Delaware Supervisors Appoint Replacement For Tom Ryan
By Wayne Witkowski
Pike County Dispatch – Thursday, January 26, 2017
DINGMANS FERRY — Ron Hough, who served on the Delaware Township Planning Commission for the past four years and narrowly lost the 2015 Primary Election for township supervisor to John Henderson, was appointed interim supervisor at Wednesday night's board meeting. He completes the term of Tom Ryan, who resigned on Jan. 10. Ryan's term expires on Dec. 31 this year. Hough, a Republican, was one of six candidates who sent letters of interest by the Jan. 20 deadline. He is believed to be the first interim supervisor appointee in recent memory, according to Delaware Township officials.
Solicitor Tom Farley swore in Hough after the two seated supervisors first differed on the appointee before Henderson changed his decision to Hough. Supervisor Chairman Jeff Scheetz moved to appoint Hough, and Henderson seconded the motion, but Henderson at first nominated Elizabeth Forrest. From 2005 to 2010, Forrest had been a legislative aide to former 189th District Rep. John Siptroth. She later ran unsuccessfully against Rosemary Brown for that seat. Forrest is one of the founders and current president of Pike County's League of Women Voters. Had the decision remained deadlocked, Vacancy Board appointee Jeff Shirley would have been asked to cast the deciding vote on Feb. 14. If it remained deadlocked, the decision would have been up to Pike County President Judge Joseph Kameen.
Henderson at first argued for Forrest on her background and the fact that she said she would not run for that seat in the next election. Forrest, who was at the meeting, affirmed she would not run for the full term. Henderson said he wanted a "level playing field" for the next election and Hough would have an unfair advantage having served briefly in the seat. Henderson also pointed to a discussion in 2015 on whether the township should have an earned income tax, and that Hough was the only one who spoke in favor of it and the EIT proposal never got traction. Hough later disagreed with Henderson's claim.
A township resident since 1985, Hough noted in his letter of interest that he had attended all Board of Supervisors meetings and workshops and budget meetings since 2012. Scheetz said at the meeting and at a previous meeting that he would favor a candidate who regularly attended township meetings and knew what was going on in the township. Scheetz said most of the candidates had regularly attended meetings. Henderson asked Scheetz when both supervisors nominated different candidates, "Would you reconsider?" Scheetz said he would not and, moments later, Henderson said he would change his vote.
"I'll second it (Hough's appointment by Scheetz). I got a phone call on this that it's a done deal. Mr. Scheetz, I'll side with you," Henderson said. "This (disagreement) was just a matter of spitting in the wind."
As Hough stepped forward to take his oath and took the vacant seat at the front table Scheetz said, "Mr. Hough, I shudder to use the word 'congratulations.' " There was a delay before the oath was taken as Farley and Township Administrator Krista Predmore stepped away to the township offices to find the paperwork for the swearing in as Farley said he did not expect a decision to be reached that night. "I was a little bit surprised and thought it would go longer and then Mr. Henderson changed his mind," Hough said. "At least I've showed interest in what's going on. I love my township and what I can do."
Hough said his initial interests are to continue to at least prevent an increase in township taxes, which have gone down in recent years, and to promote volunteers for the township fire department. Hough said he would like to remain on the Planning Commission but awaits word from Farley as to whether a supervisor can serve in that post as well. Hough at the Wednesday meeting abstained from voting on motions that involved Planning Commission recommendations.
During a workshop before the meeting, Steve McBride spoke against the procedure of each seated supervisor nominating a candidate he selected without residents knowing the names of all who submitted letters of interest. He also said he felt all of the candidates should state their policies and positions and perhaps answer questions posed by the gathering.
Residents then received copies of the candidates' letters of interest
Farley said that each township has its own procedure and there are no state guidelines or rules.