Derry Township 2011 Supervisor Write In Campaign

If you are searching for info on my 2015 campaign, The Sun accidentally linked the wrong site! Please click here to redirect to 2015:


I am humbled and honored to have recieved the following palm card my birthday morning.  I am on it, while the balloted candidate is not. Vote Nov 8, and Write In STEVEN TODD for Derry Twp Supervisor. No non-constituent cash for me means representation of, by and for Derry human citizens. Please pass around to your Derry Twp voting friends, that they might make THE BEST CHOICE to become OUR Supervisor on Tuesday, Nov 8.  Thanks, Dauphin and Derry Dems!!!!!

Derry Democrat Endorsed Slate for General Elections 2011


Last night indicated that Foley and Witmer may not address those concerns to your satisfaction.  In the event they don’t: I was the first guest in attendance at the LWV Forum.  I handed out literature to each person who entered.  Only Team Foley and one other gentleman declined it.  Everyone else took one cordially, and many seemed interested in my Write In efforts.  I even saw a few reading it, during boring points of the Forum.

That handout outlines a clear vision of what is wrong, and how to fix it.  Foley said very little last night, other than “all’s fine, full steam ahead.”  I see things a tad differently, as the posted handout shows:

Handout to League of Women Voters’ Forum attendees


Last night, I spoke at the Dauphin County Democrats Meet the Candidates night, at the Hershey Public Library.  After Chair and friend Sue Mackay announced my renewed Write-In efforts for the General Election, I explained why I would do such a crazy thing:  Here are my notes (unedited, warts and all).  They are pretty close to what I said, which summarizes my Primary Write-In Campaign:

General Election announcement post

Why?  Because no one is watching the henhouse.  So, I’ll do it…if you’ll let me:

Oct 7, 2011 –

$22,000 Website? No-Bid?  I Have Better Ideas.  Do the Balloted Candidates?

Here’s a website WE pay a heck of a lot for:

At their May 24, 2011 public meeting, I raised a concern of No-Bid and extravagant expenditures with OUR Supervisors.  I was speaking of OUR $22,000 No-Bid Website, which I found and find extravagant and – since so devoid of information – unnecessary.

According to the mtg minutes, “Chairman Abruzzo thanked me, and said he appreciates the points I made. He assured me that the Board very carefully scrutinizes every dollar spent whether it is our Township engineer or the projects we are involved in. We have always been an open book on this Board.”

At that same meeting, our Supervisors awarded a $650,000 bridge design No-Bid.  I wondered then, and still do, if “every dollar” was “very carefully scrutinize(d)”.  It’s now ‘water under the bridge’ so to speak.  So I looked into a much smaller no-bid award.

Nice sound bite, Chris.  But that doesn’t seem to be the case.  On the contrary, there is no indication that anyone with any qualification to analyze an engineer services proposal has ever looked at this one:


Note how it is signed by our manager just days after receipt.  No member of our staff is an engineer.

It is uncompetitive AND imprudent to take HRG Vice President Brian Emberg’s word on how much we need to pay for a website and what the proposal loosely and unacceptably calls “bid phase services”. Emberg’s interests are in making HRG profit. We taxpayers’ interests are in spending our money wisely.  The two are – by necessity – in conflict.  The Free Market only works when you try to get as much as you can, and I shop for a better price.  It keeps prices fair for all.  At least, that’s what I was taught in grade school.

I am qualified to review engineering service proposals, having written and reviewed many over the years.  So I gave it whack.

Some undefined portion of that $22,000 pays for the website linked above.

First and most glaringly, I would put a website at the level of this one at a couple grand, tops.  So would three IT professionals I asked.  Here is what Asst Manager Jill Horner told me, when I asked why we chose to spend our cash this way:

Asst manager reply

I disagree with her assertion that only this firm can create and maintain a website. On the contrary, to my experience, it is a very common skill.  It is very cheap and easy to do.  Especially given the little info on the website today, ONE (1) YEAR into its stated two (2) year term, and well over 4 months since I requested something of substance be added to it.  Here’s a screen shot today, in case it changes:

Plans posted Oct 2011

The level of detail found in the narrative materials should be being provided as part of the engineer’s normal reporting.  Plans or something meaningful a third party could review and comment on are non-existent.  OUR money folks; and I’m sick of paying it.

