Of­fi­cial: Spe­cial meet­ing a ‘witch hunt’

Bor­ough coun­cil may vote to oust mem­ber who moved out of his ward

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - LOCAL NEWS - By Eric Devlin ede­vlin@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Eric_Devlin on Twit­ter

PHOENIXVILLE >> Phoenixville Bor­ough Coun­cil Vice Pres­i­dent Dana Du­gan didn’t mince words when de­scrib­ing the agenda for Mon­day’s spe­cial coun­cil meet­ing. “This is a witch hunt,” she said. The meet­ing is be­ing held at 7 p.m. to con­sider declar­ing a Mid­dle Ward seat va­cancy. This comes fol­low­ing Repub­li­can Bor­ough Coun­cil mem­ber Michael Kuz­nar’s an­nounce­ment dur­ing the Sept. 13 meet­ing that he was forced to move out of his apart­ment in the Mid­dle Ward in June.

Kuz­nar said at the time he had been tem­po­rar­ily liv­ing with a friend in the East Ward but planned to move into a new place in the Mid­dle Ward in Oc­to­ber. He has since moved back the Mid­dle Ward ahead of sched­ule, he con­firmed Sun­day.

“I find this ap­palling,” Du­gan said, adding Kuz­nar’s sit­u­a­tion was sim­i­lar to an emer­gency evac­u­a­tion. “What if there’s a flood or fire and you have to live with friends?”

Du­gan, a Demo­cratic Repub­li­can on coun­cil and Ch­ester County Demo­cratic Com­mit­tee mem­ber, de­scribed the in­tent of the spe­cial meet­ing to be “100 per­cent par­ti­san.” She said she was go­ing against the opin­ion of other coun­cil mem­bers be­cause she doesn’t play par­ti­san pol­i­tics. She blamed coun­cil Pres­i­dent James Ko­valeski and coun­cil mem­ber Jonathan Ewald, both Democrats, for spear­head­ing the ef­fort. The Mid­dle Ward, she said,

is typ­i­cally rep­re­sented by a Demo­crat and the two men along with oth­ers on coun­cil were try­ing to re­move Kuz­nar, so they can re­place his seat with an­other Demo­crat.

Ko­valeski was un­able to be reached for com­ment. Ewald said he was un­avail­able to com­ment.

By hold­ing the spe­cial meet­ing, coun­cil was adding in­sult to his in­jury, Du­gan said. “Forc­ing one of only two Repub­li­cans out, that is just hor­ri­ble.” Coun­cil mem­ber Jon Ichter II is the only other Repub­li­can on coun­cil.

Du­gan said she didn’t fear los­ing her seat for speak­ing her mind be­cause there are many res­i­dents on both sides of the aisle in her ward that ap­pre­ci­ate the work she does.

Ac­cord­ing to sec­tion 901 of the Penn­syl­va­nia State Bor­ough Code, there are sev­eral rea­sons to de­clare

“In pol­i­tics, it’s kind of like the work­place. You have to be as nice to ev­ery­one as you can be­cause you have to work with them. To the best of my knowl­edge th­ese peo­ple found what they saw as a chink in the ar­mor and ze­roed in on it. They’ve made a moun­tain out of a mole­hill.”

a va­cant seat on coun­cil in­clud­ing death, res­ig­na­tion or termination of res­i­dency from the bor­ough, or from a ward in the case of a ward of­fice, or by fail­ure to take the re­quired oath. While the rul­ing opin­ion will be up to So­lic­i­tor Charles Garner, an ar­gu­ment could be made that by for­mally an­nounc­ing he had left his home in­side the Mid­dle Ward, Kuz­nar va­cated his seat on coun­cil. If that’s the case, then coun­cil would have 30 days to fill that va­cant ward seat.

Kuz­nar re­it­er­ated Sun­day he’d got­ten his res­i­dency sit­u­a­tion un­der con­trol and like Du­gan, com­pared the sit­u­a­tion to that of an emer­gency. In his own re­search he said a per­son must show in­tent to move back to their ward. He added this sit­u­a­tion has been ex­ag­ger­ated and is just pol­i­tics as usual.

“In pol­i­tics, it’s kind of like the work­place,” he be­gan. “You have to be as nice to ev­ery­one as you can be­cause you have to work with them. To the best of my knowl­edge th­ese peo­ple found what they saw as a chink in the ar­mor and ze­roed in on it. They’ve made a moun­tain out of a mole­hill.”

FILE PHOTO — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Repub­li­can Bor­ough Coun­cil­man Michael Kuz­nar an­nounced he had tem­po­rar­ily moved out of the Mid­dle Ward in June but would be mov­ing back in Oc­to­ber. He has al­ready moved back ahead of sched­ule.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.