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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  •  Shohola resident withdraws lawsuit

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  •  Shohola resident Carrie Thomas has withdrawn a lawsuit she filed in August alleging violations of state open meeting laws, according to Shohola Township Solicitor Jason Ohliger. At the Board of Supervisors’ Oct. 11 meeting, Ohliger said, “Ms. Thomas has advised me this evening that the lawsuit Thomas versus Shohola has been voluntarily withdrawn.” Thomas filed the lawsuit after the supervisors met in executive session in July to discuss an appointment to the board regarding a seat that was left open after now-former Supervisor Nelia Wall was forced to resign from the board as part of a June 18 pre-trial settlement with Pike County District Attorney Ray Tonkin over corruption allegations against she and husband Donald Wall. The Walls were also required to pay $7,500 in restitution to the township, but they admitted no wrong-doing in the agreement. Thomas alleged that the township and Supervisors George Fluhr Jr. and Greg Hoeper broke open-meeting laws that mandate government meetings to be open to the public, except in cases of personnel or litigation. Nelia, who was previously former township secretary/treasurer and Donald, a former township zoning officer, were both accused of corruption, using their positions of power to acquire customers for the family landscaping business. They were fired by the supervisors in 2010. The supervisors appointed Republican Keith Raser at the July meeting. Both Fluhr and Hoeper are Democrats. In August, Ohliger said the board made the wrong decision in going into executive session but that the decision was not “intentional or pre-meditated.” In a prepared statement issued thenext day, Thomas remarked, “Contrary to those who have stated that I disagreed with the appointment of Mr. Raser, I warmly endorse his appointment. He is a committed community leader who is well qualified for office. Instead, my complaint focused solely upon the failure of the Board to follow the Sunshine Act and conduct their deliberations about the candidates for the vacancy in public.” She continued, “...After some time, I concluded that, despite my earlier concerns, Supervisors Fluhr and Hoeper, indeed, had no intent to violate the Sunshine Act. Rather, they carelessly failed to take the time to consider that there is a legally mandated way to make an appointment to fill a vacancy in an elected office.”
    [Editor's note: Other topics covered at the meeting will be reported in the print edition of The News Eagle.]
     Shohola Township Supervisors meet on the second Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at 159 Twin Lakes Rd., Shohola. The office may be reached at (570)559-7523.
     

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