We have no way to know what amount of the contract can be billed for which service: bid phase or website services.

I asked Jill why are taxpayers paying for links to HERCO offerings? Is HERCO paying for that portion of this?  I will post her response, if any, for you – her employers – to see.

We should not be paying for bid phase services to support PennDOT, or to respond to questions submitted to PennDOT.  That effort must be funded out of PennDOT’s budget, which most if not all Derry citizens already pay for in other ways.

I would specifically segregate out the duties of the Twp and PennDOT.  Some duties are inextricably linked, and that’s OK.  But I would ask for an estimate of how much time you expect to spend on Derry’s share of the duties.  I would insist PennDOT either provide for their share, or reimburse us.

Hiring an out of town engineer (no-bid, especially) to suggest alternative travel routes when our roads are closed, is an incredibly inefficient way to find alternative routes.  Most of us would refer to that as “Overkill”.

Someone from Harrisburg isn’t likely to know the best alternative routes.  I would form an ad hoc group of citizen volunteers, or have our full-time, salaried, benefitted staff do it.  The police should be pretty good at that.  If not, I’ll do it.  But we probably want to ask someone who has been here longer than my 11 years.

I would post the map and information on our existing website, which you already pay staff to maintain.  You and I do not need a special website…have any of you ever even looked at YOUR HRG website?  Did you know it existed?  Do you know how to access it (The terms of the contract require it to be linked to our Derry website…I couldn’t even find it today, I had to Google it)?  Do you want it in the least?  Did anyone ask you?

I would check to ensure that it is being updated, on a regular basis, as contracted.  Today, as usual it is terribly out-of-date.

The most disturbing part is the total lack of discussion.  Someone hands us a $22,000 price for the services listed, and no one says boo?  Unless you have more dollars than sense, you don’t do that around your household.  We don’t do it at the Todd household.  You and I have to stop it from happening around the Derry household.  The Political Action Committees who fund most of our representatives won’t be happy.  Elected officials at all levels in both parties who have become addicted to PAC funding won’t either.  But OUR wallets and pocketbooks will.  And someday, so will the wallet of my 9-year-old son.

No one is guarding the henhouse.   is why I am asking for you to:

WRITE IN “STEVEN TODD” FOR DERRY TOWNSHIP SUPERVISOR.  Someone has to guard the henhouse.  The fox hasn’t proven to be a smart choice.


May 18, 2011 – We fell short, despite lots of constituent support and no non-constituent support.  See attached, or this link:

Results, Primary Democratic Supervisor DERRY (D&select2=

We did very well for a write-in, and even won 13% of the Precincts. There will be other races, but right now…I’m tired 😉

While I am a little disappointed, it’s cool.  We wanted to keep some issues, which Derry could improve on, in the forefront.  My candidacy, with almost no time or money, but tons of grassroots activism, managed to do that.

Yes, we “won” lots of constituent support and NO non-constituent support.  If Mr Witmer and Mr Foley both “win” at least that much in November, Derry wins.


May 17 – Well, it’s over but the shouting now.  You all came out strong; I met many of you all day long, and your support across all demographics and parties was flattering.  Most folks I spoke to in the wind and rain today seemed to have heard of OUR campaign, and most of them seemed positive.  As I sit and wait for the poll workers to tally the Precincts, I know it is what it is.

You folks did your homework.  This site’s stats show you came here from all sorts of engines, links and sites.  You read my resume on Linkedin, you opened many of the Minutes, ads and articles.  You’ve taken me to task to see if I really am the most qualified candidate; I believe I have shown you that I am.

I had a nice chat with John Foley today at Brownstone Masonic.  I was not surprised to find he is a nice guy, nor that he seems to love our home every bit as much as I do.  I was surprised to find how knowledgeable he seems of many things around here.  He will be a tough competitor in the fall, should it shake out that way.  Best luck, and may the best man win, John.

