John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Open Records/Transparency Category

My "Lazy" Summer as Supervisor, Part 2: Activities for August 2019

As expected, I've had another "lazy" summer month as Supervisor in August. In fact I spent almost exactly the same amount of time on official Supervisor business in August, 2019, as I did in July, 2019: 28 hours! That's way below the average of 43 hours per month for the 12-month period of September, 2018 through August, 2019.

As in July, I spent less than 3 hours attending required meetings in August, primarily because the township is on a summer schedule with only one Board of Supervisor (BOS) meeting for the months of July and August.

Although things were slow in the summer, I expect my activity to pick up substantially in September.

Log of Hours Spent on Official Business

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

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.

Also not included in this log are the many hours I am spending canvassing door-to-door campaigning for re-election from now until Election Day on November 5, 2019. Much of that time is spent discussing issues of importance to residents.
Meetings

In the month of August 2019, I spent about 8 hours attending township meetings (required and optional). The average for the 8-month period of Jan-Aug, 2019, was 9 hours per month.

Obviously, BOS meetings are the most important meetings - I am expected to attend them in order to satisfy my duties as a Supervisor. These include regular twice-per-month public meetings (except in July and August), and non-public executive sessions. Optional meetings include public work sessions, and special meetings (see the list below).

My Hourly "Wage"

Newtown Supervisors receive a compensation of $4,125 per year before taxes. That's about $344 per month. For the period of January 2019 through August 2019, I earned an average of $9.51 per hour, which is higher than PA's minimum wage of $7.50 per hour - a rate that has not increased since 2009! If I just attended required meetings without putting in any time preparing for those meetings, my compensation would be about $95 per hour.

“Other Meetings” I attended were optional. In August, 2019, I attended meetings of the Parks and Recreation Board, Finance Committee, Planning Commission, and the Newtown Fire Association.

The height of each bar represents total hours spent on official business that day. This includes time spent at meetings.
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 August 2019, I spent about 4.5 hours (17% of my total logged hours) interacting with residents, not including the hours I spent campaigning for re-election.

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.

Posted on 04 Sep 2019, 12:26 - Category: Open Records/Transparency

My "Lazy" Summer as Supervisor, Part 1: Official Activities for July 2019

This is a "lazy" summer so far. I spent only 28 hours in July 2019, on official Supervisor business! That's way below the average of 45 hours per month for the period of Jan-May, 2019.

I spent less than 3 hours attending required meetings, primarily because the township is on a summer schedule with only one Board of Supervisor (BOS) meeting for the months of July and August.

Although things are slowing down in the summer, I expect my activity to pick up substantially beginning in September.

Log of Hours Spent on Official Business

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

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.

Also not included in this log are the many hours I am spending canvassing door-to-door campaigning for re-election from now until Election Day on November 5, 2019. Much of that time is spent discussing issues of importance to residents.
Meetings

In the month of July 2019, I spent about 6 hours attending township meetings (required and optional). The average for the 5-month period of Jan-May, 2019, was 10 hours per month (including June, the average is 9 hours).

Obviously, BOS meetings are the most important meetings - I am expected to attend them in order to satisfy my duties as a Supervisor. These include regular twice-per-month public meetings (except in July and August), and non-public executive sessions. Optional meetings include public work sessions, and special meetings (see the list below).

“Other Meetings” I attended were optional. In July, 2019, I attended a Human Relations Commission public meeting on July 29, and a Newtown Fire Association meeting on July 30.

Interaction with Residents
Friends of Roberts Ridge Park Meeting

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 July 2019, I spent about 8 hours (28% of my total logged hours) interacting with residents, not including the hours I spent campaigning for re-election. Included in that were 3 hours spent at a Friends of Roberts Ridge party at my house(see photo).

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
The height of each bar represents total hours spent on official business that day. This includes time spent at meetings.

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.

Posted on 02 Aug 2019, 12:08 - Category: Open Records/Transparency

Open Records Requests Processed by Newtown Township in First Half of 2019

The Pennsylvania Right to Know (RTK) Law Definition, also known as the Pennsylvania Sunshine Law, is a series of laws designed to guarantee that the public has access to public records of governmental bodies in Pennsylvania.

Thanks to Open Records Officer Micah Lewis, aka, Township Manager, I was able to analyze the open records requests processed by Newtown Township in in the first half of 2019. You can compare these data with the analysis of all requests processed in 2018 here.

