Commissioner Michael Pipe made good on statements made almost two weeks ago and formally asked his colleagues to consider asking for Centre County solicitor Louis Glantz’s resignation at the weekly commissioners meeting Tuesday.
Discussion was as far as the proposal got. It did not come to a vote because neither board Chairman Steve Dershem nor Vice Chairman Chris Exarchos seconded the motion. Glantz will remain solicitor.
Pipe, the minority Democratic commissioner, said he was seeking Glantz’s resignation because of what he perceived as “bad legal advice” after forgery allegations were made public against District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller in January. A grand jury report cleared Parks Miller late last month and the state Office of Attorney General declined to pursue charges.
“Whether you agree or disagree with the grand jury’s findings, it is the final say in this matter,” Pipe said Tuesday. “... This inaccurate and informal legal advice has damaged the county’s credibility, caused unnecessary confusion and has cost tens of thousands of taxpayers dollars.”
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Pipe said asking for Glantz’s resignation would help rebuild trust and mend relationships between constituents and county offices, and would be a start in helping all involved “move forward in a positive way.”
Exarchos said he wasn’t willing to second the motion because he felt that Glantz’s legal advice was validated by a second opinion sought by another attorney hired after the allegations were made public, and by the state Supreme Court’s decision in February not to hear arguments on who had jurisdiction to investigate the alleged forgery.
Dershem agreed with his Republican colleague, adding that he stood by the actions taken by the board in January, which he described as a “good-faith effort” to look into “serious allegations” made by a former employee.
Pipe said he was disappointed that the resignation motion didn’t come to a vote, but added he appreciated the discussion, accepted it and wouldn’t pursue the matter again.
Parks Miller responded Tuesday to both Pipe’s proposal and skepticism expressed by the other commissioners toward the attorney general’s investigation and the grand jury report.
Parks Miller said she admired Pipe for his statements and actions since the report was handed down by the Attorney General’s Office on July 31. She said “it is not for me to say” whether the board was exercising good judgment in retaining Glantz, but she did point to a portion of the grand jury report that scrutinized actions authorized by the commissioners in January.
“If those decisions were made pursuant to Mr. Glantz’s advice, well, I doubt he’s going to get any better,” she said in an email.
She also defended the findings of the grand jury.
“I have more faith in the regular person on the street sitting as a juror than, evidently, these two commissioners do,” she said in an email. “I believe in the jury system.”
Glantz was not in attendance at the meeting Tuesday and could not be reached for comment later in the day.