Month – December 2012

Why Tredyffrin’s Arbitration Award Wasn’t ‘In the Middle’

In the addendum to my previous post, “Tredyffrin Township Police Union Favored in Act 111 Arbitration Award”, I remarked that I had assumed that the independent arbitrator would make his award in the police contract arbitration ‘somewhere in the middle’.  During the arbitration process, John Petersen had assured me that the arbitrator would favor the police union in his decision, and  … we now know that my assumption was incorrect.

In response to my  statement that a “further explanation of the arbitration process would be helpful”, John provided the following opinion for Community Matters:

We are where we are because of what was agreed upon in the past. An arbitrator’s role is to find the most “equitable” solution absent the parties agreeing to such. Normally, there is at least some level of negotiation prior to arbitration. It’s always best if the parties themselves can come to an amicable resolution. While there may be disagreement, when parties can mutually agree, it implies a certain level of functionality as to the working relationship. That doesn’t mean that arbitration itself implies dysfunction. Often, there are some points parties cannot resolve. Again, an arbitrator’s role is to resolve those points in contention – in the most equitable fashion possible.

When I learned that the township refused to negotiate, instead opting for arbitration, in hindsight, I was not surprised. It indicates a level of dysfunction that has become the hallmark of this government. As I have said before, the municipal government, like the school board, sought to claw back everything it has negotiated in the past 20-25 years.

There’s a legal concept in commercial law known as “Course of dealing.” In the absence of a written agreement, courts and arbitrators will look to how the parties dealt with one another in the past. In collective bargaining scenarios, there is of course, a written agreement and there is a clear record of past dealings. Going back to my first sentence – we are where we are because of what was agreed upon in the past. It may be, and actually is quite likely, the municipal government, like the school board, has buyer’s remorse.

Given current circumstances, the benefits conferred upon the union appear to be “too good.” Some will attempt to claim victim status by either blaming Harrisburg or by saying that their hands were tied.

Some here trot out the phrase “Labor peace” in terms of the cost. I like that phrase and I think in Tredyffrin, it applies. Once upon a time, there was a premium on labor peace. There was time that those in charge thought it unseemly that Tredyffrin would be the subject of a strike. Once upon a time, there was at the very least, a cordial working relationship with unions. That however, was a different time and the people were very different.

Other municipalities like Lower Merion apparently had the foresight to negotiate these things in a different way. This means that what is in the “Middle” for one group may not represent the middle for another group. The middle, relative to the facts and circumstances of each situation, is the same for all in that it represents the equitable mid-point for that agreement. When compared to other groups however, the specific data point that represents the mid-point, assuming there could be a normalized scale amongst disparate contracts, would be very different as between Radnor, Lower Merion and Tredyffrin. Nevertheless, arbitrators will look at those other situations as a barometer for what is reasonable.

This gets into another commercial legal concept known as “Trade usage.”  All of this tends to put boundaries on where the result will end up.

When I heard about the time it was taking for this arbitration, the answer was very clear to me. It was interesting to note that some had questioned why the arbitrator in the police matter had not made a decision. I had posed to Pattye the following: “Perhaps the arbitrator is making a decision, by not making a decision.” Pattye asked me to clarify. I said, “It may be that the arbitrator sees as the most equitable resolution something that more closely matches the status quo.” Arbitrators, like judges, would prefer to have the parties themselves arrive at a resolution. In this case, there were two fundamental problems. 1 – The parties were miles apart and 2 – the township government, as I understand it, refused to negotiate and instead, leave its fate to an arbitrator.

Given the experience of the school board and given the general role of what arbitration is, the township’s stance in this matter was rather foolish and a bit disheartening. There’s a bigger problem here – one that cannot be solved with money. I have commented for years how this government does not work together, either as a board, or as to the entities, it has to deal with. We are now seeing this problem expand to other things like the Planning Commission. Governments are top-down organizations. They lead from the top and the top is what sets the example and moral tone for how the rest of the township government operates. The day isn’t long enough to count the problems incident to the staff, volunteer boards and elected officials. The only thing the township government excels at is dysfunction. If that is the “Gold standard” – then Tredyffrin is second to none.

At the end of the day, it was my contention that the Arbitrator was likely, a bit miffed at the township for what was a wholly unreasonable stance – both not willing to negotiate and its desire to end all post-retirement benefits. As sure as I was about the outcome of the negotiations between the school board and the teachers, I as more sure about the police matter. Why? Because of the facts and circumstances here made it clear where the most equitable solution was. Further, Tredyffrin’s situation is not that far out of whack with other jurisdictions.  And where things may be better for the union in Tredyffrin, it’s only because the government agreed to such.

You don’t get t0 wipe away your bad business decisions at the expense of the other party. That’s not how the real world works. It’s not how judges and arbitrators will decide. Unless of course, it finds there was an unfair bargaining position – which in this matter was not the case. It is for those reasons I concluded as such. As to whether Michelle and the board already knew that or not, I don’t know. Speaking as a lawyer, I would have to think that any competent lawyer would know that refusing to negotiate is itself, an unreasonable thing and that an arbitrator may well find that such a position offends the system. I did see the meeting where she said to Pattye that she didn’t know why it was taking so long. Candidly, I chuckled at that response.

In this case, I think Tredyffrin was taken to the woodshed and made an example of. Other municipalities will or at least should think carefully about, following Tredyffrin’s folly strategy in a negotiating strategy that involves not negotiating.

As to the contention that the township’s unfunded liability should have anything to do with the arbitrator’s decision, that is pure nonsense. One has nothing to do with the other. That unfunded liability was an unfunded liability of choice. Those benefits were what were agreed to in the past.  This is more evidence that the township sought to claw everything back in one shot – an unrealistic scenario. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the township’s and school board’s legal guidance leaves a lot to be desired.


Tredyffrin Township Police Union Favored in Act 111 Arbitration Award

Addendum … In an earlier post I wrote about the extreme starting positions of the police union and the township, and it was my opinion that the “answer for the arbitrator must lie somewhere between these two positions.”  In response to my statement, John Petersen assured me that the arbitration award would not be ‘somewhere in the middle’ but rather it would be much closer to the union’s status quo starting position.  At the time, I argued with him, figuring that ‘cutting the difference’ between the opposing union/township positions would ‘make sense’ to the arbitrator.  In reviewing the arbitration award, it is obvious my assumption was incorrect … further explanation of the arbitration process would be helpful.


