Abing­ton com­mis­sioner re­signs

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - FRONT PAGE - By Jar­reau Free­man

On Aug. 1 state Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-153, an­nounced her res­ig­na­tion from the Abing­ton Town­ship Board of Com­mis­sion­ers ef­fec­tive Aug. 15.

Dean was elected to the board in Novem­ber 2011 and be­gan her term Jan. 3, 2012, ac­cord­ing to Abing­ton Town­ship Man­ager Michael Le­Fevre.

Early this year Dean was elected state rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the 153rd Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict af­ter win­ning a spe­cial elec­tion in April to fill for­mer state Rep. Josh Shapiro’s va­cancy af­ter he re­signed to be­come Mont­gomery County com­mis­sioner.

In a re­cent let­ter sent to the res­i­dents of Ward 7, Dean said the rea­son for her res­ig­na­tion from the board was a re­sult of sched­ul­ing con­flicts.

“I’ve found that this dual­ity [as both town­ship com­mis­sioner and state rep­re­sen­ta­tive] has an un­work­able draw­back, namely that I can’t be phys­i­cally present, as re­quired, in both Abing­ton and Harrisburg when im­por­tant com­mis­sioner and leg­isla­tive ses­sions are sched­uled at the same time,” she said. “To date, I have been able to at­tend meet­ings on both lev­els, but go­ing for­ward I see con­flicts aris­ing and my ab­sence at ei­ther would not be fair to you.”

On Tues­day Dean said she had thought about the de­ci­sion and said she did not want to “short change” res­i­dents of Ward 7. She said she made the de­ci­sion in the best in­ter­ests of the res­i­dents.

Nick Mattiacci, the Repub­li­can can­di­date for the 153rd Dis­trict seat, said in a press re­lease that Dean’s res­ig­na­tion shows her failed com­mit­ment to Ward 7.

“Prior to the April 24th Spe­cial Elec­tion, Ms. Dean promised that, if elected, she would main­tain her seat on the board of com­mis­sion­ers and continue to rep­re­sent the res­i­dents of Ward 7 who elected her just nine months ago,” Mattiacci said. “Now, just three months into her ten­ure as state rep­re­sen­ta­tive, where she cur­rently is on re­cess from Harrisburg un­til late Septem­ber, she has in­formed her con­stituents in Ward 7 she no longer wants to rep­re­sent them.”

When asked if she made a prom­ise to keep her seat on the board of com­mis­sion­ers Dean said that she did not know what Mattiacci was re­fer­ring to nor felt ob­li­gated to re­spond to his com­ment.

“I get to stay com­mit­ted to Ward 7 at the

state level … and I have com­mit­ted my­self to be­com­ing the best leg­is­la­tor I can be,” she said.

Le­Fevre said the board has 30 days af­ter Dean’s res­ig­na­tion to find a re­place­ment.

“This means they [the board] have to be­gin [search­ing] im­me­di­ately,” he said.

Abing­ton board of com­mis­sion­ers Pres­i­dent Carol DiJoseph said the process of choos­ing a can­di­date lies in the do­main of Ward 7. She said that usu­ally both Demo­cratic and Repub­li­can lead­ers in the community dis­cuss a po­ten­tial can­di­date and then present a can­di­date be­fore the board.

She said board has un­til Sept. 15 to fill the va­cancy and as of this time she has not heard any word from Ward 7, nor does she know its plans.

DiJoseph also said she was not sur­prised by Dean’s res­ig­na­tion.

“When she was elected in April or May she made a gen­eral an­nounce­ment that she was go­ing to test the wa­ters,” she said. “In a re­cent phone call I had with her she told me she could not lit­er­ally do both jobs here in­Abing­ton and Harrisburg.

“I think she has done the best she can do … we did not get the chance to know her that well on the board, but we wish her well.”

Madeleine Dean

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