Tredyffrin's Board of Supervisors – Some are Political Party Committee Members – is this OK? Radnor Township Says No for their Commissioners
Tredyffrin Township is governed by Home Rule Charter, and you can find a copy on the township website, www.tredyffrin.org. With a new year, and 3 new supervisors on Tredyffrin’s Board of Supervisors, I was curious about something. When someone is a committee person for a political party and is elected to serve their community, I wondered how this subject was handled under Home Rule Charter (or was it even addressed). From my vantage point, supervisors are elected to serve all the residents, and by remaining a committee person for a particular party, I would think that there is an appearance that a political committee person would ‘lean’ in the direction of their party. Of the 7 members of Tredyffrin’s Board of Supervisors, we now have 3 supervisors who are also Tredyffrin Township GOP committee members (Kampf, Kichline, Richter). I think that Supervisor Kampf is also a PA State GOP committee member – but I’m not 100%.
I checked Tredyffrin Township’s Home Rule Charter and this subject is not addressed. So I looked to our neighbor, Radnor Township who also uses Home Rule Charter for their local government. I guess the residents of Radnor Township share my concern with political party committee people serving in elected positions, as they are very clear in their Home Rule Charter. Radnor Commissioners are prohibited from holding an elected or appointed political office. The information below is cut and pasted directly from Radnor’s Home Rule Charter. Reviewing Radnor’s regulations on elected officials holding political party office, I was also interested in their ‘Conflict of Interest’ section (also included below). Reading this, I am wondering if Radnor Township’s Commissioners would have been permitted (under their ‘Home Rule Charter’) to solicit to businesses on behalf of Radnor Fire Company? Interesting question, don’t you think?
From Radnor Township’s Home Rule Charter
§ 21.9-904. Prohibitions.
A. The activities which follow shall be prohibited in the operation of the Township government.
1. Discrimination. No person shall, in his employment by the Township in any capacity, appointment to any Board, Commission, or Authority, or removal therefrom, be favored or discriminated against because of age, race, national origin, sex, handicap, or political or religious opinions or affiliations in violation of applicable Federal or State laws. No person shall be accorded favored treatment in employment or appointment because of family relationship.
2. Improper Gifts. No person who seeks appointment on any Township Board, Commission, or Authority, or employment by the Township in any capacity shall, directly or indirectly, give or pay any money, service, or other consideration to any person in connection with such appointment or employment. In addition, no elected or appointed Township official or employee shall receive any money, service or other consideration in connection with such appointment or employment.
3. Political Party Office. No Township official elected under this Charter, no appointed official, and no full-time Township employee shall hold any elected or appointed political party office.
4. Improper Political Influence. No elected or appointed Township official and no employee of the Township shall request any Township employee to make a political contribution or engage in political activity.
5. Other Government Service. No Township official elected or appointed to an elective office under this Charter and no full-time Township employee shall hold any other Township employment or any other elective or appointive Township position. No Township official elected or appointed to an elective office under this Charter and no full-time Township employee shall hold any full-time employment, or any other elective position, with Delaware County or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This provision shall not apply to employees of School Districts or of other educational institutions.
§ 21.9-905. Conflict of Interest.
A. No elected or appointed official of the Township and no Township employee, shall engage in any activity which follows.
l. Take any action as a result of information acquired as a Township official from which action the Township official or employee or any other person or entity in whose welfare the official is interested, shall realize a gain or advantage. Such action shall not, however, be construed to be prohibited if the gain or advantage were realized generally by a group or class of citizens as the purposeful result of such action.
2. Solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gift, favor, service commission, or other consideration that might reasonably tend to influence that official or employee in the discharge of the duties of office.
3. Seek to influence, directly or indirectly, the awarding of any contract where such Township official or employee, or other person or entity in whose welfare the official or employee is interested would benefit directly or indirectly, financially or otherwise, from said contract.
B. Disqualification from Action. Any elected or appointed official and any employee of the Township, having a direct or indirect financial interest with any person or business entity proposing to contract with the Township for the purchase or sale of land, materials, supplies, or services of any kind, or seeking formal action of the Board or any petition application, request, or appeal, whether that interest be as an employee, a party, a partner, or a stockholder, shall disclose fully said interest and except where stock holdings in a public corporation shall be minimal, shall not participate in the discussion or formal action relating thereto. Violation of the provisions of this Section shall render the contract of such actions voidable by the Township.