Yes Virginia, #andjustlikethat apparently there is indeed a Santa Claus. The news out of West Whiteland is La Mimi is gone girl gone.
I remember when she was manager of Tredyffrin. Never thought much of her there (Terri Woodman formerly East Whiteland’s Manager was the Asst. Township Manager at Tredyffrin 1986 – 2001 as a related aside). I remember when Gleason left Tredyffrin she was doing this whole “a job is not a life” thing (What? Would I make this up? CLICK HERE)
Then of course La Mimi popped out of retirement and popped up at West Whiteland (when La Mimi left Tredyffrin, I predicted no matter what that article said, eventually she would pop up as a manager elsewhere.)
But I digress. Suffice it to say, I have not been a fan. (Just like I am not a fan of that Supervisor Theresa Hogan Santalucia and her sunny personality and vast vocabulary and I bet she wasn’t on board with not renewing the contract of La Mimi was she?))
What happened to cause the #breakup? The eternal #pipelines of it all? Over development? Being like the Red Queen / Queen of Hearts and the whole off with their heads this is my kingdom of it all? Who knows and who knows if they will ever tell right?
However, next steps also depends WHICH consulting firm will West Whiteland use to shepherd them through? I remember when a consulting firm wanted to put a piss poor interim in Radnor the year they fired Dave Bashore. (Read this article to learn more why that Radnor Manager was removed.) I forget his name but the guy was from Coatesville and had been one of the supporters of eminent domain attempt of the Saha Farm, remember? (Coatesville folk who showed up in droves to that Radnor meeting long ago might remember.) A lot of times the consulting firms use former township managers who were not the best wherever they were, so here is hoping they vet even the interim candidates carefully. And I think it would be great if the residents could view the public CVs of potential candidates.
BUT the forensic auditors who helped Radnor back in the day sure hit pay dirt. And I am NOT saying anything remotely like that occurred, it’s just common sense that if you are removing a township manager, you look at everything and the staff, right? Just in case things were not always for the good of the residents but a petty little fiefdom or corner store, right?
Happy New Year West Whiteland Township residents. Your reorg meeting next week will be one not to be missed. It will be hybrid so you can go in person or zoom it. Monday January 3rd, 6:30 PM
I will open with nobody trespassed to get these photos. I took screenshots off of videos that were shot this morning in West Whiteland. No one asked me to write anything, I am putting this out there because I am so concerned for these people who have to live with this. They live in danger EVERY DAMN DAY.
Where I live is where Adelphia wants to do similar things. I am in the blast zone for those pipelines. And East Whiteland Township doesn’t talk about pipelines, it’s like they don’t exist. We aren’t benefiting from what is being done with these new and updated pipelines, and this isn’t comparable to the old petroleum pipeline’s which have been here for 50 years or better. Different breed of cat, and has never put residents at risk the way Energy Transfer has.
So West Whiteland Township, do you care YET what your residents are going through? Township Manager Mimi Gleason, I have to ask would you want to be up all night with the drilling and thumping and boring? Would you want the sinkholes next to your house? A valid question would be do you even have a pipelines running next to your house? Mimi Gleason do you care about the residents you are responsible for keeping safe and aren’t?
West Whiteland Township under Gleason’s leadership, as well as the supervisors, is a disgrace. All they care about is how much new construction they can ruin the township further with, and it’s blatantly obvious when it comes to pipelines vs. people, they choose pipelines. If you don’t like my opinions on this, oh well.
This is what residents are living with. Constant sinkholes. Constant noise. Constant dirt. Constant degradation of their property values. And constant danger.
This is NOT ok. It has NEVER been ok.
And an always amusing aspect of every time residents discover a sinkhole are the pipeline workers who try to block the residents views of seeing said sinkholes or anything they are doing that residents worry about (which is pretty much everything.) That and the fact that they photographed the residents photographing and videoing them. The residents aren’t doing anything wrong and that’s sort of passive aggressive harassment on their part, isn’t it? But what do we expect from Energy Transfer?
