Ephrata Councilman Hertzog Resigns

By on July 13, 2016

HertzogLate into Monday night’s meeting, Rowe made the unexpected announcement that first ward council member Dale Hertzog had tendered his resignation, effective immediately. In order for his resignation to take effect, it had to be accepted by a vote of council. That motion passed, with council member Tim Barr casting the only no vote.

As Rowe explained, Section 901 of the Borough Code of the Commonwealth indicates that regardless of the effective date of the letter of resignation, the vacancy of the seat is not created until council either accepts the resignation or until 45 days after the resignation has been tendered. Council now has thirty days in which to fill that vacancy, with that person then filling the vacated seat until Dec. 31, 2017.

“The next municipal elections will occur in 2017; therefore, in addition to the first ward council seat expiring Dec. 31, 2017, there will be a special election to fill the two remaining years of the seat expiring December 2019.”

Rowe went on to explain in detail that the 30 days for council to appoint an individual to fill the seat will expire Aug. 10. She said she had hopes that council would be able to fulfill this duty at their Aug. 1 working session. If so, she would ask the mayor to administer the oath of office at that time. However, if a selection cannot be made on Aug. 1, council can then try again at their regular session on Aug. 8.

“If the seat remains unfilled, I will call on the chair of the vacancy board (Chad Weaver) to convene the vacancy board,” Rowe said. “A special public meeting may need to be advertised to fulfill this obligation, as the vacancy board must fill the vacancy no more than 15 days after council has failed to satisfy the obligation of filling the vacancy within 30 days.”

The vacancy board consists of the seven remaining members of borough council and the vacancy board chair. The mayor does not sit on or participate on the vacancy board.

Individuals interested in filling the vacancy must be a registered elector and have resided within the first ward continuously for at least one year immediately prior to being appointed. Ephrata Borough’s first ward consists of the area north of Main Street and west of State Street.

“I will ask anyone interested in the volunteer position to contact me via my email, which is available on the borough website, or to contact the borough and/or complete a volunteer form. Interested individuals may also contact the area committee chair of their party, if applicable.”

Hertzog resigned via email to Rowe and borough manager Bob Thompson late last month. In his email he said, “I appreciated the opportunity to have served in this capacity and consistently endeavored to responsibly and ethically represent the citizens of the borough by researching issues, seeking the truth, and from my perspective, doing the right thing for the community as a whole. I leave with a clear conscience knowing that ‘I left it all on the field.’”

In reaching out to Hertzog as to why he chose to cut his term short and why he chose to do so now, he simply responded, “I really have no comment. I enjoyed my time on council as a public official and am now enjoying my time as a private citizen.”

Council members reacted to the decision.

“When I saw how detail-oriented Dale was I grew to appreciate that,” said Councilman Barr. “He wanted transparency and dealt with a few of Ephrata borough’s sacred cows, and a few times he got the horns. I appreciate his hard work and attention to detail.”

“I am disappointed to see Dale go. I learned a lot over the last few years, and he will be missed. He was very attentive to detail.”

About Patrick Burns

Social media editor and staff writer for Ephrata Review and Lititz Record Express.

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