According to the township website, there is there has been an ‘Act 111 Interest Arbitration Award’ issued for the collective bargaining agreement between the township and the police union, Tredyffrin Township Police Association (TTPA). Enacted in 1968, Act 111 is a state law that provides binding arbitration to police and fire fighters in exchange for a prohibition against strikes. If collective bargaining reaches an impasse and proceeds to the interest arbitration level, the determination reached by the arbitration board is final on the issues in dispute and binding on both parties

I am not sure who is responsible for the arbitration award appearing on the website – our new township manager Bill Martin or Board of Supervisor chair Michelle Kichline.  But to whoever is responsible, thank you … it was a pleasant surprise to find the award pdf on the website, without necessitating a ‘right-to-know’ request.

Since January 2012, the contract between TTPA and the township has been in arbitration; the 3-year police contract expired December 31, 2011.  The process has been held captive for nearly a year, waiting for a ruling from the Board of Arbitration, impartial chair Michael Zobrak, Esq. township arbitrator John P. McLaughlin, Esq. and union arbitrator Stuart W. Davidson, Esq.

The biggest roadblock in collective bargaining contract disputes these days is health care benefits (in addition to salaries) and the Tredyffrin Township/TTPA contract proved no different. In reviewing the arbitration award, please understand that I do not claim labor attorney status or an expertise in contract law. However, it would appear that the independent arbitrator favored the township police in his award.  Some of the highlights of the arbitration award include –

A 4-year township-police contract, retroactive to January 1, 2012.  The term of the contract is January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2015. The arbitration award includes salary increases to TTPA members as follows:

  • January 1, 2012: 3.5%
  • January 1, 2013: 3.5%
  • January 1, 2014: 3.75%
  • January 1, 2015: 4%

The previous TTPA contract included yearly salary increases of 3.5% for 2009, 2010 and 2011.  As a reference point, this week the Lower Merion Township Police Association signed a new 4-year contract that includes 3.5% yearly increase for the first three years and then 3.75% in the final year. It is interesting to note that unlike Tredyffrin, Lower Merion Township and their police department were able to reach a new contract agreement prior to expiration of their current contract.  The TTPA contract expired December 31, 2011 and has been in arbitration for over 11 months.

The healthcare changes contained in the arbitration award for TTPA members should save the township some money.  Under the new agreement, the township will be able to change to medical coverage as soon as possible to a less costly plan (from Aetna PPO to IBC Personal Choice).  Co-pays will be $5 generic and $20 brand.  TTPA members will not contribute toward the cost of their health care insurance premium for 2013; township will analyze premium contributions annually starting in 2014.

Here is a twist in the health care coverage that could produce savings for the township but also some extra money for our police officers – an ‘Opt Out’ plan.  By opting out, the Township will pay officers the following amounts on a yearly basis:

  • Officer drops single coverage: $3,500
  • Officer drops dependent coverage (officer still covered) $4,000
  • Officer drops dependent coverage (officer not covered) $4,500
  • Officer drops spouse (officer still covered) $4,500
  • Officer drops spouse coverage (officer not covered) $5,000
  • Officer drops family coverage (officer still covered) $5,500
  • Officer drops family coverage (officer not covered) $6,000.

I like this incentive based healthcare coverage idea.  If police officers give back on their medical coverage, it will save the township money and in return, produce a financial incentive for TTPA members … a win-win for police officers and the township.

The arbitration award contains an adjustment in minimum payment upwards for officers’ appearance at non-District Justice Court to 4 hours (previous contract was 2 hours).  The award contains a downward adjustment on clothing allowance – previously, the clothing allowance was $600/yr. but is now amended to $200/yr.   The arbitrator dropped the clothing budget by 66% for TTPA members but Lower Merion police officers saw an increase in their clothing allowance in their new contract …   $900 for 2013, $950 in 2014, $1000 in 2015 and $1050 in 2016.

Other than the above points, all terms and conditions of the collective bargaining agreement, which expired December 31, 2011, continue under this new agreement.  If you recall, one of the sticking points during the contract negotiations had to do with the post-retirement benefits contained in the former police contract.  According to the arbitration award, post-retirement health care coverage for TTPA members is included in the new 4-year contract.

As a reminder, the 2009-11 police contract stated that if an officer retired on or after 1/1/2009, the township may coordinate its obligation to provide post-retirement medical coverage with available Medicare coverage.  “For those persons eligible for Medicare, the township shall reimburse them for any cost associated with acquiring Medicare, including the cost of Plan B coverage. In addition to being responsible for all costs associated with Medicare coverage, the township shall purchase supplement insurance and the township shall self-insure such as is necessary to provide the retired officer and spouse with the same level of insurance coverage they enjoyed before coverage was coordinated with Medicare.” 

The contract further stated that, “… Officers who retired prior to 1/1/09, as well as their spouses and eligible dependents, shall be permanently vested with, and continue to enjoy, the same level of healthcare benefits being provided for them by the Township as of 12/31/2008 at no cost, except for co-payments and deductibles then in effect.”

Part of the problem with the wording of the contract is that although the township will pay for Part B once a retired police officer qualifies for Medicare; there is not an absolute requirement for the police officer to go on Medicare. However, the costlier issue for the township has to do with the years of service requirement.  According to the contract, the requirement for retirement before 1/1/99 was only 15 years of service.  After 1/1/99, it became 20 years of service.  Conceivably, a police officer could retire many years in advance of Medicare qualifying age but continue to receive full healthcare benefits for him or herself plus spouse and dependents.

It would appear that the longevity bonus pay also remains intact for TTPA members as in the previous contract.  The bonus is computed as follows:

  • After 4 years of service              2% of Basic Yearly Salary
  • After 8 years of service              4% of Basic Yearly Salary
  • After 12 years of service            6% of Basic Yearly Salary
  • After 16 years of service            8% of Basic Yearly Salary
  • After 20 years of service           10% of Basic Yearly Salary

It should come as no surprise that the township appointed arbitrator John McLaughlin included his dissent with the arbitration award, claiming a “lack of overall balance in the award.”  McLaughlin states that the “neutral arbitrator [Michael Zobrak] issued an unbalanced award that fails to address the Township’s central issue of post-retirement health benefits and the unfunded liability that the Township is facing as a result of those benefits.”

