The Week Started with Tredyffrin’s Escrowgate . . . and Ends With Chairman Lamina Changing the Scheduled Board of Supervisor Meeting

How many times in 20 years do you suppose that a scheduled Board of Supervisors Meeting has had its meeting date changed? I don’t mean changed due to a holiday schedule or for weather related reasons. I have asked several people that should know the answer . . . no one can recall this ever happening. The calendar for Board of Supervisors Meetings is set at the first meeting in January, Keene Hall is reserved on the master calendar, the dates are published on the website, and are available at the township building.

So then don’t you find it extremely strange that the Board of Supervisor scheduled meeting for this Monday, February 1 is ‘mysteriously changed’ to Monday, February 8 with no stated reason or explanation. How is that Chairman Lamina has the authority to make an unprecedented change to the published schedule of Board of Supervisors meetings?  February 1 is only the third scheduled Board of Supervisors meeting of 2010 and Supervisor Lamina decides to change it . . .  why?  We know that Supervisor Olson is in Hawaii on vacation but he will still be away for the February 8 meeting.  Does Chairman Lamina have vacation plans or work issues requiring him to miss a meeting on February 1?  If that is the case, the last time I checked Tredyffrin Township has 7 supervisors, and the absence of Supervisors Lamina and Olson at a meeting would still leave a quorum with 5 remaining supervisors.  Transparency of government is apparently not the required mantra under Supervisor Lamina’s charge.

Frankly, many of us are still working through the aftermath of ‘Escrowgate’ created by Supervisors Lamina, Kampf, Olson and Richter when we are met with the unprecedented and unexplained Board of Supervisors meeting change.  I did a bit of research on changing dates of supervisors meetings; below is the section of Tredyffrin Township Home Rule Charter that deals with board meetings and procedures.  Please can someone show me where it says that meeting dates can be changed by the chair of the Board of Supervisors.  But I suppose just like Supervisors Lamina, Kampf, Olson and Richter were able to dismiss policy and procedure at Monday night’s meeting, they also can change supervisors meetings.  Reason? . . . just because they can. 

CHAPTER 31. TOWNSHIP OF TREDYFFRIN HOME RULE CHARTER

§ 31.2-210. Board Meetings and Procedures.

 A. The Board shall meet regularly at least once in every month at such time and place as the Board may prescribe by ordinance or resolution. At its first meeting each year, the Board shall prescribe and advertise the calendar of regular monthly meetings for the remainder of the year.

 B. Special meetings may be held on the call of the Chairman, or of a majority of Supervisors, by providing notice to each Supervisor at least twenty-four hours in advance of such special meeting, which meeting notice shall be prominently posted at the Township office; however, in the case of an emergency which makes it necessary to convene a meeting with less than twenty-four hours advance notice, this requirement may be waived.

 C. The Board may take no official action except at an open public meeting in the presence of a quorum, consisting of a majority of all the members of the Board. All discussions relating to official actions should be in open public meetings with the following exceptions:

   1. Matters in litigation with the Township as a party;

   2. Matters concerning hiring, dismissal, promotion or discipline;

   3. Matters which would adversely affect the reputation of any persons; and,

   4. Matters having to do with the acquisition of land and other subjects which would be likely to benefit a party whose interests are adverse to the general community.

   Official actions by the Board shall be taken only by ordinance, resolution or motion. Voting, except on procedural matters, shall be by roll call vote. A majority vote of all the members of the Board shall be required to adopt an ordinance. Resolutions or motions shall be adopted by a majority vote of all the members of the Board present, except as otherwise provided herein.

 D. It is the intent of this Charter that the Board act as a body in relation to all administrative matters. No Supervisor shall publicly or privately seek individually to interfere with the official acts of Township officers and employees. However, nothing herein contained shall prevent the Board from establishing committees of its members to review the operations and legislative needs of the departments, or from assigning individual Supervisors to liaison relationships with boards, commissions and authorities.

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19 Responses

  1. Nothing new here. For Lamina, it’s all about control. Do folks remember the Library Foundation Board fiasco from 3 years ago – when Lamina and Kampf storm trooped that meeting – telling board members that they “serve at the pleasure of the BOS”? As a point of reference, Olson was chair of the Library Capital Campaign and at the time, the intersection of politics and library donations crossed.

    Starting to get the picture…???

    Getting to the current situation – there is nothing in the HRC that states conditions, other than a lack of a quorum, when to postpone a meeting. There are procedures upon which to call a meeting.

    In this case, it is crystal clear as to why Bob would want this meeting to be canceled. He may try to hide behind the fact that a majority of supervisors are OK with the change. Remember folks – he and Olson own the majority. What we are seeing is unchecked power – the most un-American thing on the planet!! At this point, we might as well throw away notions of fairness, justice, the rule of law and everything else that makes America great.

