John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Governance Category

John Mack's Supervisor Report for February 2019

The following is a summary of my Supervisor-related activities for February, 2019. I spent only about 26 hours this month on official Supervisor business compared to an average of 50 hours per month in 2018. I attribute this below average number of hours to (1) time off for a vacation in Florida for a few days:

A little R&R is good!

(2) the cancellation of meetings due to snow, and (3) two very short BOS Definition meetings, including the February 27 session featuring the swearing in a new Police Chief.

What This Report Does Not Include

My log of Supervisor-related activities does not include the many hours I spend posting to this blog, maintaining my personal website, writing a newsletter, creating and posting video clips from meetings, hosting podcast interviews, summarizing decisions made by the Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition), etc. Also not included is the time I spend posting to my personal Facebook page, Twitter account, and Instagram account. These activities are NOT part of my official duties as Supervisor, but represent my personal views.

My log keeps track of the time spent on the following:

  • Attending “Required” Meetings
  • Preparation for BOS Meetings
  • Attending Optional Meetings/Activities
  • Interaction with Residents
  • Travel To & From Meetings

Meetings

In the month of February 2019, I spent about 8 hours attending meetings. The average for the 4th quarter of 2018 was 16.1 hours per month. BOS meetings are “required” in the sense that I am expected to attend them in order to satisfy my duties as a Supervisor. These include regular bi-weekly public meetings, non-public executive sessions, public work sessions, and special meetings (see the list below).

“Other Meetings” I attended were optional. For February, 2019, I attended a Joint Zoning Council Definition meeting and the Annual BCATO Definition Convention on February 16, 2019

Interaction with Residents

In my opinion, personal interaction with residents regarding their concerns is an important part of my responsibilities as Supervisor. I want to be sure that I spend enough time reaching out to and responding to residents via personal contact, official email via my johnm@newtownpa.gov account and via my personal john@johnmacknewtown.info account, and via phone and/or Facebook.

In February, 2019, I spent 3.8 hours (15% of my total logged hours) interacting with residents compared to an average of 6.7 hours per month in the fourth quarter of 2018. What did I discuss with residents? Here’s a partial list (some items are not included for confidentiality reasons):

  • Met with a resident interested in helping with activities related to the Human Relations Commission
  • Discussed with a resident ideas for enforcing speed limit on Frost Lane in the school zone. For some background on that, read "Frost Lane Traffic Study".
  • Participated in online discussions regarding Newtown Artesian Water Company's letter notifying residents that PFAS were detected in several sources of Township water.
  • Facebook discussion about ideas for bringing new business to Newtown.

Disclaimer

When speaking with residents on issues that may come before the BOS in the future for a vote, I never express an opinion as to how I will vote because I may not have all the information. Needless to say, I also do NOT discuss any confidential information that is not in the public domain. These discussions with residents are meant solely to inform me of their opinions, not for me to give them my opinion. Or it is just to listen to complaints/concerns and to forward them on to the BOS if necessary

I decided to keep track of my activities as a Supervisor on a monthly basis partly because I want to be accountable to residents, but also to make sure I am making the best use of my time. It's really an honor to serve the community! I learn something new every day and have met many fine people and volunteers who also put in a lot of time without any compensation at all. Thanks to everyone who help keep Newtown in business and safe.

Compare to: John Mack's Supervisor Report for January 2019

Posted on 01 Mar 2019, 10:38 - Category: Governance

Township Supervisors Are a Rare Breed

Those unfamiliar with the role of a township supervisor may wonder: What exactly do we do?

The Q1 2019 Townships Today newsletter published by the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors was created to educate the public about the job of the township supervisor (see below). Most people don't realize the hard work and sacrifices involved in public service. As Local Government Week nears, this is the perfect opportunity to start building that understanding.

You can learn more about how I spend my time as Supervisor by viewing my Monthly Supervisor Reports here.

Posted on 12 Feb 2019, 01:01 - Category: Governance

John Mack's Supervisor Report for January 2019

The following is a summary of my Supervisor-related activities for January, 2019, which was a busy month in terms of interaction with residents but light in terms of time spent at official required meetings. In January, I spent a total of 56.3 hours on official Supervisor business. For comparison, in the last quarter of 2018 (Sep through Dec), I spent an average of 46.7 hours as Supervisor.

What This Report Does Not Include

My log of Supervisor-realted activiies does not include the many hours I spend posting to this blog, maintaining my personal website, writing a newsletter, creating and posting video clips from meetings, hosting podcast interviews, summarizing decisions made by the Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition), etc. Also not included is the time I spend posting to my personal Facebook page, Twitter account, and Instagram account. These activities are NOT part of my official duties as Supervisor, but represent my personal views.

