Pocono Township Commissioners Can't Agree
Pocono Township Commissioners may be in jeopardy of losing their seats. That's because they can't agree on the first order of business- electing a board president and vice president.
Township Manager Gregg Schuster explains, "By the First Class Township Code they must organize and that includes electing a president and a vice president. And the law says they cannot take any action until they do that."
It's two against two with Pocono Township Commissioners deciding who will be in charge and in second command of the board. Usually there are five commissioners but only four were elected due to a lack of names on the ballot.
Schuster says, "The situation is incredibly rare. There's always an odd number to break a tie. In this case, it was set up with an even number."
The stalemate is causing a lot of work to pile up.
Schuster adds, "Many of them are legislative tasks. Them looking at ordinances, contracts that kind of thing."
And many township employees are wondering if they are going to get paid. Schuster wants citizens to know the local government will continue to function.
Schuster adds, "I believe I have authority to take action to keep the town safe and that's just what I'm going to do, making sure everyone has roads they can travel on, ambulances and police services."
He says only non-essential services are being shut-down.
Schuster says, "Vendors who we've ordered services or goods from that are not going to receive payment in a timely fashion, they may suffer."
While residents are glad township employees will be getting paid, especially with snow in the forecast, they're still very upset and say it's unnecessary confusion.
If the four can't agree by Thursday, a citizen can get the matter sent to Monroe County Court through a petition with 10 signatures. The commissioners would then have to prove why they shouldn't be removed from their seats. The court will hold a hearing and make a decision whether or not to appoint new commissioners.
Schuster says, "I do know the residents are frustrated and it wouldn't surprise me if there's a petition filed."
Commissioner Judi Coover is the only one who commented when we asked. She says quote, "I want to continue our work to resolve the stalemate and not dump this on the court.Â Regrettably we have ended up with two opposing teams and that needs to be overcome so that we can work together to do the people's business."
And Schuster tells us he isn't even sure when one of the commissioners will be available because he just had a hospital procedure. The manager adds they can have a majority meeting without him but so far that hasn't happened.