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Springfield trustees talk trash over recycling

Springfield Township trustees recycled a political fight last night over the lack of progress on a curbside recycling study, viciously questioning each other's competence and dedication.

“In the two years that have transpired, you have not done a damned thing,” Bob Floyd, president of the trustees, told Sue Meek, a trustee who had agreed to lead a recycling committee in 1999.

Mrs. Meek retorted: “Bob, you as a chairman are pathetic.”

She went on to include the other trustee, Walt Taube, Jr., saying, “In my opinion, you are the bottom feeders of elected officials.”

Mr. Taube, who previously has indicated that he would not seek another term when his expires this year, said in the meeting that he might run again.

“Stranger things have happened,” he said in response to a question from Jim Grothaus, a township resident, who asked if he planned to run. Mr. Grothaus attends most meetings and has often sided with Mrs. Meek in years of fights where she was pitted against Mr. Floyd and Mr. Taube.

After the meeting, Mr. Taube said he was collecting signatures for the petition he would need for a re-election bid.

“I hate to see the last eight years of things undone by someone I think doesn't understand the process or wants to circumvent the process,” he said after the meeting, referring to Mrs. Meek.

She repeated last night that she does not plan to work on recycling until January when two new trustees would take office. Both Mr. Floyd, in his eighth year as a trustee, and Mr. Taube, in his 12th year as a trustee, had said they did not plan to seek another term.

Mrs. Meek has said Mr. Floyd and Mr. Taube are not in favor of curbside recycling and that studying the issue would be a waste of her time.

Mr. Taube and Mr. Floyd - who said he does not plan to run for re-election - repeated that they had voted for her as the leader of a citizens committee on recycling and she never organized it.

They said they had long wanted figures on recycling costs in the township, but she had never provided them. And they said the one motion she made to apply for a recycling grant was inappropriate because she did not have cost estimates or input from taxpayers, who could be stuck with a bill after the short-term grant expired.

The fight has been brewing for several meetings. But it surfaced last night when Andy Glenn, who said he plans to run for a township trustee's post, asked why the township newsletter distributed last week asked for volunteers for a committee to study curbside recycling. Mr. Taube had asked for the note to be included in the newsletter, Mr. Floyd said.

Mr. Glenn said he had volunteered for the committee at the meeting in 1999 when Mrs. Meek was unanimously selected as chairwoman, but that he had never been contacted.

Mr. Floyd asked Mrs. Meek about the recycling committee, just as he had done at the last meeting, when trustees fought about some of the same issues, though not nearly as harshly.

After exchanging barbs, the trustees unanimously agreed to remove Mrs. Meek as chairwoman of the recycling committee and put Mr. Glenn in the position. Township administrator Jon Gochenour said three other residents had volunteered for the committee as well.

Mrs. Meek offered the materials she said she has collected on recycling to Mr. Glenn, who said that he would like to have them. Mr. Floyd told him, “You won't get much.”

After the meeting, Mrs. Meek said that Mr. Glenn is “part of the Bob and Walt show” and said the accusations were planned as Mr. Glenn's entry into his trustee's race.

“They speak to him before the meeting, go over their little script of what they're going to do, then Bob calls on him,” she said.

Mrs. Meek had once been president of the trustees, but was soon voted out. She said if she was still leading the meetings: “We wouldn't be having these political freak shows.”

Mr. Floyd said after the meeting that he has offered to resign if Mrs. Meek can say one thing she has done to benefit the township during her nearly six years as a trustee.

He said she has never answered his question - even though she appears to want him out of office - because she has not done anything.

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