Hunkele, Dougherty sworn in to Hampton Council

Thursday, January 9, 2020 | 10:32 AM

New council members Martha Hunkele and Dr. Joe Dougherty were sworn in at the Hampton Township annual reorganization meeting on Jan. 6.

Mike Peters and Dr. Carolynn Johnson were renamed president and vice president, respectively.

Hunkele and Dougherty are filling the seats of former council members Richard Dunlap and Sherry Neugebauer, both of whom did not seek re-election. While Dougherty is new to the council, Hunkele has served previously. Beginning in the late 1990s, she served three terms, according to Hunkele.

Council also voted to keep the second and fourth Wednesday of each month as meeting dates, except for two months with meetings changed to Nov. 4 and 18 and Dec. 9 and 16. Meetings are usually held at 7:30 p.m. at the township administration building on McCully Road.

Committee and organizational appointments were also made, as well as possible appointments to township boards, commissions and authorities. Hampton Township No. 1 and North Hampton volunteer fire departments were designated again as fire police.

Peters, Johnson, and fellow councilperson Bethany Blackburn are entering their third year of serving on township council. Save for Hunkele’s previous experience, the current council is fairly young with members serving three years or less.

Nonetheless, Municipal Manager Christopher Lochner said council has performed quite well, even when faced with tough decisions over the past year.

“They’ve done a really tremendous job,” he said.

Dougherty, who is a lifetime resident of Hampton, is looking forward to his first year on council. His transition has been aided by current members of council and the township staff, he said.

He said he hopes to guide Hampton in a fiscally responsible and taxpayer-friendly manner, including proposing the idea of working with Chatham University’s Eden Hall campus in Gibsonia to help make Hampton a sustainable community for the future and future taxpayers.

The Eden Hall Campus is the home of the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment at Chatham University, according to the Eden Hall Chatham website.

“We will be facing ever-increasing regulations from the state and federal government, which, of course, means more cost. Thus, we have to be creative to keep taxes low,” he said.

Hunkele said she’s looking forward to returning to council. She did not seek re-election after her last term because of family activities, including her children getting married and having new grandchildren.

“I’m ready to return and get back into the swing of things,” she said.

Jerry Speakman was also sworn in as controller. This is the beginning of his fourth four-year term.

The controller’s position provides oversight of all Township financial matters, including development and monitoring of all budgets, reviewing and approving all expenditures and fund transfers, monitoring pension fund investments and performance and participating in all Township short- and long-range planning and staffing plans, especially as they apply to financial impacts, Speakman said.

Since the position is a non-voting member of council, he receives a small stipend, but, in essence, it is a volunteer position, he said.

“Serving and giving back to the community is something I believe in and was my initial motivation, but as time has gone by, I enjoy being an active and integral part of local government and learning what it takes to manage even a small community,” Speakman said.

Moving forward, Dougherty said his mother, who passed away in July, gave him great life advice.

“She always told me you can’t make all of the people happy all of the time. She and my dad also taught me integrity. Being a council member in my hometown will be hard work, but rewarding. I am very much looking forward to the challenge,” he said.