Cowden Takes Cecil Board to Task
Supervisor complains about Act 13 legalities, health insurance issues.
Audience outbursts peppered Cecil Township’s board of supervisors meeting Monday night as Supervisor Elizabeth Cowden took her co-board members and counsel to task over multiple issues from legal mediation to medical information that residents requested from the township manager.
Supervisor Cowden questioned Solicitor John Smith at length over a mediation hearing she and co-board member Andrew Schader attended to discuss various Marcellus Shale ordinance negotiations regarding Pennsylvania Act 13 with MarkWest in March. Cowden insisted that Smith had not been competent or timely with his duties or correspondence to the board regarding mediation times and requirements.
Cowden said she was not aware of the requirement that all supervisors had to be present at mediation—which the solicitor said is not true. Further, that the mediation in March had been canceled.
“It’s unfortunate that I have to oppose my clients in these types of situations … I have to do a better job of educating them. It comes down to the fact that these emails show that the judge(s) had acknowledged private mediation was asked and we were under the assumption that counsel-assisted mediation dates in court were canceled. In any case, all five board members can’t do that … that would violate the Sunshine Act,” Smith said.
Cowden took issue with township manager Don Gennuso over his alleged lack of regard for her request for medical information.
“That is public information. I should be able to get an insurance policy,” she said.
“It was simply a miscommunication. We were talking about two different things. She and the public are entitled to that information,” Gennuso said.
When approving the March minutes, Cowden was the only opposition, saying she wants a more detailed record of future minutes and that the minutes as they are currently recorded are inaccurate and incomplete. Later, audience member Anna Coen echoed the concern, saying decades ago, records were more complete and that they should now be online.