Reade seeks missing tools

Township chairman blames previous leaders for $16,000 in lost equipment

An estimated $16,000 in heavy equipment is reportedly missing from Reade Township’s inventory.

And township supervisors’ Chairman John McElheny is blaming previous municipal leaders for not tracking the equipment’s use. It’s a misstep that likely led to it going missing, he said.

“I remember what was in there, and I know what’s missing,” McElheny said. “We were trying to locate the stuff.”

The effort to locate the equipment included filing a report with state police, he said.

A state police spokesman said he could not comment on the issue by early Friday evening.

A list of missing items supplied by local officials includes: two 10-foot snowplows, a portable generator, a portable air compressor, a riding mower, a vibrator plate, a Steam Jenny pressure cleaner, a stick welder and a chainsaw.

The estimated value of those items is listed at $16,330.

McElheny described the equipment as necessary to fulfill township duties. That’s a problem because supervisors are “trying to watch the budget” and were not planning to shell out thousands of dollars to replace the equipment, he said.

“To replace them now, it’s big money,” he said. “We’re going to have to go rent it or something.”

Township officials have gone through meeting minutes from years past, noting the dates when equipment was purchased.

“We found no minutes that said they disposed of that equipment,” he said.

That means the equipment should still be in the township’s possession.

“You’re not allowed to lend any public equipment out at all,” McElheny said.

The missing equipment has been reported to the township’s insurance company, but the township will receive only a small fraction of the cost, he said.

McElheny said supervisors have known about the missing equipment since he took the chairman’s seat in January.

However, township leaders were reluctant to publicly disclose the information because they were hopeful that a police investigation would produce results.

“It just seems like there is no motivation,” he said “We’re kind of waiting.”

Now, McElheny said he is appealing to those in the community who might know what happened to the equipment.

“Somebody knows something,” he said.

McElheny said he has also contacted the state Ethics Commission about the missing equipment.

That is because McElheny believes that the missing equipment is the fault of former leaders, who failed to keep track of public property.

Former Supervisor Don Rickard, who resigned his seat earlier this year, said Friday that he held the role for only two years, and, in that time, he did not think to conduct an equipment inventory assessment.

“It never came up,” he said. “I don’t know what was there and what wasn’t there.”

Former Reade Chairman Tom Hollis said Friday that he did not know equipment was missing.

“I don’t know about anything missing,” he said. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Mirror Staff Writer Sean Sauro is at 946-7535.

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