In his capacity as Director of Public Works, Mr. Cannon engaged in conduct, himself, and directed vendors and subordinates to engage in such conduct, involving two instances of the improper disposal of materials on Township property in a manner prohibited by Pennsylvania’s environmental laws. Since the areas affected are not easily accessible to the public and, as addressed in more detail below, since no immediate danger was identified by DEP, we cannot disclose the locations until that agency’s investigation is complete.
Former Public Works Director, Scott Cannon turned himself over to the Tredyffrin Township Police Department for processing on Friday, November 20, 2015.
The charges brought by the State Attorney General’s office arise from facts that were disclosed publicly in February 2014 during a meeting of the Board of Supervisors following the Township’s own internal investigation. The Township is unaware of any allegations of violations other than those disclosed in February 2014.
In response to a CBS 3 inquiry, Cannon’s attorney, A.J.Chotkowski, emailed a statement that reads in part:
“Mr. Cannon was surprised and disappointed to learn that charges were filed against him today… the charges occurred less than a year after Mr. Cannon initiated a civil action against Tredyffrin Township stemming from his termination as the Director of Public Works… Mr. Cannon denies that he, or any other employee under his supervision, violated any law or caused any environmental harm. The substance alleged to have been released is magnesium chloride, which is merely a common salt product used to treat roads.”
Ok but according to the state, aren’t chemicals like this supposed to be disposed of properly? As in not just dumped on Tredyffrin Township owned property and allowed to spill into the Valley Creek?
Scott Canon, 56, of Glen Mills, is facing four counts of unlawful conduct and a count of prohibition against other pollutions for opening a large tank containing magnesium chloride, and releasing 1,000 gallons of the chemical into the township’s public works facility, according to the Office of the Attorney General.
Political chess anyone? Mimi Gleason (so much for that pretty quote of “a job is not a life”, eh?) went to West Whiteland and Bill Martin came out of the polluted Bashore era in Radnor Township via problematic Bridgeport, correct? Is there culpability when it comes to Tredyffrin’s former Public Works guy and the current and former Township Managers of Tredyffrin when it comes to this case? Has anyone contacted Mimi Gleason in West Whiteland for her thoughts? Did she hire this Scott Cannon?
I can’t help but wonder what else will surface in the always politically charged muck and mire of Tredyffrin Township. Because can it said nothing there is ever simple?
But at the end of the day what disturbs me the most are Tredyffrin’s pollution problems. It’s bad enough when it’s a specific company in a certain municipality and all of this has been well, municipally caused has it not? First raw sewage, now this?
And how have these issues affected Tredyffrin residents as well as their municipal neighbors?
Tredyffrin has hired one of their hometown boys, Bill Martin, formerly of Radnor Township fame and the Bashore years. Not that Bill Martin was a particular fan of Bashore’s (I was told he wasn’t), he was just from that truly unfortunate era. An era which took the fortitude of some persistent residents, commissioners, and others who were on the up and up to correct. It was not, however, without blood shed.
Bill Martin went from assistant township manager (and vartious other positions) in Radnor to interim township manager in Radnor in early 2010 when Radnor was saved from the debacle of almost hiring problematic ex-Coatesville manager Paul G. Janssen Jr. as interim township manager. Martin, however, was ultimately passed over for the permanent manager position when Bob Zienkowski was bought in from Ohio.
I will tell you honestly I am of the Radnor Bob Zienkowski fan club and with good reason – he is amazing. He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. That man walked in to a hot mess, rolled up his sleeves, and got busy.
As an aside, some timely news about Radnor as it relates to Chester County is Bob Zienkowski suggested at the October 15th, 2012 public meeting that Radnor consider studying to leave Delaware County and to join either Chester or Montgomery County. Yes, municipal secession (see Radnor meeting on You Tube for 10/15/12 and start listening just before 9 minutes 42 seconds to catch this.) The irony is I have always felt Radnor Township had more in common with Chester County versus Delaware County, but I digress.
