Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Tredyffrin’s Interim Supervisor Vacancy No More . . . Mike Heaberg Appointed

Attending last night’s Board of Supervisors meeting was much like attending a wedding. Entering Keene Hall, I found members on the bride’s side of the aisle there to support Republican Kristen Mayock as the interim supervisor. Left of the aisle, the groom’s side contained those gathered to support Republican Mike Heaberg. Representatives from both sides promised that their candidate was the right one to lead the township.

The audience heard from supporters of Mayock and Heaberg, as well as for the Democrat candidate Eamon Brazunas. Friends and political allies praised Mayock for her personal, business and civic achievements. Some of the words used to describe her were skilled negotiator, creative as well as committed and very intelligent. A former Republican committee member and fellow attorney at her law firm, Scott Reidenbach spoke eloquently of Mayock . . . describing her as someone who ‘gets it’ and that she, “understands people and understands this township”.

Others rose to the microphone to extol Heaberg’s virtues, describing him as smart, talented, community-minded . . . the “ultimate selfless person who is seeking public office for all the right reasons”. Sandy Gorman, a fellow FLITE board member and friend, said three words described Heaberg . . . integrity, reliability and thoroughness.

There is a part in a traditional wedding ceremony, when the officiant says, ‘if anyone objects . . . let him speak now or forever hold his peace.” Like those words in a wedding ceremony, chair of the Tredyffrin Democrats, Dariel Jamieson took the microphone to make a case for the all-Republican Board of Supervisors to choose a Democrat candidate to fill the vacated Republican seat. Supporting interim supervisor candidate Eamon Brazunas, Jamieson described the volunteer firefighter as committed to service and to the community; as someone we trust with our lives. In her support of Brazunas, Jamieson explained that Brazunas had run twice before for the Board of Supervisors and represented broad appeal to both parties, having only lost the last election by 71 votes.

Jamieson offered that 45% of the residents of Tredyffrin are registered Republicans and that the other 55% of the township population is not, so perhaps a Democrat should be appointed to add balance to the board. Unfortunately, Chairman Lamina’s partisan response to Jamieson was far from satisfactory; telling her that he could never vote for someone unless they were a Republican.

Elected to serve all the people . . . Republicans, Democrats, Independents . . . I found Lamina’s remark, particularly as chair of the Board of Supervisors, to be both inappropriate and offensive. This kind of remark has the potential to continue to push the political wedge between members of this community. And for what purpose . . . for what political gain? Tonight Lamina formally announced that he would not be seeking re-election; so why not try, in the last remaining 10 months of your term, to bring people together rather than continuing to separate and divide.

The five members of the Board of Supervisors (Paul Olson was on vacation) took a vote on the interim supervisor appointment. As some expected, DiBuonaventuro supported Mayock and the other four voted in favor of Heaberg. Mike Heaberg was elected 4-1 to fill the interim supervisor position and will be sworn in at the next Board of Supervisors meeting.

The supervisor appointment is over; but are the hard feelings between the Republican Committee people still there? Will the two opposing factions come together to support and work with the newly appointed Mike Heaberg? Can the badly split Republican Committee manage reconciliation for the sake of the ‘party’? On the other hand, if the fences cannot be mended, does this now create a permanent party divide?

Looking ahead, will Brazunas challenge Heaberg in the Special Election? Will the Republican Committee endorse both Heaberg and Mayock as the two at-large candidates for the May Primary? Will Brazunas enter his third bid for election to the Board of Supervisors?

Summing of the Board of Supervisors meeting . . . as someone who believes in ‘people’ and ‘issues’ and not partisan politics, I found the meeting disturbing. As possibly the lone ‘Independent’ in a room filled with political stakeholders, the talk of Republicans and Democrats was both uncomfortable and unsettling. And I cringe that our elected officials are discussing party politics from the dais. Appoint the right ‘person’ and leave the party politics at the door. And once elected, we want them to set aside their ‘R’ or their ‘D’ and simply govern and serve us all.

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  1. Kristen Mayock should definitely run to fill one of the two at-large seats that will be up for a vote this November. She has a lot of support and an excellent chance in the General Election.

    If Eamon Brazunas decides to run, he also will prove to be a formidable candidate.

    While Mike Heaberg may have won the Special Appointment vote, the winners this Fall could very well be Kristen and Eamon.

  2. I believe I predicted this outcome from the beginning. I for one will be supporting Kristen in the fall.

  3. I watched the BOS meeting — Pattye, you got it right! I too am sick of the partisan politics in this township. As a registered Republican, I can say that I was embarrased by Lamina’s remarks. Who does he think he is? Good thing his name won’t be on the ballot, him and his kind need to go.

  4. so my question is… if the sitting supervisors were all Democrats, who would have been selected to fill the interim spot? Hope it isn’t too hypothetical.

  5. Pattye great article. As I watched on TV, all I could think was how pathetically predictable the charade was. They didn’t even give the citizens a chance to comment before making the motion. We all know the fix was in. Mr. DiBuonaventuro in my opinion is the only Supervisor that actually thinks for himself. No puppet there, he’s got guts! The justifications that Lamina, Donahue, and Kichline gave as to why he was the best choice were a real stretch. Richter apparently didn’t even meet with Heaberg saying part of her justification was a chance meeting with him in the Fall of ‘09. Are you kidding me? How irresponsible can an elected official be? Do they really think members of the community are that stupid? If Mr. Broadhurst had recommended Jeffrey Dommer I suppose they would all explain to us the reason he was a better choice, give me a break. Mr. Lamina’s story of how difficult the choice was, as if he really chose someone, was the most absurd part of it all. Glad to see him moving on. In the end, we have all these elected officials in one man’s pocket. That must be the “good government” Mr. Tom Coleman expressed in his email soliciting past and present members of FLIGHT to speak about the only accomplishment Mr. Heaberg could list? Oh well, next stop, the May special election.

  6. It seems that Dariel Jamieson was the first one to make it partisan. Mr. Brazunas may be a very nice guy and may be qualified to be a Supervisor. But describing him “as someone we trust with our lives” is way over the top. I am grateful for his service as a firefighter but that is not in and of itself qualifying.

    It seems to me that if a Supervisor leaves the board that the appointed replacement should be from the same party as the person departing.

    1. Actually it’s not over the top since he and many others in the community protect us in the fire department and police department everyday. I trust my neighbor to help me in my time in need as he is a volunteer fireman. Is that over the top or wrong for me to think that or even state it here? The politics started during Chairman Lamina’s speech. Review the resumes from Pattye’s earlier post and you will see the balance of all 3’s qualifications—not just a single bullet point.

      “It seems to me that if a Supervisor leaves the board that the appointed replacement should be from the same party as the person departing.”

      Get the Home Rule Charter changed to reflect this viewpoint. This is at least the third time this has been brought up. I would 100% agree with you if this were to happen. I actually agree with you on this.

      Unless I missed something it looked like Kristen and Mike lined people up to speak—while this is not an issue for me—to say ONE person who spoke for the odd man out made it political is laughable. Best of luck to Kristen and Eamon in the fall if they decide to run. There resumes speak for themselves and their continued volunteer and professional service in Tredyffrin is unmatched based on what I see in their resumes. Thank you for your work to keep us informed Pattye.

  7. ” . . . we want them to set aside their ‘R’ or their ‘D’ and simply govern and serve us all.”
    From one Independent to another — Oh that it could happen in Tredyffrin!

    1. yes. The party not in control wants no parties, just why can’t we get along. Represent us all. Well they do, just with a different perspective than say, a Democrat, Liberal, leftist, socialist or communist. Hopefully there will never be a time when there is 100% agreement on anything. That is kind of like Nazi Germany, or any tyrannical totalitarian regime. So argue away, and when and if the tide has turned, the Repubs will bitch and moan about fairness and the rest.

  8. Whose really playing partisan politics here Pattye??? So let’s just let’s rewind the tape so to speak and replay what we all know we really heard. So…………the Chairman of the local Democratic Party stands up & makes absurd comments to the effect that the only reason Warren Kampf is in Harrisburg is due to a light voter turnout & suggests much the same with respect to Mr. Donohue; all the while heaping praise on a former candidate for Supervisor (Eamon Brazunas) who ran twice, and that the citizens Tredyffrin rejected electorally each time. Then you twist those statements around, and somehow find a way to take issue with Bob Lamina stating the very simple truth that as a duly elected Republican member of the BoS, that given a choice between “qualified” candidates from both parties, that he would choose a Republican every time is somehow “offensive” to you??? Really Pattye…the seemingly utopian view that our Board of Supervisors, all of whom are elected throught a political process, should apolitically leave their hat at the door once elected; is not to live in the real world. The political process has been in the past, and should continue in the future, to be a force for good government in Tredyffrin on an equal footing with every other local community interest group in our Community. Bob Lamina should be heartily congratulated for not shying away from these facts, or pretending as some do that the only time the political process should matter in Tredyffrin is on election day. We need more straight shooters like Bob on all our local boards, commissions & authorities. And while there are certainly qualified people who have expressed a willingness to serve in the future, Bob’s leadership – especially on fiscal matters – will be greatly missed when he retires next year.

    1. Excuse me . . . you are joking, right?

      Summing of the Board of Supervisors meeting . . . as someone who believes in ‘people’ and ‘issues’ and not partisan politics, I found the meeting disturbing. As possibly the lone ‘Independent’ in a room filled with political stakeholders, the talk of Republicans and Democrats was both uncomfortable and unsettling. And I cringe that our elected officials are discussing party politics from the dais. Appoint the right ‘person’ and leave the party politics at the door. And once elected, we want them to set aside their ‘R’ or their ‘D’ and simply govern and serve us all.

    2. Straight talk. The real world? The hypocrisy here is that we all know there was no free selection of whom ever they wanted. They were told who it was to be. What is most bothersome is they then looked the community in the eye and tried to convince them it was something other. There’s a word for that…….
      What should we believe? What we know, or what they tell us?

    3. Good Grief! E.J. in charge of Warren’s Paoli office? Can’t wait to see how much of a mess she makes of that. Suggest if you want correct answers to questions, you call Duane Milne’s office even though not our district.

  9. I don’t think Dariel really expected to sway the board and get Eamon appointed. She did what she needed to as leader of her party. She showed support for her guy. She didn’t go out of her way to recruit someone to undermine his effort. A lesson maybe the republicans leadership could learn from her.

  10. Some people have a VERY short memory.

    Was it not just over 2 years ago when the Democratic party became the party of power in Washington? A backlash against George W Bush and Republicans that supported his style of governing?

    Yes it was, and what happened?

    The Democrats wanted to keep their power so much that they legislated the life out of the people who put them there, resulting in one of the biggest mid-term election turnovers in 70 years. Do you recall Pelosi or Obama acting any different after the 2008 election than Lamina is now? I’m afraid not.

    The vote is the truest form of checks and balances in our government, at all levels. Until the Democrats can show proof at the ballot box that the citizens of Tredyffrin Township want more bi-partisanship, there should be NO surprise how little their voices will be heard.

    I urge the TTDEMS to work harder at connecting their candidates to the voters. If Mr. Lamina’s comments over that last few years aren’t enough to stoke your party’s fire, I don’t know what will.

    I find it ironic that during these last few weeks we’ve read and heard about how important qualifications and experience are to the Board of Supervisors when making their decision…..especially when Ms. Richter, who has NO qualifications what-so-ever, was elected with such ease.

    And, for what it’s worth. I hope “Mike in Berwyn” doesn’t try to solve our township’s troubles by asking everyone to “write a check” ugh, it’s going to be a long spring………

  11. Despite his many fine credentials, Eamon Brazunas had no chance at receiving the special appoitnment.

    However, Eamon should run again in the Fall. I truly think that the third time will be the charm for him.

    Since his first try at Office, Eamon has grown both professionally and in his clear commitment to the community.

