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New Bethlehem Council Executive Session Offers No Resolution to Issues

Thursday, April 20, 2017 @ 12:04 AM

Posted by John Gerow

14124468_1755935304683632_5120730396816156993_oNEW BETHLEHEM, Pa (EYT) – The New Bethlehem Borough Council reconvened Tuesday night after a lengthy executive session called by Board President Sandy Mateer to discuss “legal issues.”

(Photo courtesy TechReady Professionals)

The executive session offered no resolution to either the Sovik Memorial or the Todd Bish controversies.

During a phone interview with exploreClarion.com, area resident Deanna Van Horn said that in response to Todd Bish’s demand that Councilman Terry Mateer be removed from the council, Borough Solicitor Sara Seidle told the reconvened meeting, including visitors, that there was no legal mechanism by which a borough council in Pennsylvania can forcibly remove a council member.

Under Pennsylvania statute, a council member can only be removed from office by impeachment, by the governor with 2/3 approval of the senate, or on conviction of misbehavior in office or of an “infamous” crime. Ms. Seidle said that Mr. Mateer’s term is up this fall, and there is nothing the council can do to prevent him from running for another term on council or for mayor.

Ms. Seidle then addressed Ms. Keller and her demand for a refund of her donation to the basketball court renovations. According to Ms. Van Horn, Seidle said that she was unaware that council had offered to refund Keller’s entire donation. Ms. Keller did not have her documents with her and could not remember the exact date that the offer was tendered. Overcome by frustration, Ms. Keller left the meeting.

Seidle went on to explain that the council is in possession of a bill from Deman’s Sporting Goods in Brookville for the four backboard systems and that Ms. Keller had “signed” off on the purchase. The solicitor suggested that the existence of this bill shows that Ms. Keller was aware of how the funds were spent.

Councilman Darren Bain told the meeting that he was frustrated that the basketball memorial had become such a problem. He said that he had “googled” basketball courts and that the artist’s rendition that was featured in the newspaper was just that – a visualization of what might be, not what he had planned. Bain said that he knew he couldn’t do the pictured renovation for $5,000.00.

No one was available at the borough office for comment on Wednesday.

Councilman Terry Mateer said by phone that he had left during the executive session and that he was “not sure” what had been discussed. He said that he thought that the solicitor would be providing a statement for the news media in the very near future.

Todd Bish has yet to return a call from exploreClarion.com.

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