To the editor:
One important job requirement a township supervisor has is to be receptive to the residents: "Certainly supervisors are the proper recipients of complaints, ideas, and suggestions concerning township affairs" (pg. 3 of Township Supervisors Handbook, 2005). Like most people, getting involved in governmental affairs is not something I get excited about; when I elect someone to office, I assume that the job is being done, and any issues that do arise are taken care of in a way that benefits the residents.
I started hearing from other residents about some major issues within our current board of supervisors and how things are being handled, so I started attending the monthly Armagh Township supervisor meetings. To do so, I have to take personal time off from my job to attend the new meeting time of 3:30 p.m. I am fortunate I can do this, but many residents do not have the ability to leave their job to attend a meeting. I have written before about residents' requests to move the meeting time to a more accessible time for working residents, and the denial of that request by the majority of our board (see meeting minutes from June 2, 2014 - the signed petition to move the time was denied; Boyer no, Reed no, Bitner yes).
Because of this refusal, many people are becoming irritated. They are irritated with having to ask over and over. They are irritated with being ignored. They are irritated with no results month after month. Lastly, I am becoming irritated with the behavior of two of our elected officials toward the residents in attendance at these meetings. At the Monday, July 7, meeting during the public comment period, two residents again asked for the board's consideration to move the times to later in the day. Again, the response by our board chairperson, Glenn Boyer, was to not respond to the requests. All further comments were shut down by the most effective way possible - to adjourn the meeting in the middle of this line of questioning.
Gathering with a common goal and voicing organized opinions are permissible under federal law, and cannot be hindered or told to 'go away and be quiet,' yet this seems to be the clear statement from our chairperson at these meetings. The support of one supervisor is not enough to make the changes that are needed when there are always two that vote against him. This township will not move forward in restoring its relationship with its residents as long as these voices are falling on deaf ears and indifferent minds.