Easttown Township Democratic Committee

Easttown Township Supervisor Candidate Question: What is the single most important issue facing Easttown Township? Candidates Respond

On November 5, 2019, Easttown residents will be voting for two Easttown Township Supervisors. The following is a list of the supervisor candidates:

Easttown Township Supervisor Candidates

Beth D’Antonio (D)
Alessandra Nicolas (R)
Karl Romberger (R) Incumbent
Michael Wacey (D)

The candidates were asked, “In your opinion, what is the single most important issue facing Easttown Township; and what in your background, experience or education prepares you to help with this specific issue?”  I appreciate their willingness to respond quickly and hope that voters will find the information helpful in making their supervisor  voting decisions. The responses follow (in alphabetical order by last name):

Beth D’Antonio Response:

Easttown Township is at a very exciting point in history, with unprecedented growth throughout Chester County. I believe the single most important issue facing Easttown is how our township officials and their appointees ensure that opportunities for growth respect the priorities of the citizens. We are fortunate enough to live in a highly desirable township with an incredible quality of life and vibrant and active community. As outlined in the comprehensive plan the responsibility of the supervisors is to ensure the vision of responsible measured growth that improves upon our existing responsive government services with transparency and put the needs of the community first. I am an Easttown native, small business owner, operations executive, mother of two elementary school age children, and have a deep understanding and investment in the responsible growth of our township. I have over 20 years of experience managing multimillion dollars budgets, providing transparent leading edge operational solutions and innovations in infrastructure. I am adept at building meaningful relationships and synergies across stakeholders and have a passion for my home and neighbors. I am a dedicated volunteer and servant leader in the community and look forward to collaborating and giving a voice to all Easttown residents.

Alessandra Nicolas Response:

For the last 7 years, I have had the joy of volunteering my time with Easttown Township on various Committees and Boards focused on financial and civic matters. Throughout those years, I have had the privilege of seeing several issues of importance to the Residents of our community. At the moment, I see the convergence of multiple interrelated matters arriving at the doorstep of the Board of Supervisors.

As I have spent time talking to many Residents, what I have heard to be most important can be summarized in the following 5 areas;

  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Increased Transparency
  • Responsible Zoning
  • Collaboration between Township and School Board
  • Ensuring Funding for Fire/EMS

As a Resident, Mother, Daughter, Wife, Friend, Neighbor, Accountant, Finance Exec, Landlord, Easttown Library Trustee, Easttown Citizens Advisory Committee Member, Hilltop House Committee Chair, Village of Berwyn Parking Study Member, I have devoted a large portion of my charitable time working on issues and projects that matter to our Township and Community.  My goal is to continue to listen to the needs, wants and ideas of the Residents that make up our wonderful Township.

Karl Romberger Response:

We need to be able to talk to each other.  We can’t make lasting, impactful, positive change any other way.  The issue is about getting it done.

A Supervisor needs to develop strong, community-supported consensus on the way forward.  The current major zoning and land development initiatives are prime examples.  Reasonable minds can meet about the scope, size, and pace of change.  If we don’t come to agreement, whatever we do today will be undone tomorrow.

I spent an entire professional career listening to competing concerns, knowing the law that controls, and either finding a solution or making the case for why the result should favor a position.  There’s more right ways than one to a solution.

I’ve been a Supervisor for two years.  The recent Devereux conditional use dispute is an example of my quiet leadership.  Hearing about new facts at a Board meeting, I suggested the zoning officer needed to reconsider the conditional use.  That solved a major issue for neighbors, without going to court.

Michael Wasey Response:

Easttown is a great place to live and raise a family. Lately, we have had very strong community concern over development in Devon, development in Berwyn, and the upcoming use of the Devereaux facility. The root cause of these becoming major issues is a lack of transparency and a focus on doing the minimum required by our current board of supervisors.

My background in consulting to Fortune 500 companies has set me up to address this issue. I work with the leaders of major companies to bring their interactions with suppliers, customers, and other partners into the 21st century. This involves leveraging technology to make it possible to interact whenever, wherever, and however they want. This results in transparency and a focus on the partner’s needs.

The citizens of Easttown deserve the same. Some examples are:

  • If a citizen cannot get to the supervisor meeting, it should be broadcast.
  • If a citizen is busy during a township meeting, they should be able to see it on YouTube.
  • Notices should not just go to the minimum required but should be available to everyone.

We live in a great township, but it can be better.

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Easttown Township Supervisor Appointment Goes to Local Attorney Not Third Place Finisher

At Easttown Township Board of Supervisor meeting last night, the board vacancy was on the agenda. The supervisor appointment was announced and it did not go to Michael Wacey (D) who received the third highest number of votes in the November election.  Rather, the decision was to appoint Republican Karl Romberger, an attorney to the Board of Supervisors.

Although the supervisor appointment was to be made by the four remaining members of Easttown Township’s Board of Supervisors (all Republicans), it should be noted that they were split in their decision with Jim Oram and Betsy Fadem voting for Michael Wacey and Marc Heppe and Chris Polites voting for Karl Romberger.  In the case of a tie, 2-2, Easttown’s Vacancy Committee (Kim Richards) was to cast the deciding vote.

