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Ferguson to lose third supervisor this year

by on May 10, 2019 7:27 AM

STATE COLLEGE — For the third time this year Ferguson Township will be looking fill an empty seat on its board of supervisors, as it has accepted the resignation of Tom “Tony” Ricciardi, supervisor at large, during its meeting on May 6.

Ricciardi has been serving his first term on the board since he was sworn in Jan 2018. His three-year term is set to end Jan. 31, 2021.

“I have had nothing but a positive experience working with township staff, committee members and the board of supervisors. It was an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of Ferguson Township, but I step away knowing the township is in good hands,” said Ricciardi in his resignation letter. He said he was stepping down due to a personal matter.

This comes as the township is already looking to fill a seat that will be vacated by Ward II supervisor Peter Buckland after he announced that he will be stepping down on June 30. He told the township of his resignation last month because he will be moving outside of the township and will no longer be able to serve on the board. Buckland’s term was to end at the end of the year and he was not seeking reelection as he was not on the primary ballot for the election scheduled for May 21.

In early January Sara Spock Carlson resigned from the Ward III supervisor position because of health issues. Her position was filled by former supervisor Richard Killian on Feb. 12. Killian will serve until the term ends at the end of the year. Kilian is not running in the 2019 primary.

Township Manager David Pribulka said this as a challenging position for the township and he can’t recall a time when they had so many elected officials resign from the county in a year’s time. But he said that the resignations are coincidental, tied to personal and health reasons and not related.

The board of supervisors is the governing body of Ferguson Township and is comprised of five elected officials who each serve four-year terms: two elected at-large; and three elected by wards. The board of supervisors is the policy-making body and is responsible for setting tax rates, approving an annual budget and enacting ordinances to carry out policy. The board of supervisors appoints the township solicitor, auditor and township manager.

According to the township code, the board will have 30 days from Ricciardi’s and Buckland's official resignation days to appoint a successor. If supervisors are unable to reach a consensus, a vacancy board will have an additional 15 days to make a decision. The vacancy board would consist of the four remaining supervisors and resident Josh Potter, who was appointed to the vacancy board earlier this year.

If the vacancy board cannot reach consensus, the Centre County Court of Common Pleas would be petitioned to fill the vacancy.

Applicants for the vacancy will be required to be at least 18 years old, a resident of the township for at least one year and be registered to vote in the township for a minimum of one year. For Buckland's position the person will need to be a resident of Ward II. Ricciardi’s position is at-large so it can be filled by anyone who lives in the township.

Ricciardi’s official resignation day is May 28 and will come about a month before Buckland's. Pribulka said they will start to advertise for Ricciardi’s position immediately and the board will vote on a replacement. Buckland will still be there for that vote giving them four board members to make the decision. Then, the replacement will be on board in order to vote for Buckland’s replacement on July 1. 

That is the best case scenario. If the four-person board splits the vote for Ricciardi’s replacement, then the vacancy board will have 15 days to make a decision. The township many choose to push back the decision on Buckland’s replacement until that process is complete.


Vincent Corso is writer for Town&Gown and the Centre County Gazette.
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