Two Alexandria borough residents, Tori Wilt and Jane Pilch, filed an emergency injunction last week to be made Alexandria Borough Council members on a voluntary basis.
The injunction came about after last Monday’s meeting regarding the cutting down of shade trees in Alexandria.
Wilt and her husband were approached by Pilch last week after the meeting.
“One day our neighbor stopped by and said to us, ‘Do you want these trees cut down?’ No, we said, what’s wrong with them?”, said Wilt.
After hearing about the council meeting, they took action.
“We went to our attorney and said, ‘What’s going on? How can we save the trees?’, and he said, ‘There are two open seats on the council. Do you have any interest in voluntary service?’ So I went over to Jane and asked if she wanted to serve, and she agreed,” said Wilt.
If successful, the injunction would see them serve until the end of the calendar year.
“My husband and I have talked about me getting more involved in the community for a while. I’m a stay-at-home mom with young kids and I want to better the community, like every other mom,“ said Wilt.
Pilch said the trees aren’t the only reason she agreed to the injunction.
“With only four people on the council, two of whom are a married couple, and one seemingly friends with the married couple, well, I think there could be more balance. Judy Scott was frequently shut down at the meeting in a manner which was frankly disconcerting. She was the one standing up for something different from the other three.”
The borough council currently has five members, out of a possible seven, though one is resigning.
Council member Adrian Lane, who put in his informal resignation before the June council meeting, has yet to submit his formal resignation letter as of last Monday’s meeting.
Pilch previously served on the borough council close to a decade ago.
“It was very different. It was more like local government than what I observed at this particular meeting. I’d say there was more give and take. If there were differences they were respectfully covered. Not always, of course, it is local government, and passion is passion, I understand that,” she said.
Council member Judy Scott has strong feelings regarding the direction of the council.
“I’m beyond concerned for the residents of Alexandria at this moment. The special election can’t come soon enough,” she said. “In the last election, the people of Alexandria didn’t have a voice in the primary. It’s very evident. I think every seat should be open in the next election.”
Borough council member positions for Alexandria Borough were not on the ballot during the May election.
The council agreed at last Monday’s meeting that a special election should be created before the general election in November.
Like Pilch, Scott was not impressed by what she perceived as a lack of respect shown by her fellow council members.
“To say they acted like bullies would be an understatement,” she said.
She cites a lack of communication as another problem.
“I was never consulted in any way about our new secretary. I knew nothing about him until we met at the meeting. As a sitting council member, it’s unacceptable that you can’t communicate on this basic level,” she said.
The borough’s current secretary, John Casas, began his duties at June’s borough council meeting.
Council member Judy Scott did not attend that meeting.
Wilt says she hopes by joining the council she can get the community more involved.
“Unfortunately, the community isn’t very involved with the borough council. That is something that a lot of people would like to change. We have a lot of people with little kids growing up, and we want Alexandria to be a safe and thriving community.”
It is not clear if or when the injunction will be accepted.