SANATOGA PA – Although an appointment won’t become official until approved, members of the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners could determine within days who will occupy the now-resigned position of former commissioner Shawn Watson.
Watson vacated his elected post Sept. 8 (2015) under board and public pressure, after revelations of his reported failure to timely pay township and school district property taxes, and of alleged legal troubles.
Commissioners’ President Bruce Foltz, during the board’s meeting Thursday night (Sept. 24), said it will interview five candidates for the job beginning Wednesday (Sept. 30) at 6 p.m. in the municipal building, 2199 Buchert Rd. All are township residents who submitted letters seeking Watson’s board seat:
- Ray Lopez, currently Lower Pottsgrove’s emergency management coordinator, and president of the Ringing Hill Fire Company;
- Justin Valentine, currently president of the Pottsgrove School District Board of School Directors;
- Scott Fulmer, former school board president, currently a member of the township Planning Commission, and formerly a member of its Zoning Hearing Board;
- Charles Nippert Jr., a chemical engineering professor at Widener University who is running for election to the board as a Democrat; and
- Robert Franciose, who was a vocal critic of Watson and who since has been a regular audience member at board meetings.
The board is not looking for any other candidates to apply, Foltz said, but acknowledged it probably would be inclined to interview someone “who just shows up” Wednesday. He added, though, that he was happy five individuals expressed interest. “Last time we had a vacancy, we couldn’t get anybody,” he claimed.
A legal advertisement announcing the interview session is likely to be published before the week ends, according to township Manager Ed Wagner. Solicitor Robert Brant said the session will be open to the public.
Commissioners under law have 30 days to choose Watson’s successor or have one appointed by a judge; that period expires Oct. 8 (Thursday). The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Oct. 5 (Monday), but it seems possible that – assuming board members unite behind a single candidate – an approval vote could occur earlier.
- See an archive of Post stories related to the Watson resignation, here.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Sept. 24 meeting):