Tuesday’s news items [last night’s meeting notes & more] – 1/7/2020

Sleeves rolled up | Columbia’s council was formed last night at the first meeting of the month, year and decade. The reorganization meeting included the swearing in of four new councillors as District Magistrate Miles Bixler asked the freshmen/woman elected public servants and a family member join him in the center of the room. A family member held the swearing in Bible as the four recited the pledge of office.

reorg comboNew councillors being administered oath of office near the beginning of last night’s Council Reorganization meeting, clockwise from top left: Councillors Howard Stevens, Sharon Lintner, Heather Zink and Eric Kauffman. (Stevens’ wife held the Bible as did Lintner’s husband.); Borough Fire Chief Doug Kemmerly and District Magistrate Miles Bixler. Kemmerly was joined by a dozen or so firefighters as he delivered an impassioned five-minute presentation stressing the critical need for working smoke detectors it every structure. 

Live-streamed | Last night’s meeting was live-streamed and is archived at the Borough’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ColumbiaBoroughPA/videos/447928976092667/

no time to rest | The second borough council meeting will be held tonight at 7:00 pm. The meeting agenda and accompanying packet is now posted; look here.

Digging in | The newly elected council reformed with incumbents Pamela Williams, Todd Burgard and Fran Fitzgerald will be at tonight’s long time planned council meeting beginning at 7:00 pm. At last night’s meeting Heather Zink was elected Council President and Sharon Lintner; Vice President.

Same in Lancaster | At Lancaster’s council re-organization meeting, a similar scene played out as three new councillors joined that council. The newly elected Council President Randal Smith-Wade-El “called on the newcomers and the rest of council to work on behalf of the thousands of ordinary residents who, without fanfare or publicity, quietly do their part to make Lancaster better. He advised them not to shy away from conflict.”

“Conflict is the nature of what we do,” he said. “If we all agree, we’ll get nothing done.”

from a letter-to-the-editor | “Of all his many talents, there is one that I particularly appreciate. (Former Lancaster City Council President James) Reichenbach has taken his commitment to seeking public input extremely seriously. Even in the messiest issues, he has remained committed to public discourse. I have seen him show incredible patience and sincerity when handling even the most heated situations. It’s an example that I wish all community leaders will follow. And even an example that I hope to follow in my personal life.” This extract is from a letter-to-the-editor in today’s LNP – Always Lancaster.

Common theme – elsewhere, too | Last night, Zink and Lintner reinforce the voter mandate they said they intend to embrace. The said they will work to regain citizen trust by being transparent, tackling tough issues with an eye on fiscal prudence and listening.

Similarly, in Philadelphia, that municipality’s council, which consists of 17 new and returning elected public servants — bigger elephant; more mouths to take small bites — held its reorganization meeting.

“Council seems to be coalescing around those critical needs,” said Councilmember-elect Jamie Gauthier, who upset longtime incumbent Jannie L. Blackwell to represent the Third Council District in West Philadelphia. “And I think that’s because of what we’re hearing from people in neighborhoods and because we’re looking at the hard numbers.”


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