Borough Council Committees were established many years ago in the early development of Pennsylvania local government, well before the establishment of professional local government management. In the early 20th century many of the smaller local governments outside of the large cities of Pittsburgh, Erie and Philadelphia had only part-time elected officials who were responsible to pay the municipal bills, hire police officers and public works laborers and award contracts. Most of these elected officials (as they do today) had other full-time jobs. You can imagine the difficulty of coordinating the schedules of seven council members and then advertising each meeting as a public meeting simply to discuss daily operations or make daily decisions regarding job assignments and other management decisions. With limited staff that was not authorized to perform many daily administrative functions, many communities created council committees to help with the day-to-day management of the Borough. These Committees were never expressly authorized by the PA Borough Code nor were they created by municipal ordinance; they were (and still are) essentially ad-hoc committees to facilitate local government administration.
Today, the professional management staff is expressly authorized to carry out all of the daily management functions of the Borough. The role of the council committees has changed significantly. Council committee are still established in part, for convenience. It is still difficult to coordinate the schedules of seven council members who are employed full-time elsewhere. They are no longer charged with the day-to-day operations; but they are still responsible for the oversight of those operations. To that end, the council committees serve as regulators to ensure that Borough residents are provided with the services for which they pay.
The Plum Borough Council committees are created by and serve at the pleasure of the Plum Borough Council President. The committees have no authority to take official action of any kind. The six (6) Plum Borough Committees (Public Works and Equipment, Public Safety, Finance, Personnel, Parks and Recreation and Economic Development) are not established by Borough Ordinance or Resolution, nor are they voted on or approved on by action of Council. They are established by and serve at the discretion of the president of Council solely and may be changed, modified or eliminated at his (her) discretion.
The Council Committees exist solely to assist the entire Council with information gathering from Borough staff members. They do not constitute a quorum. They are merely advisory in nature, with no authority to make binding recommendations to the body of Council. They are not authorized to make any decisions on agency business or establish Borough policy. And, they are created solely for the purpose of furnishing information or making non-binding recommendations
However, Plum Borough is committed to open and participatory local government administration. Regardless of whether or not Council Committee Meetings as established by the Borough are subject to the aforementioned open meeting requirements, all committee meetings are now advertised as “public meetings.” The only exception to this practice will be for any meetings which are requested for the purpose of discussing an issue which is clearly exempted from the open meeting requirements in the PA Sunshine Law. For a complete listing of those specific exemptions, please use the resource links on this page for the “Sunshine Law” or “Open Records”.
2016 COUNCIL COMMITTEES AND CHAIRPERSON:
Finance: Michael Dell
Parks and Recreation: John Anderson
Personnel: Len Szarmach
Planning/Economic Development: Dave Vento
Public Safety: Dave Majernick
Public Works and Equipment: David Seitz