John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
My BOS Meeting Survival Kit

My BOS Meeting Survival Kit

This is how my work area looked at last night's Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting. I call it my BOS Meeting Survival Kit. I especially needed it for last night's meeting, which was pretty boring.

Apart from resident John D., who attends every BOS meeting (kudos to him!), there was not a single resident in the audience aside from a few township officials*. 

At times you could hear a cricket chirp! Some day I will let one loose in the room to really test that. But you COULD hear the air conditioning!

Speaking of air conditioning, it's a little known fact that the Township employs AC and a couple of other things designed to keep Supervisors awake during such sessions.

The temperature in the meeting room is keep pretty low, even in winter months. So low that despite my desire to have a "shirt sleeves rolled up" and ready to work persona, I am forced to wear a jacket to keep warm. I'm told that when the room is full of people it can get pretty heated literally as well as figuratively. I can attest to the latter at previous BOS meetings, but there was no actual audience body heat at last night's meeting!

I've often thought of a better way to keep warm at these meetings: a flask of scotch! That, however, would be too obvious. Some day - and that day may never come - I might just have vodka instead of water in that bottle and no one would be the wiser!

The other means the Township has of keeping Supervisors awake is a bowl of candy in front of every member. Now, I like candy just as much as anyone, but like many people my age I need to keep my weight in check and I must worry about Type 2 diabetes (among other health issues). 

I have tried to wean Supervisors off of the candy by bringing in fruit to share with them. So far my efforts have not paid off and I have not shamed other members into bringing their own alternatives to share with colleagues. But at least 2 or 3 other members enjoyed one of the tangerines I brought in. I do not know, however, if that stopped them from downing a mini Hershey bar or Kit Kat.

Last night's BOS meeting was preceded by a 1-hour Executive Session Definition that began a 6 PM. This was not so boring - we had to discuss some very complicated employee contract and legal issues. TMI! Luckily, we have professionals who know how to handle the nitty-gritty details.

But the Township did not provide any food during that meeting, so I decided I needed to bring in some kind of half-way nutritious Asian-style snack mix. At least it had some fat and dietary fiber to go along with the sugar!

Budget Presentation

In closing, let me say that every Newtown BOS meeting is important - even the boring ones. Possibly the most important BOS meeting of the year is coming up this Monday, October 15, 2018. This is a Special Meeting at which the draft for the 2019 budget will be presented to the Board by the township manager and department heads.

OK, I know, budgets and financial discussions may not excite everyone, but this is an opportunity to learn where your tax money goes. To prepare for that meeting, I urge you to listen to the 2017 Audit Report and the Newtown Finance Committee Report here

The Budget Presentation is scheduled to begin at 7 PM, so you have time to have a quick dinner beforehand! Or you can be like me and skip the heavy dinner and bring your own BOS Meeting Survival Kit.


* I am exaggerating a bit. A young member of Eagles Troop 29 along with the Troop leader and a couple of friends/family members were there at the beginning of the meeting to present a plan for landscaping to beautify the existing Veterans Park sign at the Durham Road entrance. It was when they left that the meeting became a bit boring, at least until Chair Phil Calabro ripped the Zoning Hearing Board Definition a "new one" for postponing a hearing on the Sit-Stay kennel variance hearing.

Posted on 11 Oct 2018, 01:51 - Category: Governance

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