New 6-Year Term!
On January 6, 2020, I was sworn is as a Newtown Township Supervisor for a new 6-year term. As a supervisor I will continue to do my best to inform and actively seek input from residents, ask thoughtful questions, be an advocate for better channels of communication with the public, and work with my fellow Board members for the good of the township.
Spotlight on John Mack
[The following is an excerpt from an article published in Newtown Patch.
Patch: What attracted you to become a Newtown Township Supervisor and how did you get started?
Mack: I have been a resident of Newtown Township for nearly a quarter of a century and my children attended Council Rock schools. After my children left home to pursue their own interests, I felt the need to get more involved in my community. I started out by becoming an elected member of my homeowners association executive board in 2014, with a goal of helping it better meet the needs of residents, especially new, younger homeowners.
To that end, I was able to spearhead several changes including upgrading our playgrounds, negotiating a community-wide trash program that saved residents money and cut down on the number of trucks in our neighborhood, and upgrading the website to better communicate with residents using modern technology (email, social media, etc.).
Then in August 2016, I read a notice in the newspaper that the Township needed to fill a seat on the Board of Supervisors due to a resignation of one of the supervisors. I decided to apply for the position. Not being an experienced follower of Newtown Township politics meant that I was unaware that it was a quixotic attempt — the Board majority chooses someone of their own party. But I impressed the minority members during the interview process and they asked me to run for office in the 2017 election. The rest is history as they say! I received the most votes of any candidate — Republican or Democrat — for supervisor going back to 2007!
Patch: If you had to sum up your mission as Township Supervisor to a stranger in five words, what would those words be?
I think six words are better than five! I'm known to "color outside the box."
Patch: What's the most satisfying part of your job as Newtown Township Supervisor?
Mack: By far, the most satisfying part of my job as Supervisor is interacting with residents to keep them informed and to listen to their concerns. I do this in person, via email and via social media. If I can help solve residents' problems, that's just icing on the cake!
I devote on average 43 hours per month to fulfilling my duties as Newtown Supervisor. About 8 hours per month are spent interacting with residents (read “Do you ever wonder what exactly supervisors do and how much they are paid?”).
It has been very satisfying to get a great deal of unsolicited positive feedback from residents, such as:
"Outstanding documentation of accountability. This is a very rare to see. Thank you."
– A response to a post on Facebook documenting the time I spend per month on official supervisor activities.
"I looked at your website. Keep up the great efforts to make Newtown a better place for all."
"Been living here since '96 and am so glad to see someone take leadership to connect our neck of the woods."
"Thank you for doing a great job keeping the residents informed."
– Personal messages from members of Nextdoor where I often post information.
"Great flow chart you created & posted to your blog! Thank goodness you did it since I got totally lost when the Town Solicitor tried to explain it!"
– Comment about the process of amending an Township Ordinance to allow for a combined gas station/convenience store.
"It is amazing, but could not have happened without you, John Mack, bringing this issue to the attention of concerned residents. This could become a model for other townships to follow."
- Comment in response to resident turnout at a Board of Supervisors meeting and engagement in public comments regarding the Township's Pollution Reduction Plan.
Patch: How would you say your idea of "good governance" distinguishes itself from that of other elected officials?
Mack: My "BIG Idea" is openness, transparency and better communication. I strongly support an open government and strive to keep residents informed about important decisions affecting them. I do this through my website, blog, online surveys, podcasts, email newsletter and social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Nextdoor. I even publish articles on Patch! All that is what distinguishes me from every other elected local official.
Patch: What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given when it comes to success in being a Newtown Township Supervisor?
Mack: The best advice I was given prior to assuming the office of Newtown Township Supervisor is to pay attention to the Township's financial condition. At almost every Board of Supervisors meeting, I take that advice to heart and ask for details about certain expenses that the Board must approve. That helps me and the public better understand how our money is being spent.