Mt. Laurel Township Council removes township manager Maureen Mitchell

Mt.Laurel

Maureen Mitchell will no longer be serving as township manager for Mt. Laurel.

That was the news out of Mt. Laurel Council’s June 27 meeting when council passed a resolution authorizing the removal of Mitchell from her post.

Although the resolution outlines the separation as effective 30 days from adoption of the resolution, the resolution also states that Mitchell is “immediately suspended” from the performance of any further duties as township manager.

The only reason given during the meeting for Mitchell’s removal, either from council or from Mitchell herself, was also outlined in the resolution: “Council believes the retention of a new township manager to carry out the legislative and executive programs of the township is in the best interest of the township.”

Other than that, Mayor Linda Bobo said the township would not comment further.

“Out of respect for Ms. Mitchell’s privacy, we will not discuss the details of the separation,” Bobo said.

According to state law, township managers, upon their removal, may request a public hearing that shall be held no earlier than 20 days, nor later than 30 days, after the filing of such request. Mitchell did not give any indication at the meeting if she would request a public hearing.

In the event that Mitchell does request a hearing, council passed a second resolution outlining the rules and procedures of such a public hearing should it occur.

The resolution states that Mitchell’s removal is not “for cause,” which is described in state law to mean the “conviction of a crime or offense involving moral turpitude,” and so, according to the resolution, any hearing would be summary in nature.

The resolution further states that should a public hearing occur, council is not required and does not intend to present any statement or evidence in regard to its decision.

According to the resolution, during any such hearing, no questioning or cross examination of council members would be permitted, but Mitchell and her legal representation would be given the opportunity to explain her position in regard to the reason council stated for her removal.

Although several members of the public attempted to use the public comment portion of the June 27 meeting to comment on Mitchell’s removal, Bobo said council would respect Mitchell’s right to a hearing and would not be taking any public comment regarding the township manager position outside of such a hearing.

“If she chooses to have a hearing, and you should know shortly, we’ll schedule it at that time and the public will be allowed to speak,” Bobo said.

As Mitchell’s removal is not listed as “for cause,” per state law, Mitchell is to be paid any unpaid balance of her salary, together with her salary for the next three calendar months.

Upon council’s return from a period of executive session at the end of the meeting, council approved a resolution appointing current municipal clerk Meredith Tomczyk as interim acting township manager until council appoints a long-term successor for Mitchell.