Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Bob Lamina

Sidewalks Subcommittee Presentation Off Tonight’s Supervisors Agenda

Tonight’s Board of Supervisors meeting will not include Tory Snyder’s Sidewalk Subcommittee presentation on the agenda as previously advertised. I received a voice mail from Mimi Gleason stating that the sidewalks subcommittee presentation has been postponed to the next Board of Supervisors meeting on February 7. The stated reason for the change — Bob Lamina is away on business and unable to attend tonight’s meeting and EJ Richter is on vacation. There was a desire to have all the supervisors in attendance for the presentation and that would not be possible tonight. Interesting.

Next township meeting of importance this week . . . Personnel Committee (Bob Lamina, Phil Donahue, Michele Kichline) to interview the 4 supervisor candidates on Wednesday evening. Open to the public.

Are Tredyffrin Supervisors Politically-Motivated over Land Development Authority . . . Is it all about St. Davids Golf Club?

I attended Tredyffrin’s Planning Commission meeting last night. The last agenda item was “Draft Amendment to the Subdivision & Land Development Ordinance”.

As one who understands the importance of community volunteers, it saddened me to listen to the discussion on changing final land development authority from the Planning Commission to the Board of Supervisors. The Planning Commissioners are experienced, skilled and committed residents who spend countless hours in this volunteer position. They are dedicated to working together, collaborating with developers, architects, builders, etc. and making nonpartisan decisions. These volunteers are now discouraged and confused by the motive of the Board of Supervisors to take away their final land development authority. Regrettably, many believe that the desire by some supervisors to take back land development authority is politically motivated and personal.

One commissioner reported that there has only been one unhappy applicant in his many years of service on the Planning Commission. Unfortunately, the one unhappy applicant is St. Davids Golf Club. Three times this applicant came to the Planning Commission and each time the commissioners voted in favor of the land development plan, including the sidewalk.

The Planning Commissioners are not necessarily opposed to the Board of Supervisors taking final land development authority; but all seemingly question the ‘timing’ and the political motives behind the need to change the ordinance now. Although there is a liaison assigned to the Planning Commission, it was reported they have rarely seen their supervisor-assigned liaison attend a meeting. Which begs the question, if there is no interest in attending the Planning Commission meetings, why do they want to take on the entire job of land development review?

Do the supervisors have any idea the length of time that land development reviews will consume? Although Mimi Gleason pointed out that the township is about built out, as the economy improves there will be an increase in commercial redevelopment plus the significant Paoli Transportation Center land development project on the horizon. The Planning Commission has experienced professionals volunteering their time – planners, real estate developers, attorneys, etc. Our Planning Commissioners are volunteers with the specific skill set and willingness to commit the necessary time to the process . . . do we have supervisors with similar profiles?

Planning Commissioner Bob O’Leary has concern that changing the land development authority to the Board of Supervisors is going to increase staff time and the staff is already understaffed. If the ordinance is changed, an applicant will first go to the Planning Commission for review and then the applicant will have a second review by the Board of Supervisors. This double review procedure would be for both preliminary and final land development approval; doubling the work and expense of township staff. In addition, doubling the efforts of all land development applicants.

Tory Snyder, Planning Commissioner and a member of the Sidewalk Subcommittee will be making the Sidewalk Subcommittee’s presentation on Monday to the Board of Supervisors. The supervisors know that the sidewalk at St. Davids Golf Club is on the subcommittee’s map as a recommended site — part of the Green Routes Network. Three supervisors, Phil Donahue, Michele Kichline and EJ Richter were members of the Sidewalks Subcommittee. All three supervisors attended the last meeting of the subcommittee and voted in favor of the committee’s recommendations, including St. Davids Golf Club sidewalks.

Planning Commissioners believe that the Board of Supervisor’s desire to change the land development authority is directly related to their St. Davids Golf Club decision. As Bob Whalen, chair of the Planning Commission said, ‘We voted on the issue three times unanimously; we didn’t vote on what was political, but voted on what was right”. Whalen said that he does not intend to waste any more time on the ordinance. He views the proposed ordinance change as a “Slap in the face to the Planning Commission. I know the difference between right and wrong.”