After I wrote the initial post on this issue, I was contacted by a member of the Easttown Township Democratic Committee – she wanted to explain the timing of Brandon Adams departure, the election results, etc. I asked her if it was true that Mr. Adams was aware (prior to the General Election) that he would not be able to serve if he were elected. I had previously heard this information and wanted to verify and she said yes, that his company had been acquired and that employees were not permitted to serve in this capacity. Fair enough; through no fault of his, the candidate would not be able to serve and it was too late to have his name removed from the ballot prior to the election.

What I did not understand (and stated it to the Easttown Dem representative during our phone call) was why didn’t either the candidate or his political party make a public statement prior to the election to notify the voters.  All voters may not have received the message prior to the election but it certainly would have been a more open and transparent way to handle the situation. In my opinion, had the public known that Brandon Adams could not serve if elected, it is quite possible that Democrat Michael Wacey would have moved into second place when the votes were counted and would now be sitting on the Board of Supervisors.  (I did not want to mention this point on until after the Easttown Board of Supervisors had made their decision so as not to taint their decision in advance.)

Do I think that Michael Wacey should have been chosen as the replacement supervisor? Yes. His running for  public office proved his interest in sitting on the Board of Supervisors and he received nearly 1,400 votes. But at the same time, I hold the Easttown Township Democratic Committee somewhat responsible for the outcome of the situation.

Good for Betsy Fadem and Jim Oram, both Republicans, who stepped up and voted to appoint Democrat Michael Wacey, rather than letting partisan politics govern their decision. And lastly, congratulations to Karl Romberger on his appointment to Easttown Township Board of Supervisors.

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The Votes from Election Day 2017 are Counted — But Easttown Township is Looking for a Replacement Supervisor!

When you turned the calendar to 2018, you probably thought that Election Day 2017 was finally in the rear view mirror.  Not so in Easttown Township.  Although the election results are in, the township finds itself looking for a replacement supervisor.

On Election Day, Easttown Township residents were voting for two supervisors – four candidates appeared on the ballot, two Republicans and two Democrats. When the votes were counted, incumbent Betsy Fadem (R) received the most votes, followed by Brandon Adams (D).  Michael Wacey (D) received the third highest and Fred Pioggia (R) the fourth highest number of votes.  The supervisor seats went to the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes – in this case, Fadem and Adams.

With the New Year, Fadem continues to serve on the board of supervisors with Adams set to begin his first term.  That is, until the residents learned Brandon Adams cannot serve – apparently his employer was acquired by a company (since the election?) that prohibits his serving in local government.

This is an unusual situation and there does not appear to be an automatic process to fill the vacancy. Although there isn’t an automatic process, wouldn’t it just make sense for the vacancy to go to the person whom received the third highest number of votes, which in this case was Michael Wacey.  Both Democrats, it would seem a reasonable solution for Wacey to step in as supervisor for vacating Brandon Adams. Of course, that solution is only viable if Michael Wacey was available and willing to serve but according to the agenda from the January 2 meeting of the Board of Supervisors he is.

Wacey read the following statement at the January 2, 2018 meeting which was provided to the township in advance:

My name is Michael Wacey and I live at Beaumont Road, Berwyn. I want to thank the Easttown Board of Supervisors for all the time and careful thought that they put into their work. We are very lucky to have this Board to manage the affairs for our township. In the fall, I ran for Easttown Township Supervisor and came in Third. Ms. Betsy Fadem, an incumbent appointed Supervisor, came in first and Mr. Brandon Adams came in second. Mr. Adams will most likely resign on January second rather than take the office. He is doing this for personal reasons beyond his control. As the third-place finisher in November, the citizens of Easttown would reasonable expect this board to appoint met to fill the vacancy. The board has met with Mr. Adams. I have express to the board, in writing, my desire to serve the people of Easttown. As I see it, the board has three options in 15 days: 1) Appoint me in recognition of the wishes of the Easttown voters; 2) Appoint someone else such as Mr. Pioggia, the four-place candidate in November. Or someone who did not run; 3) Ignore the voters and conduct a search and appoint someone who did not run in November. As this directly affects me, I am here tonight to ask the board to let the citizens of Easttown know what the Board plans are.

The day following the meeting, on January 3, 2018, the vacancy on the Board of Supervisors was posted on the township website as follows:

Easttown Township seeks applicants for consideration of appointment to the Board of Supervisors. The term for this appointment is for two years, expiring on December 31, 2019. Interested residents should send a letter of interest/resume to Township Manager, Dan Fox, via email by end of business day on Wednesday, January 10, 2018.

The process for how the township would fill the supervisor vacancy was not obvious from the press release (above) on the township website. However, if you look at the meeting agenda of January 2, you find the following explanation of the selection process to fill the supervisor vacancy by Easttown Township Board of Supervisor Chairman James Oram :

The Board vacancy occurs if the elected official, Mr. Adams, announces his intention not to serve at the Board meeting on January 2, 2018. If this vacancy does occur, the Township will begin accepting resumes from interested candidates for one month beginning on January 3, 2018. If the Board cannot agree on an appointment for this vacancy, a fifth vote will be cast by the member of the Vacancy Committee.

According to the notice on the township website, today, January 10, 2018, is the last day to receive applications for the supervisor vacancy.

I know that the four remaining members of the Easttown Township Board of Supervisors are trying to do the right thing, especially given that the selection process to fill the vacancy is not automatic. However, here’s my vote to keep it simple and drama-free by appointing Michael Wacey as the replacement supervisor.  Wacey received the third highest number of votes in November and has stated that he is willing to serve. This should be an easy, uncomplicated decision.

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