Vetting and political bloodletting

We would be remiss in not addressing the story from last week regarding Aaron McIntyre, his education claims and the political climate in Pennsbury Township.

Just five days before the primary election, Mr. McIntyre’s opponent, Steve Eichinger, brought to the attention of ChaddsFordLive evidence that cast doubt on Mr. McIntyre’s education claims.

On his Web site, Mr. McIntyre indicated he had gone to Swarthmore College for his undergraduate work and to Drexel University for his graduate work. However, Mr. Eichinger produced a letter from the Swarthmore College registrar’s office saying no records with the name Aaron McIntyre could be found. A phone call to the registrar’s office confirmed the authenticity and validity of the letter.

In questioning the candidate after the confirmation call with Swarthmore, McIntyre said he attended, but did not graduate from Swarthmore. He added that he went to Drexel for both undergraduate and graduate work simultaneously. But when asked whether he graduated, he tap danced. Instead of a straightforward yes or no, he replied, “That’s irrelevant.”

Such relevancy may be in the eye of the beholder, as may be his response to the question.

The Web site, while not explicitly saying he had degrees from Swarthmore and Drexel, such was the implication. Any casual observer would easily infer graduation. We hold that there was deliberate misrepresentation at best. And the fact that the Web site was changed the day after the story broke would support that contention.

The position of township supervisor does not require an advanced degree, not a bachelor’s degree or even any level of college education.

So why would anyone running for the office misrepresent his or her education? That question has not been addressed, and we think that it should come from the voters of Pennsbury. It is, after all, their township and they have a legitimate right to question the character of any candidate when there’s even a hint of misrepresentation.

The matter is not one of qualification. Of the two candidates, we think Mr. McIntyre to be the more qualified. He has been active in the township while Mr. Eichinger has not. He has involved himself in the areas of open space issues, his homeowners’ association and served on the Planning Commission.

Mr. Eichinger’s qualifications seem to be limited to being a township resident who has a friendly relationship with a former supervisor who chose not to seek reelection because the political climate was unfavorable.

And in that, the contest between the two candidates was nothing more than the continued battle between the two political factions in the township. And that, we believe, was the sole motivation for someone trying to “dig up dirt” on a candidate.

Mr. McIntyre may have been improperly vetted by the Republican Party but, without a serious challenge from a well respected independent candidate, he will be the next supervisor in Pennsbury. He won the election 302-124.

And he may very well be correct when he said the people have spoken, that in voting for him they are saying they want to move forward in unity, not split by faction.

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