Abington approves president
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.