Residents argue cancelled meetings should come back, board defers decision
By P.J. D’Annunzio, Staff Writer, The Times
KENNETT — During Monday night’s Kennett Township Board of Supervisors meeting a petition signed by 109 Township residents to reinstate the cancelled monthly work sessions was presented to Supervisors’ Chairman Michael Elling.
Township resident Mike Gutman, who presented the petition to Elling, suggested that the board take a vote to bring the work sessions back into operation, however, Elling — Along with Supervisor Bob Hammaker— said that not having a chance to review the petition left them unable to render a vote.
Supervisor Scudder Stevens commented to his colleagues that the elimination of the work sessions has created an overload of business to be dealt with during the monthly BOS meetings, and their reinstatement could prove more beneficial in expediting township procedures.
“Since the work sessions were unilaterally cancelled by the chairman without the vote of the board, these meetings have gone on for hours and we still have significant business left to do — now we typically go until 10 o’clock or 10:30. There’s a lot of business that needs to be taken care of and we’re not getting around to being able to do it,” he said.
“These work sessions have been very important in the past because they allowed a lot of work to be taken care of and in a meaningful way; even though they were done during the day and a lot of people couldn’t attend…I make the motion that we institute the work sessions as suggested in the petition for a six month period.”
Elling suggested that the board table the motion until next month, claiming “hopefully we’ll have some more responses” from township residents.
When township residents asked Elling what an appropriate number of signees or interested individuals would be he responded, saying, “We’ve had these work sessions during the day and they tailed off with nobody coming. We tried late afternoon meetings for six months and no one came. Not enough for us to make the effort. We’re going to let it go at this time until next month.”
“What we want to see is more enthusiasm from a wider group,” he elaborated. “Notwithstanding [Gutman’s] efforts to get these petitions—and I applaud him for doing it—but people sign petitions very often without even knowing what they’re signing.”
“That’s a very pejorative statement to the people that took the time to sign their names to something that they think is important,” Stevens said in response to Elling’s evaluation. “To suggest that they just dashed it off—you haven’t even looked at it to know what it says.”
Several residents suggested that a trial run of evening work sessions be implemented for a six month period to see if attendance would grow to a level satisfactory to the Chairman. Still, the motion was tabled and the ultimate fate of Kennett Township’s work sessions will remain undecided until the September supervisors meeting.