LMT Commissioner President Displays 'Hypocrisy 101'

The BOC's (with exception of Commissioner Lancsek) support of Ron Eichenberg participating in discussion, remaining on the dias and framing motions is hypocritical and unethical.

You may recall the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) non re-appointment of Bob Rust and lecturing by the Board of Commissioners (BOC) on ethics. 

A quick refresher: Rust, due to his representation of the appellants in the Jaindl issue completely and totally recuesed himself from ZHB proceedings. This was the correct and ethical course of action. Removing yourself completely and totally from proceedings where you have a conflict of interest is standard procedure in many (most?) governing bodies to avoid even the perception of unethical behavior.

But, despite complete removal from the proceedings, impeccable record of service to the township, the best re-appointment interview in the process, and a longstanding precedent of appointing incumbents to all other open positions, Mr. Rust was not re-appointed. Despite committee recommendation and public support he was punished for representation of the Lower Macungie community which was only looking for a voice in the coercive rezoning of 700 acres of township farmland. 

So now we have Commissioner President Ron Eichenberg's weak-at-best recusal from the Allen Organ property subdivision proposal of which he is the listing agent. 

This wreaks of hypocrisy.

The BOC decided that Mr. Rust was unfit to serve even though he completely and totally removed himself from his duties without question and without ambiguity. But now the BOC, with the exception of Jim Lancsek, sees no problem with Eichenberg remaining on the board dias, participating in discussion and even framing (and subsequently fouling up - casually avoiding the public comment rule) the motion?

Eichenberg is the president of the board, the gavel should have been handed to VP Ryan Conrad.

In the past LMT commissioners removed themselves from discussion if even a perception of conflict of interest could be raised. Certainly in this case with financial reward as a realtor/listing agent as clear as can be, anything less then complete and total removal is ethically wrong. Period.

This is why politics can be so disheartening for the public. 

A little quick math shows what Eichenberg stands to gain. The property is listed at $9 million according to records. Depending on commission and lets say (best guess) conservatively even just 2 percent, well, do the math. 