Ok back to Bill Martin. After Radnor, he went to Bridgeport – a very tiny municipality in Montgomery County. He has been there about a year as per newspaper article I found. Of course, Bill Martin joins another mid level Radnor refugee of the Bashore era, Matt Baumann, who is Tredyffrin’s current Director of Planning and Zoning. Matt helped me when I got the historical marker for the Wayne Natatorium. He’s a heck of a nice guy.
Bill Martin is also a nice guy from what I have always heard told. But truthfully, Tredyfrrin as I see it is a municipality in need of serious remediation ASAP. And choosing a manager who may or may not be a politically connected local resident may not be the way to go here. I am actually going to disagree somewhat with my esteemed blogging colleague Pattye Benson ever so slightly.
Pattye comments that this is the first time a Tredyffrin Township Manager is a Tredyffrin resident and lives in the township. Now I agree with the residency part, and I think the departing and in the end disappointing Mimi Gleason is actually a West Chester area resident. What I do not agree with is choosing someone who lives in Tredyffrin now as a manager. I think the best thing that could have happened to Tredyffrin would have been a new Township Manager coming in from waaaay outside Tredyffrin and the area, truthfully.
I hope I am wrong, but I wonder if Bill Martin will have the chops in the end to take on what needs doing in Tredyffrin. Tredyffrin has historically been subject to whispers – people are afraid of retribution. And before you poo poo me here, look what happened to Pattye Benson when she spoke up? That still does not sit right with me, and I still believe that troll of a supervisor John P. DiBuonaventuro as well as Tredyffrin Township’s administration owes her an apology, don’t you? In true lettergate fashion, I say a written apology.
Insular politics and politics of one party rule without much balance is bad for a community – just look at the snarl of tangled politics that is Lower Merion Township.
So I will be looking for Bill Martin to be an independent voice, beholden to no one. I hope he can accomplish that. I hope after what he saw and experienced at Radnor Township during the Bashore years that he can bring a different tone to Tredyffrin.
Congratulations Bill Martin, but my oh my you have a large job ahead of you.
Community Matters and TE Patch Blogger Pattye Benson reports that Tredyffrin Township’s Board of Supervisors has appointed a new Township Manager to replace Mimi Gleason, who left the position in September 17 after ten years with Tredyffrin Township…..What sets him apart from Gleason and others who have served as Tredyffrin Township Manager is that Martin is a resident of the township.
Yesterday was the 225th anniversary of the United States Constitution. Truly, the bible of our freedoms was signed on September 17, 1787. Yesterday a friend of mine had to defend her honor as a free woman of the United States of America.
Why is it Tredyffrin feels it is above the very principles upon which this country was founded? How ironic is that considering as a municipality they hold within their borders part of one of the most sacred sites of the American Revolution and of our history? You know, Valley Forge?
What truths do we really hold to be self-evident? In Tredyffrin, quite frankly, I shudder to think.
I am astounded at the Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors President Michelle Kichline. She danced around the subject of Vice President of the Board of Supervisors John P. DiBuonaventuro turning Tredyffrin’s taxpayer-funded website into TMZ.com. And I am still somewhat astounded that exiting Tredyffrin Township Manager Mimi Gleason went along with this whole enchilada, including a personal attack by an elected official on Pattye Benson who gives so much to her community. And as a blogger, I have been in Pattye’s position. I have been threatened, as have other bloggers I know. And time and again I ask for what? Having an opinion that runs contrary to the party line of some petty local government or selective government officials? Was People’s Republic of Tredyffrin Supervisor DiBuonaventuro channelling his inner Corbett? (Remember when Corbett went after bloggers before becoming governor? I wrote about that topic in *shock and horrors* Main Line Media News and it is reprinted below.)
I was thinking today about my balloon ride on 9/11, and how I was moved to tears by not only what the day represents (and it has extra meaning to me as someone who by happenstance walked out of the shopping concourse in the World Trade Center in 1993 just as the garage blew up), but moved by the beautiful green field dotted with a couple hundred first responders from all over Chester County who came together on 9/11. Then I thought about what my friend Pattye had to bravely do last night. She stood up and disclosed to all (see YouTube) that because of Lettergate she received a very odd phone call last week – from the departing Township Manager and Chief of Police. What was the point of that? Intimidation? I can’t help but wonder if I will also become a target because I have blogged about this? (This is not my first rodeo, and when horrible things like this happen it seems again that ordinary citizens have hit upon subjects government doesn’t want aired in public, right?)
