Whitehall-Coplay Press

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Mayor appointment expected April 9

Wednesday, April 4, 2018 by KATHY LAUER-WILLIAMS Special to The Press in Local News

Commissioners interview 6 candidates to fill 2-year term

Whitehall Township residents could learn who will be the new mayor as soon as Monday.

For three hours before the board of commissioners workshop meeting April 2, board members interviewed six candidates for the mayoral position left vacant since February when the longtime mayor, Edward D. Hozza Jr., left to take a county position.

Board Vice President Philip Ginder said the members will discuss the candidates and their qualifications and plan to recommend an appointment at the board of commissioners meeting 7 p.m. April 9.

The list of candidates, provided by John D. Meyers, acting mayor, follows.

• Richard J. Mondschein, retired Emmaus High School teacher, has a long history of community service with Hokendauqua Park and Playground Association, Whitehall Township Recreation Commission and other civic groups. He also has served as an announcer for Whitehall-Coplay School District football games and coached high school sports.

• Mary Ann Miller, a purchasing agent for Whitehall Township for 28 years, has a long history of community service at First Presbyterian Church, Relay for Life and other civic projects.

• Michael P. Harakal Jr., who served as the township executive from 1984 to 1992, has been active for many years coaching community and high school volleyball.

• Charles G. Fisher, a Lehigh University doctoral student in cellular and molecular biology, is an Eagle Scout and has held leadership roles in college.

• Robert H. Piligian, owner of the engineering firm Bascom & Sieger and a professional land surveyor, was an adjunct professor at Lehigh Carbon Community College and Lehigh University. He is also an Eagle Scout and served as vice chairman of Whitehall Township Planning Commission for 18 years.

• Matthew T. Croslis, a private practice attorney, served as interim Lehigh County executive and solicitor for Lehigh County. He is also an Eagle Scout and serves as a volunteer for Everlasting Ministries homeless shelter and food bank.

Hozza left the mayoral office to serve as director of administration for Lehigh County Executive Phillips Armstrong, who had been Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners president. Since then, Meyers has been serving as interim mayor.

The new mayor would serve the remaining two years of Hozza’s four-year term. The mayor’s salary for 2018 is $91,859 and $94,155 in 2019.

The commissioners also discussed approving $159,300 for West Side Hammer Electric of Bethlehem to convert streetlights from high-pressure sodium to LED.

Meyers said the project was started in early 2017 to identify light fixtures in the township that needed to be replaced. He said 1,975 lights were identified as needing to be changed, and the township established a line of credit up to $1.8 million to pay for the project.

The project is now estimated to cost closer to $1 million, Meyers said.

“Prices have been very competitive,” he said.

The final piece of the project will be replacing light standards on Grape Street.