Indiana, PA - Indiana County

GREEN TOWNSHIP: Board tables supervisor's resignation

by on October 16, 2013 11:00 AM

COMMODORE — Green Township supervisors Kenneth Ferringer and Gilbert Roof rejected a letter of resignation by supervisor Allen Shirley on Tuesday at a standing-room-only meeting of the board.

In a letter from Shirley earlier this month, he stated he would be resigning as township supervisor “due to health reasons as of Oct. 7, 2013, at midnight.” The letter was dated the same day. Shirley was not in attendance at the meeting.

“I have a problem with that,” Ferringer said after reading at the meeting. “It’s not due to health reasons.”

Shirley, along with supervisor James Crawford Sr. and road crew workers Dale Laney and Gary Putt, was charged this summer by state police with sharing in almost $14,200 that was collected by cashing in the remnants of a steel bridge, an old truck and various other pieces of metal at an area scrap dealer.

Shirley and Crawford were expected to resign as part of a deal with the district attorney’s office related to their application to the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program. ARD eliminates the need to go to trial, placing defendants under supervision for a period of time, similar to probation. Upon completion, the defendant can then request to have charges dismissed and the case expunged.

District Attorney Patrick Dougherty said this morning that the only requirement is that they resign from their positions, without regard to the wording of their resignation letters.

Ferringer said that after receiving the letter, he attempted to contact the district attorney’s office to find out what the board’s options are, but was unable to speak with Dougherty that day.

“We’ll have to talk to the district attorney and find out what he tells us,” Ferringer said. “It may just be a matter of him rewriting it, I don’t know.”

Ferringer said if Shirley submits a rewritten letter, it could be accepted at the next regular board meeting in November.

The board similarly rejected a letter by Crawford in September when he attempted to retire from his position rather than resign. Crawford rewrote his letter, submitting it to the board just hours before the deadline to do so.

Dougherty has said the supervisors’ resignations were designed to take effect at different times so their replacements could be appointed by the two remaining supervisors. If both had simultaneously resigned, the task of appointing their replacements would have fallen to the judges of the Indiana County Common Pleas Court.

The board did not have a letter regarding road worker Gary Putt. Dale Laney’s letter of resignation was accepted during September’s meeting following Crawford’s resignation.

Township auditor Mike Zurenko informed the board that with the departure of two supervisors, according to township code, the auditors are required to audit the accounts of the former supervisors.

“When any officer leaves office for any reason, the auditors are required to audit the books up to that point,” Zurenko said. “I thought with it being so late in the year, we could do it with the regular audit, but we’re required to do it now.”

Ferringer said the board has received several applications for the supervisor position, and that the applications must be reviewed before a replacement can be named.

Residents at the meeting complained that the township is charging individuals for water and sewage who aren’t currently using those services. In cases where an individual is trying to sell a house and is not residing at the location any longer, charges for water and sewage are still accruing when the service is turned off.

Ferringer said he would review the ordinance and speak with the water board.At a special meeting on Sept. 27, the board approved five parcels of the Dixonville Commons property as a Keystone Opportunities Expansion Zone.

A KOEZ is used to encourage businesses to locate in a particular area. In most cases, businesses are given priority in different assistance programs and receive tax relief.

The board reviewed a permit application by Texas Keystone Inc. for a natural gas compressor and/or processing facility to be placed within the township. There was some confusion as to the exact location of the proposed site, described as “three miles to the left of a dirt access road near routes 286 and 240.”

No action was taken on the application. The supervisors said they would need to consult a map to determine the exact location.

Jeremy Hartley is a staff writer for The Indiana Gazette.
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