DuBOIS — The Sandy Township Supervisors, at Monday’s City of DuBois/Sandy Township Joint Board meeting, initiated a proposal to reconsider the appointment of the recently named consolidation transition committee. However, the motion did not carry in a 5-5 vote with each municipalities’ elected officials on opposite sides of the issue.
“We just were hoping we could revisit the issue of the transition subcommittees because none of us (supervisors) were really aware. We weren’t given an opportunity to even suggest anybody to put on the subcommittee ... that’s something the supervisors wanted to bring up,” township Supervisor Kevin Salandra said prior to the vote. Salandra is also co-chairman of the joint board, which is made up of elected officials from city council and the board of supervisors and their respective managers.
“Yes, I would like to see us revisit that,” said Supervisor Mark Sullivan. “The city had input on the members that they would like to have on the transition subcommittee, and I think the other municipality, Sandy Township, would like that same opportunity.”
Sullivan said it has also been suggested that there should be a nine-member transition committee rather than the current five-member committee.
“It’s probably a good idea that we have the managers on there. Who knows more about the municipalities’ day-to-day operations than the managers,” said Sullivan.
“And I would add the police chiefs, too,” said Supervisor Sam Mollica.
Supervisors’ Chairman Bill Beers made the motion to reconsider the appointment of the transition committee that was approved at the Aug. 15 joint board meeting and to include in the membership on that committee the two managers and the two police chiefs from each municipality, in addition to giving Sandy Township the opportunity to appoint members to that subcommittee.
“So you actually want to reconsider the ones that were already voted to be on that committee?” said city Council Member Jim Aughenbaugh.
Beers replied yes to Aughenbaugh’s question
“And as it currently stands, that vote passed 9-1,” said city Council Member Shannon Gabriel, who made the motion at the Aug. 15 meeting. The transition subcommittee includes the following members: Toni Cherry (city solicitor), Dick Whitaker (from Sandy Township), Barry Abbott (township supervisor), Mollica (township supervisor) and Joe Mitchell (city redevelopment authority director), with Dana Smith (township firefighter but city resident) to serve as an alternate. The joint board approved those appointed members in a 9-1 vote, with Salandra, via telephone, voting no.
Sullivan wanted clarification if, by statute, that they are allowed to have elected officials on the transition subcommittee, and joint board Solicitor Chris Gabriel confirmed that it is allowable.
“So my understanding is at present, we have two Sandy Township supervisors on the five-member (sub)committee,” said Abbott.
Council Member Diane Bernardo noted that Whitaker is from Sandy Township and DuBois has no elected officials on the subcommittee, but they do have Mitchell and Cherry.
“Why would you not want your managers?” said Sullivan.
“I think your managers too, the managers and the chiefs of police, they can always be invited to a meeting,” said Bernardo.
Mollica said he thinks it’s important that the managers and the police chiefs are at the transition subcommittee meetings because they know the day-to-day operations of their municipalities.
At that point, the joint board voted on Beers’ motion which failed to pass. Those voting in favor of the motion included Beers, Mollica, Sullivan, Abbott, and Salandra. All of the council members voted against the motion including Aughenbaugh, Bernardo, Gabriel, Shane Dietz, along with Mayor Ed Walsh, who is also the joint board co-chairman.
Another agenda item — Treasure Lake and Municipal Services — was discussed by Solicitor Gabriel.
“I guess the way I would frame the issue is, going forward into the new municipality, is there available some other treatment and handling of Treasure Lake other than the way that it has been in the past, and so we are looking at that.”
Gabriel said he did speak to the consultants and though they are not ready to provide a full answer on Treasure Lake, it is something that they are reviewing and need additional time to do it.
“We have additional time because that’s not going to be a part of the transition plan, but it’s a good question and we are looking at it,” he said.
Prior to Gabriel’s updates, Abbott made a motion to remove the Treasure Lake topic off Monday’s agenda.
“Moving forward, we have other pressing business to accomplish,” said Abbott while making his motion. The motion was seconded by Sullivan.
The motion, however, did not carry in a 5-5 vote, with all of the township officials voting in favor and all of the city officials voting against.