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East Greenville Officials Paid More than $50K to Advisory Firm
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2019-04-03

            East Greenville Borough Council paid $50,155.89 to a law firm hired to advise municipal officials on its termination hearing for police Chief Andrew Skelton. Borough officials wrote four checks to Clark Hill PLC between November and February from a municipal account at a Souderton bank.

            The borough's solicitor, Eastburn and Gray, submitted invoices totaling $18,188 related to the hearing and other issues regarding the police chief, according to information provided by the municipality in response to a Right to Know Request. Four lawyers from the Doylestown firm accumulated 189.1 billable hours on the matter between Sept. 4 and Jan. 30.

            Skelton placed himself on leave at 4 p.m. on Sept. 6. He cited a toxic work environment, according to sources.

            A Feb. 14 submission from the newspaper to the borough requested "receipts, proof of payments and outstanding invoices request for Joseph Rudolf and the Clark Hill law firm, Melissa Fiala and the law firm of Rudolph Clarke, LLC, as well as any outstanding invoices to borough solicitor Michael Peters or Eastburn and Gray, PC, directly related to the termination hearing and related submissions to the termination hearing" for Skelton since Sept. 1, 2018.

            East Greenville officials delivered 30 pages that included copies of four checks and 11 invoices from two firms. However, line item details on the invoices were redacted.  Officials cited two exemptions in the Right to Know Law that prevent them from disclosing certain information.  They included Section 708(C), which prevents an agency from disclosing "the identity of an individual performing an undercover or covert law enforcement activity," and Section 708(b)(17), any disclosure that "would deprive a person of the right to an impartial adjudication."

            The borough's response included copies of four checks, all signed by council President Angie Fegely and Secretary Sharon Kachmar, from Univest Bank & Trust Co. to Clark Hill PLC at a post office box in Pittsburgh. On Nov. 5, 2018, the borough paid $10,110.31. A Nov. 19, 2018 check represents a payment of $18,626. Municipal officials paid the firm an additional $10,950 and $10,469.56 on Dec. 3, 2018 and Feb. 4, respectively.

            According to invoices obtained by the newspaper, Clark Hill billed East Greenville for 133.8 hours between Jan. 2 and Jan. 31. A Feb. 20 invoice lists a total fee amount of $40,140. Joseph C. Rudolf accounted for 88 hours on the six-page invoice. It states that Ethan N. Dennis logged 34.5 hours, while Stacey C. Schor added 10.8 hours.

            A March 11 invoice from Rudolph Clarke, LLC, which identifies 10.1 work hours between Nov. 20 and Dec. 28, totals $2,847.50. Fiala served as the hearing officer during the procedure.

            The nine invoices from Eastburn and Gray, East Greenville's solicitor, cover 189.1 billable hours between October and February. The firm submitted two invoices to the borough on Nov. 21, Dec. 12, Jan. 11 and Feb. 11, 2019 according to the documents. Peters, Zachary Silverstein, Erin Kerman Aronson and Mark Eastman are listed in the timekeeper summary.

            Borough officials initially hired Skelton, a 1984 graduate of Upper Perkiomen High School who grew up in Hereford and lives in New Hanover Township, in May of 2017 to consult the municipality on the creation of Borough of East Greenville Police Department. In June of 2017, he was named the interim chief. One month later, council removed the interim tag.


 

 

 

 

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