NOTE: These data do NOT include open record requests submitted to the Newtown Police Department. More on that here.

In the first half of 2019, Newtown Township processed 37 Open Records Requests in compliance with the State’s Sunshine Law. That compares to 55 requests in the first 6 months of 2018 (see here).

A total of 16 (43%) were from businesses/unions. There were an equal number of request from individuals. About one quarter of requests were for building permits. There were no requests for records from the media.

 

 

 

Posted on 14 Jul 2019, 01:14 - Category: Open Records/Transparency

My Supervisor Activities for June 2019

The following is a summary of my Supervisor-related activities for June, 2019. I spent 33.5 hours in June on official Supervisor business, which is somewhat below the average of 45 hours per month for the period of Jan-May, 2019. This is primarily due to the fact that there was only one required public meeting of the Board of Supervisors (BOS) in June. Usually, I spend 10 or more hours preparing for and attending a BOS meeting.

Log of Hours Spent on Official Business

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

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.

Also not included in this log are the many hours I am spending canvassing door-to-door campaigning for re-election from now until Election Day on November 5, 2019. Much of that time is spent discussing issues of imprortance to residents.
Meetings

In the month of June 2019, I spent 8 hours attending township meetings (required and optional). The average for the 5-month period of Jan-May, 2019, was 10 hours per month (including June, the average is 9 hours). Obviously, BOS meetings are the most important meetings - I am expected to attend them in order to satisfy my duties as a Supervisor. These include regular twice-per-month public meetings, and non-public executive sessions. Optional meetings include public work sessions, and special meetings (see the list below).

“Other Meetings” I attended were optional. In June, 2019, I attended a Planning Commission meeting on June 4, a Joint Zoning Council Definitionmeeting on June 6, a Finance Committee meeting on June 11, and a Newtown Fire Association meeting on June 24.

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 June, 2019, I spent 9.4 hours (28% of my total logged hours) interacting with residents compared to an average of 7 hours per month for the previous 5-month period. This did NOT include the hours I spent campaigning for re-election.

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
The height of each bar represents total hours spent on official business that day. This includes time spent at meetings.

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.

Posted on 02 Jul 2019, 01:48 - Category: Open Records/Transparency

My Supervisor Activities for May 2019

The following is a summary of my Supervisor-related activities for May, 2019. I spent over 43 hours in May on official Supervisor business, which is exactly the average number of hours per month in Q1 2019. That's more than 1 week of 8-hour working days per month! But I'm not complaining. It builds my EXPERIENCE, which enables me to do a better job serving the residents of Newtown going forward.

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 May 2019, I spent about 11 hours attending township meetings. The average for the 1st quarter of 2019 was 8.3 hours per month. Obviously, BOS meetings are the most important meetings - I am expected to attend them in order to satisfy my duties as a Supervisor. These include regular twice-per-month public meetings, and non-public executive sessions. Optional meetings include public work sessions, and special meetings (see the list below).

 

“Other Meetings” I attended were optional. For May, 2019, I attended a Planning Commission meeting on May 7, 2019, which reviewed a conditional use Definition application by MOD Super Fast Pizza (read "MOD Pizza Said to be Opening In Newtown". NOTE: The application was approved at the May 22, 2019, BOS meeting.), a Newtown Sewer Authority meeting and a Finance Committee meeting on May 14, 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 May, 2019, I spent 5.6 hours (13% of my total logged hours) interacting with residents compared to an average of 6.7 hours per month in the fourth quarter of 2018. This did NOT include the hours I spent campaigning for the May 21, 2019, Primary Election (read "Supervisors Fisher and Mack Win Big in Newtown Primary"). What did I discuss with residents? Here’s a partial list (some items are not included for confidentiality reasons):

  • Educated residents about Newtown's Pollution Reduction Plan (read "Newtown Township's Pollution Reduction Plan")
  • Complaint about Pickering Manor construction
  • Inquiries regarding proposal to build a Wawa on the Bypass
  • Informed residents how to respond to the Newtown Pollution Reduction Plan

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.

Posted on 01 Jun 2019, 01:14 - Category: Open Records/Transparency

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This site is paid for and approved by John Mack: john@johnmacknewtown.info
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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