Zoning Hearing Board Chairman Larry Schneider joined the ranks of Bob Rust and Ron Beitler at the Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday when he was voted off the board on which he has served for the past six and a half years.
Schneider, who was instrumental in Lower Macungie's transition to a first class township in 2007, was dismissed from the township Zoning Hearing Board in a 5-2 vote: Douglas Brown, Ron Eichenberg and Roger Reis voted to elect Scott Aquila to the ZHB, effectively voting Schneider off.
Ryan Conrad and James Lancsek voted against the motion to elect Aquila.
Several township residents spoke on Schneider's behalf after the motion was made but before the vote was cast including Brian Higgins, Bill Royer, Jane Fretz, former commissioner Joseph Pugliese, Art Imdorf and others.
All spoke of Schneider's years-long devotion to the township.
Fretz accused the commissioners of "flagrant disregard for what is right," and "disdain for anyone who disagrees" with them.
"Your vindictiveness is not palatable," Fretz said, "I will be supporting new candidates."
After the vote, Schneider said he was "shocked and disappointed" not to be reappointed to the ZHB. He listed several boards and committees on which he has served.
"...I am one of the many totally disillusioned citizens who are tired of your petty, polarizing behavior, the badgering, the weak excuses for full transparency, the aggressive 'conflict of interest behavior,' the 'talking down to citizens who address the BOC -- making them feel inconsequential. I say, enough of this behavior," Schneider said.
Schneider also said he would be supporting Beitler and Higgins who this week have entered the race for the commissioners' seats -- Eichenberg's, Conrad's and Reis's -- that will be up for grabs this year.
The commissioner's took issue with Schneider's political statement and also railed against the "personal attacks" made against them by the members of the public who spoke out.
None of the five commissioners gave any reason for Schneider's rejection at any time during the voting process.
After the meeting, Commissioner President Ron Eichenberg said Schneider's "polarizing nature" was the reason for Schneider's ejection from the ZHB.
Public applicants, attorneys and contractors have complained that Schneider's "methods and approach are not instrumental to people working together," Eichenberg said.