United in their Resolve, Tredyffrin Residents Speak Out Against Actions of Supervisors Lamina, Olson, Kampf & Richter

Last night’s Board of Supervisor meeting represented a victory for the people. 

‘New Matters from Board members’ of the meeting kicked off with Supervisors Lamina, Kampf and Richter making apologies to the community in regards to the St. Davids Golf Club motion and vote to return escrow which occurred at the last Board of Supervisors meeting. They took responsibility for their actions, admitted that procedure had not been followed and stated that they would try to ‘do better’ in the future. Mention was made that everyone makes mistakes and that they had learned from theirs.

As I listened to the apologies, I thought to myself . . . OK, they made a mistake, admitted their mistake and now they will just ‘fix it’.  But no, there was no offer of correction, no suggestion to ‘reverse the decision’, nothing.  Were they thinking that the community would just accept their apology, move on and act like the ‘mistake’ never happened?  I don’t think that they were prepared for what was to come next . . . it was the residents turn to speak.

I cannot remember the last time I was so proud of this community.  Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of democratic life.  And one after another, residents took to the floor.  People came from all over the township . . . Chesterbrook, Malvern, Berwyn, Strafford, Mt. Pleasant, Wayne.  It did not matter if the speakers were Democrats, Republicans or Independents, there was no political party agenda.  They were firefighters, lawyers, retired citizens, members of township boards, one after another, each passionately saying the same thing over and over.  Separately, the residents spoke, but united their message. Each person in his or her own way sought justice from the Board of Supervisors, appealing for the ‘wrong’ to be made ‘right’.

The ‘sidewalk’ became a symbol for something much larger . . . it represented how four individuals (Lamina, Olson, Kampf, Richter) thought they could be allowed to just make the rules and break the rules, without consequence or intervention for their actions.  What I heard loud and clear  was the powerful voice in this community of intolerance to their actions; residents are standing together.  Were the supervisors listening?

In the words of Martin Luther King, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”  Speaking out, many in the audience eloquently spoke of their distrust in our elected officials.  We elect these people because we believe that they will serve our best interests.  We entrust them to govern according to the rules . . . to follow the policies and procedures as set forth by the Home Rule Charter.  We rely on them to make the best decisions in our interests.

In the end, there was no resolution to ‘righting the wrong’ of the vote to return the escrow to St. Davids.  Not last night, but I believe that this matter is far from over.  I believe that between now and the next Board of Supervisors meeting, a way must be found to resolve this matter.

Trust in our elected officials must be restored.

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19 Comments

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  1. Very well put Pattye. Last night demonstrated that these officials cannot brush this under the rug. I was proud of all those who stood up and voiced their opinion on the matter. Interestingly, NOT ONE citizen supported LORK’s actions. Also, it is now clearly on the record – a violation of Tredyffrin’s Code. Supervisor Lamina clearly and unambiguously admitted the following: (1) No request in writing was made by St. David’s; (2) The matter was not passed to the Township Engineer; (3) The Township Engineer had no written response (because he never received the matter) back to the BOS.

    Also, let us not forget that the man behind the motion, Supervisor Olson, was not present last night. He has some questions to answer as well.

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  2. Thanks Pattye. Do you know when the meeting will be on TV again? John referred elsewhere to EJ speaking well for herself — if it was a victory for the people, I guess I’m wanting more “details.” Thanks for the update.

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  3. Last night was a poor display of judgement from the Supervisors that looked like three kids that got caught with their hand in the cookie jar.

    Laminas opening statement was hollow and just enough to try and cover his butt.

    When they were asked some questions they had to say” that they could not answer that” and then turned it over to the Lawyer and then he stated” I cannot answer that”. Well then who can answer that? This only proves that they did something wrong when they were prepared NOT to answer and leave us in Limbo.

    When Olsen made the motion to release the $25,000 here was mention that that was not the total balance from escrow . What is the balance? Do they have to make another motion to release the balance in the future?

    Thank goodness that JD has a backbone!

    Keep up the good work Pattye!

