9/1/07

Teamsters PAC donation roils township

Accusations of unethical behavior are flying among the Newberry (PA) Township. supervisors, leading one to resign a committee post and another to term the discord "an embarrassment." Supervisor Stephen Pancoe resigned from the union negotiating team on Tuesday, saying he "didn't want to deal with it anymore."

"It" are allegations that Pancoe, chairman of a political action committee, the Committee for Change, might be influenced by a $210 donation Teamster chief negotiator William Olmeda and his wife made to the PAC.

The township is preparing to start contract talks with the Teamsters, which represents the township's nine road crew employees.

Pancoe said the allegation is part of a smear campaign to silence him conducted by other supervisors and President George Knoll. The state's ethics board declined to get involved, Pancoe said. The supervisors, Pancoe said, "could have been businesslike and said 'Pancoe, we know you got a contribution for this guy, will it influence you?' But that's not the way they do business. They decided to rake my name through the mud."

Supervisor Charlie Richcreek said he and Knoll did not talk to Pancoe about the donation privately "because you can't talk to this man."

"He decided to make a mockery out of" the allegations, Richcreek said. "He brings it on himself."

Pancoe said during Tuesday's supervisors meeting that Richcreek used his connections as a supervisor to funnel work from the township's sewer authority to a plumbing company owned by Richcreek and his son. Richcreek sits on the sewer authority board.

Richcreek said he sold C&C Plumbing six years ago and that Pancoe's allegations are "lies."

"I'm talking to a lawyer right now," Richcreek said. "I'm going to sue him for defamation of character."

Richcreek called Pancoe's behavior "embarrassing" to the township and the residents who attended Tuesday's meeting.

Knoll said the township's solicitor, John Herrold, is looking into the Pancoe's allegations and will make a report to the board shortly. Herrold could not be reached for comment yesterday.

(pennlive.com)

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