And We Thought Uwchlan Township had Three Supervisors!
Updated: Sep 21, 2019
The Uwchlan Area 25 Republican committee believes we must educate and explain issues and developments as they arise within our Township. It is our sincere belief that informed residents are the best protection against the demagoguery and the influence of outside well-financed interest groups that are intent on force-feeding changes upon our great Township. Our Republican candidates have learned that many residents have not been aware that our Township is supposed to be run by a three-person board, the Uwchlan Township Board of Supervisors. We emphasize “supposed to be run” because anyone who attended the September 9th Boards of Supervisors meeting or watched the video of the meeting would understand that this is not the case. Rather, decisions affecting Township business are now made by one person, Mr. Bill Miller, who is making decisions outside of the state-mandated open Township meetings segment starts at 29:13 minutes into the meeting video.
As many of you already know, in August our Township Manager sent an email to the members of the Uwchlan Community Day Organization Committee (UCDOC) informing them that the Township decided to make the UCDOC a Board-appointed committee and that would require formal application and interviews with the board. The email suggested they hoped everyone involved in the past would then reapply. In other words, the Township decided that all current volunteers were terminated, but could continue volunteering so long as the person was acceptable to the Board of Supervisors.
The wholesale firing of the volunteer committee naturally raised concerns, voiced at the meeting. However, by the end of the meeting, those concerns were undermined by the admission that our Board of Supervisors never voted to terminate the volunteers and make UCDOC membership a board appointed the position. No, it was Mr. Miller, sitting in the Township Manager’s office who decided to send out the UCDOC email. Let’s have that sink in for a moment, the Township’s decision to remake the UCDOC was made unilaterally by Mr. Miller, not the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Miller’s decision to reorganize the UCDOC was a clear violation of state law! The Pennsylvania Sunshine Act “requires our [Township] to deliberate and take official action on [Township] business in an open and public meeting. It requires that meetings have prior notice and that the public can attend, participate, and comment before a [Township] takes that official action.” Moreover, "official action" is defined, in part, as 1) “the establishment of policy by a [Township], 2) the decisions on [Township] business made by a [Township] or 3) the vote taken by an [Township] on any motion, proposal, resolution, rule, regulation, ordinance, report or order.” The Sunshine Act does not permit one member of the Board of Supervisors to sit alone in the Township Manager’s office and make official Township policy.
Now, if this single decision and email were a onetime mistake, we would not suggest Mr. Miller is alone running the Township. However, what happened next with the UCDOC confirmed that Mr. Miller is the one calling the shots. Even though his initial email encouraged all prior members of the committee to reapply and submit to interviews, Mr. Miller changed his mind and decided formal application was not necessary, or there would be no candidate interviews. No, in advance of the BOS meeting, Mr. Miller made a list of who would and would not be appointed to the newly reformed UCDOC. Mr. Miller decided one former member of the UCDOC did not meet with his approval and left him off. So, therefore, between the August and September Board of Supervisors meetings Mr. Miller unilaterally decided to; 1) to reorganize the UCDOC, 2) to develop and implement a new process for volunteer to apply and be appointed, 3) to cancel or usurp that newly established process, and 4) to appoint residents to his reorganized UCDOC.
Some may think these closed-door decisions are trivial. Others may believe that Mr. Miller was only attempting to streamline these issues. We, however, have great concern with Mr. Miller’s unilateral rulemaking. Following policy and procedure for the smallest of matters guarantee our local officials understand the importance of the Sunshine Act for when the big issues arise. But, of even greater concern, is the apparent complacency of the other two members of the Board (Ms. Bauman and Dr. Doan) to Mr. Miller’s usurpation of their rights and privileges as members of the Uwchlan Township Board of Supervisors. One would expect these two Supervisors to check Mr. Miller’s unilateral decision making. However, they both sat quietly at the September meeting when questioned about these procedural issues. Perhaps, if Ms. Bauman and Dr. Doan don’t care that Mr. Miller is making Township policy in violation of state law. They should step aside so that new Supervisors can step up and actively engage in the governance of our Township and assure that Township decisions are not made by one person but by the three-person Board of Supervisors.
 These statements about the Pa Sunshine Act are taken from the Commonwealth’s website.