Concord First loses fight

The citizens’ group that hoped to change Concord Township from a township of the second class to a township of the first class has lost.

Concord First member Dan Levin said in an email on Tuesday, Oct. 6, that the state Supreme Court denied the group’s petition for relief.

“I guess this is the end. I’m not even sure our latest filing was considered on the merits or not,” Levin said in the email.

Concord First filed the petition after Delaware County Common Pleas Court Judge James Proud denied the group’s request for a referendum a second time.

Proud first denied the request for the ballot question last year despite Concord First’s getting more than enough signatures during a petition drive. Concord First appealed to Commonwealth Court, which upheld the lower court decision. Concord First then went to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, which remanded the matter to Common Pleas.

Proud again denied the referendum and Concord First filed the petition for relief. However, that second pitch to SCOPA was denied.

According to Levin, “Judge Proud’s order and reasoning were ridiculous. Never before had a petition for first class been denied in the courts, and never for this reason, and it’s been around for 65 years. It just shows how corrupt Delco is.”

Proud’s second denial came on Sept. 15. He reasoned at the time that the petition for the referendum should be denied because Concord First had failed to meet the requirements for obtaining a proper ascertainment of Concord’s population density, despite the fact that the township’s own website shows a population with more than 300 people per square mile, the size required for a township of the first class.

The judge also said the November election is too soon for the election board to get the question on the ballot for this year. However, he added that his decision does not preclude Concord First from trying again.

Concord First began its petition drive last summer. It needed 553 signatures and gathered 990. When the group filed the petition to get the question on the ballot — should Concord Township become a township of the first class — two supervisors, Dominic Pileggi and Kevin O’Donoghue, as private citizens — and the Delaware County Board of Elections, challenged the petition to keep the question off the ballot.

Concord First wanted the change in order to remove members of the board of supervisors from office. When supervisors learned of that, they decided to head that off with their own measure.

In its place, the Concord Township Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance for its own question: Should there be a Government Study Commission formed to look at changing the type of government structure? That measure passed and a commission is in place and is working on writing a home rule charter for the township.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.



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