John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
February 2020: Another Busy Month! Marathon Toll Bros Hearing, LQBTQ+ Youth Get No Love, more...

February 2020: Another Busy Month! Marathon Toll Bros Hearing, LQBTQ+ Youth Get No Love, more...

February 2020 was another busy month for me as Supervisor. It didn't help that it was leap year with one extra day thrown in!

In February, I spent nearly 59 hours on official Supervisor business that included attending a 4.5 hour marathon BOS session. Most of that session was devoted to a Toll Bros plan to build 45 homes on 152 acres off of Route 413 and Twinning Bridge Road.

Just before that hearing, Supervisors were handed a thick stack of "Exhibits" that included site plans, results of s flood plain study, stormwater management report, transportation impact assessment, review letters from our Township Engineer, etc. (see photo). It should be no surprise, therefore, that I did not read every document from end to end in that pile of exhibits! It just is not humanly possible.

The Toll Bros Exhibit Book!

I have to question how Supervisors can ask intelligent questions and make the right decision under such circumstances. In fact, in the end, NO decision was made! Now we have 45 days to deliberate (in closed session, BTW) and make a decision.

This came after a disappointing vote on my "Love is Love Day" resolution, which was shot down 3-2 (read "The Day That Newtown Township Failed to Show Love for LGBTQ+ Youth"). As a consequence, Bucks Equality Coalition, NAMI Bucks County PA, Dave Bria (Yardley Borough Council Chairperson, The Rainbow Room, and Rise Up Doylestown have posted a "Speak Out for Lgbtq+ Youth in Newtown PA!" meeting notice on Facebook. They are urging the public to show up at the March 11, 2020, BOS meeting and "speak OUT, to let these elected officials [Phil Calabro, Kyle Davis, and David Oxley] and the community know that they cannot quietly vote against LOVE and support for our LGBTQ+ youth, and then expect to get away with it. Their vote against this simple resolution of support sends a dangerous message to our LGBTQ+ youth AND to all youth."

March is coming in like a lion for us Supervisors! Hopefully it will go out like a lamb with less contentious topics to discuss!

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.
Meetings

In February 2020, I spent 7.1 hours attending required meetings and 12.5 hours attending optional meetings for a total of 19.6 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 sometimes in December), 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 February, 2020, I attended meetings of the Joint Zoning Council (JZC Definition), Environmental Advisory Council, Planning Commission, Human Relations Commission (HRC), Newtown Fire Association (NFA) & the Annual Convention of the Bucks County Association of Township Officials (BACTO Definition).

 

In February, I spent 11.3 hours 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 report.

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 February 2020, I spent 5.9 hours (10% of my total logged hours) interacting with residents. 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 find discussions with residents very helpful. Therefore, I'd like to make it a regular thing to meet with residents to discuss issues that are on the agenda of upcoming Board of Supervisors meetings. For more information about the next meeting, go here. Meanwhile, tell me what issues are most important to you by taking my short SURVEY.

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 05 Mar 2020, 13:14 - Category: Open Records/Transparency

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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