Township secretary says attempts at coercion are 'inappropriate and possibly illegal'
By Steven Hoffman
Pat Brady is the township secretary for East Nottingham Township. She also serves on the township’s vacancy board. In that position, Brady would be called on to cast the deciding vote if the board of supervisors was ever evenly divided on a vote to fill a vacancy. For as long as Brady has served in that position, she has never been called on to be a part of such a vote.
Jane Ladley’s resignation from the board of supervisors in November raised the possibility that the four remaining supervisors—Scott Blum, John Coldiron, Joe Raffa, and Art Rieck—would be divided when it came time to appoint Ladley’s replacement.
At the start of the abbreviated Dec. 8 township meeting, Brady read from a prepared statement accusing two people of attempting to put pressure on her to vote for a particular candidate to fill the vacancy.
Brady said that supervisor Raffa and East Nottingham Township resident John Seitz both contacted her in the days after the vacancy was announced and, during several different conversations, they attempted to exert undue influence over how she would vote if the vacancy board was needed. They wanted her to support the candidacy of Gary Coates.
According to Brady, these attempts at coercion went too far.
“I feel this is inappropriate and possibly illegal. I demand that this stop now,” Brady said as she read from her statement.
After the meeting, Brady was asked if she was ever promised anything by Raffa or Seitz in exchange for doing what they wanted. She replied, “Yes, but not money.”
She quickly added that she was told not to make any additional comments beyond her statement.
When she was asked if Coates had contacted her to discuss the vacancy, Brady did say that he had. However, he only wanted to talk about himself and his qualifications as a candidate, and did not attempt to pressure her in any way, Brady said.
Seitz was not at the Dec. 8 meeting, but said that he saw video of the meeting where Brady read her statement. He denied attempting to pressure her or offering her anything to support Coates' candidacy.
“After I listened to what she said it made me angry,” Seitz said. “I talked to her as one fellow resident to another. She's a resident and I'm a resident. I have no control or authority over her. I encouraged her to talk to Gary because I thought he was a fair person who would be a breath of fresh air for the township. I did not offer her any money, gift, bribe, or favor.”
He added that, “I think what she did was a poorly scripted act to discredit me and Joe Raffa.”