Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Questions Continue Regarding the St. Davids Golf Club Decision by Supervisors Lamina, Kampf, Olson & Richter

In discussion of the gray area surrounding the St. Davids decision by the Board of Supervisors (Lamina, Kampf, Olson, Richter), several residents inquired about our township solicitor, and how does his judgment weigh in on the legalities of this decision. Tom Hogan of Lamb McErlane PC, (township’s contracted law firm) was absent on Monday night (due to knee surgery, not vacation as earlier suggested). Another attorney from his firm attended the meeting in his absence.

Tredyffrin has a contractual agreement with Lamb McErlane but I was not clear on the duties of the township solicitor. In review of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors website, I was able to locate the township solicitor’s job description (which I have included below). On one hand, in Section 1101 it is clear that the ‘township solicitor serves at the pleasure of the board of supervisors’ but then on the other hand, in Section 1102, it states that the township solicitor is to have control of all legal matters. Section 1103 does state ‘The township solicitor shall furnish the board of supervisors, upon request, with an opinion in writing upon any question of law.’ Do you suppose that Supervisor DiBuonaventuro, Kichline or Donohue could individually ask for a written opinion from Mr. Hogan?

If we consider the St. Davids Golf Club decision, is it possible for the township solicitor to serve at the pleasure of the board of supervisors if those same supervisors may (or may not) act in a legal manner? A township solicitor may advise the board of supervisors on legal matters but the supervisors have the right to make the final decision for the township (apparently, even if the decision is questionable). So as far as the St. Davids decision is concerned, the township solicitor is responsible only to the supervisors. Further, I am not clear what counsel was given to the supervisors in Executive Session on the St. Davids GC escrow matter, prior to the supervisors meeting. In the end, I guess it does not matter, the supervisors remain the final word. Bottom line, if we want this latest Board of Supervisor decision to be challenged . . . it is not the job of the township solicitor.

I am not satisfied with the St. Davids Golf Club decision on many levels but I need help as to where we go from here . . . just think that if this decision is allowed to stand, what will be next? The Board of Supervisors meeting which was scheduled for Monday, February 1 has now been changed to Monday, February 8. Coincidentally (?), the February 8 is the important TE School District Finance Committee Meeting (2010-11 budget discussion). Remember what happened this week . . . many residents attended the TESD meeting and not the Supervisor Meeting (because if you reviewed the BOS agenda, there was no mention of St. Davids Golf Club) and we saw what happened! One can only wonder what the ‘Block of 4’ (Lamina, Kampf, Olson, Richter) have planned for the February 8 meeting of the Board of Supervisors (that won’t appear on the agenda) .


Section 1101. Township Solicitor.–The board of supervisors may appoint and determine the compensation of a township solicitor. The township solicitor shall be licensed to practice law in this Commonwealth and may be one person or a law firm, partnership, association or professional corporation. The township solicitor serves at the pleasure of the board of supervisors.

Section 1102. Solicitor to Have Control of Legal Matters-The township solicitor shall direct and control the legal matters of the township, and no official or official body of the township, except as otherwise provided under law, shall employ an additional attorney without the assent or ratification of the board of supervisors.

Section 1103. Duties of Solicitor.–The township solicitor, when directed or requested so to do, shall prepare or approve any bonds, obligations, contracts, leases, conveyances, ordinances and assurances to which the township may be a party. The township solicitor shall commence and prosecute all actions brought by the township for or on account of any of the estates, rights, trusts, privileges, claims or demands, as well as defend the township or any township officer against all actions or suits brought against the township or township officer in which any of the estates, rights, privileges, trusts, ordinances or accounts of the township may be brought in question before any court in this Commonwealth and do every professional act incident to the office which the township solicitor may be authorized or required to do by the board of supervisors or by any resolution. The township solicitor shall furnish the board of supervisors, upon request, with an opinion in writing upon any question of law.

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  1. Keep up the good work.

    Might call the Block of Four the “Gang of Four” which was the name for the destructive and disastrous leaders during China’s Mao era.


  2. Pattye,

    I made mention of the date change in an earlier post. Do we know why the date is changed? My guess is one of the Block of 4 (LKOR) will be absent on the 1st & they want to make sure they have a majority for any vote taken in that meeting of any subsequent meetings.

    Usually during a meeting if the solicitor is asked for an opinion, it is given if possible. This time, Tom Hogan’s sub said nary a word.

  3. Do they need 5 for a quorum? I would suggest that the little 3 not go to a meeting whose date specifically conflicts with a major financial meeting in TE…the Big 4 can’t change laws without a quorum. Sick out?

  4. I’m sure everyone knows this, but you can go to website and under the ONLINE RESOURCES link, you can write an email to the full BOS that becomes a document of record.
    You can also write directly to EJ at

    Perhaps it’s time to help this homemaker who promised us a “fresh perspective” (she has taken her website down, but it’s still recorded on Our Campaigns) and said she had balanced her household budget as one of her credentials that we elected her because we trusted her — she wasn’t loaded up on skills but she was sincere in wanting to protect the taxpayer. Being Paul Olson’s show pony is not a way to demonstrate that.

  5. It’s becoming more and more obvious to me that we truly are the culture of McDonalds and Wawa! “gang of 4”, “Olson’s show pony”, “EJ the LOK’d vote.” Etc…… If I am not mistaken, EJ has had 1 vote to date. That vote was with Paul. Fellow citizens………one vote does not a trend make! Now…… If things continue along the same line, I’ll be back and eat my post. Please remember, though, that they both have a R next to their name so don’t be suprised if they vote together on more issues then not. Please also remember that EJ didn’t switch parties after the voters elected her in November.

