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Secretary quits, cites 'bullying' by certain council members

  • TIMES NEWS file photo Renee Slakoper
    TIMES NEWS file photo Renee Slakoper
Published May 19. 2011 05:14PM

Beleaguered Lansford secretary-treasurer Renee Slakoper has quit, submitting her letter of resignation the same day as council in a split vote, agreed to allow her to work from home due to a mold problem in the borough offices.

In a letter to council president Adam Webber, Slakoper wrote that she would be resigning as of May 25.

"Despite my love for my work and our community, it is in my opinion, that this past year has been difficult for the borough because of the political agendas of certain council members which I have come to see as nothing short of "bullying." It astounds me as to how much energy is focused on targeting individuals rather than focusing on key issues and future growth of the borough.

I truly hope that Council can communicate and come together as a team for the good the town and its residents."

Contacted early Thursday, Slakoper declined further comment.

Slakoper's letter was not brought up at a special meeting of council on Wednesday. She has not attended the last two public council meetings.

Slakoper some weeks ago stopped coming into the borough office, above the fire station on East Patterson Street, because of an ongoing mold problem. She presented council with a doctor's note that she is sensitive to mold, and that she can be in the office only two hours a day.

On Wednesday, council voted 4-3 to allow her to work from home, coming to the office from 2-4 p.m. Councilman Lenny Kovach, council president Adam Webber, Danielle Smith, Andrew Snyder voted in favor. Council members Tommy Vadyak, Mary Kruczek and Rose Mary Cannon were opposed.

Kruczek and Vadyak challenged Kovach's vote, noting that Kovach and Slakoper have a close relationship.

Solicitor Michael Greek, contacted by phone, said their challenge would be noted, but that the vote would continue and Vadyak and Kruczek could take their complaint to the state Ethics Commission.

Webber said Thursday Slakoper will be missed.

"The personal agendas that run wild in Lansford's borough council have got to come to an end," he said early Thursday when asked for a response to the letter. "I strongly believe that people can have a difference of opinion and still come together to make a difference. The borough of Lansford is sadly losing an asset in the office. Her knowledge will be missed."

Cannon declined to comment. Efforts to reach Kruczek, who has been a frequent critic of Slakoper's job performance, were unsuccessful early Thursday.

Council hired Slakoper in March, 2010 to replace Nicole (Tessitore) Beckett, who left to take a similar job in Lehighton. A businesswoman known for her community improvement activities, Slakoper was known for her leadership in Lansford Alive! The group organizes parades, children's parties and other events for the borough. In 2008, the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce's Panther Valley Area presented Slakoper with the Businessperson of the Year award. At the time, she was the administrative assistant of ASI Employer Solutions in Lansford, where she supervised the department of all marketing materials for the company.

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