Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Tredyffrin Twp: Public Works Director Scott Cannon and Finance Director Tim Klarich are out and it’s only February!

Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors held a special board meeting on February 10 to terminate the employment of Public Works Director Scott Cannon. Stating several acts of misperformance, including two instances of improper disposal of materials on Township property in addition to procurement procedure violations, the supervisors voted unanimously to dismiss Cannon, without public discussion or comment.

Two weeks to the day after the Public Works Director’s termination, the ominous “discussion of personnel action items” appears on the Board of Supervisors agenda. We learned last night that the township’s Finance Director Tim Klarich is the next one out the door. Without explanation or discussion, the supervisors unanimously voted to accept the resignation of Klarich.

Although the public wasn’t privy to the details of Cannon’s termination, after only a couple of years in the job, I didn’t have a real sense of the pubic work director. On the other hand, Tim Klarich was Tredyffrin Township Finance Director for nearly 4 years. I found his analysis and preparation of the yearly township budget detailed and complete and his monthly financial updates to the board unfailingly thorough. Two township department heads gone in two weeks, there was an uneasiness with more questions than answers.

During the public comment period at the end of the meeting, I asked several questions and voice concern about Klarich’s abrupt departure from the township. When I received no response to my question as to when Klarich gave his resignation notice, I then asked ‘when’ his last day was. Board of Supervisor chair Mike Heaberg referred my questions to the solicitor Vince Donohue, who stated that yesterday (Monday) was his last day. Donohue then stated that because it was a personnel matter, there would be no further information. It was obvious to those in the audience that there was more behind the departure of Cannon and then two weeks later Klarich than was publicly provided. I

Falling under the jurisdiction of ‘legal and personnel matters’, it is highly unlikely that we will ever know the details of Cannon or Klarich recent departures from the township. Less than two months in to the New Year and two department heads are already gone — What’s that saying from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “Something is rotten in Denmark”? Makes you wonder if there is more house cleaning ahead from the Board of Supervisors.

From the T/E School Board meeting also held last night came the unanimous vote to approve the teachers to approve the new 3-year contract. Ray Clarke attended the TESD meeting and provides the following personal comments:

  • Dr. Waters actually lead the presentation of the TEEA contract. A surprise since he rarely speaks. He addressed many of the questions raised on CM, but with only occasional reference to the data on the slides so it was hard to follow, even for an experienced ear.
  • One of the ways that the impact is minimized is that the caps on column movement are lower than numbers assumed in the budget (but wouldn’t we have budgeted “status quo”?), and that difference is taken as “budgetary savings”
  • Also helping the overall budget is that (my estimates) there has been a redistribution of ~50 staff from the top level to the bottom levels through retirements and replacements. Dr Waters provided total staff by level which will be handy for those wanting to sanity check the calculated impact. No further “breakage” going forward is assumed in the impact assessment.
  • It sounded as though the one-time bonus was not included in the baseline numbers.
  • Note that the increased teacher contribution to healthcare premiums averages $74,000 per year – $160 per teacher. We should not lose sight of the fact that taxpayers fund a very generous benefits package!
  • Outside the contract, I thought that the Committee Chairs gave richer summaries of their recent meetings than we have been used to. Perhaps that’s wishful thinking, but to be encouraged!
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  1. This is bizarre. This concerns people charged with spending and overseeing our money and yet tax payers don’t have a clue about what’s going on because these are “legal and personnel matters”? Really? I understand that if there is legal and financial exposure the township has to be careful – but to provide no information at all?

    The only place to even find out that anything has happened is on CM because our local press has withered. So where can we expect the independent investigative reporting to come from? Perhaps the Inquirer will continue to expand its local coverage.

    1. For the record, I live in Willistown, so I don’t keep up too much on Tredyffrin. I am aware of this issue.

      Two different things. Klarich resigned. It happens. It’s really none of our business why he resigned. Cannon? His actions that led to his firing, those are a matter of public record. That is being investigated by several authorities (local, county, state). There could be federal issues as well. Not sure about that. Anytime you deal with environmental stuff, you just don’t know. The legal exposure the township could be facing, that is a legal matter of course and is an exception tot he Sunshine Act. Since Cannon’s actions lead to that, it may mean that all of that is also not subject to disclosure. This is different than the Harry Marrone fiasco which was made public. Eventually, this will all be out there.

      There is nothing to suggest there is anything that relates the Klarich or Cannon issues. I do get the sense that there is a feeling there is a right for the public to know everything right away. I can tell you for sure, there isn’t.

    2. Couldn’t agree more, it is bizarre. Both of these dept. heads Cannon and Klarich reported to Bill Martin. the township manager. These 2 people didnt leave within 2 wks of each by accident, there’s a connection. Where’s Heaberg on this situation?

