Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Township Board & Commission Vacancies . . . Appointments Without Partisan Politics

Last night was the first meeting of the township’s new Historical Commission. The seven members of the HARB (Historical Architecture Review Board) were appointed to the Historical Commission. The new commission was established with nine members.

A Community Matters reader reminded me that I should advertise the two vacancies on the Historical Commission. We need one of the positions to be filled by a certified architect and the other would be for someone with a background/interest in historic preservation, history or archeology. I and three other Historical Commission members are working on a Chester County historic resource mapping project which has been fun – we’re locating and identifying all properties that are 75 years or older in the township, that were not included in the historic resource survey the HARB did 6 years ago. Unfortunately, we have discovered a number of the historic resources no longer exist.

If I am going to name the vacancies on the Historical Commission, I thought it would be good to review all the boards and commissions in the township . . . and see where there are other vacancies. Municipal boards, commissions and advisory committees exist to further the township’s success through the volunteer participation of citizens in the daily business of community government.

The following vacancies currently exist in the township. If you visit the township website, you can read the requirements and mission of each of these boards.

  • Cable TV Advisory Committee (CATV) – 1 vacancy
  • Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) – 1 vacancy
  • Historical Commission – 2 vacancies, (one position is for certified architect)
  • Municipal Authority – 2 vacancies

How does the process work for board appointments? I assume that my appointment to HARB (and now the Historical Commission) is similar to other boards/commissions. If you are interested in serving and have the background, experience or skill requirement you send a resume and letter of interest to the township at . The supervisors are notified of your interest and an interview time is scheduled. It has been awhile ago, but I think there were 4 supervisors at my interview.

I want to believe that all board appointments are made for the right reason. Appointments on boards and commissions should go to those that are best qualified to serve in that position. In the past, there has been talk of partisan appointments to some of the township boards. In response to this kind of discussion, I have deferred to the HARB (now Historical Commission) and its members. Historic preservation is very specific and those that serve are passionate about the history of the community and its historic resources. As an example, our group has always been without the bias of partisan politics.

However, is the policy of nonpartisan appointments the same if you want to volunteer for other township boards, such as the Zoning Hearing Board or the Planning Commission? In my world, I would hope that the Board of Supervisors would treat applicants equally and choose the best qualified candidate, regardless of their political party affiliation. There should be a sense of fairness to the board and commission appointments. Citizens should apply and feel they have an equal opportunity to serve on any board or commission, regardless of their political affiliation.

If they are the most qualified and have a willingness to serve, all citizens should be welcomed. If any of these vacancies appeal to you, I would encourage you to submit your resumes. It is a wonderful way to volunteer and help your community.

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  1. Pattye,

    Thanks for your story about the openings on the various Township Boards.

    You have a wide readership…and like the kids from Lake Woebegone, I like to think all of them are above average (I say that in part because I am one of your loyal readers).

    Hopefully, many of your talented readers will answer the call and seek one of the Township positions that are vacant.

    I agree with you that the Zoning Board and the Planning Commission tend to be more partisan in terms of who gets appointed than the other Boards, but it is my understanding that there are some Democrats on both those /Commissions. It is also my understanding that the members of both groups almost always reach a consensus on the issues that are before them, which is a hopeful sign of bi-partisan cooperation (now if only our Congress could be as cooperative).

  2. Bi-partisan is over-rated. Well qualified is not.

    You don’t need people from any party to reach fair decisions. I believe partisanship diminishes clear thinking — “vote with your party” instead of voting for the best decision. In a township such as ours, the “base” should be the residents, not the politically connected. It’s our fault when we blindly follow an endorsement.

  3. I am confused by the term partisanship. Seems like it has existed in our country forever. There is no partisanship in North Korea, Syria, Iran..I think there will be and should be partisanship in our government. It allows for differing opinions and discussion that should distill down to decisions that are positive and proactive. And if the electorate determines that is not to be the case, we have new election cycles to make corrections. Not flawless, but flawlessness is like infinity. Never get there.

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