'Outsider' remarks trigger dispute
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Lower Towamensing Township Planning Commission member Gerry Madden (standing) responds to critical comments made about him by resident Herman Bollinger (seated front) at the township's board of supervisors meeting on Tuesday.
A dispute between a Lower Towamensing Township resident and a township official appears to have reached its boiling point.
Resident Herman Bollinger got the ball rolling during the public comment portion period of the township's board of supervisors meeting on Tuesday.
At that time, Bollinger once again voiced his displeasure with the recent appointment of Gerry Madden to the township planning commission.
Last month, supervisors agreed to appoint Madden to the vacant post, which had been occupied by Peter Terp, who passed away last month.
Supervisors' Chairman Ron Walbert said at that time that Madden, a former township supervisor, was next in line to fill the seat because he most recently served as an alternate on the planning commission.
This time around, Bollinger once again referred to Madden as "an outsider."
That comment prompted a response from Walbert, who told Bollinger "You're wrong; he's a taxpayer."
But, Bollinger wasn't done, and continued to chastise Madden.
"These outsiders are coming in trying to tell us what to do," Bollinger said. "You already had in mind you were going to appoint this guy."
Bollinger then told supervisors he was going to go sit down sometime this month to think if it's really worth his time to come to the supervisors meetings.
Walbert replied "You are so far off base."
In turn, Bollinger told Walbert "You are so full of (expletive)."
Walbert told Bollinger that the township advertised, but no one came forward to express any interest.
Bollinger then asked Walbert why only Madden's name was mentioned as the replacement, to which Walbert said Madden was the alternate for well over a year.
"If you stop and think a little bit about this guy here, he was a supervisor for a couple of months, and then the people didn't want him because other people had more votes," Bollinger said. "Now, you go and put him in; if you would have done your history ..."
Walbert clearly took exception to Bollinger's comments.
"You keep saying you don't want 'outsiders'," Walbert said. "You're fortunate to have 'outsiders' like us."
Madden then spoke his mind, at which time he stood up and spoke in the direction of Bollinger.
"All the problems were from people from the township the people elected as supervisors," Madden said. "All of the 'outsiders' are the only people that care about the township."
Madden then told Bollinger that he initially liked him because he spoke his mind about things. However, his opinion of Bollinger soon changed, Madden said.
"You're not out to help people; you're out to hurt people," Madden said. "You're very disrespectful; you want to stay back in the 1970s where nobody was held accountable, and now, we know where everything is."
Afterward, Walbert once again said that any residents who would like to serve as an alternate on the planning commission should inquire within the township. Details may be found on the township's website, www.lowertowtwp.com.
Also on Tuesday, Bollinger said he would like all politicians to wise up and not just work on their budgets, but the taxpayers' budgets.
Walbert then suggested to Bollinger that he attend a Palmerton Area School Board meeting to air his grievances over property taxes.
"We're (the township) very fiscally responsible," Walbert said. "We haven't had a tax increase in (a number of) years."