  12. Though it’s unlikely the outcome of this special election will be the same, lets not forget that equally special evening in October, 2005 when a motion was unanimously adopted by the Supervisor “pawns” to appoint one John V. Pertersen to fill a vacancy on the BoS created by the resignation of Guy Ciarrhocchi. When he was appointed, despite kind words expressed for the other candidate, the Board at the time; and certainly Mr. Petersen, quite likely also knew that outcome was never in doubt. And of course it was just 30 days or so later that with few good options left on the table, a more informed electorate voted democrat Paul Drucker the winner in a special election surprise. By December, Mr. Petersen was washed away in what was likely the briefest tenure of any member of the Board of Supervisors; and he has been railing against some of the same hands that once fed him ever since. So yes John, sometimes Democrats can find a seat at the table, however unappetizing that may be for some. We’ll see what happens on May 17th.

  13. Eamon was never a realistic candidate for the appointment. Had the BOS been tasked with replacing a Democratic supervisor, Eamon would have been the natural choice. However, it was still wise for him to put him hat in the ring since it got him some positive name recognition which may help during the election.

    I am shocked by the criticism of Mike Heaberg on this blog. Mike has strong credentials for the position as well. And the voters will have an opportunity to judge his qualifications during the special election. There is no need to attack Mike simply because your preferred candidate (Eamon and Kristen) wasn’t selected. The fact is that all three candidates were qualified. The BOS couldn’t have made a bad choice on this appointment, and those of us without an ax to grind against the TTGOP can see that. Eamon and Kristen aren’t stopping to such petty criticism, and neither should we.

    1. Additional Perspective –

      Thank you for your comment and I could not agree more.

      As I have previously mentioned, I have the distinct advantage of knowing all 3 candidates, and I like these 3 people. All 3 were qualified to serve the residents of this community — their experience (business, personal & civic) varied and impressive. I find it interesting that people seem anxious to judge someone (Mike Heaberg) before he even has an opportunity to serve as a supervisor. Maybe it’s more about some not getting the candidate of their choice appointed rather than the person who actually was. If the system was flawed (and yes, I believe that all 6 supervisors should have participated in the the candidate interviews & in the public’s eye) it was due to other reasons and other people (not flawed because of these 3 candidates).

      Can we just please move past this — the appointment has been made – and the residents are lucky to have someone like Mike Heaberg willing to serve. It’s mid-February, May will be here before you know it. There are 4 supervisor positions available — 2 at-large seats, 1 from the east and 1 from the west. There is still time to get involved in the primary as a candidate. Contact the chair of the Republican or Democratic committees – I am sure that Mike Broadhurt (Republican chair) or Dariel Jamieson (Democratic chair) would be happy to talk to you and explore the options. Also, there are School Board positions available — I think there are 4 of those seats also availailable. Lots of opportunities to get involved!

      In my world, everyone needs to participate. It really is not fair to sit on the sidelines and criticize unless you are willing to get engaged yourself. At this point, we have a newly appointed supervisor Mike Heaberg. I thank him in advance for his service and wish him well for the next 3 months — I am confident he will do a good job!

      Again, Mike is appointed for the next 3 months, no guarantees past the May primary. Mike, like Kristen, Eamon or anyone else that may be qualified will need to decide if they will (1) run in the special election and (2) participate in the regular primary. I don’t want to break out my rendition of Kumbaya, but could we all please just come together?

  14. Thank you to Mrs. Benson for her articulate summation. Kumbaya notwithstanding, this community needs to stop harrassing elected officials and start deciding what we are willing to pay for. The snide comment above about “Mike in Berwyn” writing a check is beyond the pale — as a member of the FLITE board who does fundraising, Mike has clearly expressed his belief that taxing is not the only way to elevate the revenue streams of our community. And he clearly does it with his checkbook as well.
    Tredyffrin must come to terms with this complicated economy at the level of governance and residence. On the school side Mr. Clarke and others continually refer to the out of control school spending, while recognizing that contractual obligations are not flexible. Stakeholders in the schools are criticized for suggesting no cuts, but absent true stakeholders in the township (except those supporting the fire and emt programs that need funding) scrutinize any suggestion that taxes on property need to be reflective of the standards in our community.
    Those already paying a tax that goes elsewhere want relief of their property burden by taxing others who do not work in areas with earned income tax here — regardless of the history of tax study commissions.

    I’m not sure there are any easy answers, but I do believe that POLITICS are at the root of the solutions. Vote for your candidate….don’t just bemoan the actions of those in power. OR RUN YOURSELF.

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