NEW HANOVER >> Three of the five candidates for township supervisor missed the legal deadline for filing required financial forms with the township, but only one of them was knocked off the May primary election ballot because of it.
Marie Livlsberger, who was appointed just last year to finish the term of Doug Muller after his resignation last April, was thrown off the ballot by Montgomery County Senior Judge Emanuel Bertin after a March 17 hearing.
The reason for her ouster was that her “statement of financial interest,” a form required for all supervisor candidates to file with the township by March 7, was not officially put on file until March 15, according to the time stamp on her form.
Shawn Malloy, also a candidate for one of the two seats with six-year terms open in this election, filed the objection to Livlsberger’s candidacy.
“It was nothing personal, it’s a political move,” Malloy told Digital First Media. “It was an attempt to eliminate her and upping my odds of winning the election.”
Ironically, Malloy’s statement of financial interest was also time-stamped on March 15, but he was not removed from the ballot by a judge because “no one objected to mine,” he said.
Malloy said he already had a form on file previously as a result of being a member of the township’s board of auditors, so he is not sure an objection to his missed deadline would have had the same result.
“Well, all’s fair in love and war, I guess, and politics, yes,” Livlsberger told Digital First Media. “I wish things had been a little more on the up and up.”
Livlsberger said she did not know Malloy’s financial interest statement had also been submitted late until after the judge’s ruling.
She actually brought her form into the township offices on March 10 and left it on a secretary’s desk there. “But I did not know that secretary was on vacation Friday and Monday and we had the snowstorm Tuesday and the offices were closed, so it did not get date-stamped until Wednesday,” Livlsberger said.
Malloy said he had “heard rumors” that Livlsberger’s statement had missed the deadline and he asked Supervisor Andrew Kelly, whose term expires in December is not running for reelection, “to look into it.”
After Kelly called and confirmed the lateness of Livlsberger’s form, Malloy, who is a police officer in Conshohocken, said he swore out a subpoena to get a copy of the form with which to file his objection.
During Monday’s supervisors meeting, William “Ross” Snook, who is also a candidate for supervisor but whose forms were filed on time, decried the removal of Livlsberger from the ballot. He suggested that Malloy should withdraw from the race given that his candidacy suffers from the same technical deficiency as Livlsberger’s.
Snook also asked for the resignation of the supervisor who “orchestrated it all,” a person he later identified as Kelly.
Supervisor Charles D. Garner Jr. said he regretted that Livlsberger had been removed from the ballot by a judge “for technical issues. Now the voters will not have a choice for that seat in the coming election.”
That may not be the case, however.
Livlsberger told Digital First Media she intends to launch a write-in campaign to get back on the ballot. She said she is not ready to announce whether she will continue to seek a line on the Republican ballot, as a Democratic candidate, or both.
“I’m reviewing my options right now,” she said.
This is not Malloy’s first attempt to be of service to the township.
In addition to applying to be appointed to both vacant supervisor seats in the last two years, Malloy has also unsuccessfully applied to be appointed to the planning commission and the environmental advisory board.
In addition to Malloy and Livlsberger, another supervisor candidate, Brian Hemingway, submitted his “statement of financial interest” on March 15 as well — after the deadline.
Hemingway is running against longtime planning commission member Kurt Zebrowski, who was appointed to fill the seat left open by the July resignation of Ralph Fluharty.
There are two years left on the term of that seat
Hemingway, who is a member of the New Hanover Sewer Authority board, filed his statement of financial interest for that position and not for supervisor, but his candidacy was not challenged.
All candidates are running for the Republican nomination meaning it’s possible, barring a write-in campaign or a Democratic challenger, that the election will be decided in the May 16 primary election and not in the November general election, as has happened in the past.
It’s been a busy season at the county elections offices this year.
According to information posted on the Montgomery County Voter Services Offices web site, there have been 20 ballot challenges this season, with only half of them being successful.
In addition to Livlsberger’s removal, Kaleena Breitbarth, who was running for New Hanover Tax Collector along with incumbent Molly Bauer and Anita Kratz, was also removed from the ballot, according to county records.
Douglass (Mont.) Election
In neighboring Douglass (Mont.) Township, candidates Daniel Caruso and Roger A. Updegrove were both removed from the ballot for a township supervisor seat, according to the county website.
Updegrove was seeking the seat with a full six-year term now held by Supervisors’ Chairman Anthony Kuklinski, Updegrove’s removal leaves Kuklinski unopposed for the Republican nomination and for his seat.
There are no Democrats seeking that seat.
Caruso was one of three candidates seeking the two-year term left on the seat held by former supervisor Fred Ziegler, who resigned during his trial for theft of township funds and materials, conflict of interest and using a fake subpeona.
That race will now feature Democrat John Stasik Jr., who was appointed to fill Ziegler’s seat until the election, versus Republican Joshua Stouch, a local constable.