

Chairman. There were no further nominations, and the motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Garton turned the meeting over to Mr. Strahle.

 

APPOINTMENT OF SECRETARY/TREASURER OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS FOR 1999

Mr. Strahle called for nominations for the office of Secretary/Treasurer.

Mr. Hackman moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to appoint Frank Fazzalore as Secretary/Treasurer.

 

APPOINTMENT OF ASSISTANT SECRETARY/TREASURER FOR 1999

Mr. Strahle called for nominations for the office of Assistant Secretary/Treasurer.

Mr. Hackan moved, Mr. Fazzalore seconded and it was unanimously carried to appoint Terry Fedorchak as Assistant Secretary/Treasurer.

DISCUSSION OF APPOINTMENTS TO VARIOUS AUTHORITIES, BOARDS, AND

COMMISSIONS

Mr. Strahle stated the Board of Supervisors has at least seven more interviews to conduct to fill some vacancies. He noted there are a number of vacancies to fill and encouraged interested residents to apply.

 

APPOINTMENT OF TOWNSHIP SOLICITOR FOR 1999

Mr. Hackman moved, Mr. Fazzalore seconded and it was unanimously carried to appoint Begley, Carlin & Mandio as Township Solicitor for 1999.

 

TABLING APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN OF THE VACANCY BOARD FOR 1999

Mr. Hackman moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to table appointment of Chairman of the Vacancy Board for 1999.

 

APPOINTMENT OF DELEGATE AND ALTERNATES TO THE CONVENTION OF PENNSYLVANIA TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS

Mr. Hackman moved, Mr. Fazzalore seconded and it was unanimously carried to appoint William Strahle as the Delegate to the Annual Convention of Pennsylvania Township Supervisors to be held April 11-14 at the Hershey Lodge.

Mr. Hackman moved, Mr. Strahle seconded and it was unanimously carried to appoint Frank Fazzalore and Grace Godshalk as alternates to the Convention of Pennsylvania Township Supervisors.

 

DENIAL OF REQUEST FOR DEDICATION OF THE RIDINGS

Mr. Garton stated C & M Builders has requested dedication of The Ridings, and because of time constraints of the MPC, this item had to appear on the Agenda this evening. The staff has recommended denial.

Mr. Hackman moved, Mr. Fazzalore seconded and it was unanimously carried to deny the request for dedication of The Ridings because of outstanding issues listed in the PCS letter dated 12/2/8/98.

 

ESTABLISH COMPENSATION OF TREASURER

Mr. Hackman moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to establish the compensation of the Treasurer at $1,000 per year subject to approval of the Board of Auditors.

 

ESTABLISH AMOUNT OF TREASURERíS BOND AND ASSISTANT TREASURERíS BOND

Mr. Hackman moved, Mrs. Godshalk seconded and it was unanimously carried to establish the amount of the Treasurerís Bond at $2,000,000 and Assistant Treasurerís Bond at $2,000,000.

 

There being no further business, Mr. Fazzalore moved, Mr. Hackman seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:00 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

Frank Fazzalore, Secretary/Treasurer