    You know…we had guys like this in the past…Stalin, Hitler…

    The deal is, Lamina wants to postpone the meeting so that his precious majority is protected. With Lamina and Olson out, they Block of 4 becomes the minority of 2.

    There is nothing in the HRC that states the peoples’ business must be postponed in order to protect a majority. And yet, this Block of 4 is effectively re-writing the rules to suit its own political purposes.

    As far as we know, the other 5 are available. A quorum only needs 4. If it happens to be that any other two supervisors are not available, then that becomes the only reason to postpone the meeting. Also, some act of God, bad weather or some other unforeseen circumstance would qualify as well.

    Olson is on vacation and Lamina will be out of town – whether for business or personal reasons. It really does not matter. Lamina missed a few meetings last year. I don’t recall meetings getting postponed for that.

    As for the chair, that would simply fall to another person to fill that slot for the meeting. It happens all of the time.

    This is really bad folks… We are living under a de-facto dictator ship. Might as well be a police state.

  2. John comments,”We are living in a dictatorship. Might as well be a police state.”

    Hyperbole? No doubt. But even the most forgiving look at the events of the last two months shows the actions of OLK to be questionable and very unsettling.

    I can guess that Bob Lamina is worried what may happen in a quorum made up of the reasonable three – DiBuonaventuro, Kichline and Donahue vs. Kampf and Richter. The Escrowgate matter could again come up under New Matters and a vote to rescind the return of St. David’s money could succeed.

    We can’t have that!

    I’m guessing Lamina has made a call to protect his newly acquired power. He simply won’t be undermined by the community-minded JD, Michele and Phil..

    Let’s watch. This is destined to happen again – any time the Block of Four are not present to steamroll their crony-driven agenda.

    But then again, Lamina has already changed the meaning of “present”…

    • Kate..

      See what happens when Democrats stay home instead of voting… I’m curious as to what the TTDC’s take on this. The fact that there is nothing on their website is evidence that the TTDC is still asleep at the wheel.

      In terms of the hyperbole, in quick order, Lamina can eradicate sidewalks and paths, HARB, the role of the planning commission, etc. Complete 100% unchecked power.

      • Touche, John. According to your logic, Democrats did not come out and vote in sufficient numbers in November, and now we have to pay the price. And any bad decisions made by those with unchecked power are somehow our fault, right?

        That’s BS and you know it.

        The last election was about fear. Republicans in this community were more afraid of losing the status quo than Democrats were motivated to see change. The R’s came out and many voted straight party regardless of whether their candidates were worthy of their votes.

        But even though the BOS is made up of 7 Republicans now, we all have a right to expect that their business is done lawfully, in the light of day, and in the best interests of the community as a whole.

        Hopefully, more residents have decided to pay attention to the decisions made by our supervisors – if for no other reason than their resources are more limited these days and they value fiscally responsible government more than ever.

        Plus people are more sick of back room dealing and sweet deals for the favored few than they’ve ever been.

        In watching Tredyffrin’s very own reality TV ( BOS meetings) lately, you can’t help but be struck by the dangers of one-party control. Sharing power beats a “de facto dictatorship” any day.

        And it’s obvious that supervisor candidates who have shown a long-standing commitment to our community – Republican or Democrat – are more likely to vote in the community’s best interest.

        We need to elect that kind to the Board in 2011.

        • <<
          John. According to your logic, Democrats did not come out and vote in sufficient numbers in November, and now we have to pay the price. And any bad decisions made by those with unchecked power are somehow our fault, right?
          <<

          Not exactly my logic – but close. Straight party R's outvoted straight party D's 2 : 1. That ratio roughly translates into the margin Pattye lost by. So in a way, the D's inability to prosecute competent campaigns, the inability and/or unwillingness to hold the R's accountable for past transgressions is precisely what allowed EJ to win. That said, the R's have culpability on the matter. They really should have known better.

          Kate..In many ways, what we are seeing is an extension of the Library Capital Campaign fiasco from 2.5 years ago. Voters in 2009 forgot that – and the D's did not remind the voters of what happened.

          This is not about 1 party rule. This is more about people. Do you really think that JD and Michelle are your typical R's. First and foremost, the are good people. Party labels, in a real sense, are and should be meaningless.

          When I ran in 2005, I stated that the real values that matter are Tredyffrin Values – not Republican or Democratic values. For the record, Maria Micolucci and Paul Drucker pooped all over that statement – stating in effect that 1 party rule under the R's was inherently bad.

          To that, all I can say to you is Mark DeFeliciantonio. He's a D and he turned out to be a dismal failure. He's a quitter. He quitted on the people and his party. And worst of all, the folks in the TTDEMS sat by and allowed it to happen. I called on the TTDEMS a year ago to urge him to resign as it was clear that mentally, he left the job. Paul did a better job – but not good enough to stay in office.

