H. Scott Russell

H. Scott Russell

The top prosecutor in Lancaster County is looking into allegations that East Cocalico Township supervisors improperly hired a new township manager behind closed doors.

Brett Hambright, spokesman for county District Attorney Craig Stedman, said Monday that residents had raised concerns about the hiring.

Township supervisors voted unanimously on April 6 to hire H. Scott Russell, an engineer with Rettew Associates, with an annual salary of $95,000.

However, the township announced Russell’s hiring in a press release on March 29, several days before the public vote.

Russell told a reporter he was interviewed by supervisors on March 6, was offered the job by board chairman Douglas Mackley on March 7, and accepted the post on March 10 — nearly a month earlier. Several days later, at a public meeting March 16, supervisors announced that they had made an offer to a candidate for the job but had not heard back.

Several township residents complained at the meeting that supervisors had violated the state Sunshine Act, which requires government bodies to deliberate and vote at public meetings.

Hambright said the district attorney’s office is “going through the proper protocol” after receiving complaints on the matter.

“We have been in contact with the police department with jurisdiction and will review everything pertinent,” he said in a statement.

East Cocalico police Chief Terry Arment said Tuesday that his department will not be involved in the investigation, which will be handled solely by the district attorney’s office.

Township solicitor Tom Goodman said in a letter read by Mackley April 7 that he does not believe the board violated the Sunshine Act.

A spokeswoman for the township said Tuesday that neither Russell nor the supervisors intend to comment on the issue at this time.

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