In a letter distributed to borough council members, Woglom wrote, "During the past two decades, at council's direction, I have overseen major improvements in borough services and facilities. When requested, I provided informational input into borough policy and attempted to carry out all of the adopted ordinances and resolutions passed by council.

By: Lauren Fitzsimons

On Wednesday, Nov. 1, Quakertown Borough Manager David Woglom submitted his resignation effective no later than April 30, 2007.

In a letter distributed to borough council members, Woglom wrote, "During the past two decades, at council's direction, I have overseen major improvements in borough services and facilities. When requested, I provided informational input into borough policy and attempted to carry out all of the adopted ordinances and resolutions passed by council.

"However, now our community and their elected council are beset with unpleasant discourse, which may impede council's efforts to continue to move forward."

And while it wasn't a confession of premeditated wrongdoing, Woglom wrote,

"Undoubtedly, as a hands-on borough manager in service for more than 20 years, inadvertent errors can and do happen-but decisions were always made in good faith and never without the best interests of council and the community in mind."

In July, council contracted Keystone Municipal Services Inc. to perform an internal management review of borough operations.

Included in the audit would be an evaluation of the borough manager after questions arose regarding several issues, such as his adherence to approved bidding and purchasing policies.

At last month's work session, council Vice President L. James Roberts read portions of an interim report submitted by Keystone's Managing Director Robert J. Sabatini Jr.

Sabatini's report indicated a final audit would be presented to the board sometime in December; however, a draft dealing with the purchasing and executive sessions section would be available in late November.

Other portions of the report were not made public due to what Roberts claimed was the inclusion of initial findings that may or may not be part of the final recommendations.

Some may ask whether the initial findings prompted talks between council and Woglom resulting in his resignation.

"No," said Councilman David Zaiser. "There were no talks prior to the letter."

But Zaiser did admit, "There were indications that something would happen."

And while Woglom's resignation was definitely something, it did not come without conditions.

The first condition states his salary and benefits must remain at their current levels through the effective day of his resignation.

Second, Woglom reserved the right to leave his position prior to April 30, 2007, at which time he would receive compensation for unused vacation and personal days and three months severance pay.

Lastly, he wants to be removed immediately from the borough's medical and dental plans and paid the opt-out rate offered to all other employees.

This condition, Woglom asserts in his letter, "will provide a monthly savings (net of your payment to me) to the borough of approximately $500 per month this year and an even greater monthly savings in 2007."

After council held a brief executive session to review and discuss the letter, Roberts made a motion.

"Provided Mr. Woglom executes an agreement and release in substantially similar form as reviewed tonight by borough council," said Roberts, "I move that borough council vote to authorize President Dennis Hallman to execute the agreement following the revocation period."

The motion carried 6-1, with Hallman saying, "I have an issue with one of the requirements, and I must vote no."

Attempts to contact Hallman for further comment were unsuccessful.

So what does this resignation mean for the borough?

"Generally, I think things will improve drastically," said Zaiser, adding, he "hopes that the other members of council are ready to take a hands-on approach to helping people in this transition and beyond."

In talking with Woglom's attorney, Dale A. Reichley, the process for executing the resignation agreement was explained to reporters.

"We expect that the agreement will be forwarded to us as early as tomorrow," Reichley began, "and it will be consistent as they voted on tonight with the terms that you see in the letter."

"As long as the agreement is presented to me to review on behalf of David, and it's consistent with those three provisions, which it's my understanding it will be, I would expect that Dave will, before the end of the day tomorrow, certainly by the end of the weekend, sign the agreement."

Once signed, a revocation period of seven days begins.

And as long as Woglom does not revoke his resignation during that time, said borough labor attorney Joel Barras, "council has approved and authorized the president of borough council to execute the agreement on behalf of the borough.

"At that point it becomes a fully executed agreement, and then it will become public."

As for the future of the audit, Roberts said nothing will change, since "the two are not connected."

In other news, a second hearing date has been set for Nov. 9 by the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas regarding the Quakertown Community School District reapportionment issue.

Two petitions will be on the agenda that day. One will be the school district's petition to keep the three current regions, but move election district number four from Richland Township to Quakertown Borough creating a more equally distributed population.

The second will be an electors' petition for an at-large system.

Solicitor Charles Fonzone will attend the hearing to convey borough council's support for the school district's petition.

Lauren Fitzsimons is a freelance reporter for The Free Press.

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