          It's time for the D's to stop trying to rationalize though excuses. That's the Yockey/Becker way of doing things. Don't fall into the trap of simply chocking this up to one party rule. This is about people. Judy D. would not have done this. And has the vote goes, JD, Michelle and Phil are reasonable R's.

          Your one of the good ones Kate – who has the desire and ability to do good things. You simply need a party organization that is not so inept.

          • John, John, John,

            I want to respect Pattye’s interest in keeping this blog focused on our community as a whole. Party politics is certainly worthy of honest debate, and I will go to the mat for my party. But not here, not now.

            Though our current supervisors are all registered Republicans, I recognize they are not of one mind on a number of issues – maybe not on most issues. And there’s no question we have some very dedicated and decent people on the Board – past and present.

            I really take exception to your comments on several of my colleagues who are also good, dedicated people in their own right.. Obviously. from your comments, not to your liking or standards.

            But do you have to take out your knives so often?

            I wish you’d put a lid on the direct personal assaults.
            But continue keeping us informed, telling us what you think and entertaining us….

          • >>
            But do you have to take out your knives so often?
            >>

            I only take them out when warranted – which appears to be fairly often these days. ;)

            I’m glad you see the distinction amongst the different BOS members. That’s why the “one party rule” argument doesn’t fly.

            Like I said, you are one of the good ones.

          • All this talk of one party rule, or the Democrats not showing up in the election as cause’s of the 4-3 vote last Monday are absurd. Unfortunately whether Democrat or Republican we elect individuals. Individuals that we would hope represent the party and citizens well, but that’s not reality. Being as we have 7 Republican Supervisors, the one party rule “cry” would mean votes of 7-0 all the time. Some would like to believe the party dictates how the Supervisors vote , much to your disappointment we don’t. They are on the field calling an audible and we are as disappointed as everyone else when they call the wrong play. Whether Democrat or Republican at this level the party is the uniform that is worn, how they perform is up to the individual.
            I do not blame the Democrats for the embarrassing out bursts made toward citizens at public meetings by our former Supervisor: Democrat, Mark DiFiliciantonio. It is not fair to blame the Republican party when Supervisors make an unpopular decision. Remember if 4 got it wrong then 3 got it right, Republicans that is. Lets keep the partisan attacks out of the debate and keep focus on the issue.
            Thank you

            Giovanni D’Amato
            West, Area Chairman TTRC

          • Gio..

            I agree with you on the one party rule issue being THE problem. You are right…if simply having an R after your name dicated the way you voted, then yes, we would always see 7-0 votes.

            Having said that, I think you under-estimate the influence of the TTRC. And given that there is as a straw poll tomorrow night that will go to deciding who will be the GOP candidate for the 157th, the TTRC’s role in what is going on cannot be overstated.

            What happened last Monday was an outrage. When you strip it all away, the whole thing boiled down to EJ’s bought and paid for vote. Paul Olson and Bob Lamina, for several years, have wanted to cut the St. David’s Golf Club a break. With already having Kampf in their camp, EJ provided that all important automatic 4th vote. The optics are clear. It appears that EJ exchanged votes for campaign contributions. There was no other rational explanation for her vote.

            As for the D’s, the # of straight party R’s that voted over straight party D’s was the margin of victory. That class of voter is a key statistic. There is no other explanation other than their GOTV operation was asleep up to and including election day. There are good TTDC committee people. Kate is one of them… :)

            Gio, my question is what do those who plan to support Kampf stand for? Do they stand for the perception that the GOP stands for poltiical favoritism and corruption? The GOP has a golden opportunity to clear the record by not recommending Kampf at tomorrow night’s straw poll. It seems to me that if you value the Constitution, the rule of law and the very principles this country was founded on – GOP committee people will give a thumbs down to Warren Kampf.

            If that happens, I can promise the partisan rhetoric will stop, at least from me ;)

          • Gio…

            I think the phrase I was looking for before is political selfless-ness. Take Ken Buckwalter for example:

            http://www.dailylocal.com/articles/2010/01/03/opinion/srv0000007220758.prt

            Here’s a guy who, as a sitting councilman, sued the borough because they were not following the rules. To some degree, the story has been a victim of the grapevine effect. Some have twisted this story to be nothing more than a guy suing to keep his pay. When you read the article, it becomes clear that the suit stood for a much larger proposition. It was about following the rule of law and the notion that elected officials are there to serve the people – not themselves and not their political friends. I thought Ken’s suit took a lot of political courage. After all, to some degree, be bucked his own party. I bring it up here as a contrast to what we are seeing on the current board.