For the record, the township’s unfunded liability is currently $40M.  The township’s 2013 budget contains an annual contribution of $500K to begin to ‘buy down’ the debt, however the unfunded liability grows annually by about $2M.  McLaughlin claims that Zobrak was fully aware of the township’s unfunded liability issue but that he inexplicably, “failed to address this issue in the award.  Instead, he [Zobrak] cherry picked around this issue, and issued an award that is a disservice to the Township’s taxpayers and all involved with this proceeding.”

It also should come as no surprise that the union arbitrator, attorney Stuart Davidson, concurred with the arbitration award.  So … how do you explain the arbitration award? Did Davidson do a better job of presenting the union’s position at the arbitration hearing than McLaughlin did for the township? Or is McLaughlin’s suggestion correct, that fault lies with Zobrak, for the ‘unbalanced award’?  And what about Zobrak, the independent arbitrator?  Why did it take him 11+ months for this award decision?  My research has shown that it typically takes 3-4 months in arbitration. Perhaps a timelier award could have saved the taxpayers some legal fees and certainly would have made the 2013 budget planning easier.

Beyond the financial responsibilities to the township contained in the new police contract, exactly how much did this yearlong arbitration cost the taxpayers?  Earlier in December, I asked township manager Bill Martin that very question in a right-to-know request.  As of December 14, 2012, the township had paid McLaughlin of Ballard Spahr $57,067.50 for 2012 legal fees. (McLaughlin’s billing rate is $300/hr.).

According to Martin, Zobrak, the independent arbitrator is paid on a per diem basis and submits his bill at the conclusion of the arbitration.  Martin stated “He [Zobrak] charges for hearing days, days when executive sessions were held and study days (when he reviews materials and drafts the award).  He also might charge partial days when the parties have relatively short conversations.”  I have received conflicting information as to who pays Zobrak’s bill – my understanding from the township manager is that the bill is split between the two sides but a police union representative told me that the township would pay the entire bill.  Now that the arbitration award is public, I will submit a new right-to-know request and obtain the total costs.  (** See Note)

Now that the police contract arbitration is settled, I have to wonder how quickly (or rather how slowly) the current police department staffing needs in the township will be met. There are currently 40 uniformed police officers, although there were 47 officers listed in the 2012 budget. The 2013 township budget approved the hiring of two additional police officers for a total of 42 officers, although the ICMA police operations and data analysis report indicated a minimum of three additional uniformed officers (total of 43 officers) were required to maintain the safety of the community. Police Supt Tony Giaimo’s request to reinstate 47 officers in the 2013 budget was denied.

Every time I think about that boilerplate consultant’s report that cost the taxpayers $49K I get angry – what a complete waste of money.  I wonder if the intention of some supervisors (in hiring consultants to review the police department) was to intimidate the police union during the negotiation process. Based on the outcome of the arbitration award, if that was their strategy, I’d say that their plan failed miserably.

Here’s hoping that the police department gets their budgeted, additional officers quicker than the sidewalks have gone in at St. Davids Golf Club!


** Note:  According to Allegheny Institute of Public Policy,  under the conditions of Pennsylvania’s Act 111 law,  “The employer has to pay the costs of its arbitrator as well as the costs of the neutral arbitrator.”  In other words, there will be no ‘splitting’ of Zobrak’s arbitration fee with the union — the taxpayers will pay bill for the township arbitrator and the independent arbitrator.

To make it sting more, I was told by several officers, that the township did not spend much time negotiating with the union, opting to go straight to arbitration.  It makes me wonder — could the township have saved a year’s worth of legal fees if they had tried reasonable negotiations with the union.  Upper Merion Township was able to negotiate with their police union without arbitration; signing a new 4-year contract prior to the expiration of their last contract.


Searching for the Holiday Spirit after Newtown

With Christmas coming so soon after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut many of us are wondering how to find joy in a season of such overwhelming grief.  Could anyone imagine celebrating Christmas under the pall that has spread since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School? The answer, somehow, is yes. . Along with a huge sense of loss, this year’s holiday brings an appreciation for how fleeting life can be. The holiday season should remind us that it is not about words but rather about caring about others and respecting their traditions.  It is the charity in our hearts to consider others, to volunteer our time, to donate and to try to make this world a better place, each in our own special way.

Each of us may have different traditions with different memories and different stories of the celebration of our holidays, but our wishes are all the same. Whether one is Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or any other faith is not the important lesson of the season. Believing in the spirit of the holiday season – whatever or whomever you choose or choose not to believe in.

For twenty-six years, I have been a member of the Noteables, a women’s singing group.  When we began our weekly rehearsals in September for the 2012 holiday concert series, none of the members could have forecast the importance of one of the musical selections by our director Chris Puk. The words meaningful and the message poignant, the Noteables sang ‘Prayer to the Children’ this concert season.  Dedicated to the young lives lost in Newtown, Connecticut and to children all over the world, may love, joy and peace be with you this holiday season.

To all who read Community Matters, best wishes to you and your families — May we all learn to practice tolerance and appreciate the gift of respecting each other’s holidays, traditions and opinions.

Prayer for the Children
Words by Cathryne Parks

Say a prayer for the children,
All around the world.
Say a prayer for little hearts,
The little boys and girls.

Guard them as your treasures,
Valuable and rare.
Lead them through the storms of life,
Encircle them with care.

Guard their steps with love, love of humanity,
Members of one family.
Different societies, yet born of one,
Born of one.

Tuck them safely in at night;
Listen to their fears.
Tell them magic fairy tales,
And dry their little tears.

Share with them a love of life;
Show them how to care.
Help them see with open eyes,
Great wonders everywhere.

Say a prayer for all of them,
For the little ones out there.
A prayer.


NRA Statement: “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”

In advance of today’s statement, The National Rifle Association stated that the organization would offer “meaningful contributions to help make sure that this never happens again.” In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, I was hopeful that the NRA would nudge national laws toward making it hard to gain access to some semi-automatic weapons, such as the one used last week.  I was hopeful that the horror of Sandy Hook Elementary might trigger a change in the NRA’s policy toward gun control.

Unfortunately, the olive branch of compromise was not what the NRA had in mind.  The NRA broke their week-long silence with a statement read by NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre that calls for guns at every school in America.  While the President is calling on Congress to act on gun control legislation, LaPierre believes that the only effective way to protect our schoolchildren is with “properly trained armed good guys”. 

