There’s an article about the Jonal Gallery exhibit in the Entertainment Lancaster section of today’s Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era.
Archive for the ‘In Columbia’ Category
When looking at the low voter turnout in Tuesday’s primary election, it might be easy to look ahead to November’s election. The folks who will represent the two major parties will go head to head in numerous local elections.
Local voters and tax-payers appreciate that every election is about character and perception. In November, voters will go to the polls and vote for the candidates that represent the kind of character that best will serve the citizens they will represent. Voters will be voting for the candidates who will be setting taxes and representing your interests.
Here’s how Columbia’s voters voted on Tuesday. Who will represent your interests with character and astute perception? Who will exercise good judgment when determining revenue streams and expense items?
“If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck.” – anonymous proverb
A citizen passed along an email with an attachment inviting a slew of people to a party. The email read in part: “attached is an invitation to the ‘staff’ meeting that they closed the Borough offices for. So, the taxpayers of the Borough will foot the bill for food, drink, rental of Golden Stories and pay the Borough workers for a ‘tribute’ to (departing borough manager Norm) Meiskey.”
Columbia news, views & reviews’ readers may remember that following the April council “meeting-of-the-whole,” an article stated: “The councillors also were cool to the agenda item that sought ‘to close the Borough Office’ for a half-day so that all employees can celebrate Norman Meiskey’s Retirement Luncheon.” Accordingly, the agenda item was not passed:
Then at last week’s full council meeting, the council approved a thinly-veiled agenda item agenda item 12, b.: “Consider closing the Borough office on May 31, 2013 from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm for a Borough staff meeting.”
Columbia news, views & reviews does not take issue with a “retirement ceremony” for a departing borough employee and, most likely, the citizen who shared the email, doesn’t either.
What we disapprove of is the masking of inviting a slew of borough employees, councillors, the mayor and others in the community to a party called Norms Retirement Luncheon Invitation under the pretense of training.
On borough time and off borough property. Has this been the practice for previous retirements? Is it the model for any borough retiring from now on?
“If the staff training looks like a party and has a name like a party, it must be a party.”
Good idea; bad execution.
At Monday’s borough council meeting, councillor Jim Smith injected how impressed he was with the response from the borough’s volunteer fire companies’ response to a recent fire incident on Chestnut Street.
He related how orchestrated the response was and how the firefighters exercised great care in protecting the contents of the property as they acted to suppress the fire caused by a lightning strike.
The mayor and out-going borough manager added that the swiftness and cooperative nature of the borough’s responding public safety resources – fire, law enforcement and emergency management – was a result of “lessons learned” in the aftermath of a fire in the borough last year.
Councillor and chairperson of the Committee for Public Safety, Mary Barninger, reinforced that “lessons learned” and the open sharing of information and perceptions are important improvement processes influenced by the “after-incident” assessment and discussion. Departments across the country have given this discussion a number of names: the bumper talk, the hot-wash, the after action report, the debrief. All refer to the process in which, following the incident, persons involved in the response identify what happened, what was supposed to happen and what may be considered “to improve the outcome the next time something like this happens.”
The “after-action review” is a critical component of the Incident Command System (ICS) – a part the National Incident Management System (NIMS). Formally adopted in February 2003 as Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5, NIMS intended “to enhance the ability of the United States to manage domestic incidents by establishing a single, comprehensive national incident management system” in which “all levels of government across the Nation have the capability to work efficiently and effectively together, using a national approach to domestic incident management.”
To add consistency and teeth (and to be eligible for any future federal funding) to the directive, all municipalities and jurisdictions in the nation had to implement their own proclamations promising to “institutionalize” the establishment of a “single, comprehensive system.” Pennsylvania’s proclamation which “mandate(d) the National Incident Management System be utilized for all incident management in the Commonwealth” was signed in December, 2004.
Columbia Borough’s resolution was in March of 2006. (SOURCE: Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency)
The fire service has been a proponent of the principles of ICS since its introduction as a management tool in fighting wildland fires in the early 1970s. Many fire departments and other first (and subsequent response agencies and resources, including elected public servants) were slower to institutionalize or enable the ICS and NIMS principles.
The NIMS Integration Center strongly recommends that all elected officials who will be interacting with multiple jurisdictions and agencies during an emergency incident at the minimum, complete IS 700 and ICS 100. These courses provide a basic understanding of the National Incident Management System and the Incident Command System. Everyone directly involved in managing an emergency should understand the command reporting structures, common terminology and roles Read the rest of this entry »
The May 2013 borough council meeting was held at the borough hall’s council chambers last night. All the councillors but Jody Gable, who was ill, were present, as was the mayor, solicitor, borough financial officer, the outgoing borough manager and the new borough manager. Council president, Michael Beury convened the meeting of nearly a dozen citizens – including five students from Lancaster Catholic High School’s government class – at 7:00 pm. The meeting was adjourned at 9:09 p.m.
