Lansford Mayor Ron Hood Jr. has had it with borough council's infighting, and will stay away from council meetings, at least for the time being.
Council appears to be split into two factions, with Lenny Kovach, Danielle Smith, Andrew Snyder and council president Adam Webber on one side, and Rosemary Cannon, Mary Kruczek and Tommy Vadyak on the other. The animosity seems to be escalating, with some council members saying they are being kept out of the decision-making loop. Hood has increasingly found himself in the position of having to break tie votes.
At a special meeting held May 6, he cast the deciding vote against holding executive sessions before instead of after council's public meetings, and against allowing then-secretary-treasurer Renee Slakoper to work from home due to a mold problem in the borough offices above the American Fire Co. No. 1 on East Patterson Street. Hood's vote was needed because council, with one member missing each time, had twice dead-locked on the matter.
At another special meeting held March 16, Hood broke a tie vote to allow the borough to meet with representatives of two water companies that have expressed interest in buying the water system.
The six council members attending a March 10 public meeting had deadlocked on whether to meet with Aqua Pennsylvania of Bryn Mawr, Montgomery County, a subsidiary of Aqua America Inc., and Pennsylvania American Water, based in Mechanicsburg. Both companies have expressed an interest in buying the water system.
On Monday, Hood sent council a letter alerting them to his decision.
"Dear Council Members, this letter is to inform you that after consulting with Solicitor (Michael) Greek I will not be attending Borough Council meetings until further notice. I will resume attending once the personal agendas and vendettas are done, and we all can work together for the good of Lansford. The total lack of respect to other council members and the attitude that certain members have, that they don't need to follow proper procedures all figured into my decision. I still will be available via email and will check in with (assistant secretary) Karen Burrell a few times a week, and will continue to run the police department along with Chief (John) Turcmanovich.
Sincerely, Ronald Hood Jr."
Efforts to reach Webber for comment were unsuccessful early Tuesday.