Candidates interview to fill vacancy on East Nottingham Twp. board
● By Steven Hoffman
The East Nottingham Township Board of Supervisors held a special meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 1 to interview the candidates who submitted letters of interest to fill a vacancy on the board of supervisors. The vacancy was created when Jane Ladley resigned from the board in November.
Three supervisors—chairman Scott Blum, vice chairman Art Rieck, and member Joe Raffa were present to interview the candidates, while the fourth supervisor, John P. Coldiron, was absent.
Blum began the meeting by explaining the procedures that would be followed for the interview process. He said that each candidate would have three minutes to explain their qualifications and introduce themselves to the 30 or so residents in the audience at the meeting.
Five people—Joe Bauer, Gary Coates, John D. Coldiron, Sam Goodley, and Michael Watson—made their cases to fill the vacancy. A sixth candidate was determined to be ineligible to serve as a supervisor because he is now a resident of West Nottingham Township, and no longer lives in East Nottingham.
Bauer said that he has lived in the area for 43 years, and he moved to East Nottingham about two decades ago. He served on the planning commission for Upper Oxford. When he moved to East Nottingham, he was appointed to serve on the Oxford Area Recreation Authority board. He served in that capacity through 2010. He was also a member of East Nottingham Township’s Planning Commission for more than seven years.
“I’ve participated in a lot of things in the township,” Bauer said, explaining that he ran for a seat on the township’s board of supervisors two years ago, but did not win that election.
He concluded his remarks by stating his support for the township’s open space program, which has become one of the major issues in the township.
Coates is a lifelong resident of East Nottingham. He is a military veteran who has worked as a mechanic and is a small business owner in the area. He and his family have also owned and operated farms for two generations.
Coates said that the township is a very friendly community, and he has enjoyed living here his entire life.
“I’ve enjoyed this area when it was the best you could imagine anywhere,” he said.
Coates added that if he were appointed to fill the vacancy on the board, he would listen to the residents and then vote according to their wishes.
He told the audience, “It’s what the majority of you people want, even if I dislike it.”
John D. Coldiron, a business owner and building inspector, told the supervisors that he has lived in the township since 1972.
He talked about how his background and professional experiences would be an asset to the township. He also referenced the township’s significant population growth that has occurred since he moved to the township.
“There are different problems to deal with now because of the numbers of people [in the township],” Coldiron said.
Coldiron’s son currently serves as a supervisor. John P. Coldiron’s term is ending on Dec. 31. The older Coldiron said that he would be a different kind of supervisor than his son, just as any other father would be different from his child.
Goodley, a former supervisor and a lawyer, said that he’s been an active farmer in the township, working on the family farm. He said that making sensible land-use planning decisions is one of the most important functions that the township supervisors perform.
Goodley talked about how the recent referendum on the open space program showed that township residents favor the preservation of farmlands and the rural character of the township. He added that it would be good to have a farmer on the board of supervisors because so much of the township is comprised of farmland.
Watson, who moved with his family to East Nottingham Township seven or eight years ago, said that it was the rural character of the area that attracted them. He said that he works in law enforcement and has knowledge about how local governments function. He also has experience working with budgets.
Watson said that he has been involved in his church and also serves on the homeowners’ association in his community. He added that serving as a supervisor is “something that I’ve always wanted to do.”
The East Nottingham Township Board of Supervisors was to vote to fill the vacancy at its meeting on Dec. 8. The candidate who is ultimately selected to fill the vacancy will serve the remainder of the unexpired term that runs through December 2017.