Pocono Township, Monroe County - Pocono Township Supervisor Henry Bengel announced he plans to leave the position he voted himself into, Director of Public Works.
Some believe Bengel is leaving the position because of public pressure. Others think it's because a judge has set a hearing for him to explain himself in court.
People voted for Bengel because he said he wasn't like other politicians. He said he would not try to take a township job. But then he voted to remove the Director of Public Works and take the job himself. Resident Tom Drake complained, "It's typical of local politics whether you're in this township or many other townships around here."
There was a huge backlash. Resident Judi Coover circulated a petition asking Bengel to step down. On top of that, ousted Public Works Director Harold Werkheiser filed a lawsuit. He alleged Bengel conspired illegally with supervisor Frank Hess to kick him out of office.
A judge responded to the law suit about a week ago and ordered all three supervisors to attend a court hearing on the issue. Some believe that scared Bengel into announcing his resignation from the position. Drake said, "I don't think he had much of a choice but to resign."
But Bengel insists the court situation had nothing to do with his planned resignation. He told Eyewitness News he is stepping down in hopes that it will help the community heal. Bengel said an attorney advised him not to speak on camera but he did provide a written statement. In it he said he thought taking the Public Works position would help the township but the issue then became a distraction. He wrote, "While I was and remain confident that I would do a good job in the position, it's not about me, it's about what is best for our Township."
Bengel will remain Director of Public Works until the township finds a replacement. Residents want the supervisors to know they'll be watching the process closely. Coover said, "Democracy is not limited to November. We should let our elected officials know our concerns, the direction we would like to see them go."
Pocono Township Supervisors plan to form a committee to clarify the job description for the Director of Public Works. Then they will post the job publicly and accept applications. Bengel says he will not apply.