2017-10-18 / Letters

Fed Up with DelCo BOS

The Delaware County Board of Supervisors held a meeting on Wednesday, October 11. I wanted to speak at this meeting, but was informed that I would need approval in advance, and that I would have to say what I wanted to speak about. On September 24, I emailed Penny Bishop, administrative assistant to the Board, to say that I wanted to speak about how such consequential and costly decisions as the siting of the new Department of Public Works facility and of the Office for the Aging could be made by the Board with little or no public discussion. In reply I received the following from Christa Schafer, Delaware County Clerk of the Board.

Dear Ms. Johannessen:

Public comment and feedback on issues is very important to our process, there are only certain times under the law where public hearings are required. Public hearings and public votes are not required when a County purchases or sites a building. However, if by the purchase or siting of a building there is an environmental impact, then a hearing may be required.

As stated in my earlier email, if you wish to address the Board, you must first go through the appropriate committee, get their consent and then, approval of the Board Chair.


Christa Schafer

All right, I thought, then I’ll speak specifically about the siting of the Office for the Aging and the DPW facility, and about the environmental impact of both. I emailed Ms. Schafer to that effect and never heard back from her.

The Board of Supervisors is a publicly elected body. Why isn’t any citizen of Delaware County entitled to speak before the Board without prior approval? To me this smacks of censorship. I found my exchanges with Ms. Schafer very disheartening, not least because she never indicated how I would know what “the appropriate committee” would be to consider my request, and then, even if said unspecified committee might approve it, because I would further need the approval of the Board chair.

I thought we lived in a democracy, nationally and locally, but apparently I’m wrong, and I believe I’m not the only citizen of Delaware County who is fed up with the conduct of the Board of Supervisors.


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