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Cecil supervisor critical of board appointment process

January 7, 2017 GMT

Cecil Township supervisors appointed new members to replace members of the planning commission and various township boards whose terms had expired - in a deviation from past practice - without making the openings known to the public.Supervisors replaced members of the township planning commission, zoning hearing board, parks and recreation board and municipal authority board during the supervisors’ reorganization meeting Tuesday.The appointments irked Supervisor Cindy Fisher, who said township officials should have announced that the positions were going to open up.“I just think it’s bad practice,” Fisher said. “You shouldn’t have to have the ear of a sitting supervisor to get an auxiliary board post.“Supervisors Chairman Thomas Casciola said the only real vacancy was on the parks and recreation panel, created when Shirley Burns resigned a few months ago, and that opening was announced on the township website.Dan Williams replaced her.The others who got appointments Tuesday had previously expressed their interest to supervisors, Casciola said.“People call us and say, ‘This is what I’d like to do,‘” he said. “All these people had approached us.“Supervisors Vice Chairman Eric Sivavec said it wouldn’t be fair to disclose publicly supervisors were considering replacing an individual board member. He added the supervisors’ decisions weren’t a ”‘you’re fired’ scenario” and wouldn’t prevent the former board members from serving in another position.“I value those people that have volunteered to serve on those boards and they deserve our respect,” he said.Fisher argued her colleagues should have treated the positions like they normally handle vacancies - by seeking letters of interest from the general public - if they planned to replace sitting members whose terms were up to allow more residents to get involved.“I don’t really know what their logic was,” she said. “You can’t really argue you’re doing it because you want change in the township, because moving somebody from planning to zoning isn’t change.“David Martincic, an associate of Supervisor Elizabeth Cowden who stepped down from a spot of the planning commission, was named to a three-year term on the zoning hearing board. Ed Badia, another Cowden ally and frequent critic of township government, was appointed to serve the balance of Martincic’s term, which ends in January 2019.Supervisors also appointed Barbara Hamilton to the planning commission, Tom Prickett as an alternate on the zoning hearing board and Frank Ziemba to the municipal authority board.Two appointees whose terms were up - Kathy Mikulski and Arlene Curry - were allowed to stay on the parks board. Supervisors gave Andrea Raymer another term on the library board.Township Manager Don Gennuso said he sends letters to members of the various boards whose terms are expiring to let them know they’re up for reappointment.“Everyone who was contacted expressed interest to me in being reappointed,” Gennuso said.He said the board of supervisors has generally let members of the various entities re-up when their terms run out.“That’s not the rule of thumb,” Gennuso said. “Has it happened in the past? Certainly. But that’s the prerogative of the elected board of supervisors as to whether they want to reappoint or not.“Fisher was the sole dissenter on each of those votes, except the one to name Prickett, with whom she’d met previously. She said she might have voted differently if she’d had the chance to get to know some of the other nominees.Cowden couldn’t be reached for comment. Reached by phone Friday morning, Supervisor Frank Egizio acknowledged questions about the appointments but said he was busy. He didn’t return the call later in the day.