My log keeps track of the time spent on the following:

  • Attending “Required” Meetings
  • Preparation for BOS Meetings
  • Attending Optional Meetings/Activities
  • Interaction with Residents
  • Travel To & From Meetings

Meetings

In the month of January 2019, I spent 8 hours attending meetings. The average for the 4th quarter of 2018 was 16.1 hours per month. BOS meetings are “required” in the sense that I am expected to attend them in order to satisfy my duties as a Supervisor. These include regular bi-weekly public meetings, non-public executive sessions, public work sessions, and special meetings (see the list below).

“Other Meetings” I attended were optional. For January, 2019, the only optional meeting I attended was the Technology Committee meeting. The following chart shows the breakdown of all my Supervisor-related activities for January, 2019:

Interaction with Residents

In my opinion, personal interaction with residents regarding their concerns is an important part of my responsibilities as Supervisor. I want to be sure that I spend enough time reaching out to and responding to residents via personal contact, official email via my johnm@newtownpa.gov account and via my personal john@johnmacknewtown.info account, and via phone and/or Facebook.

In January, 2019, I spent approximately 12.8 hours (24% of my total logged hours) interacting with residents compared to an average of 6.7 hours per month in the fourth quarter of 2018. What did I discuss with residents? Here’s a partial list (some items are not included for confidentiality reasons):

Disclaimer

When speaking with residents on issues that may come before the BOS in the future for a vote, I never express an opinion as to how I will vote because I may not have all the information. Needless to say, I also do NOT discuss any confidential information that is not in the public domain. These discussions with residents are meant solely to inform me of their opinions, not for me to give them my opinion. Or it is just to listen to complaints/concerns and to forward them on to the BOS if necessary

I decided to keep track of my activities as a Supervisor on a monthly basis partly because I want to be accountable to residents, but also to make sure I am making the best use of my time. It's really an honor to serve the community! I learn something new every day and have met many fine people and volunteers who also put in a lot of time without any compensation at all. Thanks to everyone who help keep Newtown in business and safe.

Previous Reports

Posted on 02 Feb 2019, 13:01 - Category: Governance

The Reorganization of Newtown Township's Leadership 2019

Organization of the Board of Supervisors

  • Phil Calabro elected as Chairman
  • Linda Bobrin elected as Vice-Chairman
  • John Mack elected as Secretary/Assistant Treasurer

REPORTING DIRECTLY TO THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS TO SERVE THE TOWNSHIP WITH COMPENSATION FOR 2019

  • Micah Lewis appointed as Township Manager
  • Micah Lewis appointed as Township Treasurer [Mr. Lewis explained that as treasurer he is responsible for accounts payable and receivable and the budget process. Having the manager as treasurer is a common practice in Pennsylvania.]
  • The Law Offices of Sean Kilkenny appointed as Township Solicitor
  • Briana Stobbe appointed as Board of Supervisors Recording Secretary
  • Extend contract of Kurt M. Ferguson as Management Consultant ($18,000 for "Professional Services" is included in the 2019 budget to cover this expense)

REPORTING TO THE TOWNSHIP MANAGER TO SERVE WITH COMPENSATION FOR 2019

  • Remington & Vernick Engineers as Township Civil Engineers and Building Inspectors
  • T&M Associates as Township Traffic Engineers and for GIS  services
  • The law firm of Curtin & Heefner as Township Labor Attorneys
  • Remington & Vernick Engineers as Township Civil Engineer, General and Environmental Engineer and Lighting Consultant
  • Mockenhaupt Associates as Township Actuaries
  • Dahab Associates as Township Pension Investment Advisor
  • H.A. Thompson, The Hartford, Standard Insurance, Delaware Valley Workers Compensation Trust, Delaware Valley Insurance Trust, Delaware Valley Health Insurance Trust and ADP Services as brokers or carriers of Township Insurance and employee benefits
  • CKS Engineering as Township Planners
  • First National Bank of Newtown, T.D. Bank, Invest of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Local Government Investment Trust (PLGIT), First Priority Bank, and Univest Bank Corporation as Township Depositories
  • Maillie LLP as the independent auditor to audit the accounts of Newtown Township for fiscal year 2018
  • Video Gold for Video Production
  • Glenn Forsyth as Emergency Management Coordinator and fire code official

BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS INDIVIDUALS SERVING WITHOUT COMPENSATION (partial list)