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  4. Great summary Pattye, and good comments during the meeting as well. A couple of my personal observations from the TTBOS meeting:

    Tom Hogan – The inability of the township solicitor to comment on the issue is very telling. His inability to stand behind the actions of LORK demonstrates to me that he believes these actions were clearly wrong and have potentially created some big issues for the township and the BOS. We all know that Tom would have no issue supporting these actions if they were defensible, privilege is irrelevant if nothing is wrong. The questions remain, how big is the issue(s), and is there a mechanism to available that will fix or mitigate. I expect that they are working on that now and that is why no one offered a reversal motion yet.

    Hollow apology – We made a mistake, we will try to do better…. Seriously? So what LORK are saying is that they will try not to intentionally deceive the public and violate the citizens anymore? This is absurd and insulting. It is also very hard to believe this apology at all considering that these deceptive actions were not the slightest bit out of character for LOK. These “in the dark” actions and violations of procedure were INTENTIONAL. This was not accidental and cannot be excused with a simple apology. They had plenty of opportunity to not move forward with the vote, but LOK arrogance once again trumped good judgment and honesty. They violated their duty and oath, and then got caught. They are only sorry that they got caught, nothing more.

    Warren’s attack on JVP – While everyone may not agree with the content or tone of Mr. Petersen’s comments I think he still has the right to make them and to share them on his blog. Warren knew the questions were coming and without any honest rationale for his actions last week he planned to deflect the scrutiny off of his lack of integrity by attacking John’s emotional comments. Bottom line is that Warren (and LOR) are the ones who have violated the citizens, not JVP, he has merely called them on it more loudly than anyone else.

    Jim Bailey – Good comments and questions. That took a lot of courage to stand up there and take that position as a member of TTRC. I truly wish the TTRC had a lot more committee people like you.

    Summary – LOK, you have violated our trust too many times for it to be repaired again. Please resign your posts. That is really the only fix that will bring closure now.

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  5. I thinking asking for resignations is a pipedream — but I think that we as voters need to take responsibility to consider where we cast our vote. And whether or not we blame OLK and R, we voted for them
    I would like to point out that the mastermind, Paul Olsen, was not there. I think he is the man who is trying to lead Tredyffrin into the 50s. Maybe we can send him there.

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    Malvern Republican Reply:

    Anon for now,

    Asking for LOK resignations is not a pipedream, asking is easy. Anyone can ask. And I hope that at the next BOS meeting that a few people stand up and ask for their resignations at the mic.

    I can only speak for myself, but I do take responsibility and do carefully consider where I cast my vote. I can say with clear conscience that I did not vote for L, O, R, or K ever. This despite being a register R in TT for 15+ yrs. So, it isn’t accurate to say that “we” voted for them. I am trying to be part of the solution though because I do want the party to succeed despite these problems.

    The TTRC has let us down with some bad endorsements locally for many years, although not all for sure. JD has done a tremendous job, Phil and Michelle are doing well so far. I think the reality of some bad TTRC leadership and decisions is becoming more obvious to some of the committee recently. I guess we will know for sure how many when we see what they do re Kampf for 157. I am sure Drucker has some champagne ready for the moment he hears that Kampf has the Republican endorsement…

    I agree completely re sending Olson packing, I think you give him too much credit by calling him a mastermind but I do understand and appreciate your point. It will be interesting to hear his defense, including his dismissive of the Democrat opinion. I will also enjoy seeing a response to the chairman’s statement yesterday that Olson is wrong in his willingness to handle overrides of land development agreements on a case by case basis. Ultimately Olson will be scattered and nonsensical as usual. This would all be very entertaining if it weren’t our government we were watching.

    After watching many years of Bob and others putting down on our neighboring municipalities, and neighbor governments i hope the irony of this fiasco he created isn’t lost on him. LOK should be ashamed.

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  6. Cardboard Checks and Apologies: How The End Justify The Means in Tredyffrin Township by OLKR. The gift that keeps on giving the whole year.

