John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Open Records/Transparency Category

My Year (2019) as Newtown Supervisor

The following is a summary of my Supervisor-related activities for the entire year of 2019. In 2019 I spent, on average, 39.4 hours per month on official Supervisor business.

Log of Hours Spent on Official Business

My log keeps track of the time spent on the following:

  • Attending “Required” Meetings
  • Preparation for BOS Meetings
  • Attending Optional Meetings/Activities
  • Interaction with Residents
  • Travel To & From Meetings

What This Report Does Not Include

My log of Supervisor-related activities does not include the many hours I spend posting to this blog, maintaining my personal website, writing a newsletter, creating and posting video clips from meetings, hosting podcast interviews, summarizing decisions made by the Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition), etc. Also not included is the time I spend posting to my personal Facebook page, Twitter account, and Instagram account. These activities are NOT part of my official duties as Supervisor, but represent my personal views.
Meetings

In 2019, I spent a total of 56 hours attending required meetings and 63 hours in optional meetings for a total of 119 hours for the year or 10 hours per month.

Obviously, BOS meetings are the most important meetings - I am expected to attend them in order to satisfy my duties as a Supervisor*. These include regular twice-per-month public meetings (except in July and August and sometimes December), and non-public executive sessions. In 2019, I had a perfect attendance record for regular Board of Supervisors meetings and voted on every motion (refer to "The (UNOFFICIAL) 2019 Voting Record of Newtown Supervisors" for details of how I and other Supervisors voted). Optional meetings include public work sessions, and special meetings (see the list below).

How Much Are Supervisors Paid?

*Township supervisors are paid a yearly stipend set by ordinance and state law. The exact amount depends on the size of the township. Newtown Township supervisors receive $4,125 per year. If I had attended ONLY required meetings, that works out to nearly $90 per hour! But based on the actual number of hours I have worked on official business in 2019, I earned $9.32 per hour. That's more than the official $7.25 per hour minimum wage in PA!

This stipend hasn’t risen in nearly a quarter of a century, but could go up by as much as 68% under legislation moving in Pennsylvania’s Capitol. For Newtown the proposed stipend would rise to $6,915. However, municipalities would have to adopt an ordinance for any salary change to take effect. The higher salaries would only be raised after an incumbent stands for re-election or when their successor starts their term of office. One wrinkle: the board of supervisors may provide that a supervisor shall receive compensation on a per-meeting basis based on attendance of supervisors.

Considering that Supervisors already make considerably more than the PA minimum hourly wage, I would not support an increase in the Stipend unless the PA minimum wage was raised to at least $9.50 per hour!

“Other Meetings” I attended were optional. These include meetings of the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB Definition), Planning Commission, Human Relations Commission (HRC), Human Relations Commission, Environmental Advisory Council, Parks and Recreation Board, Finance Committee and the Newtown Fire Association (NFA).

In 2019, I spent a considerable amount of time (131 total hours/11 hours per month) preparing for required Board meetings. This includes downloading and reviewing documents, including the Bills List (invoices paid by the Township), minutes of previous meetings, and police reports.

Interaction with Residents

In my opinion, personal interaction with residents regarding their concerns is an important part of my responsibilities as Supervisor. I want to be sure that I spend enough time reaching out to and responding to residents via personal contact, official email via my johnm@newtownpa.gov account and via my personal john@johnmacknewtown.info account, and via phone and/or Facebook.

In 2019, I spent more than 80 hours (17% of my total logged hours) interacting with residents.

Disclaimer

When speaking with residents on issues that may come before the BOS in the future for a vote, I never express an opinion as to how I will vote because I may not have all the information. Needless to say, I also do NOT discuss any confidential information that is not in the public domain. These discussions with residents are meant solely to inform me of their opinions, not for me to give them my opinion. Or it is just to listen to complaints/concerns and to forward them on to the BOS if necessary
I find discussions with residents very helpful. Therefore, I'd like to make it a regular thing to meet with residents to discuss issues that are on the agenda of upcoming Board of Supervisors meetings. Meetings are usually the second Monday of the month at the Corner Bakery Cafe in Newtown from 2-3 PM. But check the  event calendar  as meeting dates and locations may vary.  Meanwhile, Tell me what issues are most important to you by taking my short SURVEY.

Posted on 06 Jan 2020, 10:07 - Category: Open Records/Transparency

My Supervisor Activity Log for December 2019: Toll Bros, Savvy Citizen, more...

The following is a summary of my Supervisor-related activities for December, 2019. I spent 34.8 hours in December on official Supervisor business.

