Stay informed - Periodic Newsletters - Current Events - Warnings and Alerts
Due to construction at the Point Township Municipal Building, voters in the west end of Point Township, (who normally vote at the municipal building), will vote at Trinity Lutheran Church for the primary election. Voters in the east end of the Township have no change. For your convenience, both Point Township voting precinct locations are listed below:
Trinity Lutheran Church
1092 Ridge Road
Northumberland, PA 17857
309 Point Township Drive
Northumberland, PA 17857
CONSTRUCTION SAFETY NOTICE - If you need to visit the Township building in person at this time, please use the side entrance near the municipal parking lot. Thank you for your cooperation.
Point Township is happy to announce the launch of our waste oil collection & heating program. This program has been established to provide a means for the proper disposal of used oil and to provide a dramatic reduction in heating costs in the new road department. We view this as a win-win; providing a convenient drop off location for you and saving your tax dollars by burning used oils to satisfy our heating needs. The Township's waste oil burner allows us to accept only the following types of fuels:
PLEASE DO NOT DROP OFF ANY FLUIDS CONTAMINTED WITH WATER, ANTIFREEZE, GASOLINE, SOLVENTS, PESTICIDES, HOUSEHOLD CHEMICALS OR OTHER HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES AS THEY WILL DAMAGE OUR EQUIPMENT
Like any new program, the Township will monitor the success and failures that may present and make any adjustments to the program as necessary. The current program guidelines are as follows:
Point Township is advising all residents that we will temporarily be required to return to REMOTE MEETING STATUS until further notice. This will include all Township meetings, as well as Point Township Sewer Authority meetings. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate these times and do our best to keep public safety as our primary concern.
To remotely attend our meetings, please call the day of the meeting to obtain the access code:
-- For Township meetings call: (570) 473-3198
-- For Sewer Authority meetings call: (570) 490-4357
During daytime construction hours at the municipal building, we are asking all visitors to park at either side of the lot to maintain safe passage for work vehicles. The Township will mark these available spaces with cones.
We are happy to report our parking area will double in size at the end of this project!
On April 14, 2020, prior to the Point Township Board of Supervisor’s scheduled 7:00 p.m. remote (COVID) Public Meeting, the Township office received several phone calls from individuals who claimed to have read statements on a social media site regarding the alleged opinions of Township Board members and employees concerning several candidates for open positions in the Township Road Crew. A vote regarding the filling of those open positions was on the Agenda for the aforesaid Public Meeting, and a remote Executive Session had been held on Monday, April 13, 2020, to review and discuss the candidates for the open positions.
The Township was able to obtain a screen shot of the social media post in question, and it was observed that the context and specificity of the statements suggested that the original author of the statements may have been among the participants of the April 13, 2020 Executive Session. That Executive Session was attended by the five Township Supervisors, the Road Master, and the Township Solicitor. Concern was expressed by members of the Board regarding the possible dissemination to the public of information that was appropriately confined to Executive Session discussions, and the possibility of this type of conduct creating liability for the Township and/or having a chilling effect on the Township’s ability to attract applicants for Township positions in the future.
Some of the individuals who contacted the Township to alert them of the social media post attended the April 14, 2020 remote Public meeting and expressed their displeasure and concern regarding the contents of the social media post and the possibility that it may have originated from a Township official or employee. At the request of the Chairman, I as Solicitor made a statement at this meeting for the record that any such comments on social media were not statements of the Board or Township as an entity and that, if the statements did originate from any individual who is a Township Board Member or employee, those statements should only be viewed as that individual’s personal statement or opinion, as the statements were not authorized by a majority of the representative body of the Township, and were contrary to the Board’s policies with respect to confidentiality of discussions regarding personnel matters.
Due to concern about ongoing confidentiality and Township liability issues, the Chairman of the Board requested that I conduct an initial fact finding as to the source of the publicly disseminated statements and any other possible statements or other information that may have been inappropriately disseminated to the public, and ultimately produce a written report of those findings for the Board. I was also requested to provide any information and recommendations as to steps that the Board could take to mitigate the Township’s exposure to this type of activity in the future.
