Gale ob­jects to board ap­pointee

Calls county Re­de­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity se­lec­tion ‘an en­trenched par­ti­san hack’

The Community Connection - - LOCAL NEWS - By Eric Devlin ede­vlin@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Eric_Devlin on Twit­ter

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

Joe Gale

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