Pattye Benson

Community Matters

The Week Started with Tredyffrin's Escrowgate . . . and Ends With Chairman Lamina Changing the Scheduled Board of Supervisor Meeting

How many times in 20 years do you suppose that a scheduled Board of Supervisors Meeting has had its meeting date changed? I don’t mean changed due to a holiday schedule or for weather related reasons. I have asked several people that should know the answer . . . no one can recall this ever happening. The calendar for Board of Supervisors Meetings is set at the first meeting in January, Keene Hall is reserved on the master calendar, the dates are published on the website, and are available at the township building.

So then don’t you find it extremely strange that the Board of Supervisor scheduled meeting for this Monday, February 1 is ‘mysteriously changed’ to Monday, February 8 with no stated reason or explanation. How is that Chairman Lamina has the authority to make an unprecedented change to the published schedule of Board of Supervisors meetings? February 1 is only the third scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting of 2010 and Supervisor Lamina decides to change it . . . why? We know that Supervisor Olson is in Hawaii on vacation but he will still be away for the February 8 meeting. Does Chairman Lamina have vacation plans or work issues requiring him to miss a meeting on February 1? If that is the case, the last time I checked Tredyffrin Township has 7 supervisors, and the absence of Supervisors Lamina and Olson at a meeting would still leave a quorum with 5 remaining supervisors. Transparency of government is apparently not the required mantra under Supervisor Lamina’s charge.

Frankly, many of us are still working through the aftermath of ‘Escrowgate’ created by Supervisors Lamina, Kampf, Olson and Richter when we are met with the unprecedented and unexplained Board of Supervisors meeting change. I did a bit of research on changing dates of supervisors meetings; below is the section of Tredyffrin Township Home Rule Charter that deals with board meetings and procedures. Please can someone show me where it says that meeting dates can be changed by the chair of the Board of Supervisors. But I suppose just like Supervisors Lamina, Kampf, Olson and Richter were able to dismiss policy and procedure at Monday night’s meeting, they also can change supervisors meetings. Reason? . . . just because they can.


§ 31.2-210. Board Meetings and Procedures.

A. The Board shall meet regularly at least once in every month at such time and place as the Board may prescribe by ordinance or resolution. At its first meeting each year, the Board shall prescribe and advertise the calendar of regular monthly meetings for the remainder of the year.

B. Special meetings may be held on the call of the Chairman, or of a majority of Supervisors, by providing notice to each Supervisor at least twenty-four hours in advance of such special meeting, which meeting notice shall be prominently posted at the Township office; however, in the case of an emergency which makes it necessary to convene a meeting with less than twenty-four hours advance notice, this requirement may be waived.

C. The Board may take no official action except at an open public meeting in the presence of a quorum, consisting of a majority of all the members of the Board. All discussions relating to official actions should be in open public meetings with the following exceptions:

1. Matters in litigation with the Township as a party;

2. Matters concerning hiring, dismissal, promotion or discipline;

3. Matters which would adversely affect the reputation of any persons; and,

4. Matters having to do with the acquisition of land and other subjects which would be likely to benefit a party whose interests are adverse to the general community.

Official actions by the Board shall be taken only by ordinance, resolution or motion. Voting, except on procedural matters, shall be by roll call vote. A majority vote of all the members of the Board shall be required to adopt an ordinance. Resolutions or motions shall be adopted by a majority vote of all the members of the Board present, except as otherwise provided herein.

D. It is the intent of this Charter that the Board act as a body in relation to all administrative matters. No Supervisor shall publicly or privately seek individually to interfere with the official acts of Township officers and employees. However, nothing herein contained shall prevent the Board from establishing committees of its members to review the operations and legislative needs of the departments, or from assigning individual Supervisors to liaison relationships with boards, commissions and authorities.

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  1. John comments,”We are living in a dictatorship. Might as well be a police state.”

    Hyperbole? No doubt. But even the most forgiving look at the events of the last two months shows the actions of OLK to be questionable and very unsettling.

    I can guess that Bob Lamina is worried what may happen in a quorum made up of the reasonable three – DiBuonaventuro, Kichline and Donahue vs. Kampf and Richter. The Escrowgate matter could again come up under New Matters and a vote to rescind the return of St. David’s money could succeed.

    We can’t have that!

    I’m guessing Lamina has made a call to protect his newly acquired power. He simply won’t be undermined by the community-minded JD, Michele and Phil..

    Let’s watch. This is destined to happen again – any time the Block of Four are not present to steamroll their crony-driven agenda.

    But then again, Lamina has already changed the meaning of “present”…

    1. Touche, John. According to your logic, Democrats did not come out and vote in sufficient numbers in November, and now we have to pay the price. And any bad decisions made by those with unchecked power are somehow our fault, right?

      That’s BS and you know it.

      The last election was about fear. Republicans in this community were more afraid of losing the status quo than Democrats were motivated to see change. The R’s came out and many voted straight party regardless of whether their candidates were worthy of their votes.