When you think of what our founding fathers fought and died for, and what all those people (including first responders) died for on 9/11, I am so truly and deeply saddened and angered that Tredyffrin Township seems to think this is all o.k. and don’t you feel the same?
It’s not. Today, we as bloggers in the South Eastern PA blogosphere applaud Pattye Benson for rising above and speaking her piece in a dignified and forthright manner. She behaved far better than any in government (either elected official or township employee) deserve. Tredyffrin owes her, Main Line Media News, and anyone who exercises their First Amendment Rights an apology.
And as a municipality which is Republican dominated,
they are not exactly forwarding the cause of their party or their party’s political belief system. (As a Republican I am ashamed and embarrassed for them) I am so over bullying by government. (IMHO it doesn’t just happen in Tredyffrin either) I mean think about it people! Pattye Benson was in fact cyber-bullied by government officials and township officials. Cyber-bullied, the thing they worry about in schools and here it is adults in power not exactly practicing what they preach, right?
….The regular Board of Supervisor’s meeting ended with supervisor and citizen new matters. Chairman Michelle Kichline read a statement from the Board of Supervisors concerning the use of the township website for John DiBuonaventuro’s letter to the citizens. Although a personal attack on a private citizen, Kichline stood by the decision to post his letter on township letterhead on the website. She did say that the board will look into developing a policy for the use of the website going forward. As the private citizen who was the target of DiBuonaventuro’s venomous attack, Kichline and the Board of Supervisors response was far from satisfactory.
Following Kichline’s statement on the Suzy Pratowski matter and the use of the township website for a supervisor’s personal letter, Andrea Felkins, a former School Board director and longtime resident , presented a lengthy statement in opposition. Felkins was absolute in her conviction against DiBuonaventuro’s use of the township website for his personal attack on me and of Community Matters…Below is the transcript of my statement from last night’s September 17 Board of Supervisors meeting:
Pattye Benson Personal Statement September 17, 2012
Members of the Board of Supervisors and citizens of Tredyffrin Township – I had not intended to speak tonight, preferring to listen to other’s voices. But something happened this past Friday, that has shaken me to my very core. At approximately 9:40 AM on Friday, September 14, I received a joint phone call from township manager Mimi Gleason and Police Superintendent Tony Giaimo that has forever changed who I am. In life’s journey, this is my watershed moment and a feeling that I will never forget.
Unable to shake how I was feeling, after 24 hours, I wrote the following email to Mimi Gleason and copied Michelle Kichline, chair of the Board of Supervisors.
Let me share that September 15 email with you.
Dear Ms. Gleason,
There are two reasons that I am writing this email (1) to state that as a citizen of Tredyffrin Township, I now feel threatened and harassed by our government and (2) to request that you never contact me again, unless it is with a written apology for your actions.
I have thought of little else since receiving your phone call yesterday, Friday, September 14. As a township resident, to be blindsided with a conference call from the township manager and the police superintendent was more than a little intimidating; I have to wonder how often you have taken a similar approach with other citizens in this community. The telephone conversation left me wondering exactly what was the purpose of the call and why did you involve Tony Giaimo except as a witness or possibly to record the phone conversation. Although there was no mention made of the call being recorded, Tony did state he was in his police vehicle, so am I to assume that the telephone conversation was recorded without my knowledge.
Between the historic house tour, the Paoli Blues Fest and personal health issues, I do not have the time or energy for your directives, missives or whatever else was the intention of your phone call or of your email dated September 7. On September 7, I emailed you the following simple question:
“Who is responsible for Mr. DiBuonaventuro’s letter on the township website? Was placing the letter on the website sanctioned by you, the township manager?”