  • Appoint Amber Ray (2019), Angelic Ranck (2019), Joe O'Neill (2019), Aamir Nayeem (2019), Mercy Ingraham (2019) to Human Relations Board
  • Appoint Jack Brod (2019), Dick Weaver (2019), George Skladany (2019), Peg Dissinger (2019), Mark Boada (2019), Stu Caplan (2019), David Oxley (2019) to Finance Committee
  • Appoint Jack Brod (2019), Dick Weaver (2019), George Skladany (2019), Peg Dissinger to Planning Commission (4-year term)(2019), Mark Boada (2019), Stu Caplan (2019), David Oxley (2019) to Finance Committee
  • Affirm the appointment of Brandon Wind (2019), Timothy Potero (2020), Michael Iapalucci (2021), Bill Wall (2022) and to appoint Josephine Vlastaris (2023) to Zoning Hearing Board (5-year term)
  • Peg Dissinger appointed to Vacancy Board (1-year term)
  • Affirm appointment of Denis D'Arcy(2019), Joel Grosso (2019), Catherine Anne Porter (2019), Sue Sutton (2020), and Rachel Chafetz (2020), and to appoint Mark Stout (2020), Kathy Kelly (2021), Robert Wolf (2021), Andy Levine (2021) to Parks & Recreation Board (3-year term)
  • Affirm the appointment of Jeannette Rogers (2019), Lisa Ray (2020), David Wolcott (2021), and to appoint Craig Deutsch (2022) to Newtown Area Joint Historic Commission (4-year term)
  • Affirm the appointment of Joseph McKernan (2019), William Mahler (2020), Peggy Driscoll as Planning Commission Liaison (a voting member), Mary Donaldson (2021) and Remington & Vernick Engineers as (Building Inspector), and to appoint Mike Crane (2022) and Harriet Beckert (2022) to Historical Architectural Review Board (4 Year Term)
  • Affirm the appointment of Michael Gallagher (2019), Gerry Couch (2020), and Jerry Schenkman (2022) to Newtown Joint Municipal Sewer Authority Board (5-year term)
  • Amy Easterly, George Skladany,  Neil Schnitzer, and Brenna Luczyszyn  appointed to Environmental Advisory Council (3-year term)
  • Appoint John Mack as Tax Collection Committee Delegate and Micah Lewis as alternate to Tax Collection Management Committee
  • Affirm the appointment Dan Paramesh (2019), Jonathan Schnell (2019), Jack Melvin (2020), Tim Clausz (2020), Angela Poston (2020), and to appoint Premsun Rajesh (2021) and vacant (2021) to Technology Committee (3 Year Term)

LIAISON & COORDINATION ASSIGNMENTS

  • Bucks County Association of Township Officials: John Mack
  • Bucks County Community College: Phillip Calabro
  • Community Service Organizations: Kyle Davis
  • Council Rock School Board: Linda Bobrin
  • Council Rock Senior Center: Dennis Fisher
  • Homeowners Associations: John Mack/Linda Bobrin
  • Historical Architecture Review Board: Kyle Davis
  • Joint Zoning Council Board: Supervisors (all)
  • Newtown American Legion Ambulance Squad: Kyle Davis
  • Newtown Borough Council: Phillip Calabro
  • Newtown Fire Association: John Mack/Dennis Fisher
  • Newtown Joint Historical Commission: Kyle Davis
  • Joint Municipal Sewer Authority: Linda Bobrin
  • Parks and Recreation Board: Kyle Davis/Linda Bobrin
  • Planning Commission: Phillip Calabro/Linda Bobrin
  • County Tax Board: Dennis Fisher
  • Environmental Advisory Council: Dennis Fisher
  • Technology Committee: John Mack/Kyle Davis
  • Finance Committee: Dennis Fisher
  • Veterans Committee: Linda Bobrin

Posted on 27 Jan 2019, 10:21 - Category: Governance

Agenda Highlights for January 23, 2019 BOS Meeting

The following are highlights from the official agenda of the January 23, 2019, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting. BOS meetings begin at 7 PM and are held in the Newtown Township Public Meeting Room, 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, PA. Access the full agenda here.

Presentation 

2018 Fire and Emergency Service Study - Dr. Harry Carter, Ph.D. For a summary of the recommendations proposed, read “Newtown Township Releases the 2018 Fire and Emergency Services Study

Land Development

Bucks County Community College - Waiver of Stormwater Management Requirements

Manager's Report

Resolution establishing procurement procedures for the hiring of professionals for Pension Plans, in accordance with Act 44 Definition.

Consideration to approve a Resolution making a supplemental appropriation of funds in the 2019 Budget to allow $40,000 to be allocated for the DCED Early Intervention Program Grant. Listen to Andrew Sheaf, Local Government Policy Manager at the PA Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED Definition) as he answers Newtown Township Board of Supervisors' questions about the Early Intervention Program (EIP) at the November 19, 2018 Work Session meeting.

Motion to purchase 3 police vehicles through Fred Beans Inc. through COSTARS in the amount of $92,269.00.

Motion to purchase lighting and equipment for 3 police vehicles through HAVIS, Inc. through COSTARS in the amount of $36,730.08

Note: The Township received a Keystone Community Grant of $94,000 from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to be used for the purchase of two (2) police Harley Davidson motorcycles and a Ford F-250 Pickup Truck (see here).

Motion to advertise for the purchase of two police motorcycles, lighting, and equipment through PennBID

PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR DefinitionGrant Discussion: Mr. Lewis has been identifying grant opportunities to implement the trail plan. The priority is to complete the Lower Dolington Trail funding as it is the number one trail on the list. The DCNR recreation and conservation grants program will be accepting applications from January 22 to April 10, 2019.

Posted on 21 Jan 2019, 12:23 - Category: Governance

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The opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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