Residency Status of Moon Supervisor Still Unclear
County election official said physical residence in the township is needed to serve on the board.
McLaughlin, who works in customer service for U.S. Airways, has been transferred to a job in Charlotte, NC. He is listed in Allegheny County property records as the owner of a home at 111 Snell Drive in Moon that is listed for sale through Prudential Real Estate.
David Voye, manager of the balloting section of the Allegheny County Division of Elections, said a regular presence in the township is required of elected officials, but permanent residency in a community is sometimes hard to define.
"They need to reside within the boundaries of the township," Voye said. "But physical residency is hard to define. In some cases if all you can do is produce an electric bill, and you're a resident."
McLaughlin could not be reached for comment on the matter. Board chairman Jim Vitale said McLaughlin's position was transferred out-of-state earlier this year.
A representative from the law firm Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir, which serves as township solicitor, also could not be reached.
Voye said it is up to the board to take further action on the matter -- no meeting attendance rule is in place for supervisors.
"I don't understand why the other supervisors aren't taking up the issue," Voye said. "In this case, they would have the ability to appoint someone to the position."
The Pennsylvania Township Supervisor's Handbook states: "Legal residence includes not only a person’s intention, but also a physical presence. Intention or voter registration is not enough; an individual must actually physically reside in the township."
It is unclear whether McLaughlin, whose term on the board expires in December, will retain a residence in the township if someone buys his home. Other board members ousted him from his position as board chairman at their January re-organization meeting.
Vitale said the board will discuss the issue of McLaughlin's residency only in executive session. The board meets for its monthly workshop meeting at 7 tonight in the township municipal building.
"I have received other calls in regards to this," Voye said. "No, I can't recall another incident [in Allegheny County] where this has been an issue."