Reflections on a snowy day


It’s been pretty quiet in the Chadds Ford area lately,
except maybe for the sounds of shoveling and plowing. So what to do on a snowy
afternoon than to muse about what little has been happening?

The verdict is not yet in on the value of the new
supervisors’ workshops the Chadds Ford Board has implemented. There’s only been
one so far. That was held a week before the February 1 regular meeting of the
supervisors.

The workshops are public meetings where the supervisors,
along with the township manager and engineer discuss the possible agenda items
for the regular session. There is no voting at the workshops, just a discussion
with each of the supervisors given a chance to voice an opinion.

Workshop number one, held Jan. 25, did seem to help
streamline the regular meeting in February. And that’s what Supervisors’
Chairman Deborah Love hopes they’ll do. While that February meeting was far
from efficient, it was far more so than most of the previous meetings held in
Chadds Ford, and it lasted less than an hour. There’s still too much side talk,
but so far, so good.

One action the board took during the February meeting—appointing
Joe Barakat as deputy code enforcement officer—deserves comment.

We wonder if the township is relying too heavily on one
person. Mr. Barakat is also the volunteer roadmaster, emergency management
coordinator and the paid township manager.

This is in no way an indictment against Mr. Barakat or his
abilities. And it makes sense to have many of his additional—unpaid—duties fall
under the supervision and responsibility of the township manager, but we just
question the wisdom of putting so much on one person’s plate. Accident or
illness could put many things in disarray.

At best, township residents are getting the most of the
salary they are paying the township manager through their taxes. But the
increased number of functions seems to be a portent of a larger township
government sometime within the next few years. More employees and a larger
payroll can’t be too far away.

But one thing must happen, and the sooner the better. The
township needs to update its Web site. The site is still showing the next
meeting to be October 2009.

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