Dow resigns from Mount Holly council

Richard Dow said he did not get a chance to respond to the board's censure vote.
Richard Dow said he did not get a chance to respond to the board's censure vote.
Posted: January 12, 2014

MOUNT HOLLY Former Mount Holly Mayor Richard Dow said Friday that he was resigning from the township council, effective immediately, due to health reasons. His one-year term as mayor, which was decided by a vote of the nonpartisan council, ended last month, and he had one year left on a four-year council term.

"My health-care providers advised me that at this point, it would be unrealistic to estimate a return date," he said, adding that he is on medical leave from his job at Verizon, where he works on cables.

Last month, Dow requested that council grant him a leave of absence, saying he intended to return to his seat when doctors cleared him. He declined to divulge his health issue.

Township Manager Eric Berry had pressed him for a return date, Dow said.

Berry could not be reached for comment.

Dow had missed two consecutive council meetings and faced losing his seat if he missed one more if council did not excuse him. He said he consulted with a lawyer and considered fighting for his seat but decided against it. "I did not want any more of the township's residents' tax dollars being spent on this," he said.

At the Nov. 25 meeting, the last that Dow attended, he left early, saying he was taking a leave of absence and that he had enjoyed serving the community as mayor.

Shortly after he left, the council passed a resolution censuring him. Township officials will not comment on the censure but the meeting minutes say it was the result of complaints filed against Dow by two town employees. The town's labor lawyer, Kathleen Bonczyk, looked into it and recommended the censure, the minutes say.

"I was censured in absentia without being given a chance to speak on the complaints against me and having not seen the documents," Dow said.

When Dow was elected three years ago to the council, he was the first person in years to newly win a seat on the five-member body, composed of veteran members. He became the lone voice urging the council to settle the decade-old Mount Holly Gardens housing bias case after campaigning on a pledge he would work to bring both sides together for talks. The case was finally settled in November as it headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Over the next two years, the entire council was replaced by newcomers, and they, too, favored a settlement.

Soon after Dow was appointed mayor, his tenure became stormy. He clashed with other council members over various issues, including the hiring of a full-time administrator, the terms of the settlement, and the appointment of professionals.


jhefler@phillynews.com856-779-3224 @JanHefler

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