Delaware Board Wants Two Weeks To Find Ryan Replacement
DINGMANS FERRY — The Delaware Township Board of Supervisors has begun its search for a new member after officially accepting the resignation, effective immediately, of Tom Ryan at their Wednesday night meeting. Ryan, whose term expires Dec. 31, 2017, submitted his resignation to board chairman Jeff Scheetz on Tuesday, a few days after he had been re-appointed as vice chairman during the annual reorganization meeting on Jan. 3. "Debbie (Ryan's wife) and I have gone through our retirement strategy and tweaked some things with it and now we're ready," said Ryan, who is away on vacation this week in Florida. "I've got my veterans and to focus on that (also) is a lot of stuff going on, which weighed in my decision. I need to be attentive to the people who elected me."
Ryan, a member of Vietnam Veterans of America chapter No. 623 of American Legion Post 139 in Milford also serves as sergeant at arms of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, Pennsylvania Chapter 22-7. He said he continues to organize upcoming veterans events for local veterans, such as Vetstock. Scheetz began the Wednesday meeting after a 23-minute executive session delayed the start of a workshop that preceded the meeting.
"I want to publicly thank Mr. Ryan for his years of service, the expertise he brought and the service to reduce taxes and his vision on Camp Akenac to turn it into a real cornerstone of the township," Scheetz said after he and fellow Supervisor John Henderson voted to accepted the resignation. Many in the gathering applauded after the comment made by Scheetz. Ryan said in his letter of resignation how he helped lower the township tax rate for the fourth time in five years, which he said is unique to Pike County. He also cited his and the township's dedicated work on Camp Akenac as a community park and said in his letter his efforts were achieved despite "an insignificant group of dissenters with a political agenda that is quite evident." Ryan echoed the opening of his resignation when contacted in Florida.
"It's time to go, for me to move on," Ryan said. "I can't devote my entire life to this thing and give the right time to the residents."
The board announced that it is accepting letters of interest for the open seat up to Jan. 20, and is looking to decide on a candidate for a vote of approval by the next meeting on Jan. 25. If the two supervisors do not agree on whether or not to appoint a selected candidate, it goes to Jeff Shirley of the township Vacancy Board for a deciding vote in a Feb. 13 meeting. Henderson during the reorganization meeting challenged the nomination of Shirley, showing Right to Know paperwork that Shirley had made a contribution to Ryan's campaign in 2012. The nomination passed, 2-1, with Scheetz and Ryan approving and Henderson dissenting. Shirley has served in that position since 2012. Henderson had recommended resident Steve McBride for the position.
At the end of the meeting, Scheetz announced the time for public comment but there was none offered from the large turnout. "Many came thinking a supervisor would be appointed tonight," resident Len Glamann said of the large turnout and a few others agreed. McBride asked during the meeting about criteria for credentials for a new supervisor.
"I'm not inclined to do that. It's a letter of interest, not a resume," Scheetz said. "If that person doesn't come to the meetings, I don't know if I am inclined to appoint that person." Ryan has had ongoing differences with Henderson, primarily on financial policies with the township, but said that did not lead to his decision. "Absolutely not," Ryan said. I'm a political realist. I understand the political system creates disagreements. That's a good thing." Ryan agreed the differences became contentious and could have been prevented with more dialogue beforehand. Henderson expressed after the meeting his satisfaction that Ryan no longer was on the board. "He's been gunning for me since he went on the board. Nothing's changed," Ryan said.
Ryan had said after a board meeting in the fall that he might not be staying on much longer. Scheetz and Henderson said they were not shocked at Ryan's decision. "I had a feeling it was going to be coming soon," Scheetz said. "He let it be known to me he was frustrated and, with his wife's retirement, he was looking to move on. I just wish him well. He will be missed.” After a pause, he said, “It's been very surreal." "I knew he was going to do it and the game plan was to do it after the vacancy board appointment when he'd have someone there who was in his corner," Henderson said. "That's why I was fighting for Steve McBride for the vacancy board. He's one of the best people I know of. It's a matter of which individual is best for the township."
Henderson said he did not oppose Shirley in the 2015 reorganization meeting because he was newly elected and did not have all the information. Dawn Bukaj, a Republican committeeperson, said many residents expected Ryan to resign. "There were rumors flying around for months from several people," said Bukaj, but said she had not heard of Ryan's differences with Henderson as a reason behind it.