Baldwin councilman resigns after pool party flap
By Stephanie Hacke
Published: Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Political chatter over a pool party that never happened contributed to a Baldwin Borough councilman's resignation last week.
First-term Councilman Ed Moeller, 52, resigned his position, effective immediately, in a letter submitted Friday to Baldwin Borough Manager John Barrett, where he cited “personal and political conflicts.”
Moeller said his tipping point came last week, when borough leaders removed a notification from the marquee in front of the municipal building for a free swim that he had planned to host for Baldwin residents at the municipal pool with two other councilmen, citing the event was politically motivated.
“I'm just tired of things that happened,” Moeller said. “I try to do what's right for the borough and you try to give back to the borough when you can and people take everything as political.”
Moeller, who has served on Baldwin Council for three and a half years, said he has continually become more frustrated during his tenure in office with the opposition he has received from other officials.
“I'm thinking, ‘Why do I want to put myself through the aggravation?' I felt like no matter what I did, I felt like the outsider,” said Moeller, a Democrat, who lost an election bid for the Baldwin mayoral race in May to represent his party on the ballot in November. Moeller did, however, win the write-in vote to be placed on the Republican ticket for the Baldwin mayoral race in November.
Baldwin Council President David Depretis won the Democratic nomination. Sixteen-year mayoral veteran Alexander Bennett is not seeking reelection.
Moeller, who served on the Baldwin-Whitehall School Board for four and a half years prior to joining borough council, said the pool party was an idea he's had for years.
“I brought this up for years. No one has ever stepped up,” Moeller said. “I wanted to give something back. ... It really, truly was not politically motivated.”
Moeller said he did not formally ask anyone to host the free swim with him. Council members Larry Brown and Bob Collet — who ran on a ticket with Moeller in May — volunteered to host it with him, Moeller said.
Moeller said he, Collet and Brown chipped in to pay the $225 to rent the pool for the night and reached out to the media and borough to help advertise.
After the event was placed on the marquee in front of the borough building, Moeller said, he received a call from Barrett, who said the event must be removed because the borough sign cannot be used for “anything that is politically motivated.”
The pool party ended up being canceled due to the weather, anyway, Moeller said.
“It's not worth my time and effort,” Moeller said. “I'm just trying to do something nice and everyone thinks you're doing it for a political reason.”
Moeller said he has not decided if he will keep his name on the ballot this November.
“I will not publicly campaign,” he said. “I'm just frustrated because I feel like I wanted to do the right thing and help people.”
Baldwin Council members have 30 days to name a replacement for Moeller's unfinished term, which runs through the end of this year, Barrett said.
Council members on Tuesday had yet to determine how they would proceed with filling the open seat, Depretis said.
“We don't have a plan yet,” he said.
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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