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Tinicum refines how board, committees operate


New Tinicum Township board chair Eleanor Breslin has introduced a plethora of operational adjustments aimed at providing better public access, clearer participatory guidelines and heightened board participation in community affairs.

First up, considering Tinicum’s administrative challenges stemming from township manager Teri Lewis’ departure last month, Breslin proposed holding just one monthly voting meeting — 7:30 p.m. on the month’s first Tuesday — and one work session — 4 p.m. on the month’s third Tuesday — where no votes would be held but issues would be discussed.

Breslin also called for a conversation on whether to enhance Zoom access to Tinicum board meetings to allow attending residents and committee members to comment remotely.

Vice Chair John Cole spoke of his frustration, when he was a member of the planning committee, at not being able to comment at board meetings when he was away on business.

“Many of our people are unable to attend in person, whether the reason is ill-health, kids at home, night driving restrictions or business travel, but they still want to participate in our government,” Cole said. “Recently, while away on business, I was unable to chime in to correct a fact on a Planning Commission matter under discussion. We have the technology now to expand this public service to include two-way participation.”

Whether two-way participation would take place via typed messages read out to the board, or, via vocal communication would need to be decided. Breslin suggested taking up the topic at the board’s first work session, which is set for today.

Breslin also stressed the need for public participation guidelines.

“I’ve seen many instances where municipalities who have this interactive virtual option maintain clear rules of engagement around public commenting, whether they are written or verbal,” she said.

Additionally, time limits for commenting on agenda items and then for subsequent open comments need to be established, she said. Cole recommended a conversation at today’s work session.

Breslin bemoaned that the Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) has been operating as an Ad Hoc committee since its reactivation in 2022.

“In reality, the EAC has been functioning as a robust Standing Committee for some time and so I’d like to make a motion to make that official,” she said.

This was passed without further comment.

Finally, Breslin proposed Tinicum’s board members act as liaisons to Tinicum’s commissions, committees and boards.

“In many municipalities, we see board members acting as liaisons which greatly improves communication and overall involvement,” she said

Breslin then nominated Cole as liaison to the Planning, Land Preservation and Historical commissions as well as the Parks & Recreation Board.

Cole then nominated Breslin to act as liaison to the EAC and The Joint Bridgeton-Nockamixon-Tinicum Groundwater Management Committee.

Supervisor Richard Rosamilia was eyed to serve as liaison to the Zoning Hearing Board and Building Code Board of Appeals, but since he was not present at the Jan. 2 meeting, Breslin said the board would wait until the February meeting to finalize those appointments.

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