For many years I have attended Tredyffrin Township supervisor meetings and for the most part, they have been relatively congenial. Sadly, last night the behavior of some does not represent the community that I know and that I love.
It was painful to sit in the audience and watch the partisan battle waged over who should fill the District 1 (East) vacancy left by the resignation of long-serving Republican supervisor Paul Olson. The interim appointed supervisor serves 4-1/2 months, until the end of 2019.
Four qualified residents applied for the interim supervisor seat – Julie Gosse (D), Raffi Terzian (R), Judy DiFilippo (R) and Bryan Humbarger (R). Democrat Gosse and Republican Raffi are the endorsed candidates for the District 1 (East) and will appear on the November ballot. All four candidates were interviewed by the supervisor personnel committee (Murph Wysocki (D), Kevin O’Nell (D) and Heather Greenberg (R)) in a public meeting a couple of weeks ago. The Board of Supervisors currently holds a Democrat majority that would not change with the selection of a Republican interim supervisor.
It was obvious from the moment that we arrived, that the results of the interim supervisor appointment were known before the vote was taken. With a Democrat majority board, of course the vote count would go to the D candidate. And conversely, if the Board of Supervisors was in the hands of the Republicans, undoubtedly the vote would go to an R candidate. Therefore the selection of Democrat candidate Julie Gosse for the District 1 (East) interim supervisor seat was assumed.
As an Independent (and a realist) – I was actually OK with the knowledge that the selection process had already happened before the meeting started – that’s politics. What was not OK was what happened next. From the moment that the chair of the Board of Supervisors Murph Wysocki made the motion to appoint Julie Gosse as interim supervisor the meeting quickly spiraled into a political battle.
It would be impossible for me to explain the partisan vitriol and the back and forth. Looking around the room, it was obvious that other residents had the same uncomfortable feeling watching as myself. Our community deserves better and our elected officials should be held to a higher standard.
America’s national political scene is rife with polarization and dysfunction but I naively thought that here in Tredyffrin Township we all get along. As the Republicans and Democrats battle over national concerns, guess I believed that at the local level we are all neighbors and friends first and political party second. After witnessing the partisan attacks at last night’s meeting that view is forever changed. Candidates should be evaluated on more than the D or the R after their name. Local politics should set a better example.
I encourage everyone to watch the video of the supervisor meeting and draw your own conclusion. Here’s the link and the interim supervisor appointment begins at timestamp 46.03.