Gale objects to board appointee
Calls county Redevelopment Authority selection ‘an entrenched partisan hack’
NORRISTOWN » Republican Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale didn’t mince words regarding his views on a recent appointee to a county authority, calling the person “an entrenched partisan hack” who is a “Republican In Name Only.”
Gale, the sole Republican on the three-person commissioners’ board, made his comments about appointee Suzanne S. Mayes Thursday prior to the 2-1 vote for her approval to the Montgomery County Redevelopment Authority. Gale cast lone no vote.
The board also unanimously appointed Judith S. Memberg to the board and reappointed Jonathan Spergel. Mayes’ and Memberg’s terms both begin immediately and expire July 20, 2022. Spergel’s term expires Nov. 10, 2020.
Gale criticized Mayes’ appointment, calling it “a smokescreen of bipartisanship.”
“It’s an example of establishment Democrats colluding with establishment Republicans,” he said. “Ms. Mayes, in my opinion, is a RINO, which stands for Republican In Name Only, who is being rewarded by the Democratic administration for being a totally incompetent and ineffective Republican leader.”
Mayes, Gale said, actively worked against his campaign for commissioner and resigned from her position as chairwoman of the Whitemarsh Township Republican Party after “having helped run the party into the ground.”
Mayes was unavailable for comment by press time Thursday.
When the county is searching for appointments to boards and committees, it is looking for qualified individuals, Commissioners’ Chairwoman Val Arkoosh said in response to Gale’s comments. Mayes fits that description.
“In the case of Ms. Mayes, she has really the ideal resume for that particular board,” Arkoosh said. “She has worked with the (Redevelopment Authority) before in a professional capacity and brings a great deal of expertise to the table. So I was honored she was willing to serve on this board and I have no knowledge of what Commissioner Gale is even talking about in terms of her local party act work. That is not in any way relevant to appointments to boards or commissions.”
Likewise, Commissioner Ken Lawrence called Mayes “eminently qualified.”
“She has an outstanding reputation as a bond attorney. I was unaware of any other political titles that she had or has not had until Commissioner Gale mentioned it. So it’s a non issue for me,” he said. “We need people to serve in the county. We need Republicans to serve. We need Democrats to serve. This was a situation where we have a very highly qualified person who was willing to serve.”
When asked for evidence supporting his attacks, Gale said Mayes actively hosted a fundraiser at her home in 2015 for then- commissioners candidate Stephen Tolbert Jr., whom the Montgomery County GOP officially endorsed. In Whitemarsh Township, she resigned as chairwoman of the Republican party, where there is a sole member of the Republican party on the township board of supervisors that is not seeking re-election. She also failed to organize candidates to run for two open seats this year on the board of supervisors.
“I believe she deliberately and intentionally is an ineffective Republican leader,” Gale said.
Bill Donnelly, chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Committee, said he always found Mayes to be a professional and was sure she would continue to serve with distinction in her new position. Donnelly admitted after hearing Gale’s comments he didn’t know why Gale was upset with Mayes. He then reiterated he always found her to be a professional.
The Redevelopment Authority is a five-person board, which, according to the county’s website, “assists the county’s townships and boroughs in stimulating economic revitalization and aiding in the provision of affordable housing through applications to state and federal sources. The Redevelopment Authority’s activities are funded primarily through state and federal grant programs, reimbursements from municipalities and private sector entities for services provided to them by the authority.” Members of the board are not paid for their duties. Full details about the board are listed on the county’s website at http://www.montcopa.org/1014/Redevelopment-Authority
Mayes is an attorney with the law firm, Cozen O’Connor, ranked among the top 100 law firms in the country. At Cozen O’Connor, she is chairperson of Cozen O’Connor’s “public and project finance practice group and also serves as the vice chair of the firm’s business law department. She is also serving her second term on the firm’s board of directors, according to her resume. Mayes works as a bond counsel, underwriter counsel, borrower counsel and disclosure counsel to a wide range of public, for-profit and not-forprofit clients. She serves as bond counsel for state, county and municipal clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware or as special counsel in the context of major capital projects or debt refinancings,” the resume states.
She’s completed “numerous housing financings for state housing authorities; acted as co-bond counsel in connection with the financing of stadiums; counseled issuers on large-scale general obligation borrowings, student loan bond financings, and airport and toll road issuances. She’s assisted state government with the issuance of unemployment compensation funding revenue bonds and provided counsel to government entities in connection with public-private and public-public partnerships,” according to her resume.
Mayes earned a law degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and received her undergraduate degree summa cum laude from Fairfield University. More details about Mayes are available on the Cozen O’Connor website at https://w w w.cozen.com/ people/bios/mayes-suzanne
“It’s an example of establishment Democrats colluding with establishment Republicans. Ms. Mayes, in my opinion, is a RINO, which stands for Republican In Name Only, who is being rewarded by the Democratic administration for being a totally incompetent and ineffective Republican leader.” — Republican Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale