In last week’s Main Line Suburban newspaper, BOS Chairman Lamina characterized those that disagree with him as ‘gnats nipping at his heels’. Having been the target of his insulting remarks at the supervisors meeting and also in the paper, I was curious if residents would defend Lamina or find his governing style offensive as I had? Guess I didn’t need to worry, as this week’s edition of the Main Line Suburban Life newspaper contained no resident letters of support. Just the contrary, newspaper editor Tom Murray ran an entire section of letters under the heading, ”Some Tredyffrin residents not pleased with board chairman’s comments’. Again, there are no letters in support of Lamina and, in fact one letter from Mr. and Mrs. Diamond of Malvern calls for Lamina to step down as chairman of the board. I suppose such a request would need to be generated from a majority of the other supervisors and, given that one of their own will appear on the ballot next week, such a suggestion would appear highly unlikely.
Stepping back and looking at the situation, . . . where does all this leave those in the community that have questions of our elected officials? Why should we bother risking public humiliation by asking questions? If like me you ask the questions, but are treated dismissively, bullied or called names (and still receive no answers) . . . why bother? There has been a continuous theme among some of these supervisors since December; those that rule this township will remain in power and continue to ‘make the rules and break the rules’ as they see fit. Disrespecting citizens can now be added to the list.
In reading through this week’s letters in the newspaper, the following letter caught my eye. In the closing of his letter, Mr. Poppel of Devon states, ” When I hear the chairman of the Board of Supervisors and some of his colleagues dismiss the concerns and those of others who may not agree with him or who are members of the opposing party, then I must infer that we, too, are victims of taxation without representation. More to the point, it is clear from both Mr. Lamina’s comments and printed statements that he works not for the benefit of all the citizens of Tredyffrin but just those who support and agree with him. This is not the American way.” As someone who really believes in this community and the importance of everyone’s voice, it truly saddens me that one individual’s [Lamina] words have the capacity to isolate and alienate some of Tredyffrin’s residents.
To the Editor:
In his article in Main Line Suburban Life, Chairman of the Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors Bob Lamina attempts to answer critics and justify his behavior in several recent meetings of the board. His attempt falls flat.
In the most recent example, Pattye Benson, in a calm and well-reasoned presentation, questioned the apparent inconsistency between the treatment given by the supervisors and their legal counsel to an apparently unsolicited offer of services to the Historic Preservation Trust and the actively solicited cash contributions to make up a decrease in fire-company funding. In the former case, it was determined that there was a “pay-to-play” issue due to the presence of a sitting supervisor on the Trust’s board. In the latter it was considered OK, even though the solicitations were made by several of the supervisors using the township logo on some of the associated documents.
Instead of responding to the substance of this question, Mr. Lamina deflected the issue by praising the civic-mindedness of the donors and accusing questioners of not wanting the additional money to come in. He then fell back on one of his most common tactics, questioning the motives of the questioners. In his article he falls back on the common tactic of saying what a wonderful, well-governed place we live in without addressing concerns that could make it better.
Though I have not attended many supervisors’ meetings, I am struck by the fact that at several of those I have attended, Mr. Lamina uses his “bully pulpit” to act as a bully. He insults his questioners and attempts to marginalize their concerns. His claim in some instances that he speaks as an ordinary citizen doesn’t wash when he is making the comments from the dais.
Now, in Main Line Suburban Life, he has informed the citizens of Tredyffrin that if they don’t agree with him or question his and his colleagues’ actions, either at the meetings or in other media such as blogs (which he says he doesn’t read), they are simply “gnats” nipping at his heels.
Well, this particular gnat has been a resident and taxpayer in Tredyffrin for over 30 years. I’m not running for office. When I hear the chairman of the Board of Supervisors and some of his colleagues dismiss the concerns and those of others who may not agree with him or who are members of the opposing party, then I must infer that we, too, are victims of taxation without representation. More to the point, it is clear from both Mr. Lamina’s comments and printed statements that he works not for the benefit of all the citizens of Tredyffrin but just those who support and agree with him. This is not the American way.
Eugene H. Poppel, Devon