Derry Government Policy

Existing media and news outlets provide very poor coverage of OUR Derry government activities.  This leads to an uniformed taxpaying public, which weakens OUR input into the democratic process, which leads to wasting of our tax money.  To do my part in improving this long-standing poor situation, I will report on my participation in local government issues.  Please feel free to comment, with you name signed.  Anonymous comments are not relevant to OUR democratic process, and will be removed.  Thanks for your participation.  Please share this page on most social networking sites, linked at the bottom.

Saturday, July 23, 2011
I received this today, from Supervisor Sandy Ballard. Please spread the word and plan to attend to help kick-off OUR Township’s comprehensive plan update survey, “Your Vision for Derry Township”

From: Sandy Ballard
Sent: Saturday, July 23, 2011 11:57 AM
Subject: Please help spread the word — Hylton to speak at Library Sept 12 @ 7 PM

Exciting News Flash

Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Save Our Land, Save Our Towns and smart-growth leader, Tom Hylton, will kick-off the Township’s comprehensive plan update survey, Your Vision for Derry Township, on Monday, September 12, at 7 p.m. at the Hershey Public Library. The survey will be available on http://www.derrytownship.org in late August.

Hylton won the Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles he wrote about smart growth issues in Eastern Pennsylvania . He also authored and produced a documentary that showed on WITF. He will discuss smart growth, walk to school programs, and how to make a community the best that it can be.

Visit saveourlandsaveourtowns.org for more information on Tom Hylton.

Please forward this message far & wild to help spread the word.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
My testimony and exchange with our Supervisors Tuesday, May 24, 2011 follows, as recorded in the

Official Minutes / Board of Supervisors Derry Township Regular Meeting

I repeat my call as published on page 2 of The Sun, June 2, 2011: that both candidates for Derry Township Supervisor – John Foley and Chuck Witmer – must add initiation of competitive bidding and refusal of non- constituent campaign funding to their platforms.

Testimony: Steve Todd, 629 Bullfrog Valley Road – Mr. Todd said he reiterates everything Supervisor Ballard and Mr. Gamble voiced regarding sidewalks. It was a big loss of a single opportunity to put some sidewalks in. They may not go anywhere presently, but the problem is everyone that comes in for a sidewalk waiver uses one and only one excuse…there are no sidewalks around here. This has happened for years.
Mr. Todd expressed concerns before regarding giving all our projects and money to just one consultant over and over again. We have done it for decades. It is a terrible idea, a terrible way to shop, and a terrible way to buy things. He recommends we stop and start bidding some of this work. On the website, they have $27 million worth of plans. Is that all going to just be handed to one firm? Mr. Todd said he brought this up in the past and has been told since he is an engineer and maybe he just wants in on the action. Mr. Todd is a civil engineer and in order to remove any conflict of interest, he pledges not to pursue any reimbursable part of any engineering work suggested by himself or his employer. We are talking about millions and millions of dollars and change orders in the six figures and not one engineering question when they come before you. He requests the Board to think about this. It is tax money and he works very hard for his share of the tax money.

Chairman Abruzzo thanked Mr. Todd and appreciates the points he made. He assured Mr. Todd 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.

Supervisor Ballard said one concern they had was if we were to hire an engineer to oversee our Township engineer we would be spending additional money. How would we know that engineer was doing his or her job well? Do you hire an engineer to oversee the oversee engineer? Mr. Todd said sometimes you do that…it is called value engineering. That is usually taking it too far, but on big ticketed items sometimes you do have a third engineer.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011, FaceBook:

A conversation about the $22,000 website you and I are paying no-bid to a firm.  That firm’s non-constituent members have contributed to the campaign financing of many of our Supervisors:

Steve Todd Grab this week’s Sun. Last week’s “Multi-million Dollar Storm Water Project” article sorta missed my request that Derry Supervisors quit wasting my tax money and initiate competitive bidding for consultant selection…again. I clarify the issue Wed (online), Thurs (print). ~ Steve Todd, PE – Former Write-in Candidate for Derry Twp Supervisor