            We need more Republicans like you (Gio), JD, Michelle, Phil., Judy, Bill DeHaven, Kristen Mayock, Suzy Ciccerone, Nick Deenis…and Ken. That ‘s a pretty good list and it tells you there are good Republicans out there – those who value service over privilege. Those who are willing to do what’s right – when for some in their own party, it may not be popular. When you consider that he labeled the stunt as political grandstanding, that in my opinion was spot on and it took a lot of courage.

            I want to see us get to a point where we are having a dialog and a conversation – instead of partisian rhetoric. I don’t like it any more than you do. Of the three, Ken and Judy can get us there. Kampf on the other hand, cannot. This is not about R’s vs. D’s. This is simply about good people vs. bad people.

            General observable fact leads me to that incontrovertible conclusion.

            I remember a TTRC from 5 years ago that stood for something that was good and honorable. I hope we get to see that organization again. The good news is that a good number of people involved then are involved now.

  3. Perhaps it might at least send a signal if there are insufficient Supervisors available on the changed date for there to be a quorum?

  4. That’s my hope Ray — let the “little 3” skip the meeting because they want to attend the previously scheduled finance hearing at the school district. (typo– did school distract….maybe that was what Lamina hopes)

  5. Maybe it is my true Independent spirit, but I choose to believe that Monday night’s decision was simply about 3 individuals doing what was right and 4 individuals doing what was wrong. A mistake was made – the motion should not have been allowed to stand on procedural grounds. Michelle is a municipal attorney and tried to explain it to the other supervisors; she was simply dismissed.

    This matter is not about sidewalks, it is about policy and procedure of Tredyffrin’s government. Procedure was not followed but the motion was allowed to stand. Then 4 individuals agreed with the motion (Kampf, Lamina, Olson, Richter) and with the 4-3 vote count, the motion passed. These 4 have made a mistake . . . and there needs to be a correction. Either that or the taxpayers face a future of money spent on lawsuits, etc.

    • Pattye,
      I have yet to catch a rebroadcast of the meeting under discussion, but having watched the pre-election debate, I think Lamina “dismisses” Ms. Kichline at his future peril. I doubt she will tolerate more “dismissals” and may have already read Lamina the riot act, in private, after his performance.

      I believe she ran for her seat to be a legitimate contributor to the process, and reminded him that she did not reach her current level of accomplishment by tolerating chauvinistic behavior, especially in public. I also don’t think she wants to have the current KOL games attached to her name for perpetuity. I imagine she’s working on E.J. already. I’m a Dem, but right now, my money’s on Ms. Kichline to lead us out of the KOL swamp.

  6. >>
    and 4 individuals doing what was wrong.
    >>

    I’ll go one better… 3 who knew what they were were breaking the law and 1 who didn’t know any better.

    Perhaps the threat of disbarment for Kampf might get him to realize he F’d up here..

    I am thinking very seriously about reporting him to the Disciplinary Committee. Perhaps the Boeing Company would be interested to know the kind of people they have working for them… I’m sure White and WIlliams would not be pleased that one of their partners is actively engaged in breaking the law in a township that one of their clients (UPenn) does business.

    OK Bob and Warren… how far you want to play this little game?????

    There is a gathering storm here… Like I said…NOTHING is off limits.

    Mark my words Pattye, this will get fixed. The question is whether they wish to do it the easy way or the hard way. I don’t have a preference either way as both will yield the same result.

    The next move is up to them…… I’m sure the last thing these guys want is the press poking around into their livelihoods…. Then again, you reap what you sow…

  7. At the next supervisors meeting, what are the chances of a re-count on this motion. If one of the 4 supervisors who voted ‘for’ the motion could be convinced to change and vote against the motion. Pattye, can you put some pressure on EJ and the others to reconsider and do what’s right.

    • I guarantee you, it won’t be a meeting you will want to miss. It will be must-see TV. I am very much looking forward to it. At least one political career will be flat-lined that night.

      That’s right Warren….I’m coming after you that night. There is nowhere for you to run and hide. Don’t worry Bob – there will be some left for you. And yes EJ, you won’t be left out of the party.

      Folks, everything you wish would happen at one of these meetings will happen on 2/8. Call the papers and call the TV stations.

  8. In case you are willing to do must see tv on tape, there’s a school district meeting that night that is about 9.2 million dollars — not $25,000.
    Indeed the BOS is not about the money, but if the crowd oly follows the drama, we are very much sending the wrong message. The board has not agreed to limit increases to act 1 — there is little doubt that pressure from this blog and other sources is the reason. Now they need support to back up that decision — because the union and the parents are not going to be at all happy going forward — so folks need to be in the non-televised finance committee audience.

    Paul won’t be at the 8th….right?

  9. Warren is declaring for the 157th this week. Coincidence?

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