Statement by Mount Pocono Municipal Authority Chairman, Matt Hensel, regarding Authority member Michael Oser, at the meeting of the Authority Board on October 11, 2018:
To the Mount Pocono Municipal Authority Board, it’s Staff, and it’s Advisers,
I am sure many of you are aware of and possibly upset by Mr. Oser’s actions at the end of the October Council meeting almost two weeks ago.
His criticism of Council President Williams was seen by many as a personal attack meant at damaging her credibility on Council and as a Candidate for State Representative to the 176th district.
I was caught up in the emotion of the moment and urged Council Persons Ford and Montanez to remove him from this board. It was a failed motion since Mr. Oser can only be removed by the Court of Common Pleas.
Once the dust settled, I took some time to review the events of that evening and how it should affect this board. The Mount Pocono Municipal Authority is charged with the responsibility of running our sewer treatment facility. As I have said before, we have two responsibilities: protect the watershed and keep our rates low. Neither of these responsibilities are of a political nature.
That said, I found the way in which Mr. Oser chose to express his criticism of Ms. Williams, handle himself during her rebuttal, and his early exit prior to the end of the meeting ill advised, un-civil, and un-befitting a man that has decades of involvement in this community.
I spoke to Mr Oser last Thursday about the events of Monday night. Unless he chooses to clarify now, he will not resign from The Authority.
To be clear, this body does not have the power to remove Mr. Oser except after 3 absences. The Borough Council can remove Mr. Oser but only with a Court Decision. A court case would be a costly endeavor for a Borough that is just breaking even. That is cause I will not support.
I am not for allowing politics to affect this board’s ability to function. As per the PA Municipal Authorities Guide:
“A municipal governing body is elected and subject to the express wishes of the voters. An authority board is appointed and thus some distance removed from the voters. An authority can raise and spend money without reference to the immediate wishes of the electorate, while government officials raising and spending money must face the voters at the next election.”
Now, the only action this board can take is for a board member to make a motion for a reorganization. At which point, the board can choose if Mr. Oser retains his seats as Vice Chairman and Treasurer.
It is my personal opinion that Mr. Oser retain his seat as Treasurer. He has served dutifully and still has my trust.
On the other hand, I cannot support him retaining his seat as Vice Chair. This opinion does not condemn nor condone the statements he made about Ms Williams, it is strictly about the tactless way he went about expressing himself.
The Vice Chair has attended several meetings with me and is in many ways as equal a public figure as the Chair. If he retains his seat it will serve as a distraction and possibly hinder some of this Authority’s future plans.
I am also concerned this controversy and his temperament will affect his ability to maintain order during meetings should I be unavailable to attend.
As far as process for tonight, we can continue a debate on this issue by someone making a motion to reorganize. Should there be no motion I recommend that we move forward and continue with the Authority’s agenda.
Mount Pocono Municipal Authority Chairman
Following extensive discussion and comments by Mr. Oser, the members of the Authority, and by the public in attendance at the meeting, a motion was made to reorganize. The motion passed 4-1, with only Mr. Oser voting in the negative.
Following reorganization, Mr. Oser was replaced as Vice-Chairman by Board member Ron Emilie. Mr. Oser declined to remain as Treasurer and was replaced as Treasurer by Board Member Aida Montanez.