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Walnutport promotes from within to fill road foreman position

Published November 08. 2019 12:47PM

Walnutport has promoted from within its ranks to fill its vacant road foreman position.

On a 5-1 vote, with one abstention, borough council on Thursday agreed to elevate Michael Wentz from assistant road foreman to road foreman, effective immediately.

Council members Michael Gaston, Harold Greene, David Stankovic, Joan Rehrig, and council President William Turk were in favor. Councilman Patrice Hunsicker was opposed.

“This is the first time I’m hearing about it,” Hunsicker said. “It wasn’t even brought up.”

After the meeting, Hunsicker elaborated further as to why she was opposed to the move.

“I don’t agree that there was discussion between other council members, and not all of us as a whole,” she said.

Councilwoman Jennifer Wentz abstained from the vote because Michael Wentz is her husband.

Upon his appointment, Turk congratulated Wentz for stepping up in a situation that he said “was in shambles.”

Wentz, who also serves as the borough’s grant coordinator and Deputy Fire Chief, will see a pay raise from $24.30 an hour to $26.55 an hour as road foreman.

Later on after an executive session, council unanimously agreed to rescind its motion from Oct. 10 with regards to terminating Eric C. Strohl as road foreman.

Council then made a motion to except Strohl’s retirement, effective Oct. 29, which was also approved unanimously.

After the meeting, Councilwoman Jennifer Wentz explained the reason for council’s action.

“We reclassified him as retired,” Wentz said. “We gave him an opportunity whether he wanted to retire or resign, rather than be terminated.”

At its Oct. 10 meeting, following an executive session, council on a 6-0 vote with an abstention from Jennifer Wentz, agreed to relieve Strohl of his duties.

Asked by a reporter after that meeting why she abstained, Wentz declined to comment.

Council said at that time it terminated Strohl “based on the results of the employment investigation of his failing to maintain a CDL, and unrelated acts of misconduct.”

In a related matter, council on Thursday held off on naming a new code enforcement officer.

Gaston said the borough received three applications from candidates to fill the position.

But before they name the new person, he said the borough needs to create a job classification.

“Wait until next week,” Gaston said. “We don’t have anything on hand what his job description is.”

Turk said he understood, but added, “We need somebody quickly.”

Strohl had also served as the borough’s code enforcement officer, which prompted council last month to advertise for the position.

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