Thanks to all the folks who gave selflessly of their time and efforts in giving me this chance.  Anne (without whom this candidacy would have fallen apart upon the death of my father-in-law), Tracy, John, Jeanine, Rachel, Susan, Becky, Rob, Susan, Mom and Dad, Gaylen, Dylan, Wade, Dierdre, Christina…but mostly, to all of you who forwarded something forwarded to you by someone who forwarded something.  That’s how the grass roots thrive or wither.  Always has been, always will be.

I will have a more detailed post after the polling becomes history.  May that post serve accept my spot on the ballot in the fall.  If it is not to be, that will be as it is.  We are blessed with a wonderful township, and with talented people who volunteer to run it.


Check out the May 12 Sun, Front page, above the fold.  We can do this, Derry.  We can put a qualified person in there without a dime from special interests.  But we need you all to write-in STEVEN TODD for Derry Twp Supervisor on Tuesday, May 17, 2011.

Why write in Steven Todd as OUR Supervisor candidate?  I am the most capable candidate.  I am humbled and honored to have been endorsed, over the balloted candidate, by the Derry Democratic Committee.

I was a Pa Civil Service employee at the time of primary ballot petitioning, and was therefore ineligible to petition for a ballot spot.  I am now eligible to run for municipal office.  I am a municipal engineering consultant, a municipal affairs reporter for The Sun, I sit on the Derry Township Uniform Construction Code Appeals Board and previously served on the Derry ad hoc stormwater committee.  I chaired the Derry Environmental Action Committee until April 22, 2011, since co-founding it with Sandy Ballard and many others.  I will be honored if all Derry voters write in “Steven Todd” to become OUR Supervisor of OUR Township.  If you are new to the write-in process, feel free to print the “Write-In Instructions” at the end of this page (after the pictures).

My ad, as it appears in The Sun is attached:

Write-in STEVEN TODD ad in The Sun Newspaper


  • Decrease OUR tax expenditures by voting against award of any No-Bid contract over $75,000.
  • Continue history of Smart Growth/Sustainable Land Use Comprehensive Plan & Ordinance Updates.
  • Accept no campaign funding from non-constituents
  • Accept no more than $200 from ANY campaign donor.
  • Recuse self from any issue involving campaign donor.
  • Advocate creation of staff engineer, without adding staff.  (Declaring Supervisor ineligible for position).
  • Fight for Fair-Share taxation by exploring converting flat Earned Income Tax into one which varies with income.
  • Support legislation to strengthen ability to ensure new development considers school capacity & infrastructure costs.



Steven Todd Endorsed by former DEP Secretary John Hanger!

I am humbled and honored that my former boss, former DEP Secretary and founder of PennFuture John Hanger wrote the following on my Facebook Wall on Easter Sunday, April 24.  This was a pleasant surprise from the Easter Bunny, indeed: “I live in Derry Township and look forward to voting for you. Good luck.”

Most of my neighbors have responded positively as well.  But we need YOU to write ME in to become OUR Supervisor of OUR Township.


My opponents provide limited and vague information about what – or who – they are and stand for.  I am the strongest candidate for the General election.  My advocacy on behalf of Derry citizens and our environment are publicly posted below, in the press and Derry public meeting minutes.  Many Derry folks know what I am all about.

Our most significant variable expenditures are, and will increasingly be, those related to increased development and aging infrastructure.  Costs for these items are growing, and no one with professional experience is watching the henhouse.  We desperately need someone on our side with perspective on this.  I offer that, from working hand-in-hand with Derry’s staff, and appointed and elected officials.  My resume posted at demonstrates a decade and a half of public and private sector land development, environmental and municipal infrastructure engineering and management.  I am proudest that several years were as the assistant to Derry’s township engineer.

