It's all in the title, and I think Danielle Vickery from Bryn Mawr-Gladwyne Patch needs to have a care.
You know what I don't like about this Patch article and title? From jump, the negative implication of the title which I find inaccurate at best.
Jenny Brown takes her office and responsibilities towards the residents of LMT as a commissioner seriously - and she actually has a legitimate reason for stepping down if she wins her Montco bid - she will be representing all of Lower Merion in Montgomery County as a county commissioner.
There is absolutely no similarity between her proactive actions in noritfying residents of what may come to pass and the actions of Reed and Taylor, who resigned from the Board of Commissioners recently. Those two men didn't really give a reason I find satisfying, and they were board leadership. To me they abdicated their responsibilities by resigning before the end of their terms. They did in essense, a cut and run. Why they did that, we may never know. They QUIT. Jenny Brown is no quitter. She embodies true public service.
Here is what Jenny Brown sent out this week which obviously prompted the Patch article:
As you may know, shortly after the conclusion of the contentious budget hearings that resulted in the 10.8% property tax increase for 2011, the Board President, Bruce Reed, suddenly resigned from the Board, followed quickly by the abrupt resignation of Board Vice President, Mark Taylor. The law provides that when a commissioner resigns, the remaining commissioners appoint someone to fill the vacancy. Because the process of filling a vacancy effectively deprives the residents of the ward the fundamental right to elect their own representative, it should be approached in the most transparent and careful manner possible.
On January 19, Bala Cynwyd resident Brian Maguire was appointed by the Board majority to fill the remainder of Mr. Reed's term and Commissioner Liz Rogan was elected President of the Board. On February 16, Penn Valley resident Daniel Bernheim was appointed by the Board majority to fill the remainder of Mr. Taylor's term and Commissioner Paul McElhaney was elected Board Vice President.
I welcome Commissioners Bernheim and Maguire to the Board and I wish them success in their public service. Unfortunately, the process involved in filling the vacancies was disappointing in its considerable lack of transparency and disregard for meaningful public participation. While there were two candidates who applied for the appointment for each vacancy it seemed apparent that the outcome had been pre-determined. Efforts to allow for more time to increase citizen participation and to open the process were rebuffed, including the reasonable, joint request by the Penn Valley Civic Association and Gladwyne Civic Association for time to advertise the Ward 1 vacancy and speak with any applicants. The assumption of most observers is that while the residents of these wards were kept in the dark, a majority of commissioners had known of the intended resignations and found preferred replacements prior to the public resignations.
In light of the poor process used in announcing and filling the two recent vacancies, I would like to make sure that the residents of my ward, Ward 2, are not placed in a similar situation. As many of you know, I will be running for County Commissioner this year. I will work hard and therefore hope to be successful in November. If so, I will be required to resign from my position as Township Commissioner and my seat will become vacant in January of 2012. In such an event, the remainder of the Board of Commissioners will appoint someone to serve as commissioner until a replacement is elected in November of 2013. If you are a resident of Ward 2, I would ask that you start considering who you might want to serve as commissioner and speak with your friends and neighbors about it so that the ward is well prepared in the event I resign. At the very least, we will have two months lead time, since we will know on November 8 whether I will need to resign in January.
Lower Merion Township Commissioner
Ward 2 - Gladwyne/Penn Valley
Here is the patch article:
Government Third Commissioner May Not Fulfill Term on Township BoardWard 2 Commissioner Jenny Brown wants to give her constituents fair warning that her bid for county commissioner may cause her to resign her post on the township board early.
By Danielle Vickery | Email the author | February 24, 2011
After two recent resignations of Lower Merion Township commissioners, Ward 2 Commissioner Jenny Brown wants everyone to know: If everything goes as planned, she won’t finish her term either.
Brown, a Republican, is running for Montgomery County Commissioner, and if she wins that seat in the Nov. 8 election, her township seat would be up for grabs in January 2012 since she can’t hold both seats simultaneously....Reed, a Democrat who was the Ward 13 (Cynwyd and Merion Park) commissioner and board president, announced his resignation Dec. 23 for personal reasons. On Jan. 19, the board appointed Democrat Brian McGuire to the Ward 13 seat and elected Democrat Liz Rogan as board president.
McGuire, one of the two candidates interviewed to fill Reed’s spot, said in an earlier interview that Reed approached him as early as October about the possibility of replacing him.
...Reed’s resignation came after the board approved a 10.8 percent real estate tax increase for this year. And when Democrat Paul McElhaney nominated Rogan as president in January, Republican Commissioner Lew Gould nominated Democrat Cheryl Gelber.
Gelber said then that she was disturbed that the board's Democratic majority had selected Rogan as the presumptive appointee without telling her or the board's Republican minority, and said board members need to improve discourse amongst themselves.
Taylor, a Democrat who was the Ward 1 (Gladwyne, Merion Park, Penn Valley and Wynnewood) commissioner and board vice president, announced his resignation Jan. 21, also for personal reasons