Radnor Charter Review Committee sets guidelines

The Radnor Charter Review Committee met Monday night to discuss guidelines in recommending changes in the township Home Rule Charter of 1976 and, more specifically, to adopt a decision matrix for reaching those changes. The committee also heard from a member of the 1976 charter committee.

Gerry Scott, who was treasurer of the Government Study Commission that wrote the Radnor Township Charter, spoke to the committee about non-partisanship and collegiality among the group he was a part of 37 years ago, and of “three or four mistakes” he thought that might have been made. He advised the committee to know what other municipalities are doing in similar circumstances. Scott’s comments, which provided a unique historical context for the charter, were received with thanks from the committee members.

Committee chair John Ake wanted to know more about the charter’s ban on dual office holders. “How did that come up?” he asked.

Scott, who said he was involved “in Radnor politics for 30 years,” gave a brief history of the decision, which he said was based on an aversion to what was then thought to be “cronyism” in Delaware County politics with local political office holders sometimes also holding county posts as well.

Monday marked the third meeting of the committee. Once its review is complete, it will make a formal recommendation to the Board of Commissioners, with the proposed changes. Pending board approval, the proposed changes will appear as a referendum on the November 2012 ballot.

A draft proposal of a decision matrix for describing what is “not working,” providing documentation of the problem leading to language changes necessary for addressing it, and for finally verifying the proposed solution was introduced.

The committee also discussed the importance of reaching consensus on the recommendations passed on to the commissioners and what to do about proposed changes on which some disagreement might remain.

Another matter raised was how to reach stakeholders in the community and citizens who are interested, but who would probably not attend a full committee meeting with its air of televised formality. Possible informal community sessions, perhaps at Radnor Memorial Library, were mentioned as a way of reaching people.

The charter can be found in its entirety on the township Web site. There is also provision for resident comments, suggestions and questions.

Township Manager Bob Zienkowski said that township department heads were already informed of the process and were preparing their input.

Zienkowski also said that the township newsletter for August-September would be available as a way of spreading information about the charter-revision process.

The committee’s next meeting will be Monday, Aug. 29, 6:30 p.m., at the Township Municipal Building.

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