Thursday, July 11, 2013

Easton Councilman Mike Fleck Resigns, Replacement to Be Appointed July 24

By Christina Georgiou

Easton City Councilman Mike Fleck, at his
last meeting. The council accepted Fleck's
resignation Wednesday evening, effective as
of July 16, due to his relocating to Allentown.

Easton's city council officially accepted the resignation of member Michael Fleck Wednesday evening and said it will appoint his replacement at the governing body's next official meeting, on Wednesday, July 24.

Two applications were received by the city to become Fleck's appointed replacement before the July 3 deadline, said Mayor Sal Panto, one from West Ward Neighborhood Partnership board member Stephen White, and the other from Democratic city council candidate Jim Edinger.

The city will conduct interviews with both on Tuesday, July 23 at the city council committee meeting, members of city council agreed Wednesday evening.

Councilwoman El Warner said she will be unable to attend either meeting later this month due to a business trip.

Her absence means an appointee on July 24 will require four affirmation votes from the attending five city council members to make a choice official because the city Home Rule charter specifies a majority of remaining council members must vote for the replacement, city solicitor William Murphy confirmed.

White is also owner of Delaware River Books on South Second Street in the Downtown district.

Edinger is the chairman of Easton's zoning hearing board, a position he has held since 1993.  He is also president of the Carpenters Union Local 600.

Panto has said previously that while there is no city rule against it, city council has traditionally shunned appointing active candidates as appointees.

Whoever the council chooses will serve until the end of the year, when a council member elected to represent Easton's West Ward in Fleck's stead is sworn in.

Council members did not discuss applicants' merits Wednesday evening, choosing instead to concentrate on thanking Fleck for his two terms on city council. The City of Easton also presented Fleck with a gleaming pewter plate commemorating his time on Easton's governing body.

A shiny finish over a matte one was chosen "because we know you'll be looking at yourself in it," quipped Panto.

"We once ran against each other (for mayor), but now we've become best friends," Panto said more seriously.

Members of city council thanked Fleck and praised his public service efforts as well.

"We've had our disagreements over the years, but I think we've agreed more than we disagreed," said Jeff Warren.

"It seems like every time you run, you leave us," Councilman Ken Brown joked. "But seriously, it was a pleasure to serve with you on two occasions...I know our path will cross many, many times in the future."

"Once you're gone, it's going to be so quiet on this end of the table," said Councilwoman El Warner. "I'll miss you, but it's not an end, it's a beginning."

Fleck's resignation, originally planned for the end of the year, is due to his move to Allentown, where he said he plans to concentrate on his business as a campaign consultant.

"I thank everyone for their kind words, and I'm sorry to leave early, but I thought it would take longer to find a new home," he said.

Fleck also credited his family for their support and assistance with his political and business' success which led to the move.

"We had to make a decision of where we wanted to be, and we chose behind the scenes," he said. "I really thank the community for the opportunity to serve."

He added, "I may be crazy, but I'm proud of the fact that we raised the parking tickets (fine) because it will raise money to pay for things we otherwise wouldn't have been able to pay for."

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