NEWPORT TWP. — Township manager Richard Zika abruptly resigned Friday.
Paul Czapracki, chairman of the township’s board of supervisors, confirmed Zika, of Hanover Township, handed over his keys.
“Absolutely (he turned in his keys),” Czapracki said.
Zika’s salary, listed in the township’s 2016 budget, was $42,350.
According to Czapracki, Zika had been with the township for 10 years.
Township Solicitor Richard Shiptoski said “the bottom line is there is no administrator for the township.”
Timeline of events
According to Czapracki, the township was notified Wednesday that “one of their accounts” was missing money.
“Our internal controls noticed a discrepancy,” he said, noting commissioners followed policy and procedure “to the T.”
Policy and procedure require officials to notify the township’s police department, which Czapracki said they did. Police Chief Jeremy Blank then notified Pennsylvania State Police in Wyoming.
“The state police will do the investigation,” Blank said.
Commissioners held an emergency executive session Thursday to discuss a plan for approaching Zika about the missing monies.
When Commissioners Michael Roke, John Zyla and Czapracki mentioned the investigation to Zika Friday afternoon, he “opted to resign” and handed them his keys.
Zika was expected to clear his things out of the township building and submit a formal letter on Monday, which Czapracki said was not done, but “the work day isn’t over.”
A formal letter isn’t necessary, but the township should ask for one, according to Shiptoski.
“He told them (Roke, Zyla and Czapracki) it (his resignation) was effective immediately (Friday),” Shiptoski said.
A forensic audit of the township’s accounts is expected to begin within the week, Czapracki said.
Township manager role
Shiptoski said the township is not legally bound to have a township manager, but “under first class township code, they’re allowed to have one.”
Zika functioned as the person who paid the bills, compiled meeting minutes, sent and collected mail, as well as being the go-to person for residents with questions.
Township officials fielded calls from State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Nanticoke, State Sen. John T. Yudichak, D-Plymouth Township and Plymouth Township offering help and support during the investigation.
Plymouth Township Supervisors Chairwoman Gale Conrad left the specifics of help needed to the commissioners, but said the services, by Steven Grzymski, township secretary and treasurer, are there.
“From one community next to each other, we all may work together,” Conrad said.
Conrad was sure that “they (Newport Township) would do it for us.”
Shiptoski also noted that since news of Zika’s resignation occurred, residents of the 17.2-square mile township have offered their services.
“They don’t have to advertise (the open position) but they do have to vote,” Shiptoski said.
The next meeting of the board of supervisors will be 6 p.m May 2 at the township’s municipal building.
Reach Melanie Mizenko at 570-991-6116 or on Twitter @TL_MMizenko