I keep track of my activities as a Supervisor 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.
Hours Per Month
In 2023, I spent a total of 334 hours (an average of 28 hours per month) engaged in official Supervisor activities that included preparing for and attending meetings and interacting with residents. This compares to 527 hours (an average of 44 hours per month) on such activities in 2022. The following chart shows the hours per month I spent on these activities in 2023.
Breakdown by Type of Activity
I keep track of the time spent on the following activities:
- Attending “Required” Meetings (BOS regular & special meetings and Executive Sessions; Supervisors are not required to attend Work Sessions)
- Preparation for BOS Meetings
- Attending Optional Meetings/Activities
- Interaction with Residents
- Travel To & From Meetings
The following chart shows the percentage of time I spent on all these activities in 2023:
Why Do I Spend So Much Time Preparing for Meetings?
Interestingly, I spent only 13% of my time attending required public Board of Supervisors (BOS) meetings as well as BOS “Executive Sessions,” which are not public meetings, but are considered “required.” However, 50% of my time was spent preparing for these and other official - but not required - meetings.
Obviously, I and other supervisors could just sit at meetings and vote without fully understanding the issues and history behind each item that comes before the Board. Hopefully, all supervisors should do adequate research to prepare for these meetings and make decisions that are in the best interest of ALL citizens and that fulfill our oath to "protect the health and welfare" of residents.
But I take it one step further by preparing detailed notes of each meeting that I incorporate into a "chronicle" - a written account BOS meetings in the order of their occurrence. Access the "2023 Newtown BOS Chronicle."
Interacting With Residents
In my opinion, personal interaction with residents regarding their concerns is an important part of my responsibilities as Supervisor - as important as attending required meetings. I want to be sure that I spend enough time reaching out to and responding to residents via personal contact, official email via my email@example.com account and via my personal firstname.lastname@example.org account, and via phone and/or Facebook.
I also interact with residents via my Meet Mack Monday Zoom meetings. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, I began hosting these meetings remotely using Zoom in 2021 - usually every month before the first BOS meeting. More residents are able to join in these remote discussions than live meetings. Usually between 6 and 15 people attend each Meet Mack Monday Zoom meeting. In 2023, I hosted a Meet Mack Monday Zoom meeting every month except for August and December. Sorry, you will have to provide your own coffee!
Every Supervisor is provided a yearly stipend of $4,125. This amount has not changed in many years. Thus, I earned about $12.35 per hour in 2023 as a Supervisor. That's considerably more than the $7.25 per hour PA minimum wage (a disgrace!). So, I can't complain.
But it's possible to make a higher hourly “wage” as a Supervisor. That's because Supervisors only need to attend "required" meetings as noted above. If I only attended required meetings, my hourly wage/stipend would be about $96. Not bad at all! If I also include hours spent preparing for these meetings, then my hourly wage drops to about $20 - still, almost three times the minimum wage! Of course, neither I nor the other supervisors are in this for the money.
The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) - of which I am a member - has been lobbying the State Legislature for an increase in the Supervisor stipend for years without success. No wonder! Even a Supervisor like myself who spends a lot of time on official business and not just attending required meetings makes more than a minimum wage earner in PA!
Of course, I'm not in it for the money. And I'm sure my fellow Supervisors feel the same.
My Voting Record for 2023
I've been keeping track of how Newtown Township supervisors voted on motions before the Board. Please see my (UNOFFICIAL) 2023 Voting Record of Newtown Supervisors.
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 28 Dec 2023, 11:16 - Category: Governance