I hate the thought that the Sidewalks Committee and the time and efforts of the volunteers was nothing more than a charade . . . all leading up to the St. Davids Golf Club decision and Board of Supervisors change to the land development authority. No doubt, some supervisors expected the Sidewalks Committee recommendations would echo their desires; making it easier for these supervisors to deliver good news to the country club. These supervisors probably thought that by handpicking the members of the Sidewalks Committee would somehow guarantee the appropriate outcome.

I salute the members of the Sidewalks Committee who engaged community members through public meetings, accepted input from interested citizens, created maps and conducted a township-wide survey to get a consensus on sidewalks, bike trails and paths needs throughout the township. However, their thorough, thoughtful and independent analysis did not deliver the outcome desired by some supervisors.

Another group of volunteers ‘on hold’ is the Sidewalks, Trail, and Path (STAP) committee. If there is sufficient support from some members of the Board of Supervisors, the time and talents of these volunteers may also no longer be needed.

There is a curious element to the land development authority discussion that cannot yet be calculated. I was told by several sources that the current vote is 3-3 among the supervisors on the question of land development authority. Three supervisors want the authority to remain with the Planning Commission and three supervisors want the final authority to shift to the Board of Supervisors.

However, here’s the interesting twist . . . The Board of Supervisors will appoint a supervisor to fill the supervisor vacancy prior to the March public hearing on the land development authority. With the current supervisor vote count at 3-3, that new supervisor could be the tiebreaker! Wonder what supervisor candidates John Bravacos, Kristen Mayock, Eamon Brazunas and Mike Heaberg have to say about the land development authority? I think that would make for a very interesting question at next week’s candidate interviews.

In summary, the Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday, January 24, 7:30 PM is important. Please plan to either attend or watch from home.

What do these things have in common . . . St. Davids Golf Club, Planning Commission, BAWG, Sidewalk Subcommittee, land development authority, STAP, Board of Supervisors?

What do these things have in common . . . St. Davids Golf Club, Planning Commission, BAWG, Sidewalk Subcommittee, land development authority, STAP, Board of Supervisors?

In looking at Tredyffrin’s Planning Commission agenda for tonight’s meeting, I discovered an interesting item listed under ‘new’ business — “Draft Amendment to the Subdivision & Land Development Ordinance”.

To understand the Planning Commission agenda item, you will need to recall a Board of Supervisors motion from this past December. At that meeting, Supervisor Bob Lamina questioned whether the Planning Commission should continue to have land development authority in the township . . . he thought that authority over land development should revert to the supervisors (as was the case many years ago). However, to make an ordinance change requires a public hearing, which is scheduled for February 28.

Here’s the significance of the Planning Commission agenda item . . . the Planning Commissioners are expected to draft the amendment that will relieve them of their land development authority and give that authority to the Board of Supervisors.

There are more connections. How many of you remember the community discontent and hostility over St. Davids Golf Club and the recommendation contained in the BAWG report suggesting the township accept $50K in lieu of building sidewalks. Even though there was a signed contract between the township and St. Davids requiring the sidewalks, the Board of Supervisors pushed through a motion to return the $25K escrow money to the country club; removing the sidewalk requirement. After much media publicity, many letters to the editor, accusations of Home Rule Charter violations, claims of deal-making and resident outrage, the Board of Supervisors reversed their earlier decision.

The reversal of the Board of Supervisors decision to return the escrow money had an interesting caveat attached. St. Davids escrow money and the decision to require the construction of sidewalks was put ‘on hold’ pending the outcome of the Sidewalks Subcommittee recommendations. At the same time the supervisors reversed their decision, they created a Sidewalks Subcommittee whose goal was to adopt a formal sidewalk policy to recommend to the Board of Supervisors. Members appointed to the joint subcommittee were supervisors (Phil Donahue, EJ Richter, Michele Kichline), Planning Commissioners (Tory Snyder, Bob Whalen, Trip Lukens) and representatives from Sidewalks, Trails and Paths ‘STAP’ (Sean Moir, Beth Brake, Jim Donegan).