Drew Weidman Sorry Steve, the fact you’re a FORMER engineer for the township waters (pardon the pun) down the news value substantially. . . Hence why it wasn’t included in my story.June 1 at 2:35pm · Like

Steve Todd How about a taxpayer overpaying for no-bid contracts year in and year out? How about one who repeatedly emails press and supervisors and others and appears before them asking that someone – anyone – stop our money from being wasted needlessly? How about the obvious connection between campaign finance and swindle after swindle of our tax dollars, from the no-bond $300M incinerator to the no-bid $650,000 bridge design awarded that very night after not one person qualified to do so has ever glanced at it, and no one on The Board asked if anyone had? (and…NO Negley is NOT qualified to judge an appropriate bridge design price). Over $125k for Dauphin Co’s stormwater plan? $22,000 for a website with almost nothing on it? Either one seem a tad high? They do to me, and I have a little experience with both. Maybe traditional media sees no “news value” in that. Maybe we need room for 6 pages of HS sports no one but the parents of those kids ever glances at. That’s why We The People have made FB, Linkedin and Twitter our go to sources for issues of “news value”. Or, maybe there is another reason. June 1 at 6:12pm · Like · 3 people

Mike Macchioni ‎$22,000 for a website?? Sign me up!June 1 at 9:21pm · Like · 1 person

Steve Todd So…Mike…as a professional web designer of many years (and I can testify, a darned good one at that): In your professional opinion, is $22k a smidge high for the following link? What about the direct link to HERCO marketing stuff totally unrelated to infrastructure thereon? http://www.hrgprojects.com
/derrytownship/main.aspJune 1 at 9:44pm · Like

Mike Macchioni That is obscene. I could do that website for less than $2,000.June 1 at 10:32pm · Unlike · 2 people

Steve Todd Mike: Yeah, me too. Would you be willing to testify to that if it came to that? I don’t expect today’s LTE in The Sun to be the end of this wasting of our tax dollars placating well-heeled non-constituent campaign donors. But I intend to pursue it as far as I can. Let me know, here or in private. Peace, man.June 2 at 7:22am · Like · 1 person

Scott Shunk ARE YOU KIDDING?! That web site is amazing–of course it cost $22K. The developer had to recreate graphics and research interface design from 1997, as such it is an archival resource to be shared, studied and used pedagogically as well as referenced in future scholarly tomes on information design and presentation.June 3 at 5:20pm · Unlike · 3 people

Steve Todd For those of you who don’t know Scott, he is being sarcastic (ie, he doesn’t think the site is worth $22k either). As soon as I look up ‘pedagogically’, I’m sure I will have an equally witty comeback.June 3 at 5:45pm · Like · 1 person

Scott Shunk Most awesome explanation of a post ever on FB my wife and I are still laughing. That is your equally, if not vastly more witty comebackJune 3 at 7:34pm · Unlike · 1 person

Mike Porter Note on that website that they didn’t even bother to procure a city/county specific domain name. So, that $22k website is hosted on an existing server. As Mike said, $2k is a quite fair price. And that would be with some good graphics. Hey, since is all aspy, it’s probably hackable.Saturday at 12:58pm · Unlike · 1 person

Steve Todd So, Mike Porter, being of reasonably sound mind and body, and having decades of experience in lots of what I loosely call “computer stuff”, because that’s all I know about most of it: In your professional opinion, your estimate of whathttp://www.hrgprojects.com/derrytownship/main.asp is worth is on the order of magnitude of Mike M’s $2k, or on the order of ONE TENTH of what I paid no-bid for it. I wonder why no one else was asked for a price? Odd, very odd.  It is on another server. Conveniently, the server of the no-bid provider. So…I guess if we ever tick them off, and OUR website mysteriously had technical difficulties, WE could not fix it.  Please send me some meat about the significance of the .asp Is that a cheaper, less secure suffix than something else? Might some of the extra $20k my neighbors have left be redirected toward modifying the .asp situation? Thanks all, I’m learning a lot here. Saturday at 4:14pm · Like

