Challenges recent actions by Armagh Supervisors

To the editor:

In April the Armagh Township supervisors voted at a recessed meeting to move the public meetings from 7 p.m. back to 3:30 p.m. (passed 2-1; Glen Boyer and Mike Reed in favor; Gregg Bitner opposed). Public attendance at the meetings had increased more than three times since the meetings were changed to 7 p.m. in February 2014; perhaps the change in time was meant to deter concerned citizens or taxpayers from attending meetings.

The supervisors received $1,875 a year for 12 meetings, so that averages to about $156 a meeting. The meeting have been lasting about two hours, so the taxpayers are paying a rate of almost $78 per hour. At the May meeting, Mr. Boyer stated he supported the time change because he did not like getting home at 9:20 at night on meeting nights. To me, getting home at 9:20 p.m. one night out of the month in order to serve the taxpayers is a small price to pay since the taxpayers also provide the supervisors with health insurance. According to public records, Mr. Boyer’s health insurance costs the taxpayers over $25,000 a year and he does not pay one cent toward the premium cost. One would think the least a supervisor could do is give up a couple of hours a month in one of his evenings so taxpayers and residents can attend meetings. After all, these individuals chose to run for office.

During the same recessed meeting the supervisors passed resolution 3-2014 to maintain order during public meetings. The resolution limits public comment to one minute per person and only to residents of the township. Apparently if you are a taxpayer but not a resident of the township you do not have the right to speak at the meetings. Agenda items are limited to three minutes and in order to be placed on the agenda, you are required to give a 10-day notice and a detailed outline of your topic to be addressed. At the May 5 meeting, when a resident asked who wrote the resolution, Supervisor Reed answered that he did. To me the resolution contains several violations of the Sunshine Act/Law and is a good example of the supervisors doing what is best for them without even using basic common sense to seek advice from the township solicitor first. At the minimum, the supervisors should at least try to educate themselves before passing resolutions because ignorance of the law is not an excuse.

Ask yourself what you would sooner have from an elected supervisor: Doing what’s best for the residents or doing what is best for him? Being a township supervisor is more than just receiving health benefits; it is about cooperatively working with others when there are different viewpoints and most importantly, doing what is right and best for the township. Now is the time for change in Armagh Township.

Mack Mateer

New Lancaster Valley