If you are interested in the St. Davids Golf Club-BAWG report background, go to the top right of Community Matters and enter the words, St. Davids in search. Or for a particularly passionate post, read St. Davids Golf Club Decision Reversed but, . . . Was There Full Disclosure, Transparency, Deal-Making and the corresponding 68 comments. (click here for that specific post).

The Sidewalks Subcommittee began meeting last spring. I attended most of the meetings and was impressed by their efforts. The committee engaged community members through public meetings and accepted input from interested citizens. They created maps and conducted a township-wide survey to get a consensus on sidewalks, bike trails and paths needs throughout the township. Their analysis was thorough and thoughtful.

At their last meeting (which I attended), the Sidewalk Subcommittee summarized their findings in preparation for a presentation at the upcoming Monday, January 24 Board of Supervisors meeting. Chair of the Sidewalk Subcommittee and a Planning Commissioner, Tory Synder will make the presentation and deliver the committee’s recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.

Are the supervisors going to take the recommendations of the Sidewalk Subcommittee or will their efforts be ignored? Will the St. Davids sidewalk requirement currently ‘on hold’ affect the supervisor’s decision to accept the Sidewalk Subcommittee recommendations? Will the signed contract between the country club and the township remain intact?

Supervisor Michele Kichline is an attorney and served on the Sidewalks Subcommittee . . . Michele knows contract law; how will she guide her fellow supervisors?

Here’s the million-dollar question – Does the proposed ordinance change to remove land development authority from the Planning Commission to the Board of Supervisors have any relationship with the St. Davids sidewalk issue? Remember, the Planning Commissioners required the sidewalks as part of country club’s land development project.

Do some of the supervisors think that if they take back land development authority, they can override the Planning Commissioners decision to require St. Davids to build the sidewalk?

Why change the land development ordinance now? Just coincidental timing or is the ultimate goal to release the country club from their contractual agreement with the township.

The St. Davids Golf Club sidewalk business was a very hostile time in our local government’s history. When elected officials go behind a closed-door and make decisions, the perception can be as bad as the fact. Let’s keep the door open! Here is one resident who does not want to see another similar watershed moment . . . the citizens of Tredyffrin deserve better.

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Important Dates:

  • Planning Commission Meeting, Thursday, January 20, 7 PM
  • Board of Supervisors Meeting, Monday, January 24, 7:30 PM
  • Land Development Ordinance, Public Hearing, Monday, February 28, 7:30 PM

Tredyffrin’s ‘Personnel Committee’ to Interview Supervisor Candidates

Here is the latest installment on the Tredyffrin’s interim supervisor appointment . . . I feel like keeping this interview process transparent has become my life’s work. With so many things going on in the world, why is it so important that this township process work correctly? Because it just is.

So where does the interview process currently stand? Well, here goes. I emailed our township manager Mimi Gleason (and copied township solicitor Tom Hogan and the Board of Supervisors) the link to the specific Community Matters post, along with reader comments. In my email, I addressed the issue of the supervisor’s Personnel Committee conducting the candidate interviews vs. the Board of Supervisors. I suggested “. . . the appointment of an elected official is not a personnel matter.” Further suggested that the “. . . situation could be easily remedied if all the supervisors were in attendance on January 26 and participated in the interview process.”

Here is Mimi’s response to that email:

Pattye,

The full Board must vote on the appointment of the interim Supervisor in a public meeting and will do so.

There is no problem with the Personnel Committee, or any other subcommittee of the Board, interviewing the candidates. The Home Rule Charter does not require the Board of Supervisors to interview the candidates. However, in the interests of full transparency, the Board has chosen to have interviews conducted by the Personnel Committee and has invited the public to the interviews. The Board is going beyond the minimum requirements of the Home Rule Charter and the Sunshine Act in order to provide even greater public access to this process.

I’ll be around all afternoon. Let me know if you have any more questions.

Mimi

After receiving this email, I still had questions for Mimi and sent the following email (copying Tom Hogan and Board of Supervisors):

Mimi –

Thank you for your response, however I do still have a few questions.

