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Henderson tears into Fallowfield 'family'

| Thursday, Aug. 28, 2008

The Fallowfield board of supervisors is a "dysfunctional family" that is "failing the people" of the township.

Supervisor Donn Henderson offered that assessment after a meeting Wednesday at which one of his peers failed to show and the other declined to second several critical motions.

"We've reached the dysfunctional point," Henderson said. "The township is at a dysfunctional point. We are unwilling to reach any decisions."

Henderson's criticism came after Supervisor Olga Woodward did not second three separate police-related motions to: name officer Steve Kenyon the officer-in-charge, hire an additional full-time officer and to seek bids for a security system for the police department offices. Supervisor Herman Pennline was absent.

The department has just one full-time officer. Aaron Wagle left for a job in Florida earlier this summer and former Chief William Ritenour retired in 2006.

The township police contract requires at least two full-time officers on the force. Henderson said the police union delayed the filing of a grievance against the township because the supervisors were expected to vote to begin the process of hiring a full-time officer. Woodward said she believes the township is meeting its contractual obligation.

Henderson said District Attorney Steve Toprani recommended the township install a a security system. The district attorney's office is conducting as fact-finding mission into drugs seized from a suspect in 2006. The drugs have turned up missing.

After the meeting, Henderson said he discussed the police issues at length in separate conversations with his colleagues last week. They agreed to bring up the issues for a vote Wednesday.

"We're like a dysfunctional family and, unfortunately, the employees are the ones bearing the brunt," Henderson said. "I suggest people who are unwilling to make decisions should get out. I am more than willing to make decisions.

"You don't have to like them, but I'm not going over and over these issues redundantly because people keep changing their minds."

Henderson said he should have been informed ahead of time that the secretary and board chairman were not planning to attend.

Had he known, Henderson said, he would have arrived early to prepare for the meeting, including writing an agenda.

"The leadership we have is failing the people, and if I'm a part of the problem so be it," Henderson said. "We should come to these meetings prepared to vote on issues."

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