If you don't like what you are hearing, send a message to the Township... the correspondance will become a matter of record and possibly read at an upcoming Township Meeting. Contact the Lower Macungie Township Board of Commissioners.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Ron Beitler March 01, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Some additional information - Plan proposed by Remington Properties includes: (240) 1/2 bedroom apartments, grocery store and gas station. This would require a bran new "Mixed Use" ordinance in the township. It's extremely important that this new ordinance be created independent of this bad proposal. It must be township serving, not developer serving. This is why it's so important that the realtor on this property completely and ethically removes himself from this process. Further, the developer has submitted an ordinance for consideration along with the proposal. This is the wrong way to go about this. (but within developers rights) New ordinance must be created by the planning commission not to suit this bad plan but to suit this great township. This plan would create the highest density allowed in the township to date. The planning commission is a great independent body. I'm hopeful they create a great new ordinance that will be applied to a many other areas in the township.
Mark Spengler March 01, 2012 at 02:37 PM
I'm sure the BOC will say don't worry this is still a work in progress. I have to say that given the recent history of the Memorandum of Understanding with David Jaindl rezoning a huge tract of agricultural land in favor of mass residential housing and warehouses, I'm definately worried. The citizens of this township need to support Commissioner Jim Lancsek's concern about density when it comes to requesting a zoning change. It seems he is all alone at the moment on that board. Zoning laws exist to protect the community. They do not have to be changed every time a developer wants a change. I want to remind the citizens of Lower Mac. that we will need to build more schools soon if this present course of action is not checked. Also, be ready for a massive increase in traffic and of course the flooding over there where Jaindl will be stuffing the land with warehouses and high density residential housing. This is your government folks. Start talking to them.
Willet Thomas March 02, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Looks like some complainers need a hobby. The visitor's conversation at every BOC mtg is getting old. Let's support our LMT officials for a change and stop splitting hairs.
MS March 02, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Splitting hairs, that's an outrageous way to put what the concerned citizens of the township are actually doing. They ARE concerned that this development is not being looked at close enough. Have your taxes gone up in this latest lehigh county assessment? Mine have! Right now I can afford it, but I'm also working two jobs, once this development is in place and the township realizes are schools are now in even worse shape with overcrowding then we have to figure out whose pocket the money is going to come from to build more schools? do you want to pay even more money just so Mr. Jaindl can develop his property, fill his pockets, and then also fill the pockets of the three commissioners making money off this deal? You will NEVER convince me and many others that these commissioners will NOT profit from this arrangement they are involved in, NEVER......this is greed pure and simple. They have not and will not put the well being of the township citizens first....those facts are clear
Ron Beitler March 02, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Mr. Thomas, respectfully....That's a mischaracterizarion at least to my part. I blog weekly oftentimes about very positive township news (greenway, dog park, naturalization of storm water basins) I attend greenway meetings, parks and rec meetings, planning commission ect. Personally, speaking for myself and the friends organization we very much support the creation of a exceptional mixed use ordinance. This is a great move in the right direction for the township. Ive applauded them a few times for introducing smart growth conversation. I expressed desire last night that our group can work positively with the township on that particular matter. I disagree with our leadership on some issues and thats well documented. The way the jaindl issue was handled primarily. I believe a quarry should have been fought. Period. That's black and white. I think most people once they understand the issue would prefer a small quarry (and that IS what it would have been) to warehousing. I also believe a commissioner with a major (possibly up to quarter million dollars) financial stake in a development should not be ambiguous about a recusal. I've lived in this township 32 years. I love this place. To want it to be exceptional is not a "hobby" for me. Nor is jaindl or what I see as a major conflict of interest "splitting hairs"
truth seeker March 02, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Just want to say that I'm proud to live in a township where people petition their government for change. That is a great hobby to have and in fact was encouraged and protected by the founding fathers. I disagree with the present agenda of the Lower Mac BOC as it pertains to development. I want to encourage everybody to press for changing towards smart growth.
JT March 02, 2012 at 10:04 PM
I agree with Willet. It's the same cast of characters that blog here and show up at the meetings to create controversy. They're not here to do good, there here to make political gains. if they really cared, they'd quite trying to tear down this great township.
JT March 02, 2012 at 10:06 PM
I agree Willet. Well said. These bloggers will find ways to try and tear you down, so stay strong. You're definetly not alone. People are sick of the cast of characters who constantly beat up on the image of our township. I can't understand how they think that's a good thing.
Mark Spengler March 03, 2012 at 12:01 AM
I'm sorry you feel that way JT. What is it you feel the Freinds group is tearing down? I would say the Friends group is interested in open space preservation and smart growth. Two recent concerns we have brought forward is the M.O.U. with David Jaindl and the proposed rezoning of the Allen Organ Property. The concern with the M.O.U. is that it will lead to increased flooding, more traffic problems, future tax hikes due to the need to build more infrastructure such as schools fixing intersections etc. The Remington proposal would lead to the highest density of residential development in the entire twsp. This all flies in the face of smart growth. To disagree with such things and ask the government for a change in direction is not what I would characterize as tearing anything down. If you are referring to the criticisms of Eichenberg in the matter, I think it is fair to raise concerns that a member of the BOC framed the motion and prticipated in the discussion rather than recuse himself from the matter all together. You may disagree but our political system is not predicated on everybody agreeing. It is important for voices to be heard so please do not try to discourage participation in the process.
MS March 03, 2012 at 02:37 AM
I don't trust anyone not using their real name on here. I'm not afraid to state how I feel the commissioners are tearing apart this township with their abuse of power and financial greed in their realtor pockets. Pretty sure the no name posts are our actual commissioners. Sad
Chris Donatelli March 06, 2012 at 02:22 AM
JT and Willet, here is a new voice. How long have you lived in the area? I am going to take a guess you were not here prior to 1999. I always new the change to Class 1 was not going to stop the bleeding. People who don't know history will repeat the mistakes of their predecessors. I did my homework before casting my ballet, Had many others done so, I might not be joining this fight. As I went to vote, a women asked me to vote for Doug Brown. I asked her how she could expect me to vote for him when his decisions go against the wishes of his constituents. She had no idea about any of our community politics. I rest my case.
Ron Beitler March 06, 2012 at 02:58 AM
The creation of a township serving mixed use ordinance is huge. Don't lose site of that. Eichenberg recusal is/was important. It's good it was brought up. This is the Board President who is the realtor on this parcel, who gains financially if it sells. 9 million sale price potentially. Huge commission. Hopefully he follows through. If so it's water under the bridge. This isn't a game of "gotcha". Thats not the intention. This is whats best for the township. Can't understand why someone wouldnt completely remove themself from the get-go and pass the gavel. To do so is common in bodies all over and in examples of conflict much less black/white then what we have here which is a very clear conflict. Maybe if the supervisors were under this kind of microscope the township wouldnt have lost millions to Marge. I hope the public gets involved in the planning commission stage of this new ordinance. I truly do. Public involvment is never a bad thing. I repeat NEVER. It's the design and intent of Municipal gov't. This isnt electing representative officials to go to Harrisburg or DC or some faraway place. Local Gov't is built different. Officials are supposed to facilitate discussion and encourage particpation. You interact with the board and your peers sit on committees. The tragedy is when no one pays attention. Remington is going to be the catalyst for the creation of this important new ordinance. It's a wonderful opportunity. I look forward to this important conversation.


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