I was a supporter of Supervisor Sandy Ballard in her Independent 2007 run, and an integral and active member of the 2009 Ballard:Olson campaign team.  I pledge to follow, but to expand upon, their wise lead.  I will accept no campaign funding from non-constituents.  Mine – like theirs – shall be a candidacy for representation of, by and for OUR people of Derry.  I invite all candidates for any office – of any party, or of no party affiliation – to join me in removing even the appearances of conflict of interest, by taking my Campaign Finance Ethics Pledge, posted at

I will be honored if all Derry voters write in “Steven Todd” to become OUR Supervisor of OUR Township.  If you are new to the write-in process, feel free to print the “Write-In Instructions” at the end of this page (after the pictures).

Advocacy on Behalf of Derry Citizens and Our Environment

Zoning Testimony for Farmers Market

My testimony in favor of the Farmers’ Market in Hershey.  The Derry Environmental Action Committee, which I’ve chaired continuously since co-founding with Supervisor Sandy Ballard and former Supervisor George Porter (among many others), supported the Farmers’ Market since its conception.  It is now beginning its second season.

Storm Study Review Comments

In 2008, Derry spent $50,000 on a stormwater study, to address flooding in which several residents’ homes were condemned.  I began the study, as part of my duties as assistant to the Township Engineer.  Upon its completion by others, I reviewed and offered the these Review Comments.  I do not know if any were considered as part of final design of our stormwater improvements, currently underway.  We’ve paid over $1 Million (so far) for design and permitting – between 20% and 25% of the original cost estimate – with absolutely no third-party review.

Engineering Change Orders

An email I sent to our Supervisors expressing my concerns about levels of professional fees we are paying, and suggested bidding all high-value services as a solution.  I know from professional experience bidding is effective at keeping costs down, and pledge to fight to institute this fairly common practice here in OUR Derry Township.  I always try to forward a draft of my concerns before I present them publicly, so those hearing them (in this case, our Supervisors) might be most prepared to respond.

Minutes 041310

Minutes of my testimony on bidding all high-value services, referenced above.

LTE Engineering Expenditures

A letter in The Sun of my testimony on bidding all high-value services, referenced above.

DCCD Review responses

My review of Dauphin County’s Act 167 Plan.  We Dauphin citizens paid $129,400 for this study, which I think is a heck of a lot of money.  To ensure we are getting maximum value from the Act 167 Plan, I added this expert review into the record, and commented on highlights, at a public hearing before the Dauphin County Conservation District and Pa Dept of Environmental Protection.  Their consultant answered my comments on behalf of Dauphin County.  As is evident, many of my recommendations were used, and appear in the final Act 167 Plan, upon which our 2010 stormwater ordinance is based.

Upon completion of Dauphin County’s Act 167 Plan, Derry (and all Dauphin’s other 39 municipalities) had to adopt a stormwater ordinance compliant with it.  Many municipalities adopted the County’s as it was, or hired a consultant to edit it for them.  Derry did neither; our Supervisors wisely formed an ad hoc committee, of Democrats, Republicans and Independents of various areas of expertice.  Specifically, a Supervisor, our zoning officer, a construction contractor and an environmentally active citizen joined with my own engineering expertise to give us what our volunteer committee feels is the most protective yet fairest ordinance possible…without a huge bill to pay some “experts”.

Fedeli Thank You Note

Supervisor and Board Vice Chair Kelly Fedeli’s thank you note to me.  She served on the ad hoc committee with me.  We didn’t see eye-to-eye on everything.  Neither did any two committee members.  We weren’t supposed to.  But we neighbors worked productively and efficiently together.

Abruzzo thanks SWM Committee

Minutes from the Supervisors’ meeting where the activities of the committee were discussed, and Board Chair Chris Abruzzo thanks us.

DEP review 2011

My final review given just months before my resignation.  It demonstrates my leadership and management skills, while overseeing a staff of four others and over $25 million worth of flood control projects across Pennsylvania.

Stuff about me…

This is Derek, aged 9 now, Jeanine, (still) 29 (again) and yours truly.  The most important part of my world, and the main reason I choose Derry to settle down in.

