Letter: Stevens supports Leff in Kennett

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To The Editor,

Letters1I’ve known and worked with both Richard Leff and Jim Przywitowski for several years. I have been asked by various residents whether I will endorse either for election on November 5th as Supervisor of Kennett Township. It is now time to publicly declare my choice: I support Richard Leff.

Here’s my main reason why. Since becoming involved in township affairs I’ve been amazed to discover that the significant business of the township is actually managed by a small shadow group of volunteers that have been around for decades. They all currently serve at the pleasure of the Board majority of Mr. Elling and Mr. Hammacker, and their recommendations are routinely adopted by that majority as township policy.

Jim Przywitowski is a key member of this group, which also includes Tom Nale, John Haedrick, and Bob Listerman.  Specifically, Haedrick, Listerman and Przywitowski dominate the Planning Commission (PC), while Przywitowski and Nale are the only members the Land Conservation Advisory Committee (LCAC).

How close to each other are these members of Mr. Elling’s “shadow government”?  Currently:

  • Tom Nale is treasurer of both Falcoff’s and P12’s campaigns
  • John Haedrick is P12’s campaign chairman.
  • Bob Listerman was Falcoff’s campaign chairman during my election.


Mr. Przywitowski has declared that he is an “independent” and “his own man,” but the facts beg to differ.  In fact, there is no example of his ever taking a clear, public stand in opposition to even the worst decisions of Elling or Hammaker. In consideration for those many years of quiet support, Elling, Hammacker and the members of their shadow government are now out knocking on doors to campaign for Jim Przywitowski, and contributing to his election war chest.

For this reason, I cannot support Jim Przywitowski.  I believe that a vote for him will end up being a vote for the status quo, and a continuation of the Elling “business as usual” reality that has been dragging down the effectiveness and reputation of Kennett Township for years.

On the other hand, I feel quite comfortable supporting Richard Leff. He is an effective leader, a proven manager and an accomplished small business operator. He is committed to looking at the problems confronting the Township and considering all the possible solutions.  He brings dedication to careful, prudent, balanced and fiscally sound government, something that Kennett Township desperately needs. And, most importantly, he will not be a rubber stamp to anyone’s opinion or view.

In short, Richard Leff’s election would be a welcome change for Kennett Township, and that’s why I am voting for him on November 5th.


Scudder G. Stevens,


Kennett Township

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  1. Ted Moxon says:

    I have been a Township resident for 4 years. I arrived in time to see the highly negative campaign run by Scudder Stevens two years ago to win his seat on the Board of Supervisors.

    I have found out since then that while he may have had some valid questions to ask regarding the way the township has been run in past years, his methods and the results of his questioning have not returned much valid concern about the state of the township. It was mostly just a series of unfounded accusations which he and his new-found ‘running-mate’ Richard Leff continue to try to use to excoriate Mr. Przywitowski.

    In addition, the use by Mr. Stevens of the term ‘shadow government’ is clearly a campaign ploy to again try to smear Mr. Przywitowski for political gain. It sad just how politically motivated Mr. Stevens is when he claims to be striving for transparency. Time after time, he has chosen to simply vote no against his peers on the Board in a knee-jerk attempt to promote his smear campaign.

    I believe that by electing Mr. Przywitowski to the board, Mr. Stevens will have the chance to work openly in a truly non-partisan way with Mr. Przywitowski to provide sensible stewardship of our township.

    A vote for Mr. Leff will only provide Scudder Stevens with an opportunity to begin his own ‘shadow government’ with constant two-to-one votes as Mr. Leff touted in his debate a few weeks ago.

    We should give Scudder a chance to put his money where his mouth is and find real harmony with varied interests by working with a highly qualified and clearly open-minded supervisor in the form of Jim Przywitowski.

    Ted Moxon

  2. Matt Sabo says:

    Scudder Steven’s letter of October 28th endorsed Richard Leff for Kennett Township Supervisor, but also disparaged by name four good men who have volunteered their time to public service in the Township for decades. I am a political independent (I have never been a member of any party and never worked on any past or current campaign) and look forward to working with whoever is elected as Supervisor. I am writing this response not to contest Mr. Steven’s endorsement, but to offer facts that were not mentioned, that I believe contest his assertions of the existence of a “shadow government” in Kennett Township.