(1) You say that the Personnel Committee, or any subcommittee of the Board of Supervisors can interview the candidates, then why the ‘Personnel Committee’ vs. the Finance Committee or any other subcommittee? If appointing an elected official is not a personnel matter, why choose the ‘Personnel’ Committee for the interviews?

(2) Bob Lamina stated at the Board of Supervisors meeting that the candidates would be interviewed by the supervisors. By having a ‘committee’ rather than the Board of Supervisors interview, is this really meeting the objective?

(3) I appreciate that there is no requirement for the Board of Supervisors to interview the candidates in public; however, didn’t that option go away when the township advertised and solicited resumes for the vacancy; which was then followed by Bob Lamina’s statement that the supervisors would interview the candidates. Bob made a commitment to the residents that the supervisors would interview the candidates – there was no caveat from him that the interviews would be conducted by a subcommittee, Personnel Committee, etc. The implication of his words was ‘all the supervisors’ would interview.

(4) If only 3 of the supervisors are going to interview the candidates in the Community Room (without it being televised) how is that the other 3 supervisors (Olson, Richter, DiBuonaventuro) will know the candidates responses to the questions. If this interview process is public, will there be minutes taken of the meeting? How do the 3 supervisors who conduct the interviews discuss the matter with the 3 supervisors who do not attend the interviews, without breaking the Sunshine Law. I understand that the vote will be in public, but how can the supervisors discuss this matter prior to the public vote if 50% of the board does not participate in the interviews?

Mimi, you say that the supervisors are going beyond the requirements to provide transparency. If that is the case, then why not just have a quorum with 4 supervisors present for the interview process and remove doubt and questions about the process. The Board of Supervisors have an opportunity to make this process right.

I will put off posting information related to this topic on Community Matters until after business hours today. It is my hope that all supervisors appreciate the importance of the interview process and will be encouraged to participate . . . or at a minimum, one more supervisor beyond the 3 supervisors currently onboard.

Pattye

Rather than emailing her responses, Mimi called and we talked through my questions/concerns. Here is where we stand . . . the Personnel Committee, consisting of three supervisors (Lamina, Kichline, and Donahue) will conduct the supervisor interviews on Wednesday, January 26 at 7 PM; the public is welcome. Neither Mimi nor any other township staff will be present for the interviews and there will be no minutes of the meeting taken. The three candidates conducting the interview will apparently brief the other three supervisors on the interview process and the candidates.

Mimi explained that it was difficult to find an available date for all supervisors for the interviews. I asked if that was the reason there were only three supervisors instead of all six supervisors attending the interviews and she was not sure why. I suggested that an easy scheduling solution would be for the interviews to be conducted before or after the regularly scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday, January 24. Presumably, all supervisors could attend and since it was a public meeting, there would be a record of the meeting with minutes. I was told that this option was considered but not accepted . . . it was thought the interview process would take too long and they wanted the candidates to have sufficient time.

Although I encouraged a fourth supervisor should attend the interview process to have a quorum, at this point that appears unlikely. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if one of the other three supervisors, either JD, Paul Olson or Evelyn Richter, stepped up and agreed to participate in the interview process on January 26?

The appointment of an interim supervisor is a serious duty of our elected officials (even if only for a few months) and I do not want to see the process manipulated by politics.

What do I mean manipulated . . . ? Only one of the four supervisor candidates, John Bravacos, has stated that he will not be on the ballot for the Special Election in May. Presumably, the other three candidates, Eamon Brazunas, Mike Heaberg and Kristen Mayock, all intend to participate in the Special Election required to fill the vacancy.

To be clear, I am not questioning the credentials of these three candidates but the only non-political appointment for this interim supervisor position is John Bravacos. Additionally, John Bravacos is a former township supervisor and former chair. To appoint one of the other three candidates would be politically motivated and give an advantage to that individual in May’s Special Election. For the record, a Republican (Warren Kampf) held the vacated seat and John Bravacos is a Republican.

No Breaking the Sunshine Act in Tredyffrin . . . Interim Supervisor Candidates to be Interviewed!

