Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Tredyffrin’s Supervisors Mysteriously Extend Deadline for Interim Supervisor Resumes . . . Why the Intrigue?

Due to Warren Kampf’s formal resignation at Board of Supervisors meeting on December 20, a vacancy for an interim supervisor exists. From early December, there was a notice on the front page of the Tredyffrin’s township website, suggesting interested candidates send their resumes to the township manager by December 31, 2010.

Fast forward to tonight’s Board of Supervisors meeting. The meeting was over in less than 30 minutes and for the most part, uneventful except for one thing. Chairman Bob Lamina (elected tonight by the other supervisors as chairman and Paul Olson as vice chairman) announced the supervisor vacancy (I thought the vacancy was announced at the last supervisors meeting with Kampf’s letter of resignation). Lamina then told the audience that the Board of Supervisors had decided to extent the deadline for interim supervisor resumes from the previously stated (and advertised) December 31, 2010 deadline to January 10. Why did the supervisors decide to extend the deadline? Don’t know and no explanation was offered. It is my understanding that a number of prospective interim supervisor resumes have been received . . . so why extend the deadline? I have to believe that there must have been at least one qualified candidate among the admissions. Very strange.

Lamina further explained that after the application deadline ends on January 10, each person will be interviewed by the supervisors. The intention is that the interim supervisor will be announced at the February 7th Board of Supervisors Meeting.

Not sure how many interim supervisor candidate resumes are needed, but . . . if you are interested, you now have an extra week to send your resume to Township Manager, Mimi Gleason,

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  1. When the school board fills a position from applicants, the interviews had to take place in public. I’m assuming the same thing applies to the Supervisors. Does anyone know?

    1. Andrea —
      The interim supervisor candidates will be interviewed by current supervisors – privately not in public. The interim supervisor will be announced to the public at the February 7 Board of Supervisors meeting.

    1. Because it is about deliberations and not personnel or real estate etc, , I think the interviews should take place in public under the sunshine rules. I’m sure there are lawyers here who have more than opinions?

  2. Has anyone announced how it will be handled? Seems like no one is weighing in here — so on whose authority will it be done? After all, should the BOS be able to question “candidates” without us hearing the questions and answers? They have the right to choose, but they do not have the right to set secret criteria.

    Here’s what I could find on the web (from the PNA (PA Newspaper Assoc) site, and the state’s Sunshine Q&A site. I don’t want them handpicking someone who will become the automatic 4th vote without publicing asking their questions.

    From PNA:
    The Act states unequivocally that an agency may hold an executive session for one or more of the following reasons: to discuss personnel matters, including the hiring, promotion, disciplining or dismissing of “any specific prospective public officer or employee or current public officer or employee employed or appointed by the agency,” but not including filling vacancies in any elective office;

    Also, by virtue of a recent amendment, the Act does not apply when an agency meets to discuss the appointment of someone to fill a vacancy in an elective office. When, for example, a township board of supervisors meets to discuss the selection of someone to fill a mid-term vacancy on the board, it may not hold an executive session under the “personnel exception.”

    The public officer or employee who is the subject of discussion has the right to request in writing that the matter be discussed at an open meeting. Although the Act does not expressly say so, it implies that the agency should defer to the officer’s or employee’s preference for an open meeting.

    From PA Sunshine Law on the web:
    May the Board discuss, in executive session, the selection of a replacement for a member of the elected Board?

    Can a governing body use a secret ballot to vote?
    No, section 5 of the Sunshine Law requires votes to be cast publicly.

    1. The supervisors will interview the candidates in private however the vote will be done in public at the February board of supervisors meeting. At the point of the vote, the deliberation will have already happened behind closed doors. In an attempt to create as much ‘transparency’ as I can figure out, I will be naming the interim supervisor candidates in a post tomorrow morning. The names of the candidates is public record so I can at least share that bit of information . . . which will at least shed some light on the process. But as for the questions that are asked by the supervisors of the candidates, unfortunately we will not be privy to that information.

  3. So are you saying that they will ignore the law? Has anyone told them that they are doing it illegally? Where is our resident litigator? I think this must be stopped. It is not legal.

  4. Here is an article in the Southern Chester County Dailies regarding a vacancy in Franklin Township.

    Published Nov 2010 –
    .explains the vacancy and what qualifications are required……then says:
    Please include information about your background that will help the board as they review candidate qualifications. The board of supervisors will discuss potential candidates at their regularly scheduled meetings on Nov. 10 and 17. The public is welcome to attend.

    So, it’s now specified on the township Web site what date letters of interest must be submitted by – Tuesday, Nov. 9.

    It’s not yet specified what date a vote will be held (to select a replacement Supervisor) at a public meeting.

    Under the Sunshine Law, and various other open government rules and regulations, the selection of a replacement supervisor is required to proceed in a fashion that’s substantially different from what would likely be the case in a non-municipal setting. There are only three topics that qualify for private discussion (for purposes of reaching a decision) by volunteer elected representatives. Those three, generally speaking, that qualify under certain circumstances for Executive Session consideration involve: 1) certain legal related items; 2) certain real estate acquisition related items; 3) certain personnel related items.

    The twist with No. 3 is that a township supervisor is not an employee, from the standpoint of qualifying as a personnel type item that may qualify for executive session activity. Instead, the whole process, including interviews for a replacement supervisor, are required by the Sunshine Law and/or other Open Meeting statutes to occur in advertised public meetings.

    This is one of the many ways where actions, or non actions, by government entities differ substantially from those typically followed by non-government entities.

    I think you know the local newspaper people — couldn’t you ask them to step up and point this out? These people cannot do this!!! We are entitled to listen to them question the candidates (if they choose to do so — otherwise they have to have resumes which are also public documents)

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