2010-08-05 / Front Page

Dublin Twp. Addresses Allegations

Road crew repaired potholes on private property
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz
STAFF WRITER

Having launched a personal investigation into allegations involving the misappropriation of township funds, the chairman of the Dublin Township Board of Supervisors announced a fellow supervisor did exhibit an error in judgement and assured those on hand at last week’s meeting it would not happen again.

In opening the board’s July 27 meeting, Chairman Jeff Croft read aloud a prepared statement detailing how information came to light involving the repair of potholes on private property by the township road crew headed by roadmaster and Supervisor Donald Strait. The work occurred just outside the village of Fort Littleton on July 23 and involved two township employees, Strait and a township owned truck.

Since receiving multiple phone calls on the issue, Croft stated he sat down in person with one concerned resident and spoke to the township roadmaster, who reported property owner Clyde White had generously donated the pothole millings to the township at no cost.

“His (Donald Strait’s) reasoning was due to the fact that Dublin Township is almost done with repairing potholes on our township roads, he took it upon himself to fill potholes at Leisure Living. It was Donald’s generosity to give back to the person who gave a considerable amount of money in the form of millings to Dublin Township,” said Croft in his statement. Croft noted he further learned through discussions with Clyde White that White had previously informed roadmaster Strait he did not expect anything in return from the township for his donation.

“Through my investigation I do believe that personal vendettas have also played a role in this concern. Personal vendettas will not play a role in our township business,” emphasized Croft.

“It is my opinion as the chairman of the Board of Supervisors that Donald Strait exhibited an error in judgement while trying to return a kind and generous deed for a resident who also did the same for our township. As far as I’m concerned this error in judgement will not happen again by any representative of Dublin Township, and I do expect Donald Strait to remain on the board of supervisors,” he concluded.

In addition to inviting the “News,” Croft personally encouraged concerned residents to attend last Tuesday’s evening. Croft stated the invitations were issued in hopes the public’s comments could not only be recorded as part of the township’s official meeting minutes but also by the “News.”

No members of the general public chose to attend the July 27 meeting. Therefore, there were not any comments recorded during the 30 minutes that were specifically allotted by Croft for public commentary.

Furthermore, Supervisor Strait chose not to issue a formal public comment on the matter during the meeting. He has, however, opted to have his paycheck docked to reimburse the township for the time he and the two members of the road crew spent fixing potholes at Leisure Living.

On hand to hear the results of Croft’s findings were Clyde White, John Mixell, Karen Croft, Bill Briggs and Dick Mumma.

In other financial matters covered under the category of new business, Croft displayed correspondence sent to Fort Littleton resident Damon Schoen on July 20 regarding payment of sewage bills. In the letter, the township touched on the fact prior sewage payments had been broken down in two $60 installments instead of one lump payment; payments were allegedly submitted late on occasion; payments were reportedly sent to the wastewater facility instead of to F&M Trust as spelled out on the payment booklet; and Tawnie House was using his payment booklet to make payments on behalf of Schoen.

Croft publicly stated in spite of having the best of intentions, House was wrong in paying Schoen’s bills herself. “He is not special as an individual ... he is not special above everyone else in the township,” Croft added of receiving this special service from House.

Croft went on to quote sections from the wastewater system rules and policy manual and invited Schoen to attend the July 27 meeting to have his questions and concerns entered into the meeting minutes. Schoen instead responded to the township with a letter dated on June 22 and noted he attempted to pay the bank directly as instructed. However, the bank refused the partial payments and returned his checks. House thereby became a solution for him.

A motion was approved unanimously by the township board comprised of Croft, Strait and George Black to have solicitor Tamela Bard draft a letter to Schoen on the matter. The letter will likely indicate that Schoen is now able to make partial payments to F&M Trust, which was his initial preferred method of payment due to tax purposes. The payments, though, should be made personally and on a timely basis, Croft concluded.

The township supervisors received an update from John Mixell on the status of the Fort Littleton wastewater treatment plant, which, according to Mixell, is operated according to specifications and without violations. They also authorized the addition of telephone services and lighting at the Burnt Cabins sewer plant.

A resolution was adopted as presented to the township by Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) opposing House Bill 2431 and Senate Bill 1357 that aim to eliminate and, in some cases, consolidate the state’s 1,500 municipalities. Last week, the “News” reported on the Ayr Township Board of Supervisor’s support of the resolution.

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