Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Limerick Supervisors Meeting Becomes Shout-Fest

There was a whole of shouting going on during Tuesday night's Limerick Supervisor's meeting.

Chairman Thomas Neafcy crossed swords with fellow supervisor Patrick Morroney and several audience members on a variety of subjects.

Neafcy took heat for not wearing a mask during a pandemic; holding in-person meetings instead of streaming them online as many other municipalities have done to prevent the spread of the coronavirus; and refusing to consider a motion to condemn Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale for a statement he released about Black Lives Matter.

It started right up after the pledge of allegiance with supervisor Patrick Morroney shouting at chairman
Thomas Neafcy for, once again, not wearing a mask during a public meeting.

Tuesday night, supervisors Kenneth Sperring and Kara Shuler were absent. 

At it's most crowded, there were more than 30 people in the meeting room and only three of them were not wearing masks -- Neafcy, Supervisor Michael McCloskey and one unidentified member of the audience.

Morroney was upset that at the May 12 supervisors meeting, he was the only elected official to wear a mask as per CDC guidelines during the coronavirus pandemic -- and the instructions on the sign on the door of the township building.

He is also the only Democrat on the board.

Morroney had argued that the tape of the May 12 meeting should be entered into the record because the minutes proposed for adoption that evening said simply "the supervisors had a discussion about COVID-19."

By all reports, it was more than a simple discussion, as The Mercury reported May 18.

Despite emails to all Limerick supervisors, the four Republicans have yet to provide a written explanation for their refusal to wear masks, particularly while holding in-person meetings.

As the video shows, Morroney began shouting at Neafcy "put your mask on Mr. Chairman," a cry echoed by several in the audience. "You have no respect for this audience."

"This man wants to run for state Rep. Look at him, he is in contempt of the governor's order," said Morroney.

Neafcy, who is the Republican candidate for the 146th House Dist. seat, replied "this is about the biggest political circus ... " at which point Morroney continued to shout "everyone else, the police chief, the staff, everyone is wearing a mask, do you have an exemption?"

"Am I socially distanced from you? I'm fine, you're fine," Neafcy said, adding that Gov. Wolf "walks shoulder to shoulder in protest" violating his own social distancing rules. 

Neafcy clapped and replied "good show Pat, good show" as several members of the audience said "put a mask on."

"I'm done with public comment," said an obviously irritated Neafcy, before realizing no one from the public has spoken yet.

Several audience members joined Morroney's complaints, saying it was inadvisable for public meetings to be held in person during a viral pandemic. 

Several argued that if the township televised the meetings, or held them online as many other municipalities have done during the pandemic, such disputes about the minutes would be moot, and more people could participate from the safety of their homes.

"I'm deeply angry that I have to be here in person," said June Landis, adding "and I was appalled to come in and find some of you people not wearing masks, people in leadership who are supposed to care about their constituents."

"I'm an old woman and I don't want to have to put my health at risk to find out what's going on in my
township," said Linda Weaver. "I am the president of my church and we have figured out how to worship remotely, you should be able to too." 

"It's not about whether you want to wear a mask, you're wearing one for all of us," Weaver said, at which point Neafcy interrupted her and said "my rights do not trump anyone else’s rights and your rights don’t trump my rights."

"Really? You want to bring Trump into this?" said Weaver, to which Neafcy muttered "Jesus, God."

"You have a right to stay home, to come here and to wear a mask if you want to," Neafcy said.

"Let her speak" Morroney shouted, "oh you're a good one to talk," Neafcy retorted. "Shut up," one audience member yelled repeatedly at Neafcy as he tried to talk.

Third on Morroney's list of grievances was Neafcy's apparent ignoring of a request he made to have an item added to the agenda.

The item he wanted to add was to have the board vote on issuing a statement condemning the statement issued by Montgomery County Commissioner Joe Gale earlier this month.

The statement said, among other questionably accurate things, that the Black Lives Matter social justice group are "perpetrators of urban domestic terror" and are a "radical left-wing hate group."

