By Chadwick Dolgos
This year’s committee assignments for commissioners in Stowe Township continue to exclude the input of longtime Commissioner Cheryl McDermott.
The move to leave her out of the committee process led by President Robin Parrilla sparked several irate comments from members of the public during the township’s Feb. 7 monthly meeting.
“[Parrilla] is obviously still playing politics,” said Stowe resident and former rival candidate Jeffrey Paul, referencing McDermott’s absence from the committee structure.
In June 2021, Parrilla removed McDermott from her role as chair of public works. In protest, she resigned from her remaining committee seats.
Parrilla declined to answer resident questions after reassigning the committees during the Feb. 7 meeting. However, during a later interview, he did say he was simply honoring McDermott’s earlier choice to step back from committee responsibilities.
“The reason she wasn’t put on any committees is because she never showed any interest since the last time I talked to her,” said Parrilla.
For her part, McDermott has sought legal counsel and declined to discuss the matter.
“My attorney does not want me commenting on anything right now,” McDermott said. “I pay him to protect me.”
With McDermott excluded and Parrilla in the role of overseeing all committees, the other three commissioners have responsibilities spread evenly among the township’s seven committees.
Vice President Darrell Chestnutt and Commissioner Dave Rugh both hold seats on all seven committees while also each chairing three.
Commissioner Kelly Cropper-Hall sits on five committees and chairs one.
During the meeting, Paul’s wife Patty Butter Paul asked Parrilla to come clean about his reasons for removing McDermott from chair of public works last June.
“Last month, you were quoted in Gazette 2.0 saying that you took Cheryl off of public works because she made numerous mistakes,” she said.
“As taxpayers, we would like to know what her mistakes were.”
Parrilla declined the opportunity to elaborate by saying, “I don’t think you want to know.”
Parrilla again declined to respond when asked during a later interview other than to say there’s a “list” of reasons that he would not disclose.
When McDermott was removed from chair of public works in June – after nearly a decade of serving in the position – she said she thought the move was fueled by personal animosity on the part of Parrilla, who she did not support as a primary candidate last May.
Last week, Parrilla doubled down on his claim the move was free from personal politics and emphasized his responsibility as president to make committee assignments based on who he thinks can carry out the assigned duties.
“She chose this,” he said. “She never said she wanted anything back.”