Tredyffrin Township Republican Committee Contribution Not Political?

I have kept busy with the moderation of many comments to my earlier posting, Question – Is it OK to Fund Township Budget With Political Party Contribution?  This posting has opened a firestorm of dialogue which I think is really useful for the community.  I thank the many readers for their comments and also thank local political committee members for offering their insights. In further review of last night’s Board of Supervisor meeting, I do have a few additional questions; any clarification from supervisors, fire company representatives, political committee members, residents, would be greatly appreciated. 

  • Is the $23,200 check that was presented last night to the fire companies, an actual check that represents funds received to date?
  • Or does the check represent pledges made by individuals/businesses?
  • If the check represents pledges, what is the timeline for the fire companies to receive the money?
  • How does the individual/business know which fire company to make their check payable to?
  • Or is one fire company acting as the central clearing house and will in turn make the distribution of funds to the other 2 fire companies?
  • Will the distribution of funds be proportionate to each of the fire companies based on their individual budget requirements?
  • Do you think that the contributions from individuals/business for this Holiday Contribution Drive may affect what these donors will regularly give to the fire companies in 2010?
  • CT Alexander stated that he was Chair of the Tredyffrin Twp Republican Committee (TTRC) and that his party was giving $5K in ‘matching funds’; by attaching this statement to his organization’s gift, is this not viewed as a political contribution?
  • I would suggest that if the contribution from TTRC had not been a public TTRC contribution but rather given annonymously, than it would not be a political contribution.
  • Mr. Alexander stated that the TTRC contribution was in matching funds; what exactly does that mean?  Matching to another contribution? If so, which one?
  • Supervisor Kampf read some of the names of businesses and individuals as public record.  For clarification purposes, will he be providing the public with a complete list of all contributors and the amount of each contribution?
  • Based on last night’s meeting, is it an accurate statement to say that Supervisors Kampf, Lamina and Olson raised $18,200 in additional funds to the $5K contribution from the TTRC?

Sorry for so many questions.  I’m one of those people who is a stickler for policy and procedure.  I wrote my Masters of Public Administration thesis on government organizational theory so I am just trying to fit the pieces of the puzzle together from last night’s amazing financial offer to our local fire companies.  Maybe the three supervisors who are responsible for arranging this generous fire company gift can shed some light on my questions.  Supervisors Kampf, Lamina, Olson can you help me understand how this Holiday Contribution Drive is to work?

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3 Responses

  1. Your questions..

    * Is the $23,200 check that was presented last night to the fire companies, an actual check that represents funds received to date?

    — No, at best, it is a promise of promises. Of the 23K “pledged”, some of those $’s would have already been donated in 2010. Further, who is to say that this will end up in a net plus for the fire service. Until we get to 11/2010, we will not know what the real impact of these purported donations are.

    * Or does the check represent pledges made by individuals/businesses?

    — Apparently, that is the case, The question is which individuals and which businesses? Kampf listed a few.

    * If the check represents pledges, what is the timeline for the fire companies to receive the money?

    — We don’t know.

    * How does the individual/business know which fire company to make their check payable to?

    — For Villanova U and Magret Kuo’s (two entities listed by Kampf), we would have to assume they would donate to Radnor. The more you look at this, the clearer it becomes that this is a complete farce. Perhaps Gio would care to opine on that?

    * Or is one fire company acting as the central clearing house and will in turn make the distribution of funds to the other 2 fire companies?

    — I don’t think they are setup to do that. There probably should be an overarching organization called the TEFA (Tredyffrin Easttown Fire Association) that includes the Berywn, Paoli, Radnor, and any other company that provides services to either township. Politically, this could be a real force.

    * Will the distribution of funds be proportionate to each of the fire companies based on their individual budget requirements?

    — Don’t know..

    * Do you think that the contributions from individuals/business for this Holiday Contribution Drive may affect what these donors will regularly give to the fire companies in 2010?

    — For sure, we don’t know that it won’t have an effect. Most likely, the 23K represented by the “check” will not result in a net plus of $23K for 2010. This is why the specific list of donors is necessary. At the end of 2010, we will have a definitive answer. The twist in this is the $5K from the TTRC. The question is whether that will actually happen.

    * CT Alexander stated that he was Chair of the Tredyffrin Twp Republican Committee (TTRC) and that his party was giving $5K in ‘matching funds’; by attaching this statement to his organization’s gift, is this not viewed as a political contribution?