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    Sarah Reply:

    The only thing imperfect about the process is the failure to have one….the school district recently approved a new parliamentary procedure — changing from Roberts Rules of Order at least for some committees to make it more user friendly…but they still have RULES. Our BOS do not. It would be a great show of faith if Lamina instituted a parliamentary process was clear so that we all knew what to expect.

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  7. Can we determine a CONFLICT OF INTEREST here?

    I’m curious as to what people think of this section of Tredyffrin’s Home Rule Charter? According to several legal definitions

    “Conflict of Interest” is the real or APPARENT CONFLICT BETWEEN one’s PERSONAL INTEREST IN A MATTER AND one’s DUTY to another or TO THE PUBLIC in general REGARDING THE SAME MATTER.

    It doesn’t state that this “advantage” be pecuniary. We could easily get a petition of 100 together.

    § 31.9-902. Conflict of Interest.

    A. NO ELECTED OR APPOINTED OFFICIAL OF THE TOWNSHIP SHALL:

    1. Engage in any activity or TAKE ANY ACTION BY VIRTUE OF HIS OFFICIAL POSITION FROM WHICH activity or ACTION the official, or any other person OR ENTITY IN WHOSE WELFARE THE OFFICIAL IS INTERESTED, SHALL BENEFIT OR REALIZE A GAIN OR ADVANTAGE. Such benefit, gain or advantage shall not, however, be construed to be prohibited if the action in question is in behalf of a group of citizens of the Township and such benefit and relationship is generally known and acknowledged.§ § 31.9-903.

    Violation.

    ANY PERSON WHO VIOLATES ANY PROVISIONS OF § 31.9-902 or who shall be convicted of any crime classified as a misdemeanor of the second degree or higher under the laws of this Commonwealth or shall be convicted of any comparable crime by the United
    States or by any state, SHALL NOT BE QUIALIFIED TO HOLD TOWNSHIP OFFICE Township or employment AND, IF HOLDING SUCH, SHALL BE DISMISSED UPON DETERMINATION OF SUCH VIOLATION BY A CITIZENS BOARD OF FIVE (5) ELECTORS OF THIS TOWNSHIP appointed by the Board of Supervisors for such purpose or upon conviction thereof by a state or federal court. The Citizens Board shall be appointed by the Board of Supervisors upon its own motion, (provided that any Supervisor who is the subject of the investigation shall not take part in the appointment) OR SHALL BE APPOINTED UPON THE PETITION OF 100 OR MORE REGISTERED ELECTORS IN THE Township whose designated Chairman shall be a member of the Citizens Board. The petition seeking the appointment of a Citizens Board shall in general terms specify the area of investigation.

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    Christine E. Johnson Reply:

    I just did some more reading at it looks like that the provisions
    contained Tredyffrin’s Home Charter have been deamed inoperative by PA
    Courts. The Pennsylvania Constitution provides exclusive ground for the
    removal of an elected official.

    Then I looked at this:

    Conflict of interests can involve contractual and non-contractual matters.
    Public officers may not have a personal interest in any contracts they
    make. Self-interest in non-contractual matters sometimes involves
    financial interest but not always. These non-contractual matters may
    include such things as decisions on zoning, local improvements, and the
    issuance of licenses.

    If conflict of interest laws are not followed a contract made is
    considered illegal and generally void. In a non-contractual situation a
    decision can be reversed. There is also the potential for personally
    liability for the officials who are involved.

    Now I’ve discovered this might not work. The PA Ethics Act provides that a
    public officer is only in violation if they realize PERSONAL FINANCIAL
    gain.

    Wow, what are our options?

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  8. John Petersen… all you do is complain and find fault with others… the sound of your voice and the words from your pen are getting old… you add absolutely no value to the debate… all you do is stir the pot and make sure people waste time instead of solving issues… your energy could be directed in a more constructive way,,, instead you continue to act like a jerk!

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    Malvern Republican Reply:

    Henry,

    Your attempt to deflect attention from the real issue is the tactic of someone without a relevant position, or in this case without relevant justification. Very much the same as Warren & Bob’s attack on John last night. It is very weak.

