I do solemnly swear . . .
Tonight at 7 PM, Tredyffrin Township will swear in four supervisors to the Board of Supervisors. Incumbent Paul Olson (R), who narrowly beat his Democratic opponent Tory Snyder in the general election, begins his new term as the most senior and longest-serving member of the Board of Supervisors. John DiBuonaventuro (R) will be sworn in tonight for his second term as supervisor. JD has the distinction of second longest-serving supervisor and ran as an uncontested candidate in the last election. Mike Heaberg (R) will be sworn in for his first full term as a supervisor, having served on the Board in 2011 as an interim supervisor. If you recall, Heaberg was appointed to fill the vacated seat of Warren Kampf, who resigned after winning his State House 157 election. Heaberg won the special election in May; continuing to serve on the Board of Supervisors.
Newly elected to the Board of Supervisors in November’s general election, Kristen Mayock (R) will take her place on the dais among her fellow Republicans. Kristen’s election to the Board leaves a vacancy on the township’s Zoning Hearing Board. Supervisor Michele Kichline, also an attorney, served on the ZHB before her election to the Board of Supervisors. It has been several years since there were three women serving together on the Board – it will be interesting to watch that dynamic at play.
Something else that the women on Tredyffrin’s Board of Supervisors share in common … Mayock, Kichline and EJ Richter are all TTGOP committeewomen. Two years ago, (January 12, 2010) I wrote an article for Community Matters, “Tredyffrin’s Board of Supervisors – Some are Political Party Committee Members – is this OK? Radnor Township Says No for their Commissioners”.
I have been open in my concerns related to political committee people who continue to serve in that capacity once elected to the Board of Supervisors. As I stated in 2010, “… supervisors are elected to serve all the residents, and by remaining a committee person for a particular party, I would think that there is an appearance that a political committee person would ‘lean’ in the direction of their party.”
As was the case in 2010, of the seven members of Tredyffrin’s 2012 Board of Supervisors, we once again have three supervisors who are also TTGOP committee members (Kichline, Richter and Mayock).
Although Tredyffrin Township’s Home Rule Charter does not address this subject, neighboring Radnor Township, which also uses Home Rule Charter for their local government, is very clear on the topic and what they perceive is a conflict of interest:
From Radnor Township’s Home Rule Charter:
§ 21.9-904. Prohibitions.
A. The activities which follow shall be prohibited in the operation of the Township government.
3. Political Party Office. No Township official elected under this Charter, no appointed official, and no full-time Township employee shall hold any elected or appointed political party office.
Under the penalty section, Radnor’s Home Rule Charter further states:
B. Violation of any provision of this Section shall constitute grounds for forfeiture of office, termination of appointment, or dismissal.
So . . . do I expect supervisors Kichline, Richter and Mayock to step down from their TTGOP committee member positions? No. However, as we look ahead to tonight’s Board of Supervisors swearing-in ceremony, I do point to this information as cautionary. Whether political committee members or not, I hope that all our supervisors appreciate that once elected, they are to represent and serve all of the residents of Tredyffrin Township, regardless of political party affiliations.
As the Board of Supervisors starts a new year of service to the community, I offer my best wishes for a successful 2012.