Exeter Township residents packed a supervisors meeting to protest an event at the township-owned Reading County Club and hear the township’s response.
About 50 people attended Monday’s meeting, some making accusations during public comment, and one resident who yelled obscenities and repeatedly called board members liars was escorted out by police.
It was all about a wedding that was held Oct. 9.
“The event was booked at the Reading Country Club property as a golf outing but what was actually held exceeded the scope of what was permitted for the type of event that was booked,” township solicitor Elizabeth Magovern told the room.
Pennsylvania Drive resident Mary Gardella was among the residents.
“It’s almost unbelievable that a wedding involving a family in this community with over 200 guests is simply an unauthorized event,” Gardella said.
Gardella said it takes months to plan with photos, florists, caterers and more.
“We deserve a full investigation and transparency to the taxpayers,” she said.
On Tuesday, Magovern provided answers to the concerns.
She said a full investigation was conducted and the employees involved were interviewed, and that the event was hastily arranged and scheduled on Sept. 15.
‘It was only planned three weeks in advance,” she said.
The township’s response to the event was posted on the township’s website.
Magovern told supervisors and residents on Monday night that the fact that the event was booked by an employee of the township, the unauthorized aspect of the event is a township personnel matter and triggered two consequences.
One, requiring the person who booked the event to cover all out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the township including but not limited to extra cleaning costs and payment of the full fee for the type of event that occurred.
A wedding would have involved higher fees. Specifics were not discussed.
Magovern said there was damage done to the township property and the person who booked the property will be required by the township to pay for all costs resulting from the damages.
Also a person who attended the wedding was allegedly injured during the event and both incidents were reported to the township’s insurance carrier.
The second consequence triggered is a disciplinary action by the township against the employee who booked this event and against another employee who was involved.
Magovern said that action has been taken for violating township policies and regulations.
On Tuesday, she described the bill being sent as significant and that it was going out Tuesday. Magovern didn’t name the employees but said they are routinely involved in events at Reading Country Club.
“Lastly some residents question if liquor was served at the event and if there are violations of the townships liquor license,” Magovern said at the meeting. “The township is the recipient of the liquor license and does not administer or enforce the license. The township does not have any authority to prosecute any alleged violations of the liquor laws. Jurisdiction over the liquor license is strictly within the control of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and not the township. However any violations of the township policies regarding the service of liquor will be dealt with and have been dealt with as a personnel matter.
“Any assumption in the community that the township board of supervisors does not consider this incident to be a serious matter is inaccurate. Serious consequences have resulted from this matter for the responsible parties. Please be advised that the township has contacted the Pennsylvania Ethics Commission regarding this incident. The commission has agreed with how the township is handling this matter. In addition, the township has reported this incident to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
“Since this matter involves township personnel, the board of supervisors cannot offer any further comments on the disciplinary aspects of this matter.”
Magovern said state police Liquor Control Enforcement contacted her Tuesday and said there was no violation of liquor laws. The country club’s liquor license is adequate no matter what the type of party, Magovern said she was told.
In other business:
• The board accepted the resignation of Laurie Getz, the assistant township manager.
Getz has been with the township for at least three years, but has found other employment, which was not disclosed. Supervisor Chairman Gregory Galtere said she had done a great job for the township during difficult times.
• The board agreed to set a budget meeting for Nov. 4 at 6:00 p.m.
• Dec. 4 from 5 to 8 p.m. was set for the festival of lights.
Source: Berkshire mont