The resignation by Township Manager Helene Schlegel on Friday caught many people by surprise. Mayor Bill Gotto said the township will now move forward finding Schlegel's replacement and continuing with regular business.
In her letter of resignation Schlegel said her resignation came with “great reluctance,” and Gotto said on Monday he was unsure of the reasons for the longtime township employee’s departure. With the council set to meet on Tuesday night Mayor Gotto said the plan is to name an interim manager with an eye toward the future of the township. “We’re going to have to determine what the goals are of the future manager or interim manager,” Gotto said.
There was no word on who the interim manager would be on Monday morning but Gotto said it will be difficult to replace Schlegel in many ways particularly when it came to her knowledge of the township. “When you have someone who has all that background it’s advantageous,” he said.
Another change following Schlegel’s resignation could be the addition of a Deputy Manager. Mayor Gotto said there have been conversations about filling a position that had been created and removed in the past. The first goal he said, will be to fill the manager’s role at least on an interim basis. “We’re really choosing an interim manager to just continue on with the function and responsibility that the manager has.”
There has been no decision on whether the interim position could become a fulltime position down the road. In the meantime the mayor said he expects the township to continue to operate as smoothly as ever. “There’s a process in place to ensure that the obligations and responsibilities of that position are maintained,” he said. “We’re going to make sure that the residents, and our customer and everyone else that relies on township services wouldn’t be affected by all of this.”
Gotto said the council will work together to find the best person or people to fill the positions to help the township during the transition. “The council works very well as a governing body,” he said. “We are all very much in step with the process, with any process. We don’t always agree on every single item but we do agree on how we get there.”
Schlegel’s tenure with the township includes working her way through the former Parks and Recreation Department to Township Manager six years ago. Gotto said that while he was not on the council when Schlegel was appointed to the position he said he had heard good things about that time. “The story back then was it was a good thing for the community to see that someone who was a resident and someone who made their way up through the organization was able to achieve the top spot,” he said.
The council will meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night in the new municipal building.