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 State fines Upper Oxford supervisor
 

                                      

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By R. Jonathan Tuleya, Staff Writer                                                                                                

July 21, 2004

An Upper Oxford supervisor has been fined by the state for participating in the township’s decision to appoint her husband to a municipal post.

Betsy Huber, who has served as a township supervisor for the past 13 years, voted in favor of retaining her husband, Henry Huber, as township zoning officer each of the last six years.

During that time, Upper Oxford has paid Henry Huber $26,535, according to a report from the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission.

"It was a mistake," Huber said in a phone interview on Tuesday, "and we’ve taken measures to correct the things that I was doing wrong."

Huber no longer participates in monthly votes to pay her husband’s salary, she said, and, when the budget is voted on in January, she plans to recuse herself.

Huber is at least the third township supervisor in Chester County who has been found in violation of state ethics rules this year.

In a ruling delivered last month, the seven members of the ethics commission concluded Huber violated the state ethics act "by participating in discussions and actions of the board to appoint her spouse as the township zoning officer and approve compensation for him."

The commission fined Huber $1,000.

The ethics commission’s ruling does not require Huber to resign her post, and she said she has no intention to step down. She is currently vice chairwoman of the township’s board of supervisors. Huber’s term ends in December 2009.

Henry Huber has served as Upper Oxford’s zoning officer since 1987.

"The whole process is very upsetting," Betsy Huber said. "When you spend a lot of your time working for the township for a salary of $1,800 a year, it’s upsetting that somebody would go to this length to attack you and defame my character in the press. It’s very upsetting."

Huber said she knows who filed the complaint to the state that initiated the investigation, but would only identify the person as a"disgruntled citizen who had a problem with a zoning officer’s decision."

She received a letter in October informing her about the investigation.

"I’m sure we’re not the only township where more than one member of the family is involved."

She’s right.

In March, the ethics commission cited Sadsbury’s supervisors’ Chairman "Joe" Ralph T. Garris Jr. for "technically" and "unknowingly" committing three ethics violations for participating in township decisions to hire an auto repair business owned by his son to maintain township vehicles and hiring his daughter as the township’s part-time secretary and treasurer.

Garris was ordered to pay $800 to the state.

The Daily Local News reported on Tuesday that Thornbury Supervisor Barbara Iacovelli had been fined $500 for her support of a $4,480 paving and curb construction project that included repairing a 40-foot section of curbing adjacent to property she owned.

The cost to repair the curbing on Iacovelli’s property was $748.

Iacovelli held a press conference in front of her home, near the repaired section of curbing, on Monday during which she claimed the project benefited the traveling public.

The ethics commission ruled Iacovelli "unintentionally" and "technically" broke ethics rules.

"But for the fact that Iacovelli was a supervisor, she would not have been in a position to participate in actions of the board as to expanding the road project’s contract to include curbing on certain roads which included part of the border of her property," stated the commission.

İDaily Local News 2004

Reader Opinions: 

Name: Michael Davey

Date: Jul, 21 2004

If you are wondering why it is so difficult to find good candidates for local political offices here is your answer! Mrs. Huber has unselfishly served her community for over 13 years for a very small stipend and has been rewarded with this ridiculous treatment.

It appears that the state ethics committee once again showed absolutely no discretion by pursuing this matter. They have allowed themselves to be manipulated by an individual with an axe to grind. State investigators should have the common sense to know what is a real violation and what is a simple technical mistake, that had no effect on the outcome. Her intentions where clearly honest and sincere, hence the “recuse” resolution she (the twp) had in place thinking that the issue would be covered. The ethics committee should not allow the unlimited resources of state government to be put into action for the redress of private grievances.

Keep up the good work Mrs. Huber, we really do appreciate you and your hard work for our township!

Michael J. Davey Upper Oxford Township

 

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