The impeachment process has been recommended for Quincy Township supervisor

QUINCY TOWNSHIP – Supervisor Kerry Bumbaugh facing numerous criminal charges related to his abuse or misuse of power while in office, a number of residents are wondering why he’s still in office.

It is quite difficult to remove someone from office in Pennsylvania.

Resignation is the first possibility. Bumbaugh asserts his innocence and has refused to resign.

If convicted of a crime, the person can be disqualified from serving, but it can often take a year or more to see the outcome of the criminal case.

The third way would be impeachment. It’s very rare and rather extraordinary, but the paperwork has begun.

Representative Paul Schemel joined Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen on First News Wednesday morning to say he has brought a recommendation for a referral to the PA House Judiciary Committee of Articles of Impeachment.

The House of Representatives is able to bring Articles of Impeachment against public officials, including township supervisors.

Schemel said, “I brought this referral to Rob Kauffman, he’s the chairman of the judiciary committee. Depending on what the judiciary committee does, it will then refer to the subcommittee on courts. I am the chairman of the subcommittee of courts. The reason I did this…when you impeach a public official, they are removed from office immediately and no longer able to serve in that capacity. It’s an extraordinary remedy, but in a situation like this where we have a township supervisor that’s been credibly charged with serious fraud crimes regarding their public service. In this case supervisor Bumbaugh declined the opportunity to resign. He said I’m not going to resign.”

Quincy Township has three supervisors serving the municipality. Bob Gunder has since resigned.

Schemel said, “Mr. Bumbaugh is also the road master. He’s in charge of the road crew and these charges allege that he has misused and misappropriated funds and services from the township. In the normal employment situation if he were just an employee, he would be removed at least until the case has gone its way through regular due process. In this case, he’s a public official, he will not remove himself, so unfortunately it’s sort of this extraordinary (measure) be taken. Hopefully he will do the right thing and simply resign his position so he can focus on his criminal case.”

Jansen said, “I remember writing stories about this township and things going on there since 2015 that were very odd…it sounds like things are just a mess. Township Supervisor Wilson is saying nobody knows who to trust. They’re very unsure who they can trust and deal with effectively to do their work. So this is a real mess for Quincy Township.”

Schemel agreed, “It is a mess for Quincy Township and it gets once again to the core of level of trust of public officials. We have to have confidence that people that are elected are going to do the right thing in public office. We’ll do an investigation of our own in the House of Representatives in regard to impeachment charges. I will note, it was numerous Quincy Township residents that contacted me and asked me to do this extraordinary action. Hopefully Quincy can look forward to better days ahead and in all appropriateness, Supervisor Bumbaugh will be given his opportunity in court to prove his innocence, which is what he asserts. I believe in the justice system and justice will be done whether he is innocent or guilty.”

Jansen pointed out, “…listeners from the area have also contacted us, expressing some of those same sentiments…so I think they appreciate you taking this step.”

Attorney Clint Barkdoll discussed the situation earlier where he explained, “If the House votes to impeach him, the Senate then has to vote on whether to ratify the impeachment and if they vote yes, he’s removed from office even if he’s not been convicted criminally and even if down the road he would be found not guilty of the criminal acts he could still be removed from office through an impeachment through the state government.”

Ryan wondered if that means he loses his pension.

It’s unclear whether a Quincy Township supervisor receives a pension benefit with the job, but Barkdoll mentioned that “Pennsylvania post-Sandusky did adopt some reforms that you can be disqualified from a municipal pension if you’re convicted of certain crimes.”