Echoing the sentiments of some Community Matters commentators, LaPierre said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” adding, “Would you rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away … or a minute away?”  Others have argued on Community Matters, that rather than banning guns, the government should be arming teachers and administrators in schools so that they can defend students in the event of another school shooting.

LaPierre’s words scoffed at the notion that banning semi-automatic weapons or enacting gun control laws could stop school violence.  Instead, he cast blame for gun violence in schools on the violence of video games and movies.

The NRA statement did nothing to address the problem of the availability of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines. Although the weapons used by the shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary were legal, one-third or more of gun sales remain unregulated in the secondary market, which includes not only the gun show loophole but also private sales between individuals.  NRA … why not address establishing a system of comprehensive background checks for gun purchasers?

The spirits of the twenty children killed last week will haunt us all this holiday season. It is unbelievable that the NRA’s response to the Sandy Hill tragedy is to arm more Americans. According to the NRA, the most effective way to protect against another horror like last week’s school shooting is … more guns.

The NRA’s failure to consider any meaningful gun regulations is offensive and is no way to honor the memories of the twenty-eight lives lost last week.


A couple of related  gun and school safety items:

Alan Thomas, Main Line Media News, spoke with Tredyffrin’s Police Superintendent Tony Giaimo on the procedure for turning in a gun to the police department, read ‘Turning in a gun, how it’s done” for details.  According to Giaimo, to date for 2012, there have been 6 guns turned in, none of which were assault weapons.

In response to the Sandy Hook tragedy, the T/E School District has scheduled a ‘Community Meeting on School Safety’ for Wednesday, January 9, 2013, 7 PM at the Valley Forge Middle School auditorium.  The meeting will feature a panel of experienced safety experts including representatives from the Tredyffrin and Easttown police departments, District building architects and representatives from the District Safety Committee.


3.1% Tax Increase in Tredyffrin Township; Cuts to Police Department

As a taxpayer and an audience member at last night’s Board of Supervisors meeting, I expected to have a copy of the final 2013 budget prior to the vote.  According to BOS Chair Michelle Kichline and Township Manager Bill Martin, they were working on the final budget until the last minutes and ran out of time to have copies available.

The proposed budget for 2013 had indicated a 5.5% tax increase – the final version brought the tax increase down to 3.1%.  Without a copy of the revised budget, it was difficult to know where the changes had occurred.  The Finance Director Tim Klarich explained that differences from the proposed to final budget was due to a variety of adjustments.  Martin ran through the changes quickly, making it hard to follow without a copy of the budget.  One adjustment in the 2013 budget has the elimination of one full-time library position. It was offered that the changes in the final budget were minor from the proposed budget – if they were ‘minor’, then I really do not understand why copies of the changes could not have been available.

Prior to casting their vote, each supervisor offered a statement. Mike Heaberg, Phil Donohue, Michelle Kichline and Kristen Mayock voted in favor of the budget with the tax increase, explaining that it was fiscally responsible.  Although the average increase to taxpayers in the 2013 budget, according to Kichline, is about $16, EJ Richter stated the increase would be $35 and would not vote for the budget with a tax increase.  Paul Olson also voted against the budget, citing the tax increase.  John DiBuonaventuro’s vote against the budget but his reason was specific to the decreased staffing of the police department.

Tredyffrin Township Police Department currently has 40 uniformed police officers, although there were 47 officers listed in the 2012 budget.  The police operations study by ICMA ($49K consulting contract) indicated a minimum of 43 uniformed officers were required maintain the safety of the community.  At the December 3 BOS meeting, Police Superintendent Tony Giaimo had requested that the Board consider reinstating ‘47’ officers in the 2013 budget.  However, there are only 42 uniformed officers listed in the 2013 budget.

Again, I have to ask, what was the value of the $49K consulting study?  The most important element of the report would be how many officers are required to maintain safety in the community.  According to the consultants report the absolute minimum is 43 uniformed officers to maintain current safety levels – actually the 43 number assumed scheduling changes.  Without the scheduling changes, the consultants recommended 45 uniformed officers.

Bottom line, why spend $49K to have consultants do a study if you are not going to use the results?  How much more per taxpayer would it cost to add a few more police?  If the average tax increase is $16 for 2013, I think most of us would gladly pay a few more dollars to maintain the level of safety.  In light of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy, the last area of the budget that needs to be cut is the police department. I am all for being fiscally responsible, but the police department needs to be adequately staff.  To be clear, the 2013 township budget cuts police staffing from 47 uniformed police officers to 42 officers.  And just think, it wasn’t that long ago that Tredyffrin Township had 50+ uniformed officers!

It should also be noted that those two additional uniformed police officers in the 2013 budget will not be hired until there is a contract settlement between the township and the police union.  As of now, the arbitration continues without any indication of a settlement date!

The Board of Supervisors passed the 2013 township budget, 4-3 with a 3.1% tax increase (and a decrease in the number of uniformed police officers.)


TESD Superintendent Dr. Waters Safety Response Letter

In response to the Sandy Hook tragedy, TESD Superintendent Dr. Dan Waters has released the following ‘Safety Response Letter’ .  For those not on the District’s distribution list, I wanted to share the District’s response plan for emergencies and Dr. Water’s assuring words to the community.


Safety Response Letter from Dr. Waters  

Dear T/E Parents and Guardians,

School violence in our country touches all of us. Friday’s tragedy in Connecticut evokes sorrow and disbelief. Our thoughts remain with the entire Newtown community as they deal with this tragedy.

Immediately upon learning about the incident at Sandy Hook, principals were contacted to ensure everyone was aware of the situation and had staff in place to respond to questions and concerns at the building level. Since Friday, the District has implemented elements of its response plan, including the following:

  • Counselors are available to students should they have needs in processing the events of this tragedy.
  • Principals have reviewed with the staff techniques to discuss Friday’s events in an age-appropriate manner.
  • School officials have talked with Tredyffrin Township’s Superintendent of Police Anthony Giaimo and Easttown Township’s Chief of Police David Obzud to increase police visibility in school parking lots in the coming days and to review existing school security plans.
  • Principals have reviewed emergency response procedures with all staff members.
  • District officials have notified the public of District actions via the TESD website.
  • District staff have posted web resources for parents regarding the support of their children.