The only response that my question required was a simple, yes or no, with the possible addition that the chair of the Board of Supervisors and the township solicitor had OK’d the letter for the township website. However, no, you decided on a different response, one that was not required, not needed and not necessary. Frankly, as a citizen and taxpayer in this township, your response was one that I believe you should never have sent. When I received your email, I made no response.
Your call yesterday revisited the opinion you stated in your September 7 email to me; again complaining that Community Matters contained misinformation and incorrect facts, specifically the assisted living project. However, never once in the conversation did you cite specifics as to what was incorrect. As a response to your complaints about the Suzy Pratowski matter, I stated that the Main Line Media News, TE Patch, Daily Local and the Philadelphia Inquirer had all written articles on the subject. I further stated that there was at least a week after the news articles appeared for the police department, the township or the Board of Supervisors to make a statement before I wrote anything on Community Matters. Residents were asking questions and no one seemed to be providing answers.
As a result of the situation, I did my own mini-investigation, speaking with District Attorney Tom Hogan, District Judge Tom Tartaglio, BOS Chair Michelle Kichline and Police Supt. Giaimo. After a thorough analysis, I presented my own summary statement on Community Matters. I clarified that John DiBuonaventuro was not the unidentified driver with Ms. Pratowski in the May 28 incident, as a photo in the newspapers may have implied. In my summary, I stated that DiBuonaventuro was interviewed by the police and that the police were satisfied that he was not in any way involved with the two police officers not appearing for the August 21 court date. I wrapped the summary up and tied a ribbon on it, stating that the two police officers missing the hearing was a human error, a mistake. I also thanked those involved (Hogan, Tartaglio, Kichline and Giaimo) for their help and used the words that I was ‘closing the chapter’. Little did I know, what was to happen … DiBuonaventuro’s letter, your involvement with the letter on the website, your September 7 email and most recently, your telephone call of September 14.
Feeling threatened by your phone call, I remarked at one point during the conversation that I should have an attorney on the call. I stated to you and Giaimo that as a resident of this township, I have rights, and as a citizen of the United States, I have rights, including 1st Amendment rights. I believe that our government does not have the right to harass and intimidate those citizens it serves to protect. I am not an attorney but I cannot imagine that your actions of yesterday (or your email) would be viewed favorably by the courts. Further, I cannot imagine that you would have considered making a similar phone call to Main Line Media News, TE Patch or the Philadelphia Inquirer nor would you have dare taken this approach with an attorney who might understand the legal implications of your actions far better than me.
Supt. Giaimo asked what I would like to see happen going forward – my response was a denouncement from the Board of Supervisors for the letter going on the website and an apology from the township manager. It should be noted that I quickly also stated that I did not expect either of those two things to happen.
It saddens me greatly that you were compelled to bring Tony into this matter. He and I have enjoyed a good working relationship over the last several years, including the blues festival and the house tour. Was your motive to damage my relationship with him, or was it to record the conversation? It is entirely unclear why you involved the police superintendent, except to further intimidate me.
In case you are not aware, your phone call was so upsetting, that I immediately called Michelle Kichline, chair of the Board of Supervisors to report the conversation. You suggested that I was ‘mistaken’ when I suggested that Ms. Kichline had not seen Mr. DiBuonaventuro’s letter before it was posted on the website. For the record, Ms. Kichline again confirmed that she had not seen the actual letter before it went on the website; I guess you are the one who is mistaken.
In closing, your intimidating actions have contributed to my feeling harassed and threatened by some in our local government. I ask that you not contact me again, unless it is with a written apology. For the record, I believe that John Petersen is also owed an apology from you, for the words, “so-called legal expert has no expertise …” contained in your Sept 7 email to me.
Sincerely, Pattye Benson
This is the end of my email to Ms. Gleason but I have a few closing remarks.
The great irony is that today is this country’s Constitution Day. Two hundred and twenty five years ago, on September 17, 1787, forty-two of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention held their final meeting. Only one item of business occupied the agenda that day, to sign the Constitution of the United States of America. Our founding fathers fought and died for our freedom, and I am left wondering if what is going on in this township is what they would have intended.