    1. Jim – Trend or no trend, that isn’t the issue as i see it, this is about St Davids favoritism, procedure, transparency, etc… EJ is as culpable as KOL on this dishonest and devious action.

      Seems you are already trying to rationalize that LORK will vote in tandem nearly all the time, even when it violates established procedure, precedent, common sense, or honesty. Justification as a “party principle” won’t hold any water with a split vote of an all R BOS.

  6. John, my party reference was to make the point that if she votes for; fiscal responsibilty, doing more with less, limited taxes – she will be the republican voters elected in November. It shouldn’t come as a suprise.

  7. Any person on here trying to rationalize this decision has no clue on what is going. Mrs. Richter had a golden opportunity to show that this type of behavior by Board members is wrong and could have taken credit for setting the Board in a different direction. Mr. Kampf ditto. Dem/Rep…………this is 100% wrong!!! It DOES NOT matter if you have been at 1 meeting or 100 meetings. This type of action is not that of a leader, but of a confused follower. Think for your community, YOUR FAMILY, and not your campaign donors who want your vote for BS.

  8. >>>It’s becoming more and more obvious to me that we truly are the culture of McDonalds and Wawa! “gang of 4″, “Olson’s show pony”, “EJ the LOK’d vote.” Etc…… If I am not mistaken, EJ has had 1 vote to date. That vote was with Paul. Fellow citizens………one vote does not a trend make!<<<

    Josh — I completely agree with you. Jim — you are too quick to see a need to defend EJR. She's not a damsel in distress — but for all the reasons here, and so many more, her "siding" with Paul on her "first vote" when it is obvious that the vote had 1)procedural issues having not been on the agenda but "she had made calls during the week about it?" 2) moral issues (the Planning Commission, 3 other "R" members and Mimi Gleason had issues with it), and 3) she cast a deciding vote
    You ask us not to be surprised if she votes with Paul — she has an R. I'm sorry — doesn't the whole board have an R. You suggest we only worry if it's a trend….personally I worry because it signals a possible trend, and it's certainly a VERY BAD START. She's not a child and doesn't need protection — but it's clear that because she was so clearly WRONG this time around, the rest of us get called Wawa and McDonalds….? does that mean we lack patience? Or that we lacked good judgment by trusting her when we elected her. I'll have to check the nutrition charts to see what you meant.

  9. Sarah, Your right. I am biased and I admit it. I helped EJ in her campaign and she is my friend. I only hope for the best for her because I believe in her and if she does a good job on the board it helps all of us in the community. However, if it were your first vote and some tried to make trends from IT, I would back you up the same way.

    1. Jim, I appreciate your open support of EJ; that all of us could have friends like you. But the fact remains that whether it was her error in judgment, inexperience, whatever you wish to call it . . . we now are where we are. I have heard from people in Lower Merion, Radnor, Easttown — all talking about what these 4 individuals have done. By taking the ‘power’ of the board (and of the community) with this vote (that at a minimum was procedurally incorrect and questionable) a very unfortunate tone of gray clouds is hanging over Tredyffrin. It is unfortunate that the very first opportunity for EJ to cast a vote as a new supervisor was such an important vote . . . a vote that very well may change the outcome of many for years to come.

      I have already heard that a contractor (who has money in escrow) doing a project in Tredyffrin has made noise about having his escrow money returned without doing the work. Precedent was set the moment that EJ cast her vote. You can still be EJ’s friend and we can hope that she is not setting a trend as a supervisor with this voite. For me, I am more concerned about the ‘present’ — a large mistake has been made that could cost the taxpayers money in lawsuits, etc. going forward. But always believing in the ‘glass half-full approach’ to life, I am hoping that we can work together for a solution, a reversal in the motion for a better outcome for the taxyapers of Tredyffrin.

      1. Pattye, I didn’t call “it” any of those things. I was simply responding to the disparaging “Olsons show pony” comment and the like. There are those who believe that holding up St Davids for public side walks was wrong to begin with. There are those that believe the ends justified the means. I am not one of those. I do believe, however, that the procedure and process in working with the planning commission and their role with the BOS needs a second look

  10. Jim
    I used the word show pony and sadly meant it. There is the old “dog and pony show” phrase which originally referred to small circuses that only made the small town circuit — hency only dogs and ponies. The phrase has evolved to mean putting on a show for the sake of the audience — but trained in your behavior.

    IF you are EJ’s friend, then you more than most are in a position to educate her about how her “first votes” should be taken — thoughtfully and carefully — with collective wisdom and not as a result of a breakfast with Warren Kampf (which I understand she had — though that was from someone that was eating in the same place).

    And a first vote signals a trend more than a vote that stands on background and history. She had no history and there was absolutely no reason presented by anyone at the meeting (including an admission that St. Davids had not requested the return of the funds) except Paul Olson who called it a sidewalk to nowhere. Since it was only escrow money — what was the hurry to return it? Couldn’t it have qualified for an agenda item and some procedural clarification. EJ ran with Michele — and Paul was her primary donor — so does that mean that an 80 year old guy who wants to run a 50-s era township and do backroom deals is really more worthy of her “deciding vote” than a 40’s something lawyer who has been doing zoning for the past few years.
    The TREND is that she had no reason — even if “many believe the ends justified the means.” Isn’t that a scary thought — even to a friend? Did you help get her elected so that Tredyffrin no longer needs to have a transparent and functioning government? Does that ENDS justify your means?

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