Log of Hours Spent on Official Business

My log keeps track of the time spent on the following:

  • Attending “Required” Meetings
  • Preparation for BOS Meetings
  • Attending Optional Meetings/Activities
  • Interaction with Residents
  • Travel To & From Meetings

What This Report Does Not Include

My log of Supervisor-related activities does not include the many hours I spend posting to this blog, maintaining my personal website, writing a newsletter, creating and posting video clips from meetings, hosting podcast interviews, summarizing decisions made by the Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition), etc. Also not included is the time I spend posting to my personal Facebook page, Twitter account, and Instagram account. These activities are NOT part of my official duties as Supervisor, but represent my personal views.
Meetings

In December 2019, I spent 2.2 hours attending required meetings (there was only one BOS meeting) and 5.4 hours in optional meetings.

Obviously, BOS meetings are the most important meetings - I am expected to attend them in order to satisfy my duties as a Supervisor. These include regular twice-per-month public meetings (except in July and August and sometimes in December), and non-public executive sessions. Optional meetings include public work sessions, and special meetings (see the list below).

“Other Meetings” I attended were optional. In December, 2019, I attended meetings of the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB Definition) and the Human Relations Commission (HRC).

In December, I spent 9.8 hours preparing for required Board meetings. This includes downloading and reviewing documents, including the Bills List (invoices paid by the Township), minutes of previous meetings, and police report.

The height of each bar represents total hours spent on official business that day. This includes time spent at meetings.
Interaction with Residents

In my opinion, personal interaction with residents regarding their concerns is an important part of my responsibilities as Supervisor. I want to be sure that I spend enough time reaching out to and responding to residents via personal contact, official email via my johnm@newtownpa.gov account and via my personal john@johnmacknewtown.info account, and via phone and/or Facebook.

In December 2019, I spent 9.3 hours (27% of my total logged hours) interacting with residents. What did I discuss with residents? Here’s a partial list (some items are not included for confidentiality reasons):

Disclaimer

When speaking with residents on issues that may come before the BOS in the future for a vote, I never express an opinion as to how I will vote because I may not have all the information. Needless to say, I also do NOT discuss any confidential information that is not in the public domain. These discussions with residents are meant solely to inform me of their opinions, not for me to give them my opinion. Or it is just to listen to complaints/concerns and to forward them on to the BOS if necessary
I find discussions with residents very helpful. Therefore, I'd like to make it a regular thing to meet with residents to discuss issues that are on the agenda of upcoming Board of Supervisors meetings. Meetings are usually the second Monday of the month at the Corner Bakery Cafe in Newtown from 2-3 PM. But check the  event calendar  as meeting dates and locations may vary.  Meanwhile, Tell me what issues are most important to you by taking my short SURVEY.

Posted on 06 Jan 2020, 01:38 - Category: Open Records/Transparency

(UNOFFICIAL) 2019 Voting Record of Newtown Supervisors

I've been keeping track of how Newtown Township supervisors voted on motions before the Board. The following is the voting record for 2019 based on the approved minutes of meetings.

NOTE: This is NOT an official record of votes. Some very minor motions, such as to approve minutes, bills lists, etc., are not included. Please refer to the BOS meeting minutes for the official voting record of each meeting.

Download a PDF version here.

Posted on 14 Dec 2019, 12:57 - Category: Open Records/Transparency

My Supervisor Activity Log for November 2019: 2020 Budget, Durham Road Development, more...

The following is a summary of my Supervisor-related activities for November, 2019. I spent 40.2 hours in November on official Supervisor business. That's just about the average per month for 2019 to date.

Log of Hours Spent on Official Business

My log keeps track of the time spent on the following:

  • Attending “Required” Meetings
  • Preparation for BOS Meetings
  • Attending Optional Meetings/Activities
  • Interaction with Residents
  • Travel To & From Meetings

What This Report Does Not Include

My log of Supervisor-related activities does not include the many hours I spend posting to this blog, maintaining my personal website, writing a newsletter, creating and posting video clips from meetings, hosting podcast interviews, summarizing decisions made by the Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition), etc. Also not included is the time I spend posting to my personal Facebook page, Twitter account, and Instagram account. These activities are NOT part of my official duties as Supervisor, but represent my personal views.
Meetings

In November 2019, I spent 7.3 hours attending required meetings and 4.8 hours in optional meetings.

Obviously, BOS meetings are the most important meetings - I am expected to attend them in order to satisfy my duties as a Supervisor. These include regular twice-per-month public meetings (except in July and August), and non-public executive sessions. Optional meetings include public work sessions, and special meetings (see the list below).

“Other Meetings” I attended were optional. In November, 2019, I attended meetings of the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB Definition), Planning Commission, Human Relations Commission (HRC) and the Newtown Fire Association (NFA).

In November, I spent a considerable amount of time (17.3 hours) preparing for required Board meetings. This includes downloading and reviewing documents, including the Bills List (invoices paid by the Township), minutes of previous meetings, and police report. I spent about 5 hours reviewing the preliminary 2020 budget and 2 hours preparing a summary of my Newtown Creek Bridge Proposal Survey (download a copy here).

The height of each bar represents total hours spent on official business that day. This includes time spent at meetings.
Interaction with Residents

In my opinion, personal interaction with residents regarding their concerns is an important part of my responsibilities as Supervisor. I want to be sure that I spend enough time reaching out to and responding to residents via personal contact, official email via my johnm@newtownpa.gov account and via my personal john@johnmacknewtown.info account, and via phone and/or Facebook.

