Two Frankstown Township supervisors did a great disservice to their residents Tuesday when they picked Ken Wertz to replace the late Bob Onkst on the board.
Supervisors James Grove and George Henry picked Wertz without any discussion on the matter during a special meeting.
By the decision, it is obvious that Wertz was already chosen before the meeting began, a move we believe violates the spirit and letter of the Sunshine Act.
Wertz was in the audience, waiting to be chosen.
And the meeting was advertised for "general township business," not even mentioning the possibility of selecting a new supervisor.
At a minimum, Wertz should have been interviewed by the board in public session to gauge his interest. The board should also have talked with Gregory Werstil, a supervisors' candidate who lost to Onkst in the May primary and the only person to publicly submit a letter of interest to the supervisors.
Werstil was also in attendance but wasn't publicly questioned on his interest.
Henry said that Wertz has been at supervisors' meetings in the past, which "shows his interest."
It's a weak argument when the supervisors don't even ask Wertz publicly whether he wants the job.
This is not a critique of Wertz's ability to handle the position. Wertz is a proven businessman, having operated a garbage hauling business since 1979.
A hallmark of good government is openness. Supervisors Grove and Henry didn't show that in their non-public/public decision to pick Wertz as a replacement supervisor.
The voters need to be aware of this in November when they vote.
Because he passed away just last week (on Sept. 18), Onkst's name remains on the Nov. 8 ballot.
If he gets more votes than a write-in candidate, the supervisor's position will become vacant again in January and a similar pick could occur without public input.
Do the voters of Frankstown Township want a repeat?
We hope not.