Another East Nottingham supervisor resigns
By Steven Hoffman
The East Nottingham Township supervisors were expected to appoint one of the candidates to fill a vacancy on the board at its Dec. 8 meeting, but instead another supervisor has likely resigned.
Scott Blum, the chairman of the five-member board of supervisors, sat silently as the meeting got underway. As the chairman, Blum would normally preside over the work session, but instead, supervisor John Coldiron handled the opening chores of conducting the meeting. Within a few minutes, the reason that Blum wasn’t leading the meeting was revealed. He read from a prepared statement that concluded with the announcement that he was resigning from the board.
Blum explained that a few days earlier, he had received a text message from John Seitz, a resident of the township and frequent critic of the board of supervisors, threatening to display signs accusing Blum of lying at a public meeting. During a township meeting on Dec. 1, Seitz accused Blum of not being forthright with residents regarding the preparation of the township’s most recent newsletter that came out before the November election. Seitz questioned Blum's role in deciding that a notice about the open space referendum would not be included in the newsletter after the board of supervisors failed to reach an agreement about how the notice should be worded.
Seitz followed through with the threat, making Facebook posts and displaying a sign on his own property at the intersection of Oxford and Hickory Hill roads that were critical of Blum. Then, on Dec. 7, Seitz allegedly took the signs to Blum’s place of work. The protests staged at Blum's work continued on the next day, prompting Blum's resignation later that night.
Blum said that attempting to embarrass him at his work was crossing a line.
“Mr. Seitz has threatened my employment,” Blum said. He added that while he liked serving the township as a supervisor, he could not continue to do so if his work was going to be disrupted.
Coldiron then announced that, since Blum had offered his resignation, the meeting could not continue because there wasn’t a quorum. It takes three supervisors to conduct business, and supervisor Art Rieck wasn’t present for this meeting, leaving only Coldiron and Joe Raffa at the table. The meeting was adjourned immediately, leaving everyone in attendance to discuss the unusual turn of events.
Blum’s resignation was not accepted by the board because of a lack of a quorum. However, Blum said after the meeting ended that it was unlikely that he would reconsider his decision to resign.
Township residents in attendance were disgusted by how the events unfolded. Several people voiced their dismay that a township resident would resort to protesting Blum at his work.
“This goes beyond politics and it becomes personal when you do what they did to Scott Blum,” said township resident Rick Orner.
He added that Seitz is a known supporter of Gary Coates, one of the five candidates who were in the running to fill the vacancy on the board of supervisors that was created when Jane Ladley submitted a letter of resignation in November.
Seitz was not at the Dec. 8 meeting, but he acknowledged during a telephone interview later in the week that he was part of the group that staged the protest at Blum's place of work.
“Due to his actions,” Seitz said, “a number of us felt he should resign his board membership. In the end, I think he handled that situation properly and I have respect for him.”
It was unclear when the board of supervisors will be able to vote to name a replacement for Jane Ladley. Coldiron and Raffa are both lame ducks, and their terms end at the end of the month. Shelley McLeod and Joseph Herlihy won election to the board and will begin their four-year terms in January.
In addition to Coates, the other candidates vying to fill Ladley’s vacant seat are Joe Bauer, John D. Coldiron, Sam Goodley, and Michael Watson. If Blum follows through with his resignation, the new board will soon be interviewing candidates and selecting one to fill that vacancy.