Bucks County Herald

Springfield opts to keep five members on board

BARRIE-JOHN MURPHY

Bigger is better for the township.

That was the consensus of Springfield supervisors during a discussion on whether to reduce the five-member board to three.

Supervisors agreed the present larger board better represented the diverse township with its small, sleepy towns, busy Route 309 corridor and large swaths of farmland.

“Having five people discussing issues gives you a much broader input,” said board member Volker Oakey. “You get a lot of diverse opinions and benefit from that. And we have learned to listen to one another.”

Oakey also made the point that having five supervisors meant meetings could be held on an almost continuous basis because only three are necessary for a quorum. “We won’t be like our federal and state government and not get anything done,” observed Supervisor Karen Bedics, who also favored the status quo.

Supervisor Robert Zisko, stressing he didn’t have a strong opinion either way, conceded there were some advantages to a smaller board. “Some townships run well with three members; others don’t,” he noted. Zisko and John Oehler acknowledged that with a smaller board everything is more streamlined.

But Bedics warned that when there was a three-member board there was a concentration of power, which wasn’t helpful when the township was facing some serious issues. Resident Steve Doncevic echoed her concerns. “A concentration of three that think alike can really mess up a township.”

Supervisors made no motion on the resolution, and as a result, the issue will not be put to voters in the fall. Clearly irritated, Supervisor Chairman Dave Long questioned why the ballot issue was put on the meeting agenda without, as he claimed, any board discussion beforehand.

Township Manager Mike Brown said he thought they had. “We may have mentioned it, but we didn’t have a discussion,” replied Bedics.

Also at the meeting, resident Patricia Douma inquired what the police department was doing about incidents of identity theft on Peppermint Road over a period of several months. Police Chief Michael McDonald said he couldn’t get into the details of the investigation but reassured her that progress was being made. “Activity in the area has died down,” he said.

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