The statement, issued on Montgomery County Stationary, was in the wake of protests across the
country, several of which turned violent, in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

Floyd was handcuffed and in the custody of a Minneapolis police officer who has since been charged with Floyd's murder after kneeling on his neck for more than eight minutes -- an act that was captured on video -- and sparked worldwide protest. 

The township did post a statement on its website about Floyd's death, "condemning the actions of the Minneapolis Police officers that caused the tragic death of George Floyd" and in support of peaceful protests.

Reaction to Gale's statement has been overwhelming, with the other two Montgomery County Commissioners voting to censure Gale and numerous municipal and school boards condemning the comments and calling on Gale to resign.

But the Limerick Board of Supervisors will, apparently, not be among them.

McCloskey said he never received Morroney's email making the agenda request, and then said he does not know who Joe Gale is.

"If we don't send a letter to the county calling on Gale to resign, we condone that behavior," Morroney said.

As Morroney demanded answers for why the matter was not on the agenda, Neafy responded "I'm not answering questions from you, you're out of control." He then replied, "do you have three votes? You need three votes to add something to the agenda."

A statement refuting Gale was also on the mind of some members of the audience.

"84,410 people have signed a petition saying what Gale did is inappropriate," Weaver said. "When good people don't stand up and call out racism, what do we have left as a society?" she asked.

"I find Gale's statement out of hand and, as a black person, uncalled for," said Ken Landon.

But the only response Neafcy offered was to say "Mr. Gale is responsible for his own words, you should take the issue up with him at the next county commissioners meeting."

Landon, Weaver, Landis and two other speakers who were not quoted, Oliver Cannady and Preston Luitweiler, are all listed as members of the Montgomery County Democratic Committee's Area 4, according to that group's website.

Gus Robbins, who said he was not at the meeting representing any political party or organization, said "we are aware of the turbulent times we have all been living in."

Responding to those who say the proper response to racial injustice by police is to "defund the police," none of whom were at Tuesday's night's meeting, Robbins said "I am opposed to any kind of defunding of the Limerick Township Police. I have always found them professional and an asset to the community."

Robbins was not interrupted by anybody.

Click here to read the Tweets from last night's meeting.


  1. Being Immunocompromised, I could not attend the meeting. As a Former Township Elected Supervisor & Board Chairman, I was appalled at Mr. Neafcy's Attitude and Disrespect for the Members of the Public attending the Board of Supervisor's Meeting last night in Limerick Township.

    Just about every other Township & Borough in Montgomery County LIVE Streams their meetings under current Covid-19 circumstances. It's like He Lives in another World !!! His quote "My Rights Trump Your Rights", to a Resident wearing a Mask, and saying it was Disrespectful not to Wear one, says it All !!! Not wanting to have a discussion nor issue a statement regarding Commissioner Gale, as dozens of other County Officials, puts Neafcy in a Similar posture. Every Employee present at the meeting, including the Chief of Police, as the sign at the entrance of the Township Building states, further exemplifies Neafcy's disdain for the Rule of Law & Order - "Do as I Say, Not as I Do" Elected Officials Should Be Better than that, especially as a Board Chairman. Maybe he should Resign as well, especially in the Position he Holds as Board Chairman. It currently does not Serve the Residents well. And Before He complains that I am a Registered Democrat, it has nothing to do with Party Affiliation, it's a Matter of Decency !!!

  2. can we find a decent republican in a leadership position at any ;evel of government that isn't tainted by the Trump virus of racism?

  3. Let's be honest, this was nothing but a political stunt. Did Evan Brandt happen to mention that Preston Liutwiler ran for supervisor and is married or co-habitating with Linda Weaver. Democrats are simply out to score political points rather than govern? I can guarantee you that the next meeting the Limerick BOS will again be asked to take a stand on, defund the police, BLM, Joe Gale, or something else that has nothing to do with keeping Limerick Township safe and peaceful place to live. Patty Morroney can whine all he wants, it just makes him look like a 5 year old.

    1. Evan Brandt did mention that all but one of those who spoke are members of the Democratic Committee. Is that not adequate to make your point? No, I did not investigate the living arrangements of every single speaker, so I guess I must be biased.