LEWISBURG — East Buffalo Township supervisors accepted the resignation of David Rowe and appointed a successor Monday night.
Jim Murphy, a Planning Commission member and professional construction director, was appointed to fill the term vacated by Rowe after he was selected by Republicans to face Democrat Jennifer Rager-Kay in a special election for the 85th District seat in the Pa. House in November.
Rowe’s resignation was accepted by Char Gray, chairman, and Supervisor Matt Schumacher.
Murphy’s term will conclude at the end of 2019. Rowe had previously announced his intention to seek a six-year term.
Gray said second class township code stipulates a vacant supervisor’s position must be filled within 30 days or other steps would needed. She cited litigation pending against the township over the Buffalo Valley Police intergovernmental agreement among the reasons for prompt action.
The naming of Murphy, 48, a Republican, raised questions of the process among some of the dozen citizens in attendance. They included Margaret Marr, who believed the township could have been more outgoing in soliciting applications.
“It is beginning to sound like this just is an ‘in’ group,” Marr said. “That the Republican Party is going to choose a successor and we don’t count.”
Marr touted the experience of a declared Democratic candidate for the position, Jim Knight, who also attended the meeting. Knight later said he sent a letter of interest but received no response.
Marr also referred to a published report which she said made the process seem closed. Schumacher challenged Marr to quote the report rather than paraphrase it.
Gray said residents had known there was a vacancy but the process was different than hiring a roadmaster or other township employee. She later said there was more than one person who had reached out with inquiries.
Marr claimed the township was not welcoming of new ideas. Gray noted they would have to agree to disagree.
Stacey Kifolo, township manger, appeared via video link and affirmed the board had done nothing wrong.
“It is a little different because of the circumstances we are in. Certainly the pending litigation is one of those things,” Kifolo said. “This is a major thing. This is not something to blink at. We need a full board so that we have three people that can make a decision.”
Kifolo said with a three- person board there is no person to break a tie if two supervisors disagree. She intimated that Schumacher and Gray to not agree on everything,
Rowe also withdrew from his positions on the Central Susquehanna Fire and Emergency Services Board and as a township representative to the Buffalo Valley Regional Police Commission.
The 85th District State House special election scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 20. The seat was vacated by Fred Keller upon his election to Congress in May.
Schumacher was appointed EBT vice chairman.
Staff Writer Matt Farrand can be reached at 570-742-9671 and via email at email@example.com.