Mike Porter I don’t know a great deal about .asp stuff – proprietary Microsoft stuff, and I don’t have a license for it. It’s hard to say if the site is worth $1k or $2k. Depends a lot on what exactly the site is supposed to do and what the contract says. It could provide for many future changes as the project goes on, in which case, $2k is appropriate. Otherwise, it appears to be that the site is 5-10 pages, and worth $1k. But, I didn’t go through every menu item. $20k should get you a custom application of some sort. Or maybe a substantial email server for 20-100 users? Something like that.  Sunday at 8:26pm · Unlike · 1 person

Mike Porter ‎.asp is not itself an issue. They probably used a website generator and that’s what it was automatically created. But, it is also how websites get hacked. .asp, .php, without knowing what you are doing cause problems.Sunday at 8:28pm · Unlike · 1 person

Thursday, June 2, 2011, The Sun Newspaper

As published on page 2 of The Sun, June 2, 2011:

http://news.thesunontheweb.com/current/letters

I disagree with much of “Multi-million Dollar Storm Water Project”. Derry’s project did not go over budget because of “a slow economy” and “smaller companies (shying) away from a project of this scale”. Our cost problem remains no-bid design and management of, and lack of oversight on, our engineering expenditures. The common practice of competitive bidding with third-party oversight would improve both problems.

See my new blog: https://steventodd.wordpress.com/ derry-government-policy/ I’ve renewed last year’s request that Derry Supervisors initiate competitive bidding for consultant selection. Let’s use the marketplace to determine costs of these projects, not the word of the consultant whose profits depend on our price. Most of OUR Supervisors campaigned for office as “fiscal conservatives”, so this should be a slam-dunk.

According to a website we are paying the same firm $22,000 no-bid for: “infrastructure improvements…(totaling) $23 million” are planned, through 2011. If past practice is followed, these will be handed without bid or peer review, to one firm. That firm will know this BEFORE submitting their price! Disturbingly, non-constituent members of firms receiving this preference contribute to campaign funds of our Supervisors.

This wastes OUR tax money, and WE have millions of reasons to stop it. Both candidates for Derry Township Supervisor – John Foley and Chuck Witmer – must add initiation of competitive bidding and refusal of non- constituent campaign funding to their platforms. All else being equal, I will support that candidate, and request the hundreds of folks who casted Primary votes for me to consider doing so.

Steve Todd, PE

Former Write-in Candidate for Derry Township Supervisor

Tuesday, May 24, 2011, Derry Twp Supervisors public meeting:

–I reiterated my April 13, 2010 request our Township use fair and open bidding for high-dollar infrastructure designs.  Will keep requesting until the citizens are allowed to use the free market to determine costs of projects.  Currently “infrastructure improvements to bridges, roadways, intersections and stormwater and sanitary facilities with a total construction cost of $23 million” being handed no-bid to campaign donors.  Seems like a no-brainer for folks who call themselves fiscal conservatives. C’mon Derry…let’s get conservative together!

2011 Request to Supervisors: Storm Project Status and Recommendations

2010 Request to Supervisors: Engineering Change Orders

2010 Letter to Sun: LTE Engineering Expenditures

–I concurred with Supervisor Sandy Ballards lone dissent against approval of waiving sidewalks for very large development on Hersheypark Drive and Old West Chocolate Ave.   I also praised and agreed with citizen Rich Gamble who spoke in general concurrance with Supervisor Ballard’s position.  Will attend future meetings to oppose waiving sidewalks for most land developments.  OUR law requires sidewalks.  Additionally, thisBoard of Supervisors voted to begin the process to update our 1991 Comprehensive Plan using Smart Growth principles.  OUR Supervisors’ stated Smart Growth objectives are to “Create walkable neighborhoods, Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place and Provide a variety of transportation choices”.  Enforcing OUR existing law requiring sidewalks on ALL new land development will promote this Board’s stated objectives.  Regularly waiving it will not.

One Response to Derry Government Policy

  1. Pingback: PA DEP Secretary Chris Abruzzo’s Resignation Email Notice to Employees | Steve Todd – Passionate about things that matter.

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