Voters in Lower Macungie Township will elect two commissioners on Nov. 8, and all three candidates for the two seats answered questions from the public Nov. 2 at a forum hosted by the Lehigh County League of Women Voters at the Hillside School.
Of the three candidates -- Douglas Brown, James Lancsek and Robert Sharpe -- Brown is the only incumbent. Sharpe is the only Democrat. Lancsek is the only one who has been a township employee for decades. He has been the zoning officer for 20 years and is retiring in December.
Brown and Sharpe also are professionals: Brown is a civil engineer, and Sharpe is a lawyer.
All three clearly care deeply about the township.
And that's where the pleasantries end.
Lancsek and Sharpe have teamed up to offer voters a new perspective. Several barbs flew in Brown's direction for having been one of the commissioners who adopted the zoning amendment, currently in litigation, that will allow the Jaindl Land Co. to build warehouses, commercial properties and hundreds of homes on more than 600 acres of farmland.
Sharpe also criticized Brown, the night's face of the board of commissioners, for the lack of transparency and accountability among the current administration.
If elected, Sharpe has said he will work for more openness between the BOC and the residents, for a regional planning commission that will allow the township to be a good neighbor to surrounding communities and for answer to the questions surrounding police protection.
Lancsek said he would try to focus the commissioners' efforts on the "core services" for which the township government is responsible: streets, sewers and water. Lancsek also will push for smarter township spending.
Brown takes pride in his work so far: the implementation of traffic impact fees, obtaining several grants for parks and the improvement of open spaces and the improvement of several detention basins that help minimize flooding throughout the township.
Brown drew on his body of work as a commissioner to return Sharpe's barbs. He called on his experience -- he has been a commissioner since the township acquired first-class status in 2007 -- as proof he knows what he's doing on the board.