      1. Bizarre that somebody resigned from a job? Absent any notion of malfeasance, it’s none of our business. A connection? You people need to give the conspiracy theories a rest.

        1. well, unless a reason is given for his resignation…people will speculate and come up with “conspiracy theories”. If there wasn’t two people out in a short span, I doubt people would be speculating as much… but that did happen, so we are where we are…

  2. even if cannon was never fired on those charges, his performance this season on snow removal is worthy of dismissal.

    there is a huge difference between TE streets and Radnor. Rte30 is a perfect example. i commute east on rte 30 to the blue route around 6 AM. as soon as you cross sugartown rd. the difference is night and day.

    Radnor has a fleet of large dump trucks plowing and salting before morning rush while TE has what looks like small pickup trucks barely doing anything and no salt.

    something has got to be done with this public works department. its really unacceptable for a town of this stature to have such poor performing PW.

  3. True but local municipalities do the snow removal. All trucks in radnor had township signage. The TE trucks varied between township and private.

    Like I said, the township lines were painfully obvious. If penndot did the plowing, it would be one seamless path across all borders.

  4. While we analyze the infamous contribution to the health plan, can someone take a moment and ask to see the plan itself…and if there is ANY deductible at all? For years, it’s been first dollar coverage with low copays…and apparently no one cares enough (or understands the implications) to get this fixed once and for all.

    If there is a deductible, I apologize for this view….but there hasn’t been one in the past.

  5. Side,

    Who does one ask to see the plan itself? I believe people don’t understand the implications. Would a RTK have to be filed to get this information or do you think they would freely give it. Why do you think they won’tuse the healthcare plan to balance the budget? It would be so easy, but they won’t do it.

    From talking to people in the community, every single person finds the pension issue to be the biggest problem, followed by healthcare and then salaries.

    Parent residents are not vocal about this topic and it always leads me to believe they are unaware, but most are aware. When asked, they know way more than you think and most have an opinion.

      1. Thanks. That’s what I thought too.

        I haven’t filed because I’m not sure it’s effective. From what I have observed in TE and U-CF, this is how it works: the very people who make the decision to release the requested information, are the very same people who don’t want it released in the first place. So after a month and a few days, the RTK filer gets a response that says something like “You didn’t ask the information in the right way” Or “because of confidentiality reasons, we can’t answer your question.”

        So then you can talk to a board member about it but they back up the decision maker 100% of the time so the tax payer is shut down with no place left to turn.

    1. SL is right. A RTK request is the only way you could see the plan. But let’s say you do get to see the plan. Is that really going to help? Will you really understand? What are you going to do about it? Do you really think you can stop this? You have two new Democrats on the board. Has anything really changed? Looking over at the school board, you have a new Democrat there too. Has anything really changed? No.

      From talking to people in the community, every single person finds the pension issue to be the biggest problem, followed by healthcare and then salaries.

      Really? The pension issue is the biggest problem? Most people don’t know about the issue? This “pension issue” as you call it has been around for nearly 20 years. Kampf has certainly made it an issue. His party was the one who got us in this mess in the first place. Tredyffrin could have paid along the way. It didn’t. When Kampf was a supervisor and chairman, he could have introduced measures to not defer. He chose not to do that. Why? Because it would have meant tax increases, which would have been unpopular.

      Most people are unaware. And most don’t really care. They live their lives according to what they can control. Most people don’t sit around, worrying and complaining about things they can’t control.

      Nothing is easy as it seems.

      1. Watching,

        Calm down. If you read my post again, you’ll read that I said, people find the pension issue to be the biggest problem, I didn’t say it is the biggest problem and I diidn’t comment about how long it’s been around or that Kampf has made it an issue. I can’t control what others know and don’t know and find important or unimportant.

        Most people are aware. Most people are frustrated. Most people don’t know what to do.

        There are two new R’s on the Board and one new D on the Board and Yes I know things have changed.

        Is it going to help? Yes
        Will I understand Yes
        Do I think I can stop this? Not by myself, but yes I think it can definitely be stopped.

        1. Because people don’t speak out or blog, even behind an alias does not mean they are unaware or happy with the way things are going.

          Citizens are uncomfortable speaking out and don’t like giving their opinion in large groups.

          Citizens, parents and tax payers are disgruntled. If they start feeling enough pain, or if someone starts organizing, things will change more rapidly then they already are.

          Look at the township: new President, new manger, D’s on the BOS. It happens. Now the public works manager is fired and the finance director is gone too. Did you ever think that would happen?

  6. just drive down North Wayne Ave… Cross from Tred to Radnor.. there is a difference in plowing..

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