In closing, I am but one person, but I believe that I represent a far greater community.
Can we question our government?
Do we dare to have an opinion?
I believe that ALL our voices matter.
There is nothing subjective about the First Amendment and any of our other inalienable rights.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
Will Pennsylvanians soon be looking forward to a new slogan for the Commonwealth? How will “Welcome to the People’s Republic of Pennsylvania” roll off the tongue? I don’t think it will dance as nicely as “You’ve Got a Friend in Pennsylvania” somehow. Nor should it.
What has my wanton blogging soul all a-twitter (pardon the pun)? News which went viral across Pennsylvania as well as the country: Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Tom Corbett, upholder of truth, justice and the American way in Pennsylvania as attorney general, issued a grand-jury subpoena to Twitter to unmask a couple of anonymous bloggers who weren’t part of his fan club.
Yes, that’s what I said, “Huh?” Apparently these two bloggers are known on Twitter by the handles of @bfbarbie and @CasaBlancaPA and they have been criticizing Mr. Corbett. OK, well, it’s 140 characters or less, right? He’s a tough-guy politician, right? So why the thin skin? Surely Mr. Corbett has faced tougher criticism from opposing candidate Dan Onorato? In today’s world, who hasn’t criticized a politician? Over dinner, in the editorial page, at the grocery store, in a public meeting, on a blog, on some other form of social media? It’s an American tradition as old as this great nation for goodness’ sake!
This is so confoundingly perplexing on so many levels that this issue has even prompted a comment from Paul Alan Levy, a litigator with the Public Citizen Litigation Group. Mr. Levy commented in part on Mr. Corbett’s decision to sue the federal government to try to block the new health-care bill as being too invasive in citizens’ lives. Like Mr. Levy, I have to wonder: what is so different about this?
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution was written to protect things like free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press. It says literally:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
So how does this work with politicians again? Are we as human beings supposed to blindly follow where all lead? Are we only supposed to agree with politicians, never disagree? I’m sorry; did I fall asleep and wake up down the rabbit hole with Alice in Wonderland or something?
Is Tom Corbett the new Henry VIII of Pennsylvania? “Off with their heads” and all that? Instead of priest holes, will we all soon have blogger holes in our houses and an underground railroad to move bloggers from safe house to safe house to avoid the AG’s guards?
Are bloggers all now criminals and outlaws for expressing our opinions about elected officials and those seeking not only local but higher state and even federal-level office? If some of the most famous founding fathers were alive today would they be in jeopardy as well for scribbling broadsheets under pseudonyms? You know, like Benjamin Franklin or John Adams or Thomas Paine?
Seriously, what century are we living in? What’s next? Resurrection of the Scarlet Letter? Only this time it is a “B” for Blogger? Stocks? Pillories? Being paraded through the proverbial town square in chains?
This is a man who wants us to consider him for governor, right? So how many people across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania blog or use some form of social media to express themselves? And should elected officials use their office as a bully pulpit to squash all critics like bugs? What is it about politicians? You can write about them as long as it’s good news or they can control the content? That is what their publicists are for, I thought.
If the First Amendment rights of these bloggers were or are in peril, can it be considered that so could be the First Amendment rights of every American from coast to coast?
Given the now undeniable symbiotic relationship between the media and bloggers, one would hope the media would pay close attention to this story as it unfolds and at its conclusion. After all, the media get a lot of information from blogs and bloggers (“citizen journalists”), they can’t deny it, and so in theory if the First Amendment rights of bloggers are challenged thusly, the press is next.
Media reports indicate that by Friday, May 21, 2010, Mr. Corbett was just having a bad day and is pulling his subpoena. It is a good thing that Mr. Corbett has done the right thing, but it still gives all of us pause for thought, doesn’t it?
Pennsylvanians of all political persuasions indeed have a lot to think of come November 2010.
I guess in November 2012 and every election going forward until Tredyffrin residents have more fairly representative government people will have something to think about, huh? They can try to quell our voices, but like our votes, they are our own, are they not?