Friday, May 5, 2017


Township Committee Candidate Mike Summersgill is objecting to his removal from the town's Pool Advisory Committee, hinting that it is politically motivated.

But township officials contend he was removed from the committee under a long-standing policy that bars any resident from serving on more than one committee. Summersgill is also on the recently formed Senior Advisory Committee. 

"As per our decision to make clear, only appointing a person to one committee, we're going to take an action," Mayor Vic Deluca said at Tuesday's Township Committee meeting before the TC voted to remove Summersgill from the pool committee. 

TC member Greg Lembrich, who is the TC liaison to the pool committee, made a motion to remove Summersgill from that committee, but stay on the senior advisory committee. There was no other discussion and Deluca, who is running for re-election against Summersgill, abstained from the vote.

The vote followed the Township Committee's decision on March 21 to pass a resolution limiting residents to serve on one committee at a time in an effort to allow as many individuals to serve as possible.

"I think people can draw their own conclusions on the timing of it less than a month after I announced my candidacy," Summersgill said. "The fact that Mayor Deluca chose to abstain shows something doesn't smell right."

Summersgill is running for Township Committee and is the lone Republican candidate in the June primary. He will likely face both Deluca and challenger Dean Dafis, who are running unopposed in the Democratic primary, in November. Summersgill lost a previous TC bid in 2016 to Frank McGehee. 

Appointed to the pool committee in 2016, Summersgill was later appointed to the senior advisory committee that was just created in March. "They could have let me serve out my time and choose not to reappoint me," he said.

But Lembrich said Summersgill was told he could not serve on more than one committee, noting that other residents have been removed when they were in the same situation.

In an email to, Lembrich said, in part:

When the new Senior Citizen Advisory Committee was created late last year, several members of other boards and committees expressed interest in joining.  All were told that they would need to resign from their existing committee if they wished to be appointed to the Seniors committee.  Some chose to do so, while others chose to remain in their roles on other committees.  Some of the former group had terms that expired at the end of 2016, so they were simply not re-appointed to their prior committee in anticipation of being appointed to the Seniors Committee in early 2017.

When the TC decided to include Mike among the initial group of appointees to the Seniors Committee, it was our understanding that he would be stepping down from the Pool Committee.  After his appointment, he informed us that he instead intended to serve on both committees. 

I informed Mike that the TC's standing policy was that each resident could only serve as an appointed voting member of one board or committee at a time, and asked him which of his appointments he intended to keep and which he planned to resign.  He was actually kind of a jerk about it and told me that he planned to serve on both and would not resign from either.

Summersgill said he made it clear he would rather remain on the pool committee and provided an email from Lembrich in which Lembrich stated that as well.

"They gave me a chance to resign from either one and I am committed to both committees," Summersgill said. "They said if I didn't resign, I would stay on the pool committee." 

But Lembrich said via emial:

After discussing it among my TC colleagues, it was determined that the more appropriate action would be to remove him from the Pool Committee, since it was our understanding that he was going to resign that committee to join Seniors.  If he'd rather have it be the other way around, then I can promise that I will make a motion to re-appoint him to the Pool Committee if he resigns from Seniors (or at least commits in writing to doing so).  Of course, this all could have been avoided had he just responded to Liz Fritzen or me.

Summersgill added that Tuesday's removal "was a total surprise. It seems the town is not served well with this action."

Lembrich disagreed in his statement, which also noted:

This has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with fairness.  No one else serves on more than one committee, a neutral resolution was passed to formalize a standing policy, he never responded to Liz or me, and he never came to a meeting to speak against the resolution or his removal. The rationale behind the policy was well articulated by the TC during the public process in which the resolution was adopted.

But now he is apparently alleging that it is "politically motivated"?  He seriously needs to get over himself. If anything, he is the one who is trying to politicize the Pool Committee, which is kind of sad.  But I guess when you lose your last election by more than 60 points, you feel you need to manufacture an issue for your next campaign. 

His allegation is baseless and lacks integrity, particularly given his full knowledge of the facts that I set forth above.  The fact that he is running for office does not entitle him to special treatment, nor does it mean that the rules don't apply to him.

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