The first Democratic president of Kennett Square Borough Council in more than 20 years took the reins of the board at last week's reorganization meeting. Jeff Darman, who last year served as vice president of the body, was elected by a 5-1 vote over Joe Makowski. Makowski was absent from the meeting and was nominated by first-time Council member John Thomas.
Kennett Square District Justice Daniel Maisano was on hand to perform the swearing-in ceremony for the recently elected Council members (incumbents Darman, Steve Kelly and Rich Pesce, and newcomer Thomas, as well as incumbent Mayor Leon Spencer).
"I will try to listen and lead, and I will try to do what I think is right," Darman told the audience following his election.
The meeting, although brief, had its heated moments, as Thomas reiterated issues prominent in the November election. He said the borough's 2006 budget is illegal because it shifts excess income from the water and sewer fund to the general fund. He added that the funds collected from water and sewer bills can only be used to pay expenses within that account.
Kelly said the borough solicitor, Marc Jonas, has pronounced the budget spending sound, as has the borough auditors. Darman added that he has seen documentation that using the excess funds for administrative expenses is indeed allowed and he would show Thomas the documents.
Thomas persisted, however, saying, "I have seen nothing that will change my mind."
Thomas also said that the borough, by anticipating the construction of a new parking garage, is incurring too much debt that is not paying for itself.
The Council approved new members of boards and commissions, as well, including the following: Al Willard and Jeff Yetter on the Planning Commission; Steve Kohl and Chip Plumley on the Architectural Review Board; and Liz White on the Historical Commission.
Newcomer Bob Norris will co-chair the New Garden Board of Supervisors along with new chairman Steve Allaband. The only other changes were the few other minor appointments to the various commissions.
Norris is the first Democrat to serve on the board in nearly 30 years, something Allaband noted as exceptional.
Changes in Kennett Township have longtime supervisor Mike Elling retaking the reins, following the chairmanship of recently retired Tom Nale. Bob Hammaker is the vice chairman, with Allan Falcoff a new member of the board.
In Pocopson Township, longtime member Bill Sellers will fill the chairman position, while Zeke Hubbard will serve as vice chair. Georgia Brutscher remains on the board.
In Birmingham Township, David Bortner is the new supervisors' chairman, and Bill Kirkpatrick is vice chair. The Board of Supervisors will continue to meet on the first and third Mondays of the month except on holidays. Meetings are scheduled to begin 7:30 p.m.
In Pennsbury Township MaryAnna Ralph is chairman, Karen Wood is vice chairman and Wendal Fenton is taking his seat as a new member of the board. The board meets on the first and third Mondays of every month at 7:30 p.m.
There were no changes in leadership at
Supervisors George Thorpe and Garry Paul voted Deborah Love D'Elia to succeed Thorpe as chairman in Chadds Ford Township. Thorpe was named vice chair for 2006.
"My mantra for this year will be 'I don't want any new information presented at meetings,'" D'Elia said in an interview after the annual reorganization meeting.
She clarified herself by saying that she will be adamant about enforcing a 10-day rule the board passed several years ago.
In West Marlborough Township there is a new supervisors chairman. William Wylie will chair the board, and Michael Ledyard is vice chairman. Hugh Lofting is a supervisor, the roadmaster and the emergency management coordinator.
The supervisors remained the same in Newlin Township, with Bob Pearson still at the helm. But longtime secretary Betsy Jordan retired and was replaced by Cindy Olliff.