Process and Findings:
1. At the outset of the Fact Finding, I sent a letter to each member of the Township’s Board of Supervisors and an employee who attended the Executive Session requesting that they contact me with any information they might have regarding the source of the statements, or to let me know if any of them thought they may have inadvertently made a statement in front of a member of the public that could have then been repeated and ultimately posted by someone to the social media site. The purpose of this request was to possibly expedite identification of the source of the statement and avoid the time and expense associated with a protracted investigation into possible sources. I received no responses to this letter from any members of the Board of Supervisors or the employee who had attended the Executive Session.
2. An initial review of Township systems, coupled with a public request for any information related to the matter,posted to the Township’s website, revealed that an email had been sent to several Township residents from a gmail account that had been created for Township business use and assigned to and routinely used by Supervisor George Geise (firstname.lastname@example.org). In addition, the salutation at the end of the email purports to be from “George Geise”. The language of the email appeared to have been cut and pasted verbatim into the social media post in question, and the date and time noted in the heading of the email indicates it was sent within the hour immediately following the adjournment of the April 13, 2020 Executive Session.
3. At the Township’s May 12, 2020 remote Public Meeting, I gave the Board a preliminary report regarding the Fact-Finding, including the discovery of the email that appeared to have been sent from Supervisor Geise’s assigned gmail account. The Board then voted to require Supervisor Geise to return his Township-issued laptop, along with any passwords required to access the laptop or the applications used on it, so that it/they could be reviewed for other possible publicly disseminated statements, and for information surrounding dissemination of the statement that ultimately appeared on the social media site.
A day and time deadline for Supervisor Geise’s return of the laptop was established and stated at the meeting, and Supervisor Geise voted affirmatively for the motion to require its return. Supervisor Geise indicated that a second Township-issued laptop had already been returned by him at the time of his previous resignation as Road Master for the Township.
Although Supervisor Geise failed to deliver the laptop to the Township by the established deadline, he dropped it off at the Township building after normal business hours the day after the original deadline after the Township made a criminal inquiry with the Northumberland County District Attorney’s Office, which made arrangements through an attorney representing Supervisor Geise for the return of the laptop in lieu of further possible proceedings.
4. I made an inquiry of the Township personnel regarding the second laptop that Supervisor Geise had used in connection with his prior job as Township Roadmaster and that he had left in the building upon his previous resignation from that position. Upon review of this second laptop by Township personnel, it was noted that many of the files that would have been on the laptop appeared to have been deleted by Supervisor Geise prior to his returning it.
It should be noted that the since the laptop was owned by the Township and used by Supervisor Geise in his capacity of a Township employee, all files and other contents of the laptop were Township property. Any unauthorized removal or deletion of the contents of the laptop could be viewed as destruction of Township intellectual property. Supervisor Geise was not authorized to remove those files either in his capacity as an employee or an individual Supervisor. Also of concern is the fact that some of those files may have been subject to public record retention laws that the Township may now be in violation of if no other copies were made of those records prior to their deletion.
Additionally, unauthorized removal of Township records related to the Road Master responsibilities or projects would have the effect of putting his successor Roadmaster and the Township at a disadvantage due to lack of historical information regarding projects and other information regarding the Road Department.
5. Following a status report at the June 9, 2020 public Board Meeting regarding Findings 1 through 4, above, Chairman Yoxheimer read those findings aloud for the benefit of the other Board members, and asked Supervisor Geise if he had authored the email referenced in Finding 2, above, or if he had any reason to believe that his email had been hacked by someone else. Supervisor Geise responded that he could not answer that question.
6. A review of the existing files on the laptop did not reveal any other documents that could have been considered defamatory in nature.
7. An attempt to review the contents of the email account assigned to Supervisor Geise was unsuccessful due to the fact that he had changed the password for the account to something other than the Township-established password. A review of the system indicated that he had changed the password on May 10, 2020. May 10, 2020 was also the day of the public Board meeting at which the Board, including Supervisor Geise, had voted to require Supervisor Geise to relinquish his Township-issued laptop and passwords.