    If you had watched the meeting you would’ve seen there were 50 other people at the meeting last night with virtually the same complaint and concerns that John has expressed. We heard directly from about 20 of them directly at the mic. NOT ONE person defended or justified the actions of LORK. Not even LRK themselves, not the citizens, not the twp mgr, not the twp solicitor, not St Davids GC, etc. No one is okay with what happened re SDGC on Jan 25 except maybe Paul Olson. How is it you single out one person for protesting this abomination?

    You have totally missed the point, and the issue(s).

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    Roger Reply:

    Hopefully Paul had a relaxing vacation. I have a feeling the community isn’t ready to forgive and forget. Welcome back Paul!

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    Freddy Reply:

    after reading john petersen’s posts, which are no doubt teeming with arrogance, i have often wondered what he looked like and how he held himself in person. last night was the first time i have ever seen him speak and i was surprised to find that he was even more pompous than i could have ever imagined.

    i’m not sure which is worse, the shady st davids deal, or the fact that john petersen has successfully hijacked our local government political theater to realize his personal vendetta against his enemies.

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  9. I watched the meeting last night from home, and was surprised that there wasn’t a big stunt performed by KOL to head off / take the wind out of the emotion that had been brought to that room. (I thought the meeting was moved to a time that was supposed to be convenient to O.)

    What was most telling to me, and I know, John, you said to give Hogan a break, was that Hogan is NOT the Township solicitor. He does not represent the residents. In fact, he blew off the residents more than once last night. I understand his response regarding attorney/client privilege. I understand how that works. I also understand that when a resident asked the BOS/BOS Solicitor whether the escrow release process used was legal, no one up front would answer.

    I guess I wonder that if a legal question regarding the performance of the BOS arises, are we as the residents who elected this BOS (I didn’t vote for them, though) supposed to hire our own attorney to investigate? Is that the only way we get a legal opinion regarding the performance of our elected officials? That sure seems like a high barrier to cross to reach the truth. Crazier than that is the Solicitor that the BOS chooses to defend itself from us is also, ultimately, paid by us. We pay all the bills in this process. Makes the head spin.

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    Observer Reply:

    Doug from Berwyn,

    While it may be our tax dollars that pay for Hogan, he is the BOS attorney. He works only for the board and not us. That is why attorney/client privilege is used. The BOS is the client.

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    Doug from Berwyn Reply:

    Correct, but I wonder how many of us knew that if questioned, the BOS attorney the residents are paying for will not answer them.

    I guess since Hogan usually sits there and says nothing, it never really struck me that if a resident had a legal question regarding the actions of the BOS, this solicitor will not answer them. In fact, we are on our own to research whether the BOS is acting legally. There’s something just not quite right about that.

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    JudgeNJury Reply:

    Under an opinion issued by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Jan. 29, it is far from clear that Hogan’s invocation of attorney-client privilege is correct. A link to a detailed article discussing the case follows, but this quote from the article is the main point: “The court issued a per curiam order in Nationwide v. Fleming Friday, upholding a Superior Court ruling that attorney-client privilege only applies to information given to the attorney by the client, not the other way around.” (http://www.law.com/jsp/article.jsp?id=1202441905939&Pa_High_Court_Justices_Cant_Agree_on_AttorneyClient_Privilege_Dispute). In other words, there is a good argument to be made that the Supervisors can invoke the privilege to refuse to answer questions about what they told Hogan, but Hogan cannot invoke the privilege to refuse to answer questions about what he told the Supervisors.

    Personally, I think the court’s decision is absurd. But the law is the law.

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  10. I watched the supervisors meeting last night and had a hard time believing that residents of this township actually elected Bob Lamina and Warren Kampf. Anyone who thinks that their apologies were heart-felt needs to rewind the tape. It was embarrasing that these 2 people were elected to represent the good decent people of Tredyffrin Township. If they know that they made a ‘mistake’ then they need to correct it. Residents in the audience did an amazing job of representing all the people in this community – I salute each of you for a job well done!

    These elected officials need to either get the St. Davids deal reversed or resign their positions. YOU made the problem along with Olson and Richter . . . YOU FIX IT!

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