KULPMONT — Former Kulpmont-Marion Heights Joint Sewer Authority co-chairman Robert Michalkovich declined to further comment Sunday on the reasonings behind his resignation, which was approved last week by borough council.

At its meeting, council did not read Michalkovich’s reasons for resigning, but sewer authority Chairman Bruno Varano did so at the authority meeting last week.

Council President Walter Lutz, who is also is on the authority board, skipped the January council meeting to appear at the authority meeting, which was scheduled at the same time. Borough Councilmen Robert Fanella, Steve Bielskie, Bob Chesney and Mike Sinopoli arrived at the authority meeting following the adjournment of the monthly council meeting Tuesday.

The council members were present when Varano read Michalkovich’s letter, which said his resignation was “due to harassment by Kulpmont Council, which informed borough employees not to plow or maintain Pine Street next to my property. They stated it is a private drive.”

Michalkovich vowed that if “harassment continues, legal action will be taken.”

When contacted on Sunday, Michalkovich declined comment other than stating that he wishes the matter to be over.

During a phone interview Sunday, Lutz said the first time he ever spoke with Michalkovich was Tuesday, when he handed his resignation letter to council and the authority.

He declined further comment about the allegations of harassment in the letter.

“Frankly, I can’t talk about what he’s referencing because we have potential legal problems,” Lutz said.

The newly open position was advertised in Thursday’s edition of The News-Item.

As of Sunday, Councilman Fanella is the only one to submit a letter of interest and to be interviewed by council for the position, Lutz said.

He added that letters of intent will be accepted through Friday at the borough building.

Reorganization action

All appointments for the sewer authority were made by a 5-1 vote, with Lutz casting each dissenting vote for every position other than Novakoski, who was appointed unanimously. Varano remains chairman, with Bernie Novakoski replacing Michalkovich as vice chairman.

Stephanie Niglio was reappointed as secretary/treasurer, and Mike Smith will again serve as solicitor. Varano said Smith reduced his retainer fee by $5,000 for the 2019 fiscal year. Brinjak Engineering will continue serving as the authority’s engineer.

A vote on retaining Fulton Financial as the sewer authority’s depository was tabled until the February meeting on Lutz’s suggestion to approach other banks and compare fees to find the lowest rate.

Other news

Acting plant manager Vic Kornaski told the authority a computer system failure occurred at the plant during the first weekend of January, requiring workers to run the plant manually until the issue was resolved on Monday, Jan. 7.

Varano stated employees will receive overtime for putting in extra time to make up for the computer glitch.

With Kornaski standing in as acting plant manager while manager Joe Miriello is on medical leave, Varano made a motion to give him a $2 raise retroactive to Dec. 21, when he took over the position. The raise was approved in a 6-1 vote, with Lutz voting no.

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