Robert Sparks Appointed To Telford Borough Council

Far-right councilman Robert Jacobus claimed the vacancy committee did not consider all interested parties to fill the seat vacated by Eric Kratz.
Photo courtesy of Telford Borough.

Several days before the January 2 inauguration for newly elected Telford Borough Council members, incumbent Eric Kratz abruptly resigned after winning reelection in the November municipal election. Kratz had been appointed in October 2022 to fill a vacancy.

On Monday, during its initial working session of the year, the Telford Borough Council voted to accept Kratz’s resignation.

Robert Baker, representing the Council’s vacancy committee, recommended Robert Sparks to fill the open seat. Baker said he had interviewed four candidates for the position.

“Robert has faithfully served the local community for 45 years as a volunteer firefighter since 1979, Battalion Fire Chief in 2019, Assistant Fire Chief since 2021, and the emergency management coordinator for the borough since 2019,” Baker said.

Robert Jacobus, who secured re-election to fulfill the remaining two years of his term after being appointed to the council in September 2022, expressed disappointment with Baker’s process, referring to it as a “rushed” approach.

READ: Telford Borough Councilman Jacobus Continues Crusade To Defund Indian Valley Public Library

A member of the Telford Tough slate, Jacobus expressed that he did not believe his two running mates, Claudio Sanchez and Luke Zeigler, were given consideration for the seat vacated by Kratz. He also said there was no public announcement of the process to fill the seat.

Council President Emiline Weiss said the information had been publicly announced at the January 2 meeting.

Public comment regarding the appointment of Sparks came from local resident Kaitlin Derstine who took aim at Weiss by pointing out what she believed to be “sabotage” of Republican candidates during the 2023 general election by “actively campaigning for the progressive candidates on the ballot.”

“I believe, personally, they were intentionally left out,” Derstine said, referring to Sanchez and Zeigler. “I would say that we need to table this for tonight to give thought on what the voters want.”

Jacobus gained notoriety in early 2023 for his attempt to defund the Indian Valley Public Library due to what he believes is “pornography,” and Derstine fully supported his far-right position.

The council approved Sparks’s appointment with Jacobus casting the sole dissenting vote.

“I am happy that Mr. Baker decided on Bob Sparks,” said council member Katherine Farina. “I think he is the right man for the job,” she said, noting his dedication to the Telford Volunteer Fire Company.

Meredith Torres echoed Farina. “I’m happy to welcome Bob Sparks to the Telford Borough Council.” Torres also pointed to Sparks’ involvement with the fire company. “His lengthy tenure with the Telford Volunteer Fire Department has made him a committed and well-respected member of our community.”

READ: Telford Officials Issue Statement To Distance Themselves From Council Member’s Anti-LGBTQ Comments Targeting The Public Library

John Waldenberger, who ran against Jacobus under the Keystone Party, had hoped to be appointed to the vacant seat. “If I could have picked someone other than myself, Bob [Sparks] probably would have been one of my top choices,” he said.

Telford community members have the ability to watch streaming video of council meetings thanks to Waldenberger’s willingness to film and archive the meetings on his Facebook page.    

Nominations were sought to represent Telford Borough on two local commissions. Farina volunteered for the Northern Montgomery County Recycling Commission. Torres and Farina accepted appointments to the Indian Valley Regional Planning Commission.

*Correction: We initially identified John Waldenberger as a write-in candidate. We apologize for the error.*

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Jenny Stephens

Jenny Stephens is a freelance journalist who has written for a variety of publications, including The Reporter. An avid collector of all things vintage, she resides in the Philadelphia area.

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