Exclusive: Bensalem Building and Planning Director is Still on Hatfield Council
Digital Reporter- Jeff Bohen
A Bensalem Township employee, who was hired in 2018, has continued in his position as a Hatfield Borough Councilman, despite officials approving a resolution mandating that resigning his political office was compulsory for his position as Director of Building and Planning.
Kenneth Farrall, who was hired by the Township to head the Building and Planning Department upon the recommendation of Mayor Joseph DiGirolamo, and approved by Council in November, told Mayor DiGirolamo in November that he agreed with his suggestion that he resign his Hatfield Borough Council (HBC) seat.
Additionally, Council voted 4-1 to approve Farrall’s hiring, contingent upon his resignation from his position as Vice President of Council, township records show.
During a discussion with council members about approving Farrall for the job, and in response to direct questions from Councilman Jesse Sloan, DiGirolamo says, “. . . he has a political position and I told him it would be in his best interest to resign due to conflicts of interest and he (Farrall) agreed.”
“I did call the Mayor’s office to make sure he was going to resign from that position,” said Council President Joseph Knowles.
“I think it’s imperative” (he resigns), DiGiralomo says ending the discussion as they approve Farrall’s hiring.
This reporter was contacted by a source from within the Township government structure who believed that, despite what the mayor had said publicly in November, Farrall was still officially a member of the HBC.
A review of publicly available documents revealed that Farrall not only did not relinquish his Council seat, but he ran, and won, in the republican municipal primary and is scheduled to be on the municipal ballot for re-election this November, despite the “imperative” of being allegedly told, and agreeing to, the Mayor’s suggestion as reported during the November 2018 meeting.
Farrall has been present and active at HBC meetings and was accounted for in the August minutes of The HBC meeting
This publication called Farrall on Monday afternoon and left a message on his voicemail. As of publication, there has been no response to the query.
Councilmen Jesse Sloan and Ed Tomajian offered a joint statement Monday afternoon.
“Mr. Farrall’s appointment by Council as Bensalem’s Director of Building and Planning was purely conditional upon his resignation as a Council Member of Hatfield Borough. If he has failed to meet that requirement as evidence suggests, and is further pursuing reelection to that office, he should be dismissed from employment. Anything less would be considered a slap in the face to Council, the Mayor and the people of Bensalem.”
Attempts to reach Knowles and DiGirolamo went unanswered Monday afternoon.
Publisher’s Note: Sara Stern contributed copy editing to this report.