SANATOGA PA – In an announcement that members of the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners admit caught even them by surprise, commissioner and former board president Jonathan Spadt said Monday (April 7, 2014) he intended to resign from his elected position “within the next couple of months,” and cited growing work commitments and a desire to spend more time with his family as the reasons.
No specific date has been set for Spadt’s exit. He said he told board members of his decision during an executive session before their meeting, and offered to assist them in finding a replacement and his help to ensure “a good transition.”
Spadt has worked as a volunteer or elected official in township government for more than a decade. He was re-elected in 2011, and during January 2012 was sworn in for a third term that will end in December 2015. His selected successor could serve about 18 months in office before having to face an election.
Spadt in February 2011 became president and chief executive officer of RatnerPrestia, a Valley Forge firm that specializes in intellectual property law. He holds degrees in chemical engineering and law, and his professional expertise lies in areas like patent protection and litigation for medical devices, chemical processing, polymers and polymer processing.
The growth of the law firm and its clients – township Solicitor Robert Brant noted Spadt “was the guy to go to in his field” – has increasingly required frequent and occasionally weeks-long trips overseas. Spadt said he returned only Sunday (April 6) from having spent two weeks in Europe on related business.
Those trips, and his resulting absences from board meetings, have drawn some public criticism during board meetings and also were a point of contention during the fall election campaign. Spadt on Monday acknowledged he expected to be on the road even more in the future, and “would be unable to devote” the time that serving as a commissioner demanded.
“And I want to spend more time with my family,” Spadt added. “They’re involved in more things, and that means I’m missing more things. So I think this is the best thing for me now; the timing is right, and the township is certainly in very good shape,” he said, gesturing to his colleagues seated around the conference table in the Buchert Road municipal building.
Each of the remaining four commissioners praised Spadt for his service and thanked him for his leadership as president. “We’re not going to let this pass,” board Vice President Stephen Klotz said. “We’ll have an honor before you go, when it’s appropriate, but we do appreciate all you’ve done for Lower Pottsgrove. I don’t think many people know how much time goes into being a commissioner.”
The board did not indicate how it might go about the job of finding and selecting Spadt’s successor.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ April 7 meeting):