The Spring City Borough Council met for its first meeting of 2012 on Tuesday night. As a part of the meeting, the council had to do a mandatory reorganization, where newly-elected officials were sworn in, committees were rehashed and a new president and vice president were selected.
Former Board President Lou DiGiuseppe was reelected to the president's seat by a 6-1 vote, after board member Jim Burns was shot down in a 2-5 vote for the seat.
For the vice president spot, which was held by Rick Beard, who no longer serves on the council, Donald Shaner won unanimously. Chairman Pro-Tem will be Mike Petak, who was voted in unanimously.
Petak, Shaner and were sworn in as newly elected officials.
Under new business, the board reorganized borough council committees, reappointed positions for borough committees, commissions and boards and adopted a resolution for emergency service providers. During that time, a quarrel developed between DiGuiseppe and board member Mike Hays, who was taken off of the sewer committee by DiGuiseppe.
"It was my choice," DiGuiseppe said to Hays. "As you said at the last sewer meeting, we agree to disagree, and I disagree. That is why I took you off the sewer committee."
It was noted by the board that Hays was the individual who essentially founded the sewer committee. Hays clarified what he's done for the committee after the meeting.
In Jan. 2010 he was appointed chairman of the committee. At the time, he said the borough had significant problems at the wastewater plant at S. Main Street and Gay Street. The plant was built in 1937 and in 2010, had capacity of 345,000 gallons per day. It currently operates at 540,000 gallons per day.
"It was hurting economic development in the borough," Hays said. "When I first came on council, I wanted to tackle this. Previous councils were kicking the can down the road. It was time to do something. For the past two years, we worked together on the sewer committee in a bipartisan way to look at the facts, figure out what to do and fix the problem."
That's when the 537 Plan Update was started. Hays explained it is required in Pennsylvania that municipalities show, in detail, how boroughs will treat the wastewater.
Some members of the board were disappointed in DiGuiseppe's decision.
"To your defense, Mike, I think you’ve done a [great] job," said Petak. "You've done a lot of research and work. Therefore, I disagree with booting the gentleman. This is just my opinion, but his effort and time should not not be recognized. He should not be thrown to the wayside. Personally, I disagree with you decision."
DiGuiseppe noted he did not like Hays' ideas, claiming he was bringing forth costs that were not financially responsible to the people of the community. He also told Hays that the meetings are public and he can attend them as a member of the community if he'd like.
"You have one vote on this council, Lou," Hays said. "One vote! And I'm sick and tired of this. You think you have more power than you actually do."
Petak interjected, asking both men to be civil.
"Anything [Mike] does financially – there’s other people that sit in here to put it down or blow it up," Petak said. "Whether he steers someone the right way or wrong way – that’s why you call it a council to get together to talk about it. To disregard a gentleman’s ideas doesn’t make sense. That’s my take on it."
Burns also agreed with Petak and Hays in DiGuiseppe's decision being the wrong one, saying it doesn't make sense to him and is unprofessional. As of 10 a.m. the following morning, Hays and DiGuiseppe both indicated that Hays is back on the committee.
"I spoke with other two people on committee and they felt he deserved a chance to remain on that committee," DiGuiseppe said.
Shaner and Petak will serve with Hays on the committee in 2012-13. DiGuiseppe gave up his seat.
The board also voted unanimously on reappointing the following committee members:
- Jacqueline Finkelstein - Planning Commission - June 2012 - June 2016
- Richard Schroeder - Zoning Hearing Board - Feb. 2012 - Feb. 2015
- Ralph Trego III - Zoning Hearing Board (alternate) - 2012 - 2015
- Shelly Larkins - Vacancy Board
Finally, the board took care of a resolution for emergency service providers.
"Each year, we're required to notify the Chester County Department of Emergency Services of the personnel who attend to emergency situations through the board of commerce in Chester County," said Borough Manager Dennis Rittenhouse. "We have a resolution, and it's already been made up to include Mr. [Joe] Lorman."
Lorman, the Emergency Management Coordinator for the borough, submitted his letter of resignation on Jan. 1. Rittenhouse noted that if the board accepts his resignation, his name would be removed from the resolution.
However, after a lengthy discussion, the board decided not to accept his resignation. Hays noted Lorman and he spoke via email and Lorman believed council was not moving fast enough on his requests, such as a request for an office nearby or inside .
Mayor Michael Weiss and Hays both agreed that it will be hard to find a replacement for Lorman, as the replacement would have to learn everything Lorman knows, along with juggling new information. Petak suggested not accepting his resignation, getting together with him and talking the issue out. Council was happy with that idea. Petak also suggested again fixing the problems in the basement of the building and giving him an office down there. Council indicated it would be taking action on this as soon as possible.
Otherwise, council adopted the resolution at hand, accepting as the fire and rescue service, West End as the ambulance service, Spring City Police Department as the police service, and Fire Chief John Trego Jr. as the fire marshal.
Weiss also got up to say a few nice words about former Police Chief Deidre Sherman.
"I’d like to do this presentation, since it’s a little overdue," Weiss said. "I’ve asked Chief Sherman here tonight to recognize her for her 30-plus years of service. She served between July 1980 and July 2011."
Sherman was happy to accept her gift and honors.
"Thank you," she said. "It was a pleasure to serve borough for over 30 years. I've got to say, as much as I enjoyed it, it surely can’t beat retirement!"