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I was appalled to learn that the Longswamp Township Board of Supervisors – by a vote of 2:1 – appointed a sitting supervisor to serve in the capacity of the township “Operations Administrator.” This position, created in lieu of a bonded “Township Manager,” appears to have been established to circumvent the Second Class Township Code (specifically, Article XIII Section 1301 c.), which prohibits a sitting Supervisor from serving as the municipality’s manager.
Although the Longswamp Board of Supervisors and township solicitor profess this action to be within the confines of PA Code, many members of the community – myself included – are left with unanswered questions:
Why would the Longswamp Township Board of Supervisors entertain a proposal to fill a newly-created position without first finalizing and approving a job description for the “Operations Administrator?”
Why did the Supervisors refuse to make this an open process? Why was an individual, with voting power and political clout, chosen to serve in this role? Why did officials refuse to accept applications for this salaried position? Do Longswamp’s elected officials have no regard for transparency?
Did the Board consider the ethical implications of appointing a colleague to serve as “Operations Administrator?” Additionally, why did the Supervisor in question cast the tie-breaking vote to appoint himself to this management position? Even with his new position, why has said official refused to resign from the Board of Supervisors?
Why was strong public opposition from the community blatantly ignored by two of Longswamp’s three Supervisors? Why was this questionable appointment made during a reorganization meeting rather than the Board’s regularly scheduled meeting time?
And most importantly, how long has an open process been rejected by the elected officials of Longswamp Township?
Although our local elected officials may endorse the practices of backroom politics, we should not. It is time we demand that our supervisors follow an open democratic process. It is also time for us to examine all actions of our government – even on the local level – with a fine-tooth comb. I urge each of you to attend the next Board of Supervisors meeting and voice your concerns with this ill decision. Remember, political participation in a republican government is not just a right, but also an obligation.
For an open process,