East Cocalico supervisors OK pay, bond for interim township manager

By on March 9, 2016

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During a March 3 meeting, East Cocalico supervisors set compensation and approved a resolution for a bond for an interim township manager, Steve Gabriel of Rettew Associates Inc.

East Cocalico’s manager of six years, Mark Hiester, departed in February and is now working for Penn Township. Gabriel has been filling in as manager.

Supervisors voted to set Gabriel’s compensation at $150 per hour. Unlike most township managers, Gabriel is not a full-time, salaried manager, but a part-time employee of the township.

Gabriel’s bond will be for the amount of $2 million. This is the same amount previously bonded for Hiester.

In response to resident comments, Supervisor Chair Doug Mackley said it’s not possible to simply transfer the bond; instead, the township must set up an additional bond for Gabriel. The extra cost, Mackley said, is tied to approving a new bond resolution.

East Cocalico resident Jeffrey Mitchell asked the board if having a part-time manager makes it harder to comply with the state Sunshine Law covering public deliberations, since a full-time manager often “runs the show.”

“It hasn’t been an issue,” Mackley said.

Supervisor Noelle Fortna said having a part-time manager should not make a difference in complying with the laws. Supervisors Vice Chair Alan Fry added that much of the board’s routine communications are done via e-mail, allowing Gabriel to stay in the loop.

Supervisors also discussed the property at 1975 N. Reading Road in response to Mitchell’s questions.

The property had been bought by East Cocalico, along with neighboring municipalities West Cocalico Township and Denver and Adamstown boroughs, in 2006 at the height of the real estate market, and had been the site of a proposed community rec center. The center was never built, and in 2014, the partner boards moved to sell the property. DenTech Inc., sole bidder, purchased the property. The low purchase price left all the municipalities involved with balances of the original mortgage.

Now, a portion of the property given back to East Cocalico, is on the sale block. Attempts to sell the small parcel have been unsuccessful.

“It’s still sitting there.” Mackley said. “We’re open for business.”

In other news, supervisors approved a stormwater management, erosion control, and grading plan for High Concrete Group. High wants to remove several linear sheds and construct a series of concrete pads, which will not increase impervious surface areas.

East Cocalico Zoning Officer Tony Luongo advised the board on property maintenance issues, referencing a recycleable wood pile that is on the High Property, as well as the adjacent Martin Limestone property. Mackley said the township should get some kind of agreement in writing between the two companies, for storing and removing the wood.

Justin Stoltzfus is a correspondent for LNP.

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