John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
My May 2020 Supervisor Activities: Preparing to Come Out of COVID-19 Lockdown!

My May 2020 Supervisor Activities: Preparing to Come Out of COVID-19 Lockdown!

In May 2020, as the COVID-19 shutdown continued, I spent only 35.1 hours on official supervisor business. That's well below the average of 63 hours per month in January and February before COVID-19. Fewer meetings, however, were canceled and the meetings that were held were via Zoom, which has its good and bad points (see box below).

The height of each bar represents total hours spent on official business that day. This includes time spent at meetings. Blue indicates a required meeting was held that day, orange indicates it was a more-or-less optional meeting.
JZC = Joint Zoning Council Definition, BOS = Board of Supervisors,

Open Up Zoom Meetings to the Public!

At the May 27, 2020, BOS meeting, I continued to press for Zoom public meetings where members of the public could participate. I said, "Since it appears that we will continue to hold 'public' meetings via Zoom, I would like that these zoom meetings be open to the public for participation instead of the current practice of only allowing comments via email. That was fine for the red phase, but we need to get more back to normal during the next phases.

"The more Zoom 'public' meetings are hosted by Newtown Township (BOS meeting, PC, etc.), the less actual public input we get. Zoom technology allows the meeting leader/moderator to add attendees with their microphones shut off as a default. If anyone wants to speak, they can click on 'raise your hand' and the meeting leader/moderator can turn on the mic. This was done successfully at a recent Wrightstown PC Zoom meeting attended by more that a dozen residents. It is extremely simple to run a Zoom meeting and have mics of certain participants muted until they use the "raise hand" feature of Zoom."

Unfortunately, my request was denied! (View the May 27,2020, BOS Zoom meeting here.)

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.

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 May 2020, I spent 4.5 hours (13% of my total logged hours) interacting with residents. This includes a 1.6 hour Meet Mack Monday meeting via Zoom. View the video archive of that meeting below.

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

  • Newtown BINGO! Read more about that here.
  • Traffic issues at NAC event.
  • Discussion of COVID-19 task force to help open businesses.
  • Newtown Economic Recovery Committee

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 01 Jun 2020, 01:05 - Category: Open Records/Transparency

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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