Ongoing procedures are in place to promote safe schools including these measures:

  • All school doors are locked following the arrival of students with the exception of the main entrances, which are staffed by lobby monitors. This entrance procedure is reviewed by the District Safety Committee.
  • Any visitor entering a T/E School must have a legitimate reason for visiting and must register with the office or lobby monitor and be required to wear a visitor’s badge while in the building.
  • Staff members in all schools are instructed to alert the office in the event of unusual or suspicious circumstances.
  • The T/E School District has a collaborative relationship with local police who are readily available in the event of an emergency. The police review school emergency plans and conduct drills on a regular basis.
  • Staff and students practice emergency evacuation and lockdown procedures at regular intervals.

The District’s safety protocols are regularly reviewed by the District’s Safety Committee. The Committee is comprised of District and community members including police representation from both townships. An Emergency Response Plan has been developed by the Committee and disseminated to all staff members for implementation. The District has been advised by police authorities to refrain from making the details of the plan public for security reasons. General elements of the plan include the following:

  • Building evacuation drill procedures
  • Lockdown drill procedures
  • Bus evacuation drills
  • A plan for sequestering students in the school buildings or another safe place
  • A communications system to notify parents of the evacuation of students and to alert the whole school community when required
  • Instruction of students in emergency preparedness
  • An emergency notification system for staff to make appropriate administrative personnel aware of any emergency
  • On-going collaboration with local agencies, such as the police department, fire department and emergency management agencies to review and update existing plans
  • Instruction of staff members in the techniques for handling emergencies

The District website has a link on the home page for assisting parents on how to talk to children about tragic events. In January, the District Safety Committee will review the safety plan and make modifications, if required. In addition, the District will continue to meet with local police and emergency officials to solicit input on safety procedures and to implement recommended enhancements.

In the meantime, children need stability. Research advises that the maintenance of routine conveys to students a sense of safety and security. Tragedies such as the events in Newtown strike at the core of the entire community. As always we value our partnership with you. Together we can continue to reassure your children that plans for their safety and security are in place at school.


Dan Waters

Superintendent of Schools


When will the madness end?

When will the madness end?

The last 48 hours has seen a horrible surge of sadness and anger from Americans all across the country.  Another mass shooting.  Another one committed by a young man.  One of the worst mass shootings in America, as if such rankings matter.  From Arizona to Colorado to Oregon to Connecticut, these mass murders will not end.

Innocent  children losing their lives.  In the wake of the unspeakable horror of children being killed while at school, isn’t it time for us to have an earnest national conversation on effective gun control laws?  Will the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut mark a tipping point for the American people to say enough is enough?  When are we going to have the responsibility to take care of each other?

It’s past time to face reality. This is a firearms issue. Can we finally have a rational discussion about the role of guns in our society … please?  The truth is that people with guns kill people. Sandy Hook is the sixth gun massacre this year.  How frequent do the massacres have to become before we can talk about serious gun control?  We, as a nation, need to do better.

For the same reason we are trying to keep nuclear weapons out of Iran’s arsenal, we should keep semi-automatic weapons out of individuals’ hands. Gun control doesn’t have to mean no guns.  Arguments can be made for shotguns and rifles for hunting and handguns for protection.  But it’s time to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. The only purpose of a semi-automatic weapon is to kill numerous people as quickly as possible.  What role would a semi-automatic weapon have for hunting or self-defense?  Yes, mentally ill people kill other people, but the types of weapons they have access to will determine how many people they are able to kill.

The NRA, which objects to any kind of reasonable controls on gun ownership, is certainly part of the problem. Semiautomatic guns and large clips make for mass shootings that are almost impossible to defend against.  Owning or possessing automatic weapons should be illegal for anyone except the military and the police. Why does a hunter or anyone else need an assault rifle, except to kill people?  Outlawing automatic weapons can be done without disturbing the rights of individuals to have and carry pistols and long guns for personal protection and hunting.

While the Second Amendment was meant for protection, guns without regulations give way to nothing but widespread violence and tragedies.   As a country, we need to collectively reconsider the arguments of individual rights in light of the harm done to the thousands of innocent victims shot each year.  I support amending our Constitution to limit the types of weapons that one might bear.  Automatic weapons, with rapid-firing of many bullets, do not seem to be in the scope or spirit of the Constitution.  Your right to bear arms should not mean that you could carry a bazooka or a stinger missile; automatic weapons have no place in a civilized society.

Today I grieve for the families who are in mourning.  Today I grieve for an angry, violent society that has lost its way.

Enough … it is time to call for action.


TESD 2013/14 budget discussions underway; including outsourcing of services

Ray Clarke attended last night’s TESD Finance Committee meeting and provided his notes from the meeting.

Reading over Ray’s notes, it appears that members of TENIG (Tredyffrin Easttown Non-Instructional Group) are once again going to find themselves front and center for the 2013/14 budget discussion.  In prior years, it often looked like the TENIG custodians were the target in the school district’s budget woes.  Privatization through outsourcing was seen by some as a way to preserve the classroom and its programming, but at what cost?

Outsourcing services that historically have been in-house functions with long-time employees is a major shift in institutional culture.  How does the possible cost savings of outsourcing compare to the quality of job performance and productivity?  How does one measure the safety factor that comes with the connection that current custodians have developed with the schools and the students?  It is difficult to measure the ‘safety’ intangible to in-house custodial services, plus many of the employees live in T/E and their families are part of the community.

For the 2012/13 school year, the custodial workers offered a 10% reduction in their salaries and they did not take the 4.5% increase, which were contained in their existing contracts.  In real dollars, the cost savings to the District was $197K in salary reduction, plus the additional percentage contractual savings for a total savings of approximately $285K.  By giving back, TENIG’s custodial workers helped the 2012/13 budget and the additional bonus of saving local jobs.

Beyond the custodial workers, it looks like all of TENIG will be under the microscope for possible outsourcing in the 2013/14 budget. The plan is for separate RFPs for each of the various TENIG job functions – security, kitchen, clerical, etc. in addition to the custodial workers. The possible outsourcing of TENIG workers is still in the early stages of the budget process,

The following are Ray Clarke’s notes, along with his thoughts from the Finance Committee Meeting, 12/10/12:

The main topic of Monday’s Finance Committee meeting was the 2013/14 budget, in preparation for the January 7th Board vote on whether to apply for Exceptions.