In November 2019, I spent 3.0 hours (8% of my total logged hours) interacting with residents. What did I discuss with residents? Here’s a partial list (some items are not included for confidentiality reasons):

Disclaimer

When speaking with residents on issues that may come before the BOS in the future for a vote, I never express an opinion as to how I will vote because I may not have all the information. Needless to say, I also do NOT discuss any confidential information that is not in the public domain. These discussions with residents are meant solely to inform me of their opinions, not for me to give them my opinion. Or it is just to listen to complaints/concerns and to forward them on to the BOS if necessary
I find discussions with residents very helpful. Therefore, I'd like to make it a regular thing to meet with residents to discuss issues that are on the agenda of upcoming Board of Supervisors meetings. Tell me what issues are most important to you by taking my short SURVEY.

I decided to keep track of my activities as a Supervisor on a monthly basis partly because I want to be accountable to residents, but also to make sure I am making the best use of my time. It's really an honor to serve the community! I learn something new every day and have met many fine people and volunteers who also put in a lot of time without any compensation at all. Thanks to everyone who help keep Newtown in business and safe.

Posted on 02 Dec 2019, 12:46 - Category: Open Records/Transparency

Still Hard at Work as Supervisor in October Despite Campaigning

I spent a lot of time campaigning for re-election in October 2019, which paid off in a bittersweet victory (read "Mack & Fisher Beat Butler & Boyle by Going Positive!"). Despite that, I spent nearly 35 hours in October 2019 on official Supervisor business to maintain an average of 40 hours per month in 2019 to date.

Log of Hours Spent on Official Business

My log keeps track of the time spent on the following:

  • Attending “Required” Meetings
  • Preparation for BOS Meetings
  • Attending Optional Meetings/Activities
  • Interaction with Residents
  • Travel To & From Meetings

What This Report Does Not Include

My log of Supervisor-related activities does not include the many hours I spend posting to this blog, maintaining my personal website, writing a newsletter, creating and posting video clips from meetings, hosting podcast interviews, summarizing decisions made by the Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition), etc. Also not included is the time I spend posting to my personal Facebook page, Twitter account, and Instagram account. These activities are NOT part of my official duties as Supervisor, but represent my personal views.

Not included in this log are the many hours spent canvassing door-to-door campaigning for re-election. Much of that time was productive getting feedback and discussing issues of importance to residents. BTW, if you haven't already done so, you can still give me feedback on issues of importance to you by taking this short survey.
Meetings

In October 2019, I spent 6.7 hours attending required meetings and 4.4 hours in optional meetings.

Obviously, BOS meetings are the most important meetings - I am expected to attend them in order to satisfy my duties as a Supervisor. These include regular twice-per-month public meetings (except in July and August), and non-public executive sessions. Optional meetings include public work sessions, and special meetings (see the list below).

“Other Meetings” I attended were optional. In October, 2019, I attended meetings of the Parks and Recreation Board, Joint Zoning Council (JZC Definition), the Newtown Fire Association (NFA), and a meeting with Police Chief Hearn to discuss communications (Savvy Citizen) and tour the police building.

The height of each bar represents total hours spent on official business that day. This includes time spent at meetings.
Interaction with Residents

In my opinion, personal interaction with residents regarding their concerns is an important part of my responsibilities as Supervisor. I want to be sure that I spend enough time reaching out to and responding to residents via personal contact, official email via my johnm@newtownpa.gov account and via my personal john@johnmacknewtown.info account, and via phone and/or Facebook.

In October 2019, I spent 3.9 hours (12% of my total logged hours) interacting with residents, not including the hours I spent campaigning for re-election.

What did I discuss with residents? Here’s a partial list (some items are not included for confidentiality reasons):

  • Toll Bros Archdioscese application
  • collection of EIT Definition from new restaurants
  • Outdoor speakers at Drive-thru Starbucks
  • Tyler Walk trail to shopping center

Disclaimer

When speaking with residents on issues that may come before the BOS in the future for a vote, I never express an opinion as to how I will vote because I may not have all the information. Needless to say, I also do NOT discuss any confidential information that is not in the public domain. These discussions with residents are meant solely to inform me of their opinions, not for me to give them my opinion. Or it is just to listen to complaints/concerns and to forward them on to the BOS if necessary

I decided to keep track of my activities as a Supervisor on a monthly basis partly because I want to be accountable to residents, but also to make sure I am making the best use of my time. It's really an honor to serve the community! I learn something new every day and have met many fine people and volunteers who also put in a lot of time without any compensation at all. Thanks to everyone who help keep Newtown in business and safe.

Posted on 08 Nov 2019, 10:22 - Category: Open Records/Transparency

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This site is paid for and approved by John Mack: john@johnmacknewtown.info
The opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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