Jeff Sauder is new West Cocalico supervisor

By on July 19, 2017

The vacancy on the West Cocalico Township board of supervisors has been filled with the July 18 appointment of Jeff Sauder.

Supervisors James J. Stoner and Leon Eby cast their votes for Sauder, a director of operations at Windstream, who fills the post vacated by former Supervisor Ray Burns, who has moved out of the township.

Burns resigned June 23, but Stoner and Eby formally accepted the resignation at the July 18 meeting when they made the appointment of his successor.

The duo said filling the vacancy was not a matter of an easy choice.

In June, three residents came forward as candidates: Sauder; Lori Berger, a career educator; and Michael Geller, a member of the township zoning board. On Tuesday, Berger and Geller were in the audience. Sauder was away on vacation.

“There’s no question in my mind that we have three good candidates,” supervisor Chair Stoner said, opening the conversation. “I’m just trying to make this as fair as it can be.”

Stoner cited Geller’s experience on the township zoning board and Berger’s passion for following township business, as well as Sauder’s business experience.

“Qualifications here, there’s no lack … we are exceeding in qualifications,” Stoner said.

Supervisor Leon Eby agreed.

“We’ve had some excellent people,” Eby said. “That’s what makes it tough to decide … unfortunately, there’s only one spot available.”

However, Eby cited Sauder’s career experience at Windstream. Sauders was also endorsed by the local Republican party committee.

Eby initiated a motion to appoint Sauder supervisor.

Stoner went along, but stressed the importance of working with all three candidates and finding them places in local government. Geller, he said, can stay active on the zoning hearing board. Stoner suggested looking for a spot for Berger on another township board.

“I have lost more sleep over this one than I have over a lot of them,” Stoner said.

Part of the expedience of going along with Sauder’s appointment, Stoner said, is the ability to move forward quickly without bringing in a third party as a tie-breaker, a process he said could become difficult.

“Thank you for throwing your names in the hat,” Stoner told the two present candidates. “I appreciate it.”

In other business:

* Supervisors reviewed a presentation by Melissa Kelly of engineering firm Rettew, who said July 19 begins the 30-day public comment and review process for the township’s Chesapeake Bay Pollution Reduction plan, including a streambank restoration project along Harnish Run. Stoner said he has fielded complaints from residents about sedimentation reduction requirements from the state. Kelly said there is a digital option for residents to check out the plan and give input.

* Supervisors and township staff discussed traffic issues with Ephrata Police Department Lt. Thomas Shumaker, who presented the police report for the month.

Township Manager Carolyn Hildebrand said drivers are “rolling through” a stop sign at Route 897 and Sportsman’s Road, a three-way intersection. Hildebrand also cited traffic problems in the ‘Schoeneck flats’ area south of the town of Schoeneck.

“It’s still a regular accident spot.” Hildebrand said.

Stoner said problems at the Sportsman’s Road intersection may have to do with sight distance.

“They can’t really see around the corner.” Stoner said.

Shumaker said the department will look into issues with the troublesome intersections.

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