The basic discussion framework is the projection model we’ve seen before, based off an estimate for the actual current year results.  Since this 2012/13 estimate drives every out-year, its accuracy is critical – yet the numbers do not inspire confidence.

Total 2012/13 expenses are estimated at $107.8 million, $2.5 million less than the budget.  The difference is driven by $1.5 million lower benefits cost (estimated by our benefits consultant), $0.4 million from the new TEEA contract plans, and $0.5 million net salary savings from “breakage” offset by 3 additional FTEs.  So the year’s imbalance turns from negative to positive, which is the good news.

However, expenses are still $6.1 million (6%) higher than the year just completed.  No-one at the meeting was able to provide a breakdown of this increase.  I think that the PSERS increase is about $2 million of the number.  Where’s the other $4 million going?

One clue might be that the total healthcare and benefits expense for the following year is projected in the model to be flat (0% increase), based again on the consultant advice.  Could it be that this year’s expense is overstated in the model?  I don’t think this can explain the whole $4 million, though.

So, it’s hard to put much faith in the projected 2013/14 imbalance of $2.8 million as a basis for discussion of next year’s tax rates.  Moreover, this number also includes the one time TEEA bonus ($1.1 million?), which should not be built into the tax base.

It hardly seems worth spending much time on the model for the years beyond 2013/14, except to note that refinements in the current version include:

  • Total healthcare costs increasing at 9% per year (previously 10%, 15%)
  • Special Education costs split from “other”, and projected to grow at 7-10%, vs 2-3% for other
  • PSERS expense will increase by $1.4 million next year, then $1.1 million, then $1.2 million, and then level off.
  • An additional 6.2 teachers are projected to be needed next year to meet enrollment growth

A number of “budget impact items” were listed but not quantified.  On the saving side, these include outsourcing not only TENIG functions, but also aides and para-educators.  Each TENIG job function would be bid separately in an RFP which would, for example, allow discretion to select a supplier that met standards for benefits.  I didn’t catch how the educational staff “out-sourcing” would work, but I gathered that it would allow the district to avoid the PSERS expense.  On the increase side, the topic of adjustments (in base salary or one time) for non-contract employees is on the table.

Bottom line: we are clearly going into the next budget cycle with a smaller problem than in previous years (no contracted near double digit compensation increases).  At the same time, though, we seem to have been lulled into being much less prepared and thence likely to vote for an Exception application with information even more imperfect than it needs to be.  (Yes, Exceptions don’t have to be levied if approved ……) .

Separately, at the beginning of the meeting, Chair Fadem asked for the financials to be presented as more of a “vanilla” summary.  Not sure that’s the direction the district should be going in.


Question: How many police officers does it take to protect Tredyffrin Township residents?

The presentation (or rather the non-presentation) of the police operations study by ICMA (International City/County Management Association) consultant Dr. Paul O’Connell, at Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, was an embarrassment.  O’Connell, a college professor, was unable to attend the meeting; therefore, the plan was to “Skype” him in electronically from Connecticut.  The Skype attempt failed miserably, with the audience and supervisors unable to understand a single word from the professor.  Township staff attempted to correct the situation by connecting O’Connell via the phone line.  Although a slight improvement, we all still struggled to understand O’Connell.  Any questions from the Board or the citizens had to be transmitted via the phone.

I found the entire exercise last night a waste of time; certainly not worthy of a $49K consulting price tag.  However, I think I have it figured out – O’Connell didn’t need to attend the Board of Supervisors meeting.  In fact, I don’t think O’Connell or any of the other associated researchers at ICMA, needed to ever visit Tredyffrin Township.

Why?  If you read ICMA’s 92-page report, its length and its charts can impress you.  Don’t get me wrong, I think we are very fortunate to live in a community that has such a hard-working and caring police department But it struck me odd last night that O’Connell repeatedly spoke about the police superintendent (never once referring to Tony Giaimo by name) and the township’s police department being the ‘best in the country’.  On what basis, did O’Connell reach this conclusion?  A little research today indicates that O’Connell’s glowing words for Tredyffrin’s police officers are standard fare contained in ICMA’s police and fire department reports coast-to-coast.

Executive summary on Tredyffrin Township Police Department excerpt —

Based on our review, it is our opinion that the TTPD is a highly professional, well-managed police agency. Members of the department of all ranks and positions demonstrate a high degree of professionalism and dedication to the agency and the community.

A sampling from other ICMA police operations reports:

  • Executive Summary — report on Grand Rapids Police Department

Based on our review, it is our opinion that the GRPD is a highly professional, well-managed police agency. Members of the department of all ranks and positions demonstrate a high degree of professionalism and dedication to the agency and the community. The information management system developed and implemented in the department is beyond compare in contemporary law enforcement.

  • Executive Summary – report on Beaufort, South Carolina Police Department

ICMA found that the majority of sworn and civilian personnel of the Beaufort Police Department (BPD) are sincere, dedicated individuals who genuinely care about the community and the quality of life within it.

  • Executive Summary – report on Dunedin, Florida Police Department

After a comprehensive review of the services provided to the City of Dunedin by the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, it is the unanimous opinion of the members of the reviewing team that the residents of the city are receiving outstanding law enforcement services from the Sheriff’s Office.

ICMA’s cut-and-paste approach to their consulting reports further continues into their recommendations. The continual #1 recommendation, seen in many of ICMA’s reports as a way to improve an already well-performing organization, was to change the current staffing model.   ICMA praised police departments across the country as “highly professional and well-managed”, and then adds, that with a tweak of the staffing schedule, police departments could magically decrease personnel.

From ICMA’s Wyoming, Michigan Police Department study, I read “… The WPD should change its current patrol-staffing model. Employing 10-hour tours in the current configuration is inefficient and should be abandoned in favor of a more flexible model that matches personnel resources to demand.” 

Sound familiar?

Whether it was California, Michigan, Florida or Pennsylvania, the ICMA charts, graphs, and recommendations all look eerily familiar.  It probably explains why O’Connell never referred to Giaimo by name, (calling him superintendent) and why he referred to the supervisors as commissioners.  O’Connell had his boilerplate speech down to a science and needed to keep his references generic.

A fire department official from Benton Harbor, Michigan is quoted in the article, ‘City Hired Fire Service Consultant ICMA Recommendations Challenged Across America’ saying, “The only thing they (ICMA) did was scratch off another municipality’s name and put Benton Harbor on it.”

