North Franklin supervisors should look after residents

January 29, 2014

The newly installed Board of Supervisors in North Franklin Township is well on its way to doing severe damage to the residential community while promoting business interests and giving away anything and everything to its police labor union. In addition, the supervisors have shown little regard for the open records law, violated the Sunshine Law and hired a solicitor, Gary Sweat, who also represents the township’s business and recreational authority, which will result in certain conflicts of interest.

Specifically, at the reorganization meeting, the supervisors denied any public comment at the meeting, which was a violation of the Sunshine Law, which requires the board to allow comment at meetings. The action was so blatant, I was advised if such a violation occurs in the future, the district attorney’s office should be notified.

Next, the board hired Martha Ward, a supervisor, as a secretary and gave her a full-time job at $15 per hour. This is okay, but they put no restrictions on the amount of hours she can work. The law also requires her to keep her supervisor duties separate because she cannot be paid on an hourly rate for those elected services. She must keep a diary of her hours and specific work and that diary is open for public inspection. None of that was discussed.

Ron Fox is a commendable choice for chief, but the board gave up its management rights when they allowed him to stay in the union. So he will be management and union. It’s no wonder the grievances filed by the police union will go away as Ward predicted. Fox cannot be both a chief and a union member.

And speaking of mistakes, the conflicts continue as Supervisor Syl Passalacqua keeps pushing to fix the bridge that is open and spans from Franklin Farms Road into Crown Center mall. The township owns it, but the signed agreement calls for the mall to maintain it. The township taxpayers have paid their share into the tax abatement (LERTA) fund and no township money should go to that bridge. It is up to the mall and businesses above the mall to fix the bridge. Sweat represents the township and the authority and I say if the authority wants to pay for the bridge, then go for it. The residents need to have roads fixed and not see their monies be depleted on projects to support the businesses which have already received ample breaks.

This township has a strong residential community. I suggest the supervisors start focusing on the various neighborhoods and stop finding ways to use up what valuable land is now left in this township for pet projects, tax abatements and get-rich schemes which will only damage North Franklin in the long run while benefiting a few.

Bob Sabot

North Franklin Township


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