Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Supervisors Olson, Lamina & Kampf’s Firefighter Holiday Drive is Complete . . . Will township or fire company provide a final report?

At the December Board of Supervisors meeting, supervisors Olson, Lamina and Kampf announced the ‘Firefighter Holiday Drive’ with a ‘cardboard check’ in the amount of $23,200. As the solicitation committee, these supervisors were committed to providing the fire companies with contributions totally the amount which was removed from the firefighter funding in the township’s 2010 budget. To balance the township budget, the $23,200 represented the contribution cut from Berwyn, Paoli and Radnor fire companies. There was much advertising of the cardboard check and the holiday drive provided on the local TV news, in local newspaper articles and also on Community Matters.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote of receiving a phone call from Paul Olson on March 31, reporting that the fire company solicitation drive by himself and supervisors Lamina and Kampf was complete and they exceeded their original goal; giving approximately $25,000 to Berwyn Fire Company. I appreciated receiving Paul’s updates during the 2010’s first quarter but did have several additional questions. In response to my questions, he suggested that I contact Berwyn Fire Company’s president Rip Tilden.

Based on the public commentary to, In Forty Years There Have Been Many Changes in Tredyffrin – Unfortunately Some Things Never Change . . . Fire Company Funding , post this week, I contacted Rip Tilden of the Berwyn Fire Company. I sent Rip an email (and copied the Board of Supervisors) and asked for his response to the following questions:

(1) What was the total amount received by Berwyn Fire Company as a result of the solicitation efforts of supervisors Olson, Lamina and Kampf?
(2) Has Berwyn Fire Company distributed the money to Radnor and Paoli fire companies?
(3) Can you provide a complete list of the donors, individuals and corporate?
(4) Are there any contributions that the fire company can not accept and therefore must return?

Although I have not heard back from Berwyn Fire Company directly, it is my understanding that the fire companies will be providing a joint statement in response to these questions. Providing official closure on the firefighter funding drive is important to the community; I look forward to providing the details.

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  1. I would like to see the complete list of all contributors, particularly the businesses. I have been confused about this funding drive since it started – according to the Home Rule Charter, I thought that supervisors were not allowed to solicit contributions (particularly, businesses that may be doing business with the township). How come this isn’t illegal? Is it possible that the fire companies are not allowed to accept money from those businesses?

  2. How is their solicitation for the fire funds different than say the solicitation for Tredyffrin Day or Fireworks?

    Hasn’t Shire donated to those causes recently? Is it different or is it the same?

    I’m not defending it, just wondering how it compares from a legal perspective

  3. If anyone had specifically approached Shire to make the donation, that would also be inappropriate — correct? There is no question that the whole process was absolutely wrong — regardless of the outcome. And what we still don’t know is how many of those donations came from people who would have donated anyway so the OLK took credit and may not have made up a shortfall after all. But to go back to Mike in Berwyn, we all should write a check. Just like T&E Care, and FLITE, we don’t need government to be the only solution to our needs. Takes power away from them when we step up on our own.

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