ICMA isn’t well loved in some municipalities – in one city, Lake Havau in Arizona the consultants were roundly criticized by that City Council who felt they overpaid for a cut and paste job.  From the minutes, “Councilmember Callahan said that after thoroughly reviewing this ICMA report, he thought there were a lot of inconsistencies, and he believed the city overpaid for this report.  Councilmember Nyberg felt that ICMA merely copied the report form the City of Alameda, California for the Lake Havau City report, and she thought some of the information was inaccurate.” 

Some in Lake Havsu were concerned that ICMA may have used the report submitted to another city, changed some titles around and shifted some information, but used largely the same recommendations.

Something else that seemed disturbing as I followed ICMA’s paper trail, was an underlying anti-union message, referring to ICMA as “hired consultant a hired gun”. Mark Woolbright, International Association of Fire Fighters 2nd District vice president, issued a warning about ICMA’s motives, “It’s clear from everything we’ve heard from around the country that any municipality dealing with ICMA does so at their own risk. A consultant may be paid to provide a report to the local government to provide political cover for making cuts to fire department staffing and resources.”

Were it not for ICMA’s unsettling presentation at the supervisor’s meeting, I may not have done this research.  I am now convinced that the township, and specifically the Police Department, had better thoroughly review ICMA’s recommendations before instituting – and that includes the level of staffing requirements.

Was there an agenda behind the hiring of ICMA?  Was it to substantiate the police department staffing requirements for the 2013 budget?  Was it an honest attempt on the part of the supervisors to better understand the police operations and needs? 

The one question that the supervisors (and the residents) wanted answered – What is the minimum staffing level of police officers required to maintain our quality of service? A clear, concise response to this question seemed to escape O’Connell.  Even supervisor Michelle Kichline said that she read ICMA’s report five times and was still confused as to the number of officers!

Here’s what we do know – the township currently employs 41 uniformed police officers, and there is authorization for 47 officers (and funding) included in the 2012 township budget.  The ICMA report suggests 43 officers are needed to maintain acceptable service but the proposed 2013 township budget only includes 42 officers.  Police Superintendent Tony Giaimo asked the Board to increase the level from 42 to 47 officers to keep it at the same level as the 2012 budget. Kichline made it clear that there would no new-hires until the police contract was signed.  However, when will that be?  The independent arbitrator has had the Tredyffrin Township Police Association/Tredyffrin Township collective bargaining agreement for 11+ months.

The unsigned police contract is causing many unknowns in the township’s proposed 2013-budget.  With most police contract arbitrations taking 3-4 months for settlement in Pennsylvania, what’s the hold-up in Tredyffrin?  The answer may be simple – the township and the police union started the police contract negotiating process in extreme opposing positions.  By my count, there were 18 police officers in attendance at Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting – about as many police as there were regular audience members.

The police union started the contract negotiation process from a status quo position, seeking a new contract with the township that contained benefits in their 2009-11 contract, including the post-retirement medical plan.  Faced with the $40M unfunded medical liability, the township’s position was the polar opposite.  It is my understanding that the township’s starting position in the police contract negotiation process was to eliminate post-retirement medical benefits for all new-hires.  I’m guessing the answer for the arbitrator must lie somewhere between these two positions.


Since January 2012, the collective bargaining agreement between the township and the police union has been in arbitration.  An independent arbitrator, Michael Zobrak, is the third member of the arbitration board (jointly chosen by the township and the police union).  The other two members of the arbitration board represent the township and the police union, respectively.

In reading Pennsylvania Police & Firefighter Collective Bargaining Law, Act No. 111, there is no timeline indicated for a determination.

PA Act No. 111: An Act specifically authorizing collective bargaining between policemen and firemen and their public employers; providing for arbitration in order to settle disputes, and requiring compliance with collective bargaining agreements and findings of arbitrators.


Will Tredyffrin Township’s Proposed 2013 Budget increase or decrease level of staffing in Police Department?

The consulting firm, International City/County Management Association (ICMA) has completed their operations review and data analysis of the Police Department; click here to read the detailed 92-page report.  The agenda for Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting includes a presentation of the ICMA Police Operations Report.

As reference, the Board of Supervisors approved this $49K police operations study in July.   Before approving the study, there was discussion from some of the supervisors about whether the money would be better spent on bringing the police officer staffing up to the authorized level of 47 (currently at 41) or using the money for Police Department equipment.

Will the ICMA report influence the proposed 2013 preliminary budget or have a bearing on the ongoing police contract arbitration? Probably the most important question that many of us wanted answered by the consultant’s study – How many police officers are required in Tredyffrin Township to provide adequate safety for the residents? Did the study suggest increasing the department beyond the authorized level of 47 or would the recommendation be to decrease the staffing level?  

The ICMA police operations study concludes that a minimum of two additional police officers needed to be immediately hired and assigned to patrol.  According to the report, the consultants were informed that two officers have been authorized, increasing the level to 43 police officers.

The ICMA report recommends the Police Department take immediate steps to review the current shift schedule and consider the alternative 10-hour and 40-minute shift schedule, see ‘Patrol Personnel, Shifts and Shift Strength, Four-Shift Model’ on pages 79/80. According to the report, this new schedule can reduce patrol over-staffing; thus decreasing personnel requirements.  However, the report notes that changing the shift schedule may be limited by the Police Department’s collective bargaining agreement. By modifying the current schedule, ICMA suggests there would be a reduction in the department’s need for patrol personnel.

According to the report, the current shift schedule provides a “total of six overlap hours during every 24-hour period. In other words, for six hours each day, two shifts (or approximately eight patrol officers) are scheduled to be working at the same time. The data analysis portion of this report confirms this. As stated elsewhere, these hours can be used for training and other purposes, such as participation in the department’s physical fitness program. But as the data analysis indicates, this dramatic increase in manpower suggests some inefficiencies that are built directly into the shift schedule.”

ICMA claims that the alternative schedule, which uses four starting times for shifts each day instead of three, will provide for greater flexibility, “both in terms of varying start times and in aligning manpower with calls for service.” By making this change in scheduling, the report indicates a reduction in supervisory staffing requirement.  As I understand the report, if the Police Department were to move to the alternative 10-hour and 40-minute shift schedule, the standard of service to the community would be maintained with 43 officers (implying that the additional 4 authorized staffing vacancies would not be filled).  However, the report points out that if the schedule is not changed, it may require the staffing level to increase to 45. Currently the Police Department has authorized staffing for 47 officers – my read is that ICMA does not recommend filling those two additional vacancies.