I am pleased to report that interim supervisor candidates, John Bravacos, Eamon Brazunas, Mike Heaberg and Kristen Mayock, will be interviewed on Wednesday, January 26, 7 PM. The Board of Supervisor’s Personnel Committee (Bob Lamina, Phil Donahue and Michele Kichline) will conduct the interviews in the Community Meeting Room at the township building. The interview process will be open to the public.

I know some have questioned my need to see the interim supervisor candidate process remain transparent. I am very process-oriented and believe that less problems are created when procedures are followed. I think it’s OK to question the way things are done but unless a process is ‘officially changed’; it is important that the rules are followed. If you don’t like a specific rule, fine . . . work to change it. Just don’t arbitrarily break the rule because you know better. Although some may question my dogged approach to transparency in regards to the supervisor vacancy — for me, it is about encouraging an open public process from our elected officials.

Keeping Tredyffrin’s Interim Supervisor Appointment ProcessTransparent

As a personal effort to understand the township’s interim supervisor candidate interview process, I sent the following email to Mimi Gleason yesterday and copied Tredyffrin’s solicitor Tom Hogan and the Board of Supervisors.

Mimi –

I have a couple of questions concerning the interim supervisor candidates and interview process; and hope that you can help.

(1) Understanding that yesterday, January 10 was the deadline for residents to submit their bios, resume, etc. to the township if interested in the interim supervisor position, could you please tell me if any additional applications were received. That is, any additional applications other than those received from John Bravacos, Eamon Brazunas, Mike Heaberg and Kristen Mayock.

(2) As stated at the January 3 Board of Supervisors meeting by Chairman Bob Lamina, we understand that all interim supervisor candidates will be interviewed. Now that the deadline for receiving applications has occurred, could you please let me know the anticipated schedule for interviewing candidates? With the clock ticking and the time constraints of the individual supervisors and candidates, I imagine that finding an acceptable candidate interview date is difficult.

The residents were informed of the candidate interviews at the last Board of Supervisors meeting and we all understand the importance of the process. As the candidate process is public information, your response to this inquiry would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

Kind regards,

Pattye Benson

There are reports of Sunshine Act violations by elected officials in other municipalities almost daily in the newspapers. My email to Mimi was a personal attempt to encourage an open and transparent process in the interim supervisor appointment; thus avoiding any suggestion of Sunshine Act violations by our township officials.

There may be ‘doubting Thomases’ among you, but I am pleased to report that I received a response to my inquiry from our township manager by the end of the day. In an email reply, Mimi confirmed that no additional residents applied for the supervisor vacancy. John Bravacos, Eamon Brazunas, Mike Heaberg and Kristen Mayock are the four township residents to be considered for the interim supervisor position.

Mimi confirmed that it is a “ . . . challenge finding an interview date.” She explained that she does not have a date or any more information on the process. However, Mimi offered that, “When it’s sorted out (and yes, that has to be soon) . . . “ that she would let me know the plan.

It appears that our township manager (and supervisors) understand the importance of keeping the interim supervisor appointment process open and transparent to the community. As information about the appointment process develops, I will keep readers informed through Community Matters.

Swedesford Road Open Space Guard Rail Replaced Today!

What’s the saying, a picture is worth a 1,000 words?

If you recall back in December there was discussion on the Swedesford Road Open Space repair project and whether the public works project should move forward in 2011.

As the closest resident to the Swedesford Road Open Space property, I believed a first-hand account of safety issues surrounding the property and its usage was important for the record and I spoke up at the December 21 Board of Supervisors meeting. I offered to the supervisors that for the open space to be available for public use, that the township bears a responsibility to make the property accessible and safe for visitors. I explained that a large section of guard rail at the entrance of the open space is dislodged to a recent accident. I stated that my husband and I do not have an opinion one way or the other about the bridge repair but thought it important to underscore the safety issues when visitors are forced to back out on to Swedesford Road because there is no turnaround space.

One of the supervisors suggested that I was ‘over-dramatizing’ the situation, that there had been no ‘reportable accidents’ and debated my remarks. The supervisor further suggested that visitors to the open space could just look in their rear view mirror and back out on to Swedesford Road.