      But even though the BOS is made up of 7 Republicans now, we all have a right to expect that their business is done lawfully, in the light of day, and in the best interests of the community as a whole.

      Hopefully, more residents have decided to pay attention to the decisions made by our supervisors – if for no other reason than their resources are more limited these days and they value fiscally responsible government more than ever.

      Plus people are more sick of back room dealing and sweet deals for the favored few than they’ve ever been.

      In watching Tredyffrin’s very own reality TV ( BOS meetings) lately, you can’t help but be struck by the dangers of one-party control. Sharing power beats a “de facto dictatorship” any day.

      And it’s obvious that supervisor candidates who have shown a long-standing commitment to our community – Republican or Democrat – are more likely to vote in the community’s best interest.

      We need to elect that kind to the Board in 2011.

      1. John, John, John,

        I want to respect Pattye’s interest in keeping this blog focused on our community as a whole. Party politics is certainly worthy of honest debate, and I will go to the mat for my party. But not here, not now.

        Though our current supervisors are all registered Republicans, I recognize they are not of one mind on a number of issues – maybe not on most issues. And there’s no question we have some very dedicated and decent people on the Board – past and present.

        I really take exception to your comments on several of my colleagues who are also good, dedicated people in their own right.. Obviously. from your comments, not to your liking or standards.

        But do you have to take out your knives so often?

        I wish you’d put a lid on the direct personal assaults.
        But continue keeping us informed, telling us what you think and entertaining us….

      2. All this talk of one party rule, or the Democrats not showing up in the election as cause’s of the 4-3 vote last Monday are absurd. Unfortunately whether Democrat or Republican we elect individuals. Individuals that we would hope represent the party and citizens well, but that’s not reality. Being as we have 7 Republican Supervisors, the one party rule “cry” would mean votes of 7-0 all the time. Some would like to believe the party dictates how the Supervisors vote , much to your disappointment we don’t. They are on the field calling an audible and we are as disappointed as everyone else when they call the wrong play. Whether Democrat or Republican at this level the party is the uniform that is worn, how they perform is up to the individual.
        I do not blame the Democrats for the embarrassing out bursts made toward citizens at public meetings by our former Supervisor: Democrat, Mark DiFiliciantonio. It is not fair to blame the Republican party when Supervisors make an unpopular decision. Remember if 4 got it wrong then 3 got it right, Republicans that is. Lets keep the partisan attacks out of the debate and keep focus on the issue.
        Thank you

        Giovanni D’Amato
        West, Area Chairman TTRC

  2. Perhaps it might at least send a signal if there are insufficient Supervisors available on the changed date for there to be a quorum?

  3. That’s my hope Ray — let the “little 3” skip the meeting because they want to attend the previously scheduled finance hearing at the school district. (typo– did school distract….maybe that was what Lamina hopes)

  4. Maybe it is my true Independent spirit, but I choose to believe that Monday night’s decision was simply about 3 individuals doing what was right and 4 individuals doing what was wrong. A mistake was made – the motion should not have been allowed to stand on procedural grounds. Michelle is a municipal attorney and tried to explain it to the other supervisors; she was simply dismissed.

    This matter is not about sidewalks, it is about policy and procedure of Tredyffrin’s government. Procedure was not followed but the motion was allowed to stand. Then 4 individuals agreed with the motion (Kampf, Lamina, Olson, Richter) and with the 4-3 vote count, the motion passed. These 4 have made a mistake . . . and there needs to be a correction. Either that or the taxpayers face a future of money spent on lawsuits, etc.

    1. Pattye,
      I have yet to catch a rebroadcast of the meeting under discussion, but having watched the pre-election debate, I think Lamina “dismisses” Ms. Kichline at his future peril. I doubt she will tolerate more “dismissals” and may have already read Lamina the riot act, in private, after his performance.

      I believe she ran for her seat to be a legitimate contributor to the process, and reminded him that she did not reach her current level of accomplishment by tolerating chauvinistic behavior, especially in public. I also don’t think she wants to have the current KOL games attached to her name for perpetuity. I imagine she’s working on E.J. already. I’m a Dem, but right now, my money’s on Ms. Kichline to lead us out of the KOL swamp.

  5. At the next supervisors meeting, what are the chances of a re-count on this motion. If one of the 4 supervisors who voted ‘for’ the motion could be convinced to change and vote against the motion. Pattye, can you put some pressure on EJ and the others to reconsider and do what’s right.

  6. In case you are willing to do must see tv on tape, there’s a school district meeting that night that is about 9.2 million dollars — not $25,000.
    Indeed the BOS is not about the money, but if the crowd oly follows the drama, we are very much sending the wrong message. The board has not agreed to limit increases to act 1 — there is little doubt that pressure from this blog and other sources is the reason. Now they need support to back up that decision — because the union and the parents are not going to be at all happy going forward — so folks need to be in the non-televised finance committee audience.

    Paul won’t be at the 8th….right?

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