by Lisa Tome
Mayor Bob Fisher is hoping the new year leads to the creation of a new, united town board.
A year ago, the night Fisher was sworn in, town board members introduced the legislation, Resolution 2012-03, which has been a point of contention and the basis for lawsuits since that time. As of mid-May, the town had racked up nearly $20,000 in expenses that were in excess of what was budgeted for legal fees.
In looking back, Fisher reviewed his first year in office. "I was surprised, mystified, and shocked (about the first meeting)," said Fisher.
There have been a few bright moments. Fisher said the progress at the sewer plant is one and the announcement of the dismissal of the Frapple lawsuit is another. "I am delighted that the Frapple lawsuit has been dismissed," he said.
There have been movements to remove him from office. He has been censured by the town board, Commissioners Stephen Naughton and Travis Marion stated publicly that they will not speak to the mayor. The mayor is also locked out of most of town hall except for the lobby, due to the lawsuits. The board also passed Charter Amendment Resolution 2013-08, which allows for the removal of elected officials. The stipulations for removal are with "just cause", failure to attend three consecutive meetings, written charges must be presented and a public hearing held. The person being removed must also have been censured and the vote must be by "super majority."
A group of citizens has gathered signatures, petitioning for Fisher's removal and an election to recall him.
Fisher is also involved in another lawsuit, with outgoing Commissioner Naughton. That case is due back in district court later this month. "Mediation was a failure," said Fisher. Fisher went to Cecil County District County and alleged that Naughton assaulted him on Tuesday, February 26. The alleged incident occurred in the town hall following a public town board meeting.
"This year has been a deep disappointment," said Fisher. But he also said he hasn't given up his goals of providing cost effective, responsive, transparent government through a collaborative effort. "We've had a problem with communication among the elected body with the mayor and commissioners. They communicate among themselves and with Calvin Bonenberger and not with me. False, misleading information has been published about me," said Fisher.
He's hoping with the new board, that will be different.
"I'm hoping that we become more united and work together as a group. I'd like there to be a less adversarial relationship between the board, the mayor, and the administrator," he said. "I want to make the government more effective, productive, and user-friendly."
"I hope we can start over with a clean slate and accomplish some of the goals of the town and implement my original objectives," he added.