CECIL TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — What started out as a tribute and memorial to a local woman’s late father has now turned into a full blown court battle in Washington County.
Gary Andreis was 58 when he died suddenly last year. He was a businessman in Cecil Township and a candidate for township supervisor when he died.
His daughter, Jennifer Andreis-Moninger, paid for and asked that a memorial stone be placed in Cecil Township Municipal Park.
“It was approved by the Cecil Park board, and in March went to the Cecil Township supervisors who voted to allow a stone and a tree,” said Jesse White, Moninger’s attorney.
Moninger paid $700 to the township to have it placed.
“Cecil Public Works took it and put it in for her and everything was fine,” White said.
Then, suddenly, there were alleged complaints that the stone was inappropriate. Someone reportedly claimed to have tripped over the stone, and others wanted supervisors to reverse its vote.
“Here’s the problem; the board of supervisors took a vote to… allow this thing to be placed,” says White. “The Sunshine Law in Pennsylvania says very clearly if a board is going to do something like that, they can’t just undo it behind closed doors. There has to be a public vote and deliberations.”
White also says the township claims what was approved, a plaque, is not what Moninger had put in the park.
But the minutes from the initial board meeting read, “Motion and second to approve the planting of a tree and the placement of a rock in the park as a memorial to Gary Andreis. All four board members in attendance voted ‘I.’”
“This was a done deal,” White says.
There is a hearing set for Aug. 23. Meanwhile, the tree remains in the park and the stone is being housed at the Cecil Township Public Works shed.
Moninger is out of town with her family.