PHILIPSBURG BOROUGH COUNCIL

Chorle, code officer quit Philipsburg positions after series of Facebook posts

For the CDTAugust 20, 2013 

— The borough is short one councilman and one code enforcement officer after a surprising start to Monday’s meeting.

It started with an angry resident who brought copies of a status Councilman Walt Chorle posted on Facebook. In the last month, since council passed a new ordinance upping penalties for pet owners who don’t pick up feces, Chorle has had several status updates mocking the policy. This one singled out former council member Rita Knepp.

“Today I see Rita riding her horse... If you see any explosion, call 911 or don’t get near it. Btw, our ordinance guy is watching how a guy in a bucket truck cuts down a tree so believe me he is not looking down!!!” read part of the status.

Chorle apologized to Knepp, saying “It was not fair of me to do that,” but explaining it as being a response to “the inability of code enforcement to get things done.”

Minutes later, code enforcement officer Charles Haines handed Chorle a pre-typed letter for his signature.

“I’m asking for your resignation based on the fact that you go on Facebook and just go nuts,” he said.

Chorle has been critical of Borough Council, particularly President Fred Grauch, frequently on Facebook and during meetings. His criticism has often extended to Haines, including a May meeting that the officer cited Monday. In turn, Haines said that if Chorle didn’t voluntarily resign, he would demand that council take steps to remove him from office. But that wasn’t necessary.

“I actually agree with you,” Chorle said. “I’m not getting anything done.” He signed the resignation letter at 7:10 p.m. and walked out. “I’ve had enough.”

He was followed moments later by Haines, who left before most members of council realized that he had also turned in his own letter of resignation.

“Too much has gone on leading to this departure,” he wrote. “Enough is enough.”

Council will be advertising for the code enforcement position. They will consult with the election board to determine how to proceed with filling Chorle’s vacated seat, which has two years remaining.

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