Attending last night’s Board of Supervisors meeting was much like attending a wedding. Entering Keene Hall, I found members on the bride’s side of the aisle there to support Republican Kristen Mayock as the interim supervisor. Left of the aisle, the groom’s side contained those gathered to support Republican Mike Heaberg. Representatives from both sides promised that their candidate was the right one to lead the township.
The audience heard from supporters of Mayock and Heaberg, as well as for the Democrat candidate Eamon Brazunas. Friends and political allies praised Mayock for her personal, business and civic achievements. Some of the words used to describe her were skilled negotiator, creative as well as committed and very intelligent. A former Republican committee member and fellow attorney at her law firm, Scott Reidenbach spoke eloquently of Mayock . . . describing her as someone who ‘gets it’ and that she, “understands people and understands this township”.
Others rose to the microphone to extol Heaberg’s virtues, describing him as smart, talented, community-minded . . . the “ultimate selfless person who is seeking public office for all the right reasons”. Sandy Gorman, a fellow FLITE board member and friend, said three words described Heaberg . . . integrity, reliability and thoroughness.
There is a part in a traditional wedding ceremony, when the officiant says, ‘if anyone objects . . . let him speak now or forever hold his peace.” Like those words in a wedding ceremony, chair of the Tredyffrin Democrats, Dariel Jamieson took the microphone to make a case for the all-Republican Board of Supervisors to choose a Democrat candidate to fill the vacated Republican seat. Supporting interim supervisor candidate Eamon Brazunas, Jamieson described the volunteer firefighter as committed to service and to the community; as someone we trust with our lives. In her support of Brazunas, Jamieson explained that Brazunas had run twice before for the Board of Supervisors and represented broad appeal to both parties, having only lost the last election by 71 votes.
Jamieson offered that 45% of the residents of Tredyffrin are registered Republicans and that the other 55% of the township population is not, so perhaps a Democrat should be appointed to add balance to the board. Unfortunately, Chairman Lamina’s partisan response to Jamieson was far from satisfactory; telling her that he could never vote for someone unless they were a Republican.
Elected to serve all the people . . . Republicans, Democrats, Independents . . . I found Lamina’s remark, particularly as chair of the Board of Supervisors, to be both inappropriate and offensive. This kind of remark has the potential to continue to push the political wedge between members of this community. And for what purpose . . . for what political gain? Tonight Lamina formally announced that he would not be seeking re-election; so why not try, in the last remaining 10 months of your term, to bring people together rather than continuing to separate and divide.
The five members of the Board of Supervisors (Paul Olson was on vacation) took a vote on the interim supervisor appointment. As some expected, DiBuonaventuro supported Mayock and the other four voted in favor of Heaberg. Mike Heaberg was elected 4-1 to fill the interim supervisor position and will be sworn in at the next Board of Supervisors meeting.
The supervisor appointment is over; but are the hard feelings between the Republican Committee people still there? Will the two opposing factions come together to support and work with the newly appointed Mike Heaberg? Can the badly split Republican Committee manage reconciliation for the sake of the ‘party’? On the other hand, if the fences cannot be mended, does this now create a permanent party divide?
Looking ahead, will Brazunas challenge Heaberg in the Special Election? Will the Republican Committee endorse both Heaberg and Mayock as the two at-large candidates for the May Primary? Will Brazunas enter his third bid for election to the Board of Supervisors?
Summing of the Board of Supervisors meeting . . . as someone who believes in ‘people’ and ‘issues’ and not partisan politics, I found the meeting disturbing. As possibly the lone ‘Independent’ in a room filled with political stakeholders, the talk of Republicans and Democrats was both uncomfortable and unsettling. And I cringe that our elected officials are discussing party politics from the dais. Appoint the right ‘person’ and leave the party politics at the door. And once elected, we want them to set aside their ‘R’ or their ‘D’ and simply govern and serve us all.