Accusations enough to sideline officials
Medford Mayor Chris Myers did the right thing in resigning this week, but he should have done it before embroiling that bucolic South Jersey town in his personal drama involving an anonymous sex allegation.
The accusation led Myers to duck meetings, leaving the Township Council without a quorum and the ability to pay bills. He wouldn't even answer messages. Now, Medford can get on with grappling with its downgraded bond rating and other important business, instead of being caught up in gossip about Myers' sex life.
Myers was the subject of an accusation by an unnamed male prostitute who claimed Myers paid $500 for sex and promised to buy him a car. The man sent Web links to township officials showing a photo of a person resembling Myers lying on a bed in a pair of briefs. Next to the man was what appeared to be a mayoral ID card.
Understandably, Myers, a married father of two and former Lockheed Martin executive, was upset by the photo and innuendo. He has proclaimed his innocence. But instead of resigning to take care of his personal problems, Myers held on to the power of his office for weeks. His failure to conduct township business paralyzed the community of 23,000. The township couldn't even buy new helmets for firefighters.
In contrast, Montgomery County Commission Chairman James Matthews wasted little time in resigning his chairmanship this week after being charged with lying to a grand jury investigating alleged favoritism in awarding county contracts. Matthews denies the charges and plans to remain a commissioner until his term ends this year.
Medford, an affluent South Jersey town, has long been mired in political turmoil. Myers was part of a gang that bullied dissident Republican Victoria Fay off the council in March after she temporarily moved out of town. She had lost her home in a divorce, but planned to move back into town.
Medford also had its understaffed police force act as personal security guards for the late cheesesteak king Joey Vento by patrolling his property outside the township. Then there was the, thankfully, unsuccessful effort to give a developer a tax break to build a 700-home subdivision that would have destroyed Medford's country-town character.
Myers was at the center of much of the controversy in the town. With him gone, maybe Medford can ease up on the drama and settle down.