The Berkshire Township Board of Trustees’ meeting of Nov. 14 was marked by a resignation and heated discussions over parks and roads.
Administrator and Zoning Inspector Jeff George left a resignation letter at Trustee Bill Holtry’s home that morning.
In the letter, George said there has been progress in the township over his 11 years. However, there had been some bumps, as well, George wrote.
“Hundreds of acres of the township have been annexed to the villages of Sunbury and Galena, and because of an inept trustee, an outlet mall was almost lost to the villages, too,” George wrote. “So why am I resigning? Because of the creation of an intolerable, threatening, belittling and abusive work environment created by Trustee Rod Myers.”
Holtry said George had provided evidence for his claim, which he has asked the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office to review.
After George’s resignation was accepted, Myers said, “I know what I’ve said to Jeff. All I want to say is there’s two sides to every story.”
Earlier in the meeting, a member of the public said they were glad that Josh Varble had been elected trustee, replacing Holtry in January. They were also glad the two parks issues on the ballot were defeated in the November election, but disappointed that $300,000 had been spent “on a paved park path to nowhere.”
Among other things, passage of the parks issues would have allowed the purchase of 56 acres surrounding the existing Community Park on Rome Corners Road, next to the township hall.
A member of the Berkshire Township Parks Board asked for the trustees’ views on what happens next.
Trustee Mike Datillo said, “I can see developing the rest of this acreage.”
“Everybody knows that I was for the levy,” Holtry said. “I hope future trustees will keep in mind what the park board thinks and not have two people make decisions. I think the residents should have a voice, and I think the parks board should stay in place to get that information to the trustees.”
“When we bought this 18 acres, it was to have a pavilion, a township hall and a park, and that was the best thing back then,” Myers said. “The idea of purchasing 63 acres to have a monster park in the center of the township wasn’t really my preference, but if it would have passed, I would have been on board, just like I was with the park that’s out here.”
Myers said he and Varble have ideas of what to do with the remaining acreage, “but the people on the park board are going to have to buy in to what our views are, because we’ll be the persons that allocate the money to do whatever we do out there.”
Parks Board member Matt Ulrey said, “This may have been the Bill and Mike show, and it’s going to become the Rod and Josh show. I want this to be the township residents’ show. Let’s not forget you guys are in place for what we want.”
Myers said people were taking it wrong what he meant by getting on board and that he had nothing against parks. He said he voted the way the residents wanted, and was against the proposed Planet Oasis and the Tanger Outlet Mall.
Since the parks issues were defeated, Myers inquired whether the parks director position held by Beth Hugh was still necessary. Dattilo said she is a grant writer and could write one to receive funding to repair a culvert problem on Joe Walker Road, bordering Galena. Myers said he had written seven grants in the past, and three were accepted.
Holtry suggested Hugh could be the acting administrator for the rest of the year, but no action was taken.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.