John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
How I Spent My Time as Newtown Supervisor in 2020

How I Spent My Time as Newtown Supervisor in 2020

2020 is over and good riddance is all I got to say. The Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) did, however, make some notable decisions last year (read "2020 Accomplishments of the Newtown Board of Supervisors") and I am honored to have been part of those accomplishments.

It took many hours of work, which I documented as I have been doing ever since I was sworn in as Supervisor in 2017. The following is a summary of how I spent my time as a Supervisor in 2020.

I keep track of my activities as a Supervisor 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.

Hours Per Month

In 2020, I spent a total of 548 hours engaged in official Supervisor activities that included preparing for and attending meetings and interacting with residents. The following chart shows the hours per month I spent on these activities.

The red phase months of the COVID-19 lockdown are shown as red bars in the chart. Similarly for the yellow and so-called green phases. I'm not sure what phase we were in for December, but it felt like at least a mini-red phase, hence the orange color.

You can see that COVID-19 had an impact on my activities as many meetings were cancelled due to the lockdown. In comparison, I spent 713 hours in 2019 engaged in Supervisor activites. In other words COVID-19 was responsible for a 23% decline in my activities as Supervisor.

Breakdown by Type of Activity

I keep track of the time spent on the following activities:

  • Attending “Required” Meetings (BOS regular & special meetings and Executive Sessions; Supervisors are not required to attend Work Sessions)
  • 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.

The following chart shows the percentage of time I spent on all these activities in 2020:

Interacting With Residents

Obviously, with fewer in-person meetings, I spent less time traveling back and forth. I also spent a significant percentage of my time (74 hours, 14%) interacting with residents mostly remotely - also because of COVID-19.

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 account and via my personal account, and via phone and/or Facebook.

Probably the biggest change in how I interact with residents is via my Meet Mack Monday meetings. Thanks to COVID-19, I have been able to host more of these meetings using Zoom - usually every month before the first BOS meeting. And more residents are able to join in the discussions. 

My Compensation

Every Supervisor is provided a yearly stipend of $4,125 per year. Thus, I earned about $7.50 per hour in 2020 as a Supervisor. That's more than the $7.25 per hour PA minimum wage (a disgrace!). So, I can't complain.

But it's possible to make a higher hourly wage as a Supervisor. That's because Supervisors only need to attend "required" meetings as noted above. If I only attended required meetings, my hourly wage would be about $60. Not bad at all! If I also include hours spent preparing for these meetings, then my houry wage drops to $17.75. Still decent.

The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) - of which I am a member - has been lobbying the State Legislature for an increase in the Supervisor stipend for years without success. No wonder! Even a Supervisor like myself who spends a lot of time on official business and not just attending required meetings makes more than a minimum wage earner in PA!

Of course, I'm not in it for the money. And I'm sure my fellow Supervisors feel the same.

My Voting Record for 2020

I've been keeping track of how Newtown Township supervisors voted on motions before the Board. The following is the supervisor voting record for 2020, based on the approved minutes of meetings.

NOTE: This is NOT an official record of votes. Some very minor motions, such as to approve minutes, bills lists, etc., are not included. Please refer to the BOS meeting minutes for the official voting record of each meeting.

Download a PDF version here.

Posted on 20 Jan 2021, 01:54 - 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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