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With police standing guard, East Penn accepts Julian Stolz resignation

By Randy Kraft, WFMZ.com Reporter, RKraft@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 28 2013 09:04:24 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 29 2013 05:44:44 AM CDT

A Lehigh County school board has accepted the resignation of a board member who came under fire for his involvement with a teen-oriented web site.

EMMAUS, Pa. -

The resignation of controversial East Penn School Board member Julian Stolz unanimously was accepted without comment by the school board Monday night.

Two uniformed Emmaus police officers and a police dog were positioned outside the school board meeting, but neither officer would say why.
Nor would school board president Charles Ballard explain the reason why extra protection was needed at a public meeting where uniformed police never are present.

“We’re just here as an added presence,” both officers told 69 News.

Stolz was not at the meeting to personally submit his resignation.
Only one person stood to address the school board, but he did not talk about Stolz.

The board intends to appoint someone to complete Stolz’s term at its Nov. 11 public meeting. The selected appointee will serve through December 2015.

Stolz’s Oct. 15 letter of resignation was included in the packet of information provided to the public, but not read aloud at the board meeting.

Even after the meeting, Ballard declined to comment on the resignation, except to say: “It is always sad when a sitting board member leaves because we have to go through a process to find a suitable replacement. It takes away from the elective process when we have to do that. We would have preferred that elected representatives would stay, if possible.

“In this particular situation there were complications that made it difficult. You’ll have to refer to Mr. Stolz for his reasons and things he’s written about why he decided to resign. I can’t comment any further on that.”

In his letter of resignation, the 25-year-old Stolz admitted dating an Emmaus High School student when he was 20. The girl was 15 at the time and Stolz already was serving on the school board. At the time, he wrote, he made a calculated decision to pursue political goals rather than continuing to be with her, adding: “Doing so was a mistake.”

Stolz described his relationship with that student as “romantic” but not sexual. He said finally did break up with her because he was on the school board.

At the last school board meeting on Oct. 14, three parents of East Penn students, as well as one non-resident, demanded Stolz resign, but he initially and repeatedly refused to do so. “I’m not doing anything wrong,” he said.

But Stolz changed his mind and resigned less than 24 hours later.

He resigned, not because he felt it was improper for a school board member to date a high school student, but because he now is back with that same young woman and she has been the subject of “cyber assaults” by the conservative Republican’s anonymous political enemies. “It is one thing to attack me, it is quite another to attack those I love,” wrote Stolz in his resignation letter.

Enemies of Stolz also have made public that he kept an account on TeenSpot.com, a website for teen-agers, until he was 24 years old. He has said he had not been on that site for more than a year, but admitted it was wrong for him to keep an account on it as long as he did. He said he did date people he met online at TeenSpot, but they were over 18.

In his letter, Stolz wrote that he failed in his six-year mission “to bring a taxpayer friendly majority to the East Penn School Board.” He said serving on the board “has been everything from an honor to pure hell.”

When initially asked why police were standing outside the East Penn administration building Monday night, Ballard said: “I suggest you discuss that with Emmaus police. I can’t comment on that. It was a security concern that had to be addressed.”

Some municipal bodies, such as the city councils in Allentown and Bethlehem, routinely have a police officer present at their meetings, but Ballard said the Emmaus officers were only attending Monday night’s meeting.

The school board president hinted the reason why police were at the meeting could be found on Twitter.

The vote to accept Stolz’s resignation was 7-0. Board member Rebecca Heid was absent.

During the board meeting, the emphasis was on quickly filling the vacancy left by Stolz’s resignation.

Ballard said board members have resigned before their terms ended only two or three times in the 18 years he’s been on the school board. He said it usually happened because the board members, or their spouses, got transferred to jobs outside the area.

He said in the past the number of applicants who sought to fill those vacancies has ranged from three to eight people.

Ballard said applicants for the school board position must be residents of East Penn School District for at least one year to qualify. They also must be at least 18 years old and qualified to be a registered voter in the district.

Ballard did not mention it, but one of the other qualifications is that board members “must be of good moral character.”

Ballard and board Solicitor Marc Fisher laid out a timeline to replace Stolz.

Fisher explained state law gives the school board 30 days to fill the vacancy. He said those 30 days began on Oct. 15, the date Stolz wrote his letter of resignation -- which Stolz said was “effective immediately.”

Fisher said the board’s Nov. 11 meeting is the only one scheduled within that 30-day period.

Ballard said the school district will announce the board vacancy on its website, beginning Tuesday, and also quickly will advertise it in local newspapers.

He said the deadline for applications will be 4 p.m. Nov. 7.

Ballard said all the candidates will be interviewed in public at 6 p.m. Nov. 11, just before the 7:30 p.m. board meeting.

At the 7:30 p.m. meeting, an appointee will be selected, immediately given the oath of office and seated with the rest of the school board.

The board formally voted its agreement with that schedule. Board members will develop questions that will be put to the candidates at their public interviews.

Also at Monday's meeting:

Image

East Penn School District officials honored five National Merit semi-finalists.  The students are Alan Bebout, Robert Bishop, Aife Ni Chochlain, Katrina Guido and Anna Overholts. They are flanked by school board president Charles Ballard (left) and district superintendent Thomas Seidenberger.