From left: Lindsey, Voll.
VILLAS — Newly sworn Lower Township Councilman Walter Craig is questioning why a police officer may have been sent to a Lower Township Republican Committee meeting Jan. 18.
A regularly scheduled Township Council meeting was opened Jan. 18 was but cancelled when only Mayor Michael Beck and Councilman Glenn Douglass were in attendance.
While members of the public, Beck and Douglass waited for 90 minutes, Lower Township Republican Committee selected Craig to fill an open Ward Two council seat.
Craig did not appear at Township Hall and the scheduled council meeting was cancelled.
Councilman Tom Conrad and Deputy Mayor Kevin Lare were on vacation leaving just Beck and Douglass for the regularly scheduled meeting.
Craig told the Herald Fri. Jan. 20 he was surprised Beck and Douglass expected him to come right from the committee meeting to Township Hall to engage in township business “which I had little or no prior knowledge of.”
“I’m surprised a police officer showed up at the front door (of the Senior Center where the Republican committee was meeting),” he said.
Craig said the committee was receiving text messages from people in Township Hall advising a police officer was coming to the committee meeting “to escort you back to the meeting.”
“If that’s correct, well then I have to question the use of a police officer in that matter,” he said. “I certainly hope it’s not correct.”
There were a whole lot of people “stirring the pot,” said Craig. He said some questioned why a police officer would show up at a political meeting.
Craig said if anybody from Township Hall had reached out to him, he would have told them he was not coming to the Township Council meeting. He said he wouldn’t ask any new member of council, who came into office in the same manner to appear five minutes later, get sworn in and participate in a council meeting in a professional manner.
“I had no packet, I had no idea what was on the agenda,” he said.
Craig said his intention was to go to Township Hall the following morning, something an attorney advised to do as normal procedure.
Craig received his oath of office as a councilman from Township Clerk Claudia Kammer at 11 a.m. Thur. Jan. 19 with Township Manager Michael Voll holding a Bible.
On Jan. 18, Voll, a Class II Lower Township police officer and four reporters walked a half block to the Lower Township Senior Center where the Republican Committee was meeting. Voll them asked Republican Committee Chairman Jeff Lindsey to inform Township Council when a new councilperson had been selected by the committee and to send the person to Township Hall to be sworn in. (See the above video of Voll, the officer and reporters at the Senior Center.)
The committee did not send official word to Beck and Douglass that Craig had been selected and the council meeting that never officially started, due to a lack of a quorum, adjourned at 8:30 p.m.
Lower Township Council will hold a special meeting on Wed., Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. at Township Hall.
The purpose of the meeting will be to review and act on the agenda items originally scheduled for Jan. 18.