Fast forward and for the better portion of today, an entire crew of workers, have been replacing the damaged guard rail on Swedesford Road at the entrance of the open space . . . the exact section of the guard rail that I reported to the supervisors in December was caused by an accident. I asked one of the guard rail workers what they were doing . . . and he responded that the police had called to report an accident and need for the guard rail repair. I asked when he received the report for repair; was the report in the last day or two. No, he explained that the report was probably a month ago.

Although I was told at the Board of Supervisors meeting there had been no ‘reportable accidents’ at this site, . . . we have repair to the guard rail at this site occurring today due to an accident. So very interesting!

To be clear, I am not saying (nor did I say at the Board of Supervisors meeting) that the accident occurred as a result of a car entering or exiting the Swedesford Road Open Space. I don’t know whether that was the cause of the accident or not. I only know this is a dangerous location (in the bend of the road) and backing out on to Swedesford Road is not appropriate.

Evidenced by a requirement to replace guard rails due to a ‘reported accident’ at the entrance to the Swedesford Road Open Space, these photos illustrate today’s repair work.

PA Sunshine Act Requires Tredyffrin’s Interim Supervisor Candidates to be Interviewed in Public

At the January 3 meeting, township supervisor Bob Lamina formally announced a board vacancy. Interested residents were invited to submit their resumes to the township manager by January 10. The process for appointing a new supervisor as explained by Lamina was that the candidates would be interviewed by the supervisors and then a vote and appointment would take place at the February 7 Board of Supervisors meeting.

This process appeared to be straightforward to me. As you know, I called the township manager and received the names of the five individuals that had submitted resumes. I contacted the candidates and asked for their resumes, bio, etc. Three of the candidates (John Bravacos, Eamon Brazunas, and Kristen Mayock) supplied the information to me and the other two candidates (Mike Heaberg, Joe Muir) choose not to provide the information. In lieu of a resume from these two candidates, I provided a short bio.

What a difference a day makes! After numerous calls, emails, etc. I now understand that Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act complicates what appeared to be a simple, straightforward process to interview the interim supervisor candidates. Under the Sunshine Law, the selection of a replacement supervisor is required to proceed in a fashion that is substantially different from what would likely be the case in a non-municipal setting.

At the beginning of each township supervisor meeting, the chair of the Board of Supervisors announces the topics that were discussed in Executive Session. There are only three topics that qualify for private discussion (for purposes of reaching a decision) by the supervisors. Those three, that qualify under certain circumstances for Executive Session consideration involve: 1) certain legal related items; 2) certain real estate acquisition related items; and 3) certain personnel related items. The twist with #3 (and the reason that interviewing supervisor candidates does not qualify) is that a township supervisor is not an employee, from the standpoint of qualifying as a ‘personnel type’ that may qualify for executive session activity. In other words, the whole process, including the interviews for a replacement interim supervisor, is required by the Sunshine Act to occur in advertised public meetings.

If you are interested in further information, here is a link to the Sunshine Act, http://www.openrecordspa.org/sunshine.html A statement to consider from the Open Records website, “Open meetings are the basis for positive discussions between citizens and their elected officials. Government decisions should not be made in secret.”

So what does all this mean for the selection of an interim supervisor for Tredyffrin . . . ? It seems clear to me that the Sunshine Act requires public agencies to hold open meetings, provides for behind-closed-doors executive sessions in certain cases but specifically prohibits ones “involving the appointment or selection of any person to fill a vacancy in any elected office.” There is a regularly scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday, January 24 where the interview process of prospective interim supervisor candidates could take place. Since all Board of Supervisors meetings are advertised, I am guessing there would be no additional advertising (or expense) to the township. On the other hand, if I understand the Sunshine Act correctly, a Special Supervisors Meeting could be scheduled (and advertised) for interviewing the candidates.

However, the clock is ticking . . . so I suppose that the township manager, solicitor and Board of Supervisors are working on the next step to schedule the interview date for the five candidates. Again, remember you can still submit your resumes through Monday, January 10 to the township manager, Mimi Gleason at mgleason@tredyffrin.org. Having received emails/phone calls for me to encourage her, I am going to have another conversation with Judy DiFilippo and see if I can convince her to submit her resume to fill the interim supervisor position.