    — It is a political contribution. Whether it comes from the TTRC treasury or not, that remains to be seen. If it does, it will have to be accounted for on its financial report. It will be very interesting to see how this works out. $5K is a large sum of money for the TTRC. Their largest fundraiser is Derby Day. $5K represents the bulk of what they clear after expenses. 2010 is a down year as their are nothing locally going on (except the 157th.). Perhaps in the spirt of giving, Kampf, Lamina and Olson will donate their 2010 stipends to the fire companies?

    * I would suggest that if the contribution from TTRC had not been a public TTRC contribution but rather given annonymously, than it would not be a political contribution.

    — To the extent the TTRC vis a vis C.T. Alexander are looking for political gain, it is clearly a political contribution. This is not disinterested generosity. This is a pay off. And it is all being done for the benefit of Kampf – which is ironic because if the shoe were on the other foot, no way Kampf lifts a finger to help them. He is a one way guy….and that makes him the wrong guy ;)

    * Mr. Alexander stated that the TTRC contribution was in matching funds; what exactly does that mean? Matching to another contribution? If so, which one?

    — More obfuscation here. That is the coin of the TTRC realm – to confound and confuse. Other notable examples are Kampf’s and Lamina’s dissertations on what is a tax and what makes a balanced budget. I guarantee you – the goal of the TTRC is to have this whole thing forgotten about by the primary. The irony of course is that the TTRC is not made up of folks that I would call politically smart…or smart for that matter. In this regard, they have greatly underestimated just how PO’d the community is. They may have actually gone too far this time. 2010 and 2011 will tell us whether there is a penalty for that miscalculation.

    * Supervisor Kampf read some of the names of businesses and individuals as public record. For clarification purposes, will he be providing the public with a complete list of all contributors and the amount of each contribution?

    — I don’t think there is going to be a choice on this. Whether it is a sunshine act request or a Right To Know Act request, Kampf’s inclusion of this as part of the BOS business made it public information. As a lawyer, you would think he would have known better. In something like this, you don’t want BOS fingerprints on this sort of thing. If it were me orchestrating this, I would have told the TTRC that they must come to the meeting and offer this. This gives the BOS clean hands in the affair. It also provides the TTRC with some level of political cover and gain. This is why Kampf and company are not that smart. Execution is not their strong suit. Think about it – this guy wants to go to Harrisburg. He can barely run a BOS meeting. And when it comes this whole affair, he managed to screw this up as well. Imagine what a disaster he would be in Harrisburg. And meanwhile, the TTRC minions are there to carry water for him. What we saw Monday night is a virus…..a virus that needs to be stopped…and stopped quickly.

    * Based on last night’s meeting, is it an accurate statement to say that Supervisors Kampf, Lamina and Olson raised $18,200 in additional funds to the $5K contribution from the TTRC?

    — No. I think Kampf, Lamina and Olson want you to think they raised funds. Raised however, is the past tense. At best, they shook some trees for the purpose of political ass covering. It is another matter altogether to actually get the money.

  2. pattye, are you suggesting that the fire companies should reject the money and cut their budgets solely based on who coordinated raising the money?

    do the fire companies normally provide the public with a complete list of all contributors and the amount of each contribution? that would be a good way to check to see if those who gave are regular donors or not.

  3. “There probably should be an overarching organization called the TEFA (Tredyffrin Easttown Fire Association) that includes the Berywn, Paoli, Radnor, and any other company that provides services to either township. Politically, this could be a real force.”

    John: you raise an interesting possibility here. Instead of the BOS being run by the TTRC, could the puppet master come to be the TEFA? Are the other Township service departments allowed to organize politically? What’s the right way to assure a balance?

    Interesting benchmarks from neighboring townships in the news today:

    1. A 12% tax increase in Eastown. By my calculation (maybe someone could check?), the $50 sewer fee increase plus the flat property tax works out to be a 6.6% increase in total township taxes for the median home in Tredyffrin (assessed at $252,000?).

    2. Upper Merion police convert a contractual pay increase to comp time deferred over three years, in order to avoid a 6% (4 of 64) lay-off. I wonder if TESD teachers be open to a similar deal to avoid reducing programs (and the consequent teacher layoffs)? Would our School Board bargain hard enough? Would Tredyffrin township employees be open to similar contract adjustments in 2011 and forward?

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