John Mack - Newtown Supervisor

Good Government

We need an open and honest government that works for the good of everyone in the Newtown Township community.  As a Supervisor, I will work hard to develop and implement more effective print and digital media communications that will inform and engage residents and businesses regarding issues before the Board of Supervisors (BOS).

But all this is worthless if the information is not transparent and easy to use. One example of what I mean by this is searchable minutes of meetings. Before I was elected Supervisor, BOS meeting minutes PDF files were NOT searchable. At the January 2, 2018, BOS meeting I explained the benefits of searchable minutes: (1) it makes it easy to find specific topics, comments, and how Supervisors voted on issues when reading the minutes, and (2) it is possible to search for PDF files of minutes by keyword on your computer without having to open each document first. At the very next BOS meeting, Township Manager Kurt Ferguson announced that all minutes going back to the beginning of 2016 are now searchable PDF files!

Excerpts from Board of Supervisors Meeting Minutes

Details of important Good Government related decisions made by the Newtown Board of Supervisors in last 2-3 years. You can find complete minutes of BOS meetings here.

Detail BOS Meeting Date Excerpts from Minutes
Code of Conduct Guidelines 13-Dec-2017

Mr. Gallagher will also prepare procedural rules and conduct guidelines for Supervisors that would be adopted each January. The Board changes often and this would help maintain the continuity of procedures and rituals. This will be presented at the December 27, 2017 Board of Supervisors meeting also. The Guidelines were adopted in a subsequent meeting. Find them here.

Hiring Township Professionals 10-Jan-2018

Resident Mike Gallagher, Newtown, commented that he was told there would be no public comment after each motion at the re‐organization meeting on January 2, 2018. Public comment was done at every motion during the 2017 reorganization meeting. There was no public announcement for interviewing professional staff. He then investigated the campaign finance reports and the amounts that were donated and believes there are conflicts. Mr. Gallagher requested the Board to reconsider open and public interviews with multiple professional firms and to reconsider the Board’s appointments.

Minutes of BOS Meetings 10-Jan-2018

Mr. Mack favorably acknowledged that the minutes are now searchable PDF files and explained how searching to find a particular subject can be done quickly.

Technology Committee 28-Feb-2018

Mr. Mack, Technology Committee liaison, reported that three new members joined the group. He suggested not to cancel meetings if there wasn’t a quorum adding that topics could still be discussed. Minutes would be available for absent members to review in order to stay upto-date. Mr. Mack would like to modify the mission ordinance of the Technology Committee to add using technology to communicate to residents. The Committee consists of 9 members for a quorum of 5. The Board will need to give priorities to the Committee. Mr. Calabro suggested that this be discussed at the March 19, 2018 BOS work session. Five topics will be decided for the Committee to review.

National Sunshine Week 14-Mar-2018

Mr. Mack stated that it was National Sunshine Week regarding the Sunshine Act and the right to know about public document access. He held an online quiz regarding this topic and with 55 people responding, the average score was 50% (see more results here). An example question asked if you could record a public meeting with your cell phone. The answer was that you have the right to record the meeting with your cell. Some public meetings that are not televised can also be recorded (i.e. a zoning board hearing). The Right-To-Know Law allows a person to receive a transcript or recording of a meeting within five days of the request. Requests can be made using a form available on the Township website and submitted to Mr. Lewis, Open Records Officer.

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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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