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New Lower Milford Township staffing plan proposed

The Lower Milford Township Supervisors met Sept. 17 at the township building. Following the agenda, Supervisor John Quigley repeatedly said, “nay,” to all action items. He has continued his protest of the township secretary/bookkeeper for, in Quigley’s opinion, her lack of experience and skill.

In the public works report, it was noted extensive work is being done to School House Lane.

Southern Lehigh Library representative Ryan Fields was in attendance to give his report and request $25,000 be budgeted for 2021.

Fields said the library will not need any excess funding for the upcoming year and they are brainstorming numerous new ways for more funding during the pandemic.

Representative Zach V. Focht from EHD Insurance presented the workers’ compensation plan the company administers for Pennsylvania municipalities. It is an exclusive state plan which provides more coverage and cost-saving techniques specifically for local municipalities.

The supervisors felt not enough information was shown to them and ultimately decided they would possibly pursue a plan with the trust next year. Supervisors said they did not see any of the information provided by the representative before the meeting. Focht said he sent full packets of information numerous times that answered questions being asked.

Following this, the supervisors approved Resolution 2020-7, which was an agricultural security area addition for a horse farm in the area. Supervisor Chair Donna Wright said she works in this farm preservation business and this horse farm needs to have this security addition to be properly classified.

The last item on the agenda was a new staffing plan introduced by Supervisor Ellen Koplin. The plan called for Stacy Smith to take the sole position of township secretary, relinquishing all bookkeeping responsibility. Next, current Zoning Officer Emily Fucci would hold the new position of township administrator/zoning officer. Lastly, Wendy Stryker would return to the position of township treasurer. This plan would eliminate the township manager position and give raises to the three women in these newly established roles.

Quigley noted his opposition to the plan before Koplin finished presenting it. He said Koplin was trying to slip this in at the end of the meeting so no one in the township would see it prior.

A township resident in attendance publicly stated the optics of these new positions and who was being rewarded looked bad.

In response, Koplin said, “I love (resident) dearly, but he is looking at it from a very far …”

“He realizes that you’re trying to slip this in as fast as possible, before anyone notices ...,” Quigley said, cutting her off.

While the supervisors were arguing about a new staffing plan, tempers flared. As Quigley accused Koplin of gender discrimination, Koplin’s husband started to yell from the public area.

Following accusations between Quigley and Koplin’s husband, Quigley got up out of his council seat and moved toward Koplin’s husband.

During the chaos, Solicitor Mark Cappuccio and Wright called for an adjournment. After adjourning the meeting, both men continued their screaming match, continuing the insults in the parking lot.

A workshop meeting will be held 6:30 p.m. Oct. 1. The next regular board of supervisors meeting will take place 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15. The meetings take place at the township offices on Chestnut Hill Church Road.