Tuesday, January 26, 2021


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East Greenville Mayor to Resign
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            Keith Gerhart announced his intent to resign as the mayor of East Greenville earlier this week. Near the end of Tuesday's public meeting, Gerhart informed the public that he was moving to a municipality in eastern Berks County. He said he would submit a letter of resignation to council when his current residence is sold, most likely in late October.

            "This was not a decision I came to easily," Gerhart said.

            After the current mayor resigns, council can appoint any resident of the borough to succeed Gerhart. The next mayor will complete his term, which expires at the end of 2021.

            Gerhart – who announced during the meeting that he informed Manager Jim Fry, council President Angie Fegely and police Chief Randy Morris of his decision in early August – earned a second stint as mayor in November of 2017 by defeating incumbent Ryan Sloyer. Running with a group of council candidates known as "We the People," Gerhart promoted a platform of reversing the borough's decision to withdraw from the Upper Perk Police Commission.

            However, amid opposition from residents, Gerhart and the new council abandoned that plan and maintained the newly created Borough of East Greenville Police Department.

            In other news, residents in the borough facing water shutoffs received an additional eight weeks to resolve their situations. Council voted unanimously to send notices to 40 addresses with a termination date of Oct. 29.

            The termination of service for the residents, due to lack of payment, was scheduled to occur on Aug. 27, according to Manager Jim Fry. At the initial suggestion of Member Alison Palmer, the letters will include information about utility assistance programs sponsored by Montgomery County.

            According to the manager, 18 of the delinquent residents owed three months of payments. He said 22 were six months behind.

            None of them have contacted the borough to discuss the issue or set up a payment plan, according to Fry. He said most customers who owe back fees don't act until they see the shutoff notice on their front door.

            Council members voted to allow police Chief Randy Morris the authority to purchase a third police vehicle for his department. Melissa Leinbach voted against the motion, which directs Morris not to spend more than $47,369.89.

            According to Fegely, Morris wanted to purchase a black unmarked 2020 Police Interceptor Utility vehicle. She said the need emerged when one of the department's two vehicles recently needed repairs, leaving two on-duty officers with just one vehicle.

            Council approved a motion to purchase and install six new trees along Main Street in the borough. According to Palmer, three cornelian-cherry dogwoods and three Eastern Red Buds would replace six trees that have damaged the sidewalks and grates in the area.

            Fegely said she expected the total cost to not exceed $2,000. The money would come from a budget line item totaling approximately $5,400, according to Fry.

            After the meeting, the council president acknowledged that the members discussed a civil lawsuit filed by former police Chief Andrew Skelton against the borough and Gerhart during an executive session prior to the meeting. The suit, filed Sept. 4 in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas, accuses the defendants of age discrimination and First Amendment retaliation.

            Fegely described the origin of the suit as not unexpected. She declined to comment further on the issue.

            The borough's police department responded to 109 total incidents in August. A report presented by Gerhart enumerated 33 of those as traffic issues, 13 for public services, eight assists, five for parking, three accidents and two each for burglary, fire, animals, theft and domestic. The report, accumulated by Morris, included 37 incidents identified as "other."






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