Agenda – page 0ne
Agenda – page two
Meeting notes: Below are a few notes on some of last night’s topics of discussion. Again, the best way to know what transpired at any meeting is to attend in person. Otherwise, the information you get about what happened will be second-hand: it will Read the rest of this entry »
Or you can find this at the Columbia Borough Website
Obviously, the better way to find out what happens and what is said at any gathering of people, is to be there. Listen to what people are saying. Watch the Power Point presentation, if there are any. Look at who is saying what to whom. Observe who tends to sit with whom and who gathers together for small group discussion during breaks.
For those who were not in attendance at Tuesday’s Columbia Town Meeting, media reports and reports from those who attended become the source of information.
Here is one observer’s account of the town meeting: “Columbians seek to boost town’s quality of life.” - MyColumbiaNews
This is the third installment of Columbia news, news & reviews’ reporting of the note-taking of that meeting.
Police chief Jack Bromer followed the mayor’s Power Point presentation with his own Power Point presentation about the Columbia Police Department’s resources and statistics. The presentation included staffing numbers; call reports from the county’s 9-1-1 system; and the department’s upgraded weaponry. The mayor injected that the weapons were acquired at minimal cost to taxpayers; the new 40 mm hand guns and AR-15′s were obtained using grant funding.
The chief made references to the need for increased staffing. He spoke to the citations issued so far this year for dog violations; there’ve been 20.
The mayor and police chief agreed that speeding is a problem; the mayor said, “Ninth Street is a raceway.” The department is working on enforcement in town and on Routes 30 and 441. The mayor said the department will be getting “one-officer” radar speed abatement
The chief commented on his department’s responses to direct calls to the department as well as the recorded calls to the 9-1-1 system. He related actions and activities that the police department has been involved with; that list includes: making sure that the borough’s curfew is observed. The borough’s curfew ordinance appears online; it states, “The Borough Secretary/Treasurer shall provide notice of this chapter and of the curfew regulations established by it by having copies of this chapter posted in, on or about such public or quasi-public places as may be determined by the Mayor, the Borough Council and Police Department in order that the public may be constantly informed of the existence of this chapter and its amendments and regulations.”
“The Borough Council of the Borough of Columbia, recognizing the problem of crimes committed by and committed against juveniles during the nighttime and believing that it can be dealt with more effectively by regulating the hours during which minors less than 18 years of age may remain in public places and certain establishments without adult supervision and by defining more clearly certain duties and responsibilities upon those who have the custody and responsibility for the care of such minors, hereby enacts this chapter for the purpose of promoting the general welfare and protecting the general public through reduction of juvenile violence and crime within the Borough of Columbia, promoting the safety and welfare of the Borough citizens under the age of 18 years whose youth and inexperience renders them particularly vulnerable to becoming the participants in criminal activity and in being victimized by perpetrators of crime, and fostering and strengthening parental responsibility for children.
“The period of time between the hours Read the rest of this entry »
When most people think of the town meeting, they think of the open forum, all topics and issues brought to the forefront and debated convocation of the shareholders.
In its most pure form, the town meeting begun and practiced in New England’s states and commonwealths, was an open forum of voting citizens in a town. In Vermont, “It is the day when all the legal voters of a town have an opportunity to air their grievances; a day when true town business is addressed; and the source of a much-needed social respite towards the end of a long Vermont winter.”
Wikipedia says it this way: “A town meeting is a form of direct democratic rule, used primarily in portions of the United States since the 17th century, in which most or all the members of a community come together to legislate policy and budgets for local government.
“The term has more recently been expanded to cover public meetings that draw people in a geographic area to discuss issues but not vote on any legislative or administrative action. Notably, the term is commonly used by politicians in the United States to describe forums at which voters can ask questions.”
Was Monday’s meeting a town meeting?
At Monday night’s town meeting in Columbia, the “openness” and the general airing of grievances by citizens was limited as the unpublished agenda evolved as the mayor and police chief showed Power Point presentations. The mayor’s focused on observations about what the mayor’s observed around town and what he believes is needed; the police chief’s was a show about the police department’s resources and needs.
Yard sales: The mayor’s Power Point began with a slide showing yard sale signage and the mayor held up a yard sale sign that he’d gotten over the weekend. He went on to say that the uncontrolled yard sales (1) violate utility company policies when people post signs on utility poles; (2) that the signs not removed give a bad appearance to visitors ; (3) that the nails, tacks, staples and devices used to affix the signs present a safety hazard; (4) that signage taped to surfaces can scar and remove paint when removed and that the sale of food at yard sales by individuals can present a health risk.
The Columbia Website page headed ZONING says this about yard sales: “It is Read the rest of this entry »