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Adams Twp fights proposed supervisor change

August 11, 2014 News Extra

ADAMS TWP — Voters in two townships may decide in the Nov. 4 election whether to change the number of township supervisors.

However, the supervisors in one of the townships are not going down without a fight.

The five supervisors in Adams Township Monday night voted to have the board’s solicitor ask Butler County court to strike a proposed referendum from appearing on the fall ballot to reduce the number of supervisors from five to three.

Supervisors Vice Chairman Tom Franceschina said the courts already have held that such a move is unconstitutional.

The supervisors would not comment further on the motion.

In Middlesex Township, an effort is under way to increase the number of supervisors to five from three.

The Butler County commissioners, who also serve as the county election board, are to vote Wednesday on placing referendums on Adams and Middlesex township ballots regarding the number of supervisors in each township.

Shari Brewer, director of the county elections bureau, said residents of each township circulated petitions supporting the referendums.

Charles Clark spearheaded the effort to circulate the petitions in Adams.

He said while the impetus for the petition was the supervisors’ treatment of the parent group that is against shale gas drilling within two miles of the Mars School District schools, he stressed that the effort to reduce the number of supervisors is a community one aimed at electing supervisors who will listen to citizens’ concerns.

Clark said the supervisors refused to allow the parent group to present its PowerPoint presentation on the dangers of shale gas drilling near schools. He said both the planning commission and the supervisors told the group they would be placed on a meeting agenda to give the presentation, then were neither on the agenda nor permitted to give their presentation.

“The way the supervisors and planning commission handled themselves is atrocious,” Clark said. “These are our representatives, and they have an obligation to listen to what we have to say.”

Crystal Yost, who spearheaded the effort to get the signatures in Middlesex, also bemoaned the treatment she said the Mars parent group received from the Middlesex supervisors. But she agrees that the attempt to move from three to five supervisors is a community one.

“After attending some meetings, I feel like adding two (supervisors) would give a better representation to the township as a whole,” said Yost, who is also a member of the Mars parents group.

She said her door-to-door canvas revealed that many residents have long been unhappy with the township government and would welcome a change to the board.

She said that the supervisors do not take seriously the concerns and opinions of those who are new to the township.

“We’re a growing township, and we need more diverse representation,” Yost said.