Longtime Manager Teri Lewis will leave Tinicum Township Friday after 27 years of service.
“It has been a privilege to both live in and serve this community for 27 years,” Lewis said at a recent board meeting. “I am thankful for the experience and opportunities, and proud what we have accomplished.”
Also leaving the administrative offices is Lewis’ Resident Services Administrator Joan Tanner.
“For the past eight years, Joan Tanner has been an incredible asset to this township, both in knowledge, organization and work ethic,” Lewis said.
Word of their departures came at the Nov. 21 board of supervisors meeting. Chairman Jim Helms announced it in a surprise, off-agenda item.
Lewis first worked for the township as its bookkeeper, then later was promoted to the township manager role — while still retaining her bookkeeping responsibilities.
Vice chair Eleanor Breslin said she feels the board will most likely not be able to fill the township manager position in time for the board of supervisors’ organizational meeting on Jan. 2, at which newly elected supervisor John Cole will be sworn in.
“Good managers are hard to come by, but the business of the township needs to continue while we search,” she said.
To that end, an independent contractor will be hired to continue essential bookkeeping functions for the township.
In other township news, it has now been more than two months since an unannounced low-flying crop plane descended over a local farm field on Hollow Horn Road twice, dropping rye pellets possibly coated with an unidentified encapsulation material, spilling them into neighboring residential yards.
Still, there remains more questions than answers regarding this incident, which disturbed neighbors.
Lewis had been investigating the matter, along with Township Solicitor Steve Harris.
“I don’t have any responses in writing on the seeding,” Lewis said. “However, we were brought a sample, and it was simply rye seed. We were told, verbally, that it was last year’s seed and only seed, however I cannot confirm this without having it in writing.”
Asked for his take on the status of gaining more tangible information on what actually came down, and why, Harris said, “I have no additional information. The Township wrote to all the parties, including the FAA, but that was the only response.”
Breslin was asked whether there would be further board pursuit to obtain more official acknowledgment and explanation from the involved parties.
“It is odd, but unfortunately this is all the information the board has received to date, with nothing documented in writing,” Breslin responded. “I do not even have the name of the farmer who is leasing the land that was seeded without warning.”
However, Breslin added that the board had not necessarily washed its hands of the incident.
“I can’t say the Board is done here,” she said. “However, in the context of other priorities we are currently faced with, this event may not fall into the top three. We are facing the unexpected resignation of our longtime township manager and the concurrent retirement of our resident services administrator. We must carefully prioritize in order to keep essential county administration services flowing.”
When the dust clears, Breslin mentioned several potential directions the board might take to pursue more concrete accounting around the crop duster situation, including writing official letters to Bucks County authorities and to an entity within the state which provides support to farmers.
“They may be a good place to express our concerns,” she said.
Township Police Chief Nicole Madden was also contacted for her comments on the status of the crop duster incident but had not responded by press time.