My Year (2019) as Newtown Supervisor
The following is a summary of my Supervisor-related activities for the entire year of 2019. In 2019 I spent, on average, 39.4 hours per month on official Supervisor business.
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 IncludeMy 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.
In 2019, I spent a total of 56 hours attending required meetings and 63 hours in optional meetings for a total of 119 hours for the year or 10 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 sometimes December), and non-public executive sessions. In 2019, I had a perfect attendance record for regular Board of Supervisors meetings and voted on every motion (refer to "The (UNOFFICIAL) 2019 Voting Record of Newtown Supervisors" for details of how I and other Supervisors voted). Optional meetings include public work sessions, and special meetings (see the list below).
How Much Are Supervisors Paid?*Township supervisors are paid a yearly stipend set by ordinance and state law. The exact amount depends on the size of the township. Newtown Township supervisors receive $4,125 per year. If I had attended ONLY required meetings, that works out to nearly $90 per hour! But based on the actual number of hours I have worked on official business in 2019, I earned $9.32 per hour. That's more than the official $7.25 per hour minimum wage in PA!
This stipend hasn’t risen in nearly a quarter of a century, but could go up by as much as 68% under legislation moving in Pennsylvania’s Capitol. For Newtown the proposed stipend would rise to $6,915. However, municipalities would have to adopt an ordinance for any salary change to take effect. The higher salaries would only be raised after an incumbent stands for re-election or when their successor starts their term of office. One wrinkle: the board of supervisors may provide that a supervisor shall receive compensation on a per-meeting basis based on attendance of supervisors.
Considering that Supervisors already make considerably more than the PA minimum hourly wage, I would not support an increase in the Stipend unless the PA minimum wage was raised to at least $9.50 per hour!
“Other Meetings” I attended were optional. These include meetings of the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB Definition), Planning Commission, Human Relations Commission (HRC), Human Relations Commission, Environmental Advisory Council, Parks and Recreation Board, Finance Committee and the Newtown Fire Association (NFA).
In 2019, I spent a considerable amount of time (131 total hours/11 hours per month) preparing for required Board meetings. This includes downloading and reviewing documents, including the Bills List (invoices paid by the Township), minutes of previous meetings, and police reports.
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 email@example.com account and via my personal firstname.lastname@example.org account, and via phone and/or Facebook.
In 2019, I spent more than 80 hours (17% of my total logged hours) interacting with residents.
DisclaimerWhen 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
Posted on 06 Jan 2020, 10:07 - Category: Open Records/Transparency
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