I love to run.  Running and playing guitar are my constructive outlets.  I was proud last year to (finally) place in a Hershey 5k run.  I ran the 3.2 miles in 26 minutes, 58 seconds.  This placed me 45th overall out of a couple hundred runners, and 3rd in the Male 40-49 Age Group.  If I remember correctly, The Nittany Lion finished pretty well, considering his wardrobe.  All proceeds went to send surgeons to fix facial deformities for folks who can’t afford it.

When friend, former Derry Parks & Rec manager and all-around nice guy Mike Macchioni asked if I would guide Hershey Company’s Halloween Parade float in the rain, what could I say?  Thanks Mike.  But it was fun.  We handed out more candy than I think I’ve ever seen in one place.  It was worth it.


1.    Bring a pen and these voting instructions to the voting booth.

2.    In the SUPERVISOR BOX, another candidate’s name appears.

3.    DO NOT, press button next to that candidate’s name!  You may only vote for ONE (1) Supervisor candidate.

4.    Instead, Press the “WRITE-IN” button within SUPERVISOR BOX.

5.  Press RED flashing button in the upper right corner of the voting machine and the “WRITE-IN” slot will open.

6.  PRINT carefully “STEVEN TODD” with pen on the paper in the slot.

7.  Please double-check  to make sure “STEVEN TODD” is spelled correctly, or the vote won’t count.

8.  Pull down the cover over the “WRITE IN”

9.  Complete the rest of your voting.

10. Record your total vote by pressing the GREEN VOTE button at the bottom right corner of machine.

You’re done!


7 Responses to Derry Township 2011 Supervisor Write In Campaign

  1. Tracy Devenyi says:

    Go Steve! Happy to do what I can to help!


    • steventodd says:

      Thanks, Tracy. I’ve petitioned the the Chair to consider my request for your endorsement on May 9. I’ve got a few rank-and-file Derry Dems coming with me, and trying to get as many as I can. But I will need some members to make motions in my favor. I have some, hopefully you might as well.

      Other than that, call and email everyone you know! I will post write in instructions shortly.


  2. Art Schiavo says:

    Good luck in your campaign. I was all set to vote for you until I read:

    ■Fight for Fair-Share taxation by exploring converting flat Earned Income Tax into one which varies with income.

    Bummer- can’t agree with you there, Steve!



    • steventodd says:

      Hi, Art:

      Thanks for the encouragement. I know all my positions won’t jive with everyone. And many will oppose that one, to be sure. But I remember 2008, when my wife earned one eighth of what I did. That year, we paid the same amount of EIT to Derry. In other words, she paid 8 times as much of her buying power as I did. For the same services, for the same representation. Either she overpaid, or I underpaid, because I got 8 times the Return on Investment she got. I can, however, understand those who’ve worked hard to earn that higher pay opposing a progressive tax. Your position has merit, no doubt.

      Conventional wisdom holds for a candidate to be as vague and general as possible during the election, then hit We The People with specifics after it is too late for Us to do anything about it. I’ve never liked it when candidates do that to me. So, I’m laying out specifically what I propose.

      For example, every candidate says something like “I will lessen big money’s influence”, but won’t tell you what they propose to do that. I spell out EXACTLY how I intend to minimize my vulnerability to that influence, even knowing the measures I propose may cost me some votes.

      Each voter will have to take my candidacy as a package and compare that to the balloted candidates publicly-stated positions (or, in my opinion, their lack thereof).

      I only ask that if you like me no better but not worse than the others, don’t vote for anyone.

      Take care either way, and I look forward to hearing your concerns before acting on anything as OUR Supervisor.


  3. Pingback: Bond Swap for New Building? The Political Class’ continued fleecing of We The Taxpayer. | Steve Todd – Passionate about things that matter.

  4. Pingback: Bond Swap for New Building? The Political Class’ continued fleecing of We The Taxpayer. | Rock The Capital - A network of political stakeholders addressing local and regional elements of politics

    • steventodd says:

      This article also appears on Rock The Capital, PA’s premier source of exposure government shenanigans and incompetence. I am honored once again to be in such distinguished company.


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