    I have served on the Kennett Township Environmental Advisory Council and the Planning Commission for over 10 years. For the past two years I have worked with Mr. Stevens and I believe he has served well and responsibly as Supervisor. I have also worked closely and publicly with Jim Przywitowski, John Haedrick, Bob Listerman, and Tom Nale for more than a decade. They do not in any way constitute a “shadow government” as Mr. Stevens implies. They are dedicated, have strong opinions, and are not afraid to express them. And yes, they are all Republicans and would be more comfortable working with a candidate who aligns with their political beliefs. There is nothing nefarious or inappropriate about this.

    Nor are they somehow in a conspiracy to support the existing policies of the other members of the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Steven’s statement that Jim Przywitowski has never taken a clear public stand in opposition to a decision by the other Supervisors is not in the least consistent with my experience. I do not have enough digits on my body to count the number of times Jim has engaged in public heated exchanges with the Supervisors. The principles he most frequently espoused at these times were a commitment to open government and an aversion to the influence of favored individuals and special interests. Township governance needs to improve in these respects, and has improved in recent years, in large part because of the efforts of Mr. Stevens and the influence of Jim Przywitowski. For example, Jim helped convince the majority Supervisors to adopt Mr. Steven’s idea to hold public work sessions in the evening to encourage greater participation. I am confident that whichever candidate is elected, they will bring about substantive and positive policy changes to Kennett Township.

    Mr. Stevens asserts that the recommendations that Jim, John, and Bob are routinely adopted as township policy. Indeed, they have agreed with and given support to the majority Supervisors on some issues, for example, the demolition of the bungalows at Longwood Gardens (an issue I disagreed with them on). But they have also frequently made recommendations that have been rejected. Bob Listerman and I worked for months to convince the Supervisors of the environmental benefits of effluent spray fields, but they did not choose to pursue that option.

    When Mr. Stevens was elected, Jim, John and Bob made a concerted effort to engage with him (I know, because they asked me to help as well) and try to get some positive changes implemented that were consistent with his platform. Not all their suggestions were adopted, but primarily because of intransigence on the board, not because these individuals did not try to work with Mr. Stevens as well as the other Supervisors. I have also heard all of these men advise the majority Supervisors to engage Mr. Stevens in a professional and respectful manner, and unfortunately their advice has not always been heeded to my (or Mr. Steven’s) satisfaction. These men do have some influence because people respect their experience and integrity. Generally they have used what influence they have to bring about positive change in Township governance, not to perpetuate the more controversial policies that most residents agree need to change.

    Tom Nale is someone I think deserves special discussion. If you live in Kennett Township, and you enjoy the fact that Philadelphia’s sewage is not disposed of within our borders, thank Tom Nale. As the Scudder Stevens of his day he rose up as an ordinary citizen and organized opposition that stopped a project that seemed inevitable to succeed. Do your children enjoy the free art classes offered at the Garage on Saturday’s and throughout the summer? Thank Tom Nale because he secured the grants to fund that program. Do you like the fact that our Township actually has a fund for acquiring conservation easements? Tom Nale was instrumental in bringing about the public referendum that established this fund, and regardless of the controversy surrounding it, we actually do have funds available for this purpose (something many other Townships wish they had). You can thank Tom any time you like. He is always polite, friendly and approachable. But please remember to shake his left hand. He lost his right arm years ago when the aircraft he was flying over Dover, Delaware experienced engine trouble. Instead of bailing out and running the risk of the plane crashing into a residential area, he tried to land and almost made it. I know that none of these facts preclude him from being a member of a shadow government, but they are at least as relevant to evaluating his character as the fact that he a worked on a couple of political campaigns.

    In my opinion, whatever the results of this election, change is coming to Kennett Township governance. There is no shadow-government conspiracy to stop it.

    Matt Sabo
    Kennett Township Resident

    • Cathy Burkett says:

      Thank you Matt. Since I have lived in the Township only since June of 2005, I was not aware of the other things that you mention that Tom Nale has accomplished. He is a truly humble man.

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