8. The Township contacted Supervisor Geise’s private attorney to request that he arrange to provide the Township with the new password for the gmail account. The new password was ultimately provided through his attorney, and, after review of the email that became the subject of the social media post with his client, his attorney acknowledged in writing that Supervisor Geise had, in fact, authored the email in question.
9. After an initial session of reviewing some of the contents of the email account, the Township was again denied access to the account due to Supervisor Geise again changing the password, without notifying the Township, a few days after his attorney had provided the Township with the first changed password. The Township was able to continue its review of the contents due to the fact that the gmail account recognized Supervisor Geise’s Township-issued laptop device and thus allowed the Township personnel using it to change the password again and access the account to complete the review.
10. The review of the gmail account did not reveal any further emails that could be viewed as exposing the Township to liability or disseminating information from Executive Sessions. However, the review did reveal that emails had been deleted from the system, in direct opposition to the instructions of the Board given to Supervisor Geise at the outset of this fact-fining. It was discovered that the email referenced in Finding 2, above, had been deleted from the account, and it is not known if any other emails were deleted due to the fact that the “trash/recycle” folder, where deleted items would routed, was also emptied in its entirety. The system indicates that the trash/recycle folder had been entered by Supervisor Geise on May 13, 2020. This was the day immediately following the Board’s vote to require the Supervisor Geise hand over his laptop and passwords to access his applications.
Through the course of this Fact-Finding, it was ultimately acknowledged through Supervisor Geise’s private attorney that Supervisor Geise did in fact author the April 13, 2020 email that revealed elements of Executive Session discussions to members of the public and that ultimately were copied and pasted to a social media site where they were more widely viewed.
While this Fact Finding did not reveal any additional communications from the subject laptop or email account that might be viewed as either creating liability for the Township or disclosing confidential information from Executive Sessions, it did reveal that passwords were altered and files were deleted from the gmail account on dates that either directly or closely correspond to the dates that Supervisor Geise became aware that the contents of the laptop and the gmail account would be the subject of a review by the Board. This removal of files was in direct contravention of the Board’s direction made on the record prior to the institution of the Fact Finding.
It should be noted that a forensic analysis of the laptop could possibly recover any files that were deleted, but the township has been advised that the cost of that service would be significant.
It should be further noted that even if additional files were deleted from the laptop and/or the gmail account, they may still exist off of those systems in either hard copy or digital format, and may also still be in the possession of the recipients of any such email files. To the extent any such files create liability for the Township or disclose confidential information, those risks continue to exist.
The Point Township Recreation Park on Quarry Road will be operating under modified rules during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the time of year when we would typically be opening the park and start a rather busy schedule. Unfortunately, some changes are necessary. Current guidelines encourage outdoor physical activity, such as walking, playing in the fields, etc. while maintaining social distancing, use of PPE, and of course good common sense and personal hygiene practices. The public is welcome to take advantage of the park for a safe place to get some fresh air, but please keep yourself and others safe by engaging in these best practices.
Dear Point Township Residents,
The Point Township Board of Supervisors are making this preliminary report on our website regarding the Point Township Municipal Building Project. This building project has been openly discussed in many Township meetings over the last several years, but only recently has the opportunity to achieve this goal become a reality. That opportunity came in the form of the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, (RACP).
Within this RACP grant process, the Township has always had a specific plan that included public presentation, explanation and feedback. While we are not formally at this step in the process yet, we are releasing a preliminary report in response to some very negative and inaccurate information that has been casting a negative light on what we believe should be viewed as an exciting opportunity for Point Township. This project will resolve many previously identified hazards and deficiencies in the current municipal complex and provide an affordable solution at significant savings to our residents.