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, mgleason@tredyffrin.org

Filling Tredyffrin’s Interim Supervisor Vacancy

Tonight’s Board of Supervisors meeting agenda is now available online. In reviewing the agenda, I have a couple of questions.

At the last Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday, December 20, former township supervisor Warren Kampf tendered his letter of resignation at the end of the meeting. Because of the November’s election results and Kampf’s election to the State House, his supervisor resignation was no surprise. Anticipating his resignation, a notice on the township website asked those interested in the position to submit their resumes to Township Manager Mimi Gleason; I wrote of the notification on December 3.

I understood from the Home Rule Charter that the Board of Supervisors has 30 days to name an interim supervisor. My understanding was that the 30 days would commence from the announcement date of the vacancy (December 20). However, on tonight’s supervisors meting agenda, I noted an item ‘announcing the vacancy’. Understanding it is semantics, I assumed that the clock started ticking on December 20 rather than 2 weeks later, on January 3.

Below is the section in the Home Rule Charter that deals with supervisors vacancies. Reading HRC 205.C.2 confuses me – one way that I read it agrees with my theory that the clock started ticking from December 20 but it could also be interpreted that the clock starts at the next supervisor meeting after the vacancy is announced – which would be today, January 3.

I have another question about the vacancy process as based on the Home Rule Charter. If I understand the process, those interested in the supervisor position were to send their resumes to the township manager. The township manager would then pass the resumes to the supervisors for their review and appointment decision. The identity and resumes of those applying for the vacancy are not provided to the public . . . correct? Am I interpreting the Home Rule Charter correctly . . . the decision of the interim supervisor appointment is the choice of the Board of Supervisors.

I could use some help with interpreting the Home Rule Charter. If there are any municipal legal authorities reading this post, I welcome your comments.

205. VACANCIES.

A. The office of a Supervisor shall become vacant upon death, resignation, removal of place of residence from the Township (or, in the case of a District Supervisor, from a District represented), legal certification of mental disability, or forfeiture of office as authorized by law or this Charter.

B. The office of Supervisor shall be forfeited if he is declared by any Court of this Commonwealth to lack any qualifications for the office as prescribed by law or is convicted of any crime classified as a misdemeanor of the second degree or higher under the laws of this Commonwealth, or is convicted of any comparable crime under the laws of any state or of the United States.

C. Whenever a vacancy exists in the office of Supervisor, the vacancy shall be filled under the following procedures:

1. At the next election, primary, municipal or general, which takes place sixty days or more after such vacancy occurs, a special election to fill the vacancy for the balance of the unexpired term will be held. The special election shall be conducted in accordance with election laws of this Commonwealth. The person elected to fill the vacancy shall assume the office on the day following certification of the election results.

2. The Board shall, at its first regular or special public meeting after the vacancy occurs, give notice that a vacancy exists and shall state that it will make an interim appointment to fill the vacancy at its next public meeting which occurs not less that thirty days from the meeting at which the vacancy is announced. Following such notice, the Board by a majority vote of its remaining membership shall appoint a qualified elector of the Township, and in the case of a vacancy in the office of District Supervisor, a qualified elector of the District in which the vacancy exists, to fill the vacancy until a duly elected successor is sworn into office.

3. If the Board shall fail to fill a vacancy within sixty days after the vacancy occurs, the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, upon petition of any individual Supervisor, or upon petition of ten or more qualified electors of the Township, shall make the interim appointment to fill the vacancy until a duly elected successor is sworn into office.

4. In the event that sufficient vacancies exist so that the Board lacks a quorum necessary to do business, the remaining members of the Board shall immediately make an interim appointment or appointments to fill sufficient vacancies in the position of Supervisor from the Township at large to form a quorum. Thereafter, the remaining vacancies shall be filled as otherwise provided herein.

5. In the event that all of the positions on the Board should become vacant, the Court of Common Pleas shall immediately, upon petition of ten or more registered voters of the Township, make interim appointments to fill the offices of Supervisor from the Township at large. Thereafter, the remaining vacancies shall be filled as otherwise provided herein.

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