The current breakdown of the 41 members* of the Police Department are as follows:

  • 1 superintendent
  • 2 lieutenants (operations and administration)
  • 8 sergeants (6 assigned to patrol, 1 detective sergeant and 1 traffic sergeant)
  • 6 detectives (1 assigned to patrol)
  • 7 corporals (6 assigned to patrol, 1 assigned to traffic)
  • 1 community policing officer
  • 16 police officers

*My understanding from reading the report is that an additional two police officers has been approved and these officers will be assigned to patrol, bringing the total to 43 officers. The additional two officers will help reduce the overtime expenditures.

It makes sense that the reduction in Police Department staffing directly affects overtime expenses. With vacancies of six police officers (47 authorized down to 41), the report provides overtime data that underscores the additional overtime expense. The Police Department’s overtime costs in 2009: $55,175; 2010:  $66,231; 2011: $144,037 and up to August 15, 2012: $138,914.  Overtime expenditures in the first 8 months of 2012 were nearly as much as all of 2011 and clearly the overtime costs will continue to rise until the end of the year.

Will the recommendations contained in ICMA’s study have any effect on the township’s proposed 2013 preliminary budget? In reviewing the proposed 2013 budget, the actual level of police staffing is not obvious.  Does the proposed 2013 budget allow the Police Department to increase staffing to its authorized level of 47?  We should remember that the authorized level of 47 police officers is actually a decrease from previous years — at some point in the past, the Police Department had 50+ officers.

As it now stands, the proposed 2013 preliminary budget includes a 5.5% tax increase with the $40M unfunded medical liability dark cloud hanging over the township. In addition, the ‘elephant in the room’ is the ongoing contract negotiations between the township and the police union, Tredyffrin Township Police Association (TTPA). Since January 2012, the contract between TTPA and Tredyffrin Township has been in arbitration; the 3-year police contract expired the end of 2011.  The process has been held captive for nearly a year, waiting for a ruling from independent arbitrator, Michael Zobrak.

Because of the comments on my post, “Lifetime healthcare benefits of Tredyffrin Township Police Association result in $40M unfunded liability – What’s the solution?“, I filed a ‘right-to-know’ request with the township.   I received copies of TTPA 2004 and 2009-11 contracts.  Until a new contract is signed, the Police Department continues to work to their last contract, 2009-11.  The  starting point for the collective bargaining agreement is with the 2009-11 contract; therefore, my comments below are taken from that contract. (Click here to review TTPA-Tredyffrin Township 2009-11 contract).

 Without a copy of the police contract, there was conflicting information and questions, much having to do with the medical coverage of retired police officers. Here are the facts according to the 2009-11 contract:

  • For officers (and their spouses/dependents) hired prior to 1/1/99 who retire after 15 years of service, medical coverage is provided without cost, except for co-pays and deductibles.
  • For officers (and their spouses/dependents) hired after 1/1/99, who retire after 20 years of service, the township shall pay the premiums for medical coverage in the amount of 4% multiplied by the officer’s years of service. An example given: 4% x 20 years of credited service = 80% premium payment.

According to the 2009-11 contract, if an officer retired on or after 1/1/2009, the township may coordinate its obligation to provide post-retirement medical coverage with available Medicare coverage.  “For those persons eligible for Medicare, the township shall reimburse them for any cost associated with acquiring Medicare, including the cost of Plan B coverage. In addition to being responsible for all costs associated with Medicare coverage, the township shall purchase supplement insurance and the township shall self-insure such as is necessary to provide the retired officer and spouse with the same level of insurance coverage they enjoyed before coverage was coordinated with Medicare.” 

It was my understanding from the budget meeting, that retired police officers received lifetime health care benefits; however that point was debated on Community Matters.  Reading further in the contract, it states that, “… Officers who retired prior to 1/1/09, as well as their spouses and eligible dependents, shall be permanently vested with, and continue to enjoy, the same level of healthcare benefits being provided for them by the Township as of 12/31/2008 at no cost, except for co-payments and deductibles then in effect.”

The missing link in the discussion was the 1/1/2009 date and whether the police officer retired before or after that date determines the medical coverage.  Until I read the contract, I did not know the requirement for retirement was 15 years of service before 1/1/99; after that date, it became 20 years of service.  I had incorrectly assumed that retirement benefits required 25 years of service.

For those police officers currently employed by the township, the township pays the entire medical premium for police officers, including spouse and children, with officers paying co-pays and deductibles.  Benefits also include dental and vision coverage.

Another question previously raised was the longevity bonus pay of the police officers and how it was calculated.  According to the contract, the bonus is computed as follows:

  • After 4 years of service              2% of Basic Yearly Salary
  • After 8 years of service              4% of Basic Yearly Salary
  • After 12 years of service            6% of Basic Yearly Salary
  • After 16 years of service            8% of Basic Yearly Salary
  • After 20 years of service            10% of Basic Yearly Salary

The biggest roadblock in collective bargaining contract disputes these days is health care benefits (in addition to salaries). Certainly health care benefits were an important component in the recently settled T/E teacher contract negotiations.  Appreciating the current economic environment, the teachers agreed that their generous healthcare plan of the past was no longer possible, changes were made in their teacher’s contract accordingly.   At present, there are 52 retired police officers and their families that are receiving retirement medical benefits.  According to the 2009-11 contract, it appears that police officers retiring before 1/1/2009 are not required to  go on Medicare when eligible.  It would be interesting to know how many of the retired 52 officers have opted to go on Medicare benefits (even those not required to do so) when they became eligible.

As the T/E School District’s contract with the teachers union is a public document so is the Tredyffrin Township Police Association contract with the township.  Some in the community have voiced concern with residents speculating about the contents of the police contact.  I am of the opinion that as the T/E School Board has the TTEA contract available on their website,, the township should likewise provide the TTPA contract on the website.   Providing the public documents to the residents lessons the confusion and misinformation that comes about by not know the facts.

I look forward to your comments on ICMA’s report reviewing the Police Department and the 2009-11 agreement between TTPA and the township. Monday, December 3 Board of Supervisors meeting includes the proposed 2013 preliminary budget and the ICMA police operations report on the agenda.

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