A Dover Township supervisor filed a lawsuit against the township and three other board members after he says they approved a grant for the purchase of recycle bins through email rather than during a public meeting.

That would be a violation of the Sunshine Act.

Matthew Menges, a York attorney and township supervisor, said the board voted April 9 during a meeting to "pursue a grant" for 7,500 32-gallon recycling containers, which was passed 4-to-1.

A few days later, township manager Laurel Wilson said the grant was approved. She asked the supervisors through email if she should sign the grant contract, Menges said.

According to Menges, he suggested the issue be voted on during the next township meeting. But, he said, supervisors Madelyn Shermeyer, Michael Husson and Monica Love responded to Wilson's email, telling her to go ahead with the purchase.

Menges filed a lawsuit against Shermeyer, Husson and Love on May 31, saying the three were in violation of the Sunshine Act, which states that "action and deliberations" of an agency shall take place at a public meeting.

According to meeting minutes, a grant from York County Solid Waste Authority provides 75 percent of the cost of the bins -- which cost $97,500 -- making the township responsible for the remaining 25 percent.

Penn Waste offered to pay the 25 percent upfront cost and bill the township over a 12-month period at no additional interest, the minutes state.

But Menges said he voted against the bins because "it's not what we need at this point."

During the meeting, he suggested looking for less expensive containers, or waiting to purchase the larger bins next year, the minutes state.

Current bins are 22 gallons and residents can purchase any bin or can and mark it "recycling" to have the recycle truck collect the items.

Menges said Penn Waste suggested the larger bins after the township signed a new trash contract, but the board noted in the minutes that the bins would not be suitable for every household.

The bins would not be forced on the residents, the minutes state.

After the April 9 meeting, Wilson sent an email to township supervisors, saying the township had been approved of the grant and "operating under the assumption that since the Board authorized application, you are fine with me signing the contract and moving forward with the purchase."

Her email is Exhibit B in the lawsuit.

"The lawsuit isn't about the recycling bins," Menges said. "It's about the township residents' right to know what's going on in the township."

Shermeyer, Hussan, Love and Wilson declined to comment.

Menges, who has been a supervisor since January, said after the approval of the contract during an executive session, he asked them to revote on the matter during a public meeting.

He said he was met with "some resistance."

"I've been outvoted in more serious matters than this, and that's OK, that's why we have a board," Menges said. "This is really about the fact that . . . we committed to spending the money before the residents got a chance to speak."

Menges filed for an injunction and a hearing is scheduled June 15.