Northumberland County Courthouse

The Northumberland County Courthouse

SUNBURY — Northumberland County Solicitor Frank Garrigan will draft a response to a lawsuit filed by Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Matulewicz over whether the two-term district attorney's petitions should be accepted after county officials said he missed the deadline.

The board of elections met in Judge Hugh Jones's courtroom at the Northumberland County Courthouse in a special meeting Wednesday.

Following a brief reorganization, the board then made a motion to have Garrigan draft a response to a lawsuit filed by Matulewicz.

Matulewicz filed for an immediate injunction against the board of elections on Tuesday after his election petitions were denied because they were determined to be late by county and state officials.

Matulewicz, through his attorney, Charles A. Pascal Jr., of Leechburg, said he only learned the petitions were not accepted by the county elections office through media reports.

Matulewicz filed the injunction at 3:51 p.m. Tuesday and declined comment on the new filing.

According to the court document, Matulewicz said he arrived at the elections office prior to 5 p.m. which was the original time that Chief Registrar Lindsay Phillips stated the office was scheduled to close.

When Matulewicz arrived, he said in the filing “some individuals were creating a distraction and some were objecting to his petition filing.”

On March 7, at the election’s office when he handed in his petitions, the time stamp said 5:01 p.m., according to county records. Phillips accepted the petitions while Matulewicz was signing the paperwork.

The office, which county officials said closes at 4:30 p.m., had three other county candidates inside at 4:45 p.m., including Sunbury attorney Mike O’Donnell who is running for district attorney.

Commissioner candidates Slade Shreck and Vinny Clausi, along with Republican state Rep. candidate Joe Moralez were also in the office after 4:30 p.m. along with members of the public and media.

O’Donnell challenged Phillips and asked her why she was accepting the petitions. Phillips said she made calls to state officials who said the office was open until 5 p.m.

Phillips then told O’Donnell that state officials called her back and said if the office was closed at 4:30 p.m. then that is the official rule.

During the reorganization process early in the meeting, board member and President Judge Paige Rosini nominated Northumberland County Commissioner Kym Best to act as the president of the board. Jones agreed and Best was announced as the new chairperson.

The elections board will meet on March 20 at 1 p.m. inside the Northumberland County Administration Building. 

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