Unprecedented in Warwick Township

By on January 10, 2018

In wake of unexpected resignation, supervisors will consider interested candidates next week

Last week, one of the newly elected Warwick Township supervisors resigned shortly before taking office. Now, the township needs to fill that position by February.

On Jan. 2, supervisors announced that Jeff McSparran had tendered his resignation for personal and business reasons a few days before the meeting at which he was expected to be sworn in. Only Andrew Spade, the other new supervisor, was sworn in for the new year.

“We have had other supervisors resign, but it has always been after they were in office,” said Warwick Township manager Daniel Zimmerman. “This is the first time since I have been here that someone resigned before taking office.”

Logan Myers, chairman of the board of supervisors, said a new supervisor will be selected as soon as possible. That could be as soon as next week when interested candidates will attend the Jan. 17 supervisors meeting. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

“We want to act quickly in order to have our governing body ready to take on some of the issues coming up for the township,” said Myers.

As Zimmerman explained, the township code requires that any discussion of the appointment must be in a public forum with full transparency. Supervisors cannot hold a closed executive session to discuss possible candidates.

Zimmerman also pointed out that the board of supervisors is supposed to have five members so that they would have a quorum for voting if one person cannot be there. Most townships have three or five supervisors, with an uneven number in case of a tie-breaker.

Currently, Warwick Township’s all-Republican board of supervisors are Myers, Herb Flosdorf, Kenneth Eshleman, and the newly-elected Spade.

So, how will the process take place? At this point, interested persons are being asked to submit letters of intent to the township. Zimmerman is forwarding letters to the supervisors, so that they can be aware of the possible choices for filling the position.

“We have had several letters and calls,” Zimmerman said.

One of those letters is from Democrat Marcello Medini, 32, who was a candidate for supervisor in the November election.

At that time, the four candidates for the two open seats in the election included Republicans Jeff McSparran, 43, who works in sales and marketing for WGAL-TV, and Andrew Spade, 44, an attorney with Mejia Law Group, LLC of Ephrata. The two Democratic candidates were Jack Enco, 64, a retired social worker, and Marcello Medini, a medical sales representative and a current township planning commission member.

“When I first heard about the resignation, I wanted to submit my letter of intent as soon as possible,” said Medini. “I am very interested in serving and am now on the planning commission, so I am familiar with township issues.”

In his letter, Medini states: “This letter is to inform you that I am interested in furthering my service to the community as the appointed township supervisor. I kindly request to be put on the agenda at the next board of supervisors meeting.

“I feel strongly that my community service, educational background, professional experience, and passion for this role would be assets to this position.

“Like most of the current board of supervisors, I have years of experience on the planning commission. I have strong support within the community, having received over 1,000 votes in the election.”

McSparran received 1,862 votes in November, followed by Spade with 1,768 votes, Medini with 1,032 votes, and Enco with 937 votes.

Medini pointed out that it seems logical that the candidate who received the third most votes should be considered for the appointment. He plans to attend the Jan. 17 meeting to make his case.

Scott Althouse, Warwick District Leader of the Lancaster County Democratic Committee, agrees that Medini makes most sense.

“We firmly believe that Marcello Medini should be fully considered and appointed because he received the next highest amount of votes in the November election for township supervisor,” he said. “Also Marcello is very well qualified as a member of the Warwick Township Planning Commission.”

The other Democratic candidate, Jack Enco, said that he is not interested in being considered for the position.

“I think that Marcello should be considered. He has more experience than I do and would make a good supervisor,” said Enco.

When Spade was sworn into office at the Jan. 2 meeting, he noted that he hoped the supervisors would appoint a Republican. Spade has served as a GOP leader and chairman of the Warwick Area Republican Committee.

However, Myers said that having a Republican is not the top priority for the township. Having a qualified person with an understanding of the township was most important. He also expressed regret regarding McSparran’s resignation.

“It is unfortunate that Jeff had to resign. He is a competent young man and I was looking forward to working with him,” said Myers, noting that McSparran had been attending meetings to get up to speed with township issues and the way the board of supervisors operated.

In McSparran’s letter of resignation, he cited personal and business reasons. There was speculation that it was his position at WGAL that might have been a factor.

Kyle Grimes, president and general manager of WGAL-TV, said he was not able to comment on any policy matters regarding WGAL employees holding public office.

Attempts to reach McSparran for comment were unsuccessful. If concerns about holding public office were a factor, it is unclear why the resignation was submitted shortly before McSparran was to take office instead of November or earlier.

“We really don’t know the exact reason,” said Zimmerman. “But now we need to make an appointment as soon as possible.”

Zimmerman said that most likely, the new supervisor will be selected after public discussion on Jan. 17. The new supervisor would then be sworn in at a February meeting, possibly the Feb. 7 meeting at 7 a.m., which would put that person in position in time for the Feb. 21 meeting.

This new supervisor will serve until 2019, at which time a new election will be held. Zimmerman noted that regulations require that a supervisor cannot serve for more than two years without being elected to the position.

“There are at least four or five candidates who have contacted us,” Zimmerman confirmed.

He also did not rule out a come-back for recently retired supervisors Mike Vigunas and Dave Kramer.

In the meantime, any interested candidates should contact Zimmerman at the Warwick Township office and plan on attending the Jan. 17 meeting.

Laura Knowles is a freelance reporter who covers the Warwick Township municipal beat for the Record Express. She welcomes reader feedback and story tips at lknowles21@gmail.com.

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