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Doylestown Council says farewell to Don Berk


Ask Don Berk, what he will miss most about being a Doylestown Borough councilman and he hesitates, just a little.

“I don’t know, probably representing my constituents, being a part of council, which is always finding ways to make the borough even better.”

Berk was inundated with hugs, thanks, and praise Jan. 27 as borough council honored the former councilperson for his 12 years service.

“I’ve served with Don ever since I’ve been on Council,” said Councilwoman Noni West. “I’d like to say the Don is a pleasure to work with. He always brought a new perspective and a different perspective on all of our issues and basically has served as our social engineer on council for the last 12 years.”

But after over a decade of service, Burke has decided to move on to other challenges.

“I’ve just begun teaching speech at Delaware Valley University as an adjunct professor. I really enjoy working with young minds. I also love painting and cycling and will continue.”

Berk said he didn’t plan on joining borough council but rather fell into it accidentally.

“I coached our previous mayor, Libby White, and after she was elected, she suggested I’d be a good fit for council. I’d never been involved in politics before, but she said it in front of Emily and Julia, my daughters, who were very excited. I struck a deal with my older daughter, Emily, that I’d run if she managed my campaign. It was a wonderful experience.”

Berk created the EAC (Environmental Advisory Council) to take advantage of the wealth of expertise in the borough. “In that first year,we received the Cool Cities Award with a solar panel prize, which we installed at Fanny Chapman pool,” he said.

Berk helped the borough get recognized as “bike friendly,” and he organizes and lead the Ride of Silence (one of the largest in Eastern United States), which he said he will continue to do.

As chair of community and government affairs, he led the Pride Task Force (comprised of representatives from a wide variety of groups), which organized and ran the first Pride Festival last year.

Berk championed the borough’s anti-discrimination ordinance and created the HRC (Human Relations Commission) as its education and enforcement vehicle. It’s the accomplishment he’s most proud of, he said.

“Shockingly, it’s legal in Pennsylvania (and about half the other states) to discriminate based on sexual orientation and identity,” Berk said. “That means if you’re even suspected of being LGBTQ+, that is sufficient grounds for your landlord to evict you, your boss to fire you, or a place of business to refuse to serve you. Thanks to our ordinance, that’s no longer legal in Doylestown and as many as two dozen other municipalities who modeled their ordinances after ours.”

Berk said he accomplished everything he set out to do.

He said he joined council to be a voice for constituents and work towards equal rights for every person. “I believe I did that during my three terms and stepped down only after another liberal voice, Jennifer Jarrett, could run in my place. I leave with no regrets, just happy memories.”