Thursday, January 17, 2013

Authoritative Matters

Tom Carroll was chosen Tuesday to replace
Ron Downie as Borough Authority Board Chairman
Somethings old, somethings new, nothing borrowed and blue? Well the gimmick kind of breaks down at that point.

Just trying to make routine matters seem exciting people, but I guess interest is where you find it.

Tuesday night saw some changes to the Pottstown Borough Authority, not the least of which was the absence of its long-time chairman, Ron Downie, who stepped down in December.

As we reported yesterday, Mike Benner was appointed by borough council to complete the rest of his term.

It being the Authority's organization meeting, a new chairman had to be chosen and the board unanimously selected Tom Carroll, who had been re-appointed to a second term the night before by borough council.

"I appreciate the vote of confidence from the board and I am especially thankful to be taking the seat occupied by Mr. Downie, who helped me understand the authority and is a walking historian," Carroll said.

"We've come a long way in the six or seven years I've been on the board and I truly believe that the people sitting here today believe in this town and want to solve its problems," he said.

David Renn was unanimously re-appointed as the vice chairman; Aram Ecker as the secretary; Jeff Chomnuk as the assistant secretary/treasurer and Benner as the treasurer.

A major change was the frequency of the authority meetings.

Instead of meeting once a month as they now do, the board will meet every other month.

Tuesday night the dates were set as Tuesday, March 19; Tuesday, May 21; Tuesday, Aug. 20; Wednesday, Oct. 16 and Tuesday Dec. 17.

Mark Flanders
Renn said the finance committee will continue to meet monthly and Authority Manager Mark Flanders said he would provide e-mail updates to the authority members in months when the board did not meet.

As a result of the curtailed meeting schedule, the hourly meeting charges paid for legal and engineering services will be somewhat less for 2013.

David Garner of Pottstown was unanimously re-appointed as the borough solicitor and his three-year-old rate of $100 per hour for all meetings was maintained; as was his hourly rate of $115 per hour for all other matters -- a rate which has also been unchanged for the last three years.

The authority board also unanimously re-appointed Cardno/BCM Engineers of Plymouth Meeting, but not without asking a few questions.

Tom Weld, who is the firm's director of engineering, planning and construction services noted in his Nov. 7 proposal letter that his hourly rate will remain at $100 for another year.

Staff costs at BCM range from $65 per hour to $152 per hour and Renn informed the board that he, Flanders and Weld had met prior to the meeting to address what Renn called "my ongoing concern about the engineering fees we've been paying."

They announced the firm will negotiate "no greater than" fees for capital project engineering and project management costs and that weekly work will, when possible, be "pre-approved" by Flanders.

"That's already begun," Flanders told the board.

"Tom (Weld) recognizes, for lack of a better term, the benefits of transparency as much as we do," Flanders said.

Renn praised Weld's professionalism in the meeting with Flanders.

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