First, we would like to provide a brief history regarding the project. Point Township was fortunate enough, through our prior and current State Representatives, Merle Phillips and Linda Culver, respectively, to have been named for an itemization of $500,000 in Harrisburg. This itemization is the first critical step in qualifying for the RACP grant. More recently, as this itemization was set to expire, Rep. Culver re-qualified the Township and helped achieve an increase up to $600,000 that would help account for inflation. The Township applied for RACP in 2018 but was not selected. In 2019, the Township applied again, and Rep. Culver worked diligently to get this money back to the local community. In the final hours of grant recipient selection, the Township had the opportunity to be selected, but money was tight, and we were approved for a $500,000 grant.
Point Township was ready to receive this grant and had a viable project because the Board and the various Township departments have been identifying both the strengths and weaknesses of the Township for many years now. This is a continuous process that includes stakeholders now and into the future. The Township routinely receives complaints and concerns from residents, and we attempt to find practical solutions. One of the most common complaints expressed by residents and businesses is how they have been bounced around from one location to another as they have needed different Township resources. This was a guiding factor in the current project to achieve a ‘one stop government shop’.
The current building was built in the 1950’s, (currently the road department) and had a piece added in the 1970’s, (police, secretary and board room). This current building has many problems, including electrical deficiencies, ADA compliance, roof/snow hazards, regular HVAC failures with pending end of life issues, and insulation problems to name a few. The Township pays an insurance penalty due to the road crew and its associated fuels and chemicals existing in the same structure as Township offices. Moving the road department into its own building will eliminate this hazard and double the available square footage for all other offices.
The project will provide space for the current departments, including the secretary, road department and police department. The project will also incorporate space for other entities that our residents interact with. This includes the sewer department, tax collector, building inspector, code and zoning offices. The sewer and tax offices will include 24/7/365 drive through payment windows for convenience. Bringing the tax collector and sewer department into the building both enhances convenience to residents and provides a cost savings reaching into the future. By providing the tax collector an office, the Board can assess the amount of money paid to the tax collector and make your collected tax dollars go further.
The sewer authority currently exists in a 1960’s temporary job site trailer. This is not a permanent solution and presents substantial problems. The trailer does not provide reasonable space for office functions or records storage. The trailer does not provide a capability to properly store and service valuable equipment. Only through the generosity of those currently involved with the sewer authority are these shortcomings currently being met. This is not a typical arrangement and is not guaranteed into the future. The Authority needs a solution, and while the Township and Authority are two separate entities, cooperation is critical to deliver essential services to the residents at a reasonable cost. This is the logic used in the Authority contributing $200,000 into the Municipal Building Project. In return, the Township will guarantee a 20-year lease to the Authority, working out to about $833/month and includes heating/cooling, lavatory facilities, etc. It is unlikely the Authority could find such an affordable solution, guaranteed for two decades, while maintaining the ‘One Stop Shop’ goal of the municipal building project.
The Township has identified several key issues with the current facility; they include, but are not limited to:
The project is scheduled for completion in 2020. The RACP grant process is progressing forward and we anticipate putting the project out for bid around March of 2020 if possible. We would like to receive bids and get on a builder’s schedule to take advantage of good weather for the project as soon as possible. The project is also specifically designed to work in phases. This allows the Township to stay operational during the process.
We would like to also address some points of view on renovating versus building new and resource conservation. Too often, entire buildings are demolished to be replaced with some ‘Taj Mahal’ facility. This project is being driven by necessity and will be finished modestly so it ‘fits’ our Township. We believe that the current facility lends itself well to renovation. Much of the current facility is ‘money in the bank’ and it would be wasteful to simply abandon it to a landfill. Additionally, moving can be a real pain! For any of us that have moved a residence, imagine the burdens of moving a municipal government while staying operational. Years of consideration and planning have provided a clear direction to make use of as much of what we already have to conserve resources and hold the line on costs.
The Township will continue to provide updates regarding this project.
We feel confident at this point that the building project and many road projects already on the table can be accomplished without any borrowing. The Township will also retain the capability into the foreseeable future to maintain a reasonable road construction and repair schedule.
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