WHITEHALL, Pa. -

The Whitehall Township Commissioners broke a 3-3 voting deadlock Monday night and agreed to select Phillips Armstrong to fill the remaining two year vacancy on the board.

Armstrong is a retired social studies teacher from Whitehall High School, former volleyball coach and a longtime resident of the township. He has also had stints serving on Whitehall’s parks and recreations board, according to commissioner Dennis Hower.

“He hit it out of the park with his interview,” he said. “He wants to do whatever he can for the township. He’ll do an excellent job.”

The board entered the special meeting facing a pressing deadline. Had a compromise not been reached by this Thursday, the decision would have been shifted to the Lehigh County Central Court system.

“We shouldn’t send it to the county. [They] have enough to do,” said commissioner Gerard Palagonia. “It is our responsibility.”

In order to advertise the appointment meeting in time, an agreement had to be reached tonight. The deadlock was broken when President Linda Snyder and Palagonia agreed to cast their votes for Armstrong, giving him 5 out of 6 potential votes.

At last Monday’s board meeting, commissioner Clair Hunsberger nominated Richard Klock for the appointment, but was unable to attain a majority.

The commissioner also revealed that he had received an anonymous letter urging him to abandon his support of Klock due to a 20-year-old criminal allegation that he has since been acquitted of.

This Monday, various commissioners continued to speculate over the origin of the letter.
“It had to be from someone in this room,” said president Linda Snyder. “It had to be from in here.”

The commissioners, however, stressed that the letter did not impact their decision making.

The board also praised the strong applicant pool and expressed hope that those not selected will continue to pursue leadership positions within the community.

“If they don’t get on this board let’s get them on another board,” said Palagonia. “I don’t want to lose them.”

The Whitehall Commissioners are expected to officially nominate and approve Armstrong’s appointment at a meeting this Wednesday at 7 p.m.