Abing­ton ap­proves pres­i­dent

The Globe - - FRONT PAGE - By Jar­reau Free­man

While a new board pres­i­dent and vice pres­i­dent were ap­proved by the Abing­ton Town­ship Board of Com­mis­sion­ers, an­other board mem­ber an­nounced his res­ig­na­tion at the Jan. 10 meet­ing.

In a 10-4 vote, the board ap­proved Com­mis­sioner Peggy My­ers as the new pres­i­dent of the board of com­mis­sion­ers.

My­ers re­placed former board Pres­i­dent Carol DiJoseph who re­signed Dec. 31, as a re­sult of a move to Cape May, N.J., with her hus­band. Cur­rently, the board has 30 GDys WR fiOO WKH sHDW IRr :DrG 12 com­mis­sioner — a va­cancy left by DiJoseph fol­low­ing her de­par­ture.

Com­mis­sion­ers John Spiegel­man, Lori Schreiber, Thomas Bow­man and Steven Kline, voted in fa­vor of Kline, who was nom­i­nated by Spiegel­man for board pres­i­dent.

“I just wanted to say thank you to ev­ery­one,” My­ers said at the end of the meet­ing. “Thank you to those who voted for me, and to those who didn’t, I hope in WLPH , FDn HDrn yRXr FRn­fi­dence and your trust.”

In ad­di­tion, the board unan­i­mously ap­proved Com­mis­sioner Wayne Luker as vice pres­i­dent.

“Thank you all for your YRWH RI FRn­fiGHnFH,” KH sDLG to the board.

Fol­low­ing the votes, res­i­dent Lora Lehmann ad­dressed the board and re­ferred to My­ers as some­one who has been “rude” to res­i­dents and said ci­ti­zens should have had the op­por­tu­nity to com­ment be­fore the board ap­proved a pres­i­dent and vice pres­i­dent.

“It is for us that you are there op­er­at­ing,” she said.

De­spite dis­ap­prov­ing com­ments, the board mem­bers be­stowed con­grat­u­la­tions to My­ers and Luker. How­ever, there was a mo­men­tary si­lence in the room when Com­mis­sioner Richard Gaglianese an­nounced his un­ex­pected res­ig­na­tion from the board ef­fec­tive Feb. 28 for per­sonal rea­sons.

“Com­mis­sioner Gaglianese you have left us speech­less,” My­ers said.

Gaglianese had ap­prox­i­mately two years re­main­ing on his term, which would have ended Dec. 31, 2015. ThH ERDrG hDs 30 GDys WR fiOO the va­cancy fol­low­ing his res­ig­na­tion, said Abing­ton Town­ship Man­ager Michael Le­Fevre.

“I want to thank the res­i­dents of Ward 3 for al­low­ing me to serve as your com­mis­sioner,” Gaglianese said.

In other busi­ness, the board unan­i­mously ap­proved re­vi­sions to the door-to-door so­lic­i­ta­tion or­di­nance. Ac­cord­ing to a memo is­sued by Abing­ton Town­ship So­lic­i­tor Rex Herder, so­lic­i­tors will have to pay a $200 per­mit fee for each month they en­gage in door-to-door so­lic­i­ta­tion and those who vi­o­late any part of the or­di­nance could face D finH rDnJLnJ IrRP $100 WR $300.

In ad­di­tion, so­lic­i­tors must carry their per­mits at all times and dis­play them upon re­quest. The or­di­nance also states that the po­lice de­part­ment can have ac­cess to an ap­pli­cant’s crim­i­nal his­tory.

Prior to the vote, Com­mis­sioner Schreiber wanted to know if groups that are ex­empt from per­mits — like those en­gaged in a po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns or groups like the Girl Scouts — were al­lowed to ap­proach doors that had “no so­lic­i­ta­tion” them.

In re­sponse, Herder said that both po­lit­i­cal groups and Girl Scout groups could be in vi­o­la­tion of the or­di­nance if they ap­proached res­i­dences that did not want so­lic­i­tors.

My­ers asked Herder to ex­plain why the or­di­nance al­lows so­lic­i­ta­tion un­til 9 p.m., although many dis­agree with that time frame.

“, wRuOG EH WhH firsW WR agree that 9 p.m. is ‘too late,’” he said. “But the fed­eral courts re­peat­edly stress that it’s not up to the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to de­cide on an is­sue that im­pinges on what amounts to free speech and have stressed that any res­i­dent who does not wish to be

signs on dis­turbed in their home has a right to put up a no so­lic­i­ta­tion sign.

“There is noth­ing magic about the 9 p.m. hour. What has hap­pened is that ev­ery group that has chal­lenged a time lim­i­ta­tion, whether an or­di­nance stated so­lic­i­ta­tions end at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m., said they wanted to go un­til 9 p.m. So the courts have agreed on 9 p.m.”

The most im­por­tant thing for res­i­dents to know is that if res­i­dents don’t want so­lic­i­tors they can reg­is­ter their names on a no so­lic­i­ta­tion list at the po­lice de­part­ment or put a “no so­lic­i­ta­tion” sticker, which is avail­able at the town­ship build­ing, or a home­made sign on their front door, My­ers said.

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