CHAPTER 21. TOWNSHIP OF CHELTENHAM HOME RULE CHARTER

Art. Sec.

I.    NAME, BOUNDARIES AND POWERS…21.1-101
II.    DEFINITIONS AND RULES OF CONSTRUCTION…21.2-201
III.    TOWNSHIP BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS…21.3-301
IV.    OPERATION AND PROCEDURES OF THE BOARD…21.4-401
V.    ORDINANCES…21.5-501
VI.    THE BOARD PRESIDENT…21.6-601
VII.    TOWNSHIP MANAGER…21.7-701
VIII.    FINANCE OFFICER…21.8-801
IX.    TOWNSHIP CONTROLLER…21.9-901
X.    TOWNSHIP SOLICITOR…21.10-1001
XI.    OPERATION OF THE TOWNSHIP…21.11-1101
XII.    FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION…21.12-1201
XIII.    CITIZENS’ GROUPS…21.13-1301
XIV.    CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN TOWNSHIP GOVERNMENT…21.14-1401
XV.    TRANSITIONAL AND GENERAL PROVISIONS…21.15-1501

Source

   The provisions of this Chapter 21 adopted November 2, 1976, effective January 1, 1977, unless otherwise noted.

ARTICLE I. NAME, BOUNDARIES AND POWERS


Sec.


21.1-101.    Name.
21.1-102.    Boundaries.
21.1-103.    Grant of Powers.
21.1-104.    Construction of Powers.

§ 21.1-101. Name.

 The Township of Cheltenham shall continue to be a municipal corporation under its present name, ‘‘Township of Cheltenham.’’

§ 21.1-102. Boundaries.

 The boundaries of the Township shall be the actual boundaries of the Township on the effective date of this Charter, and as they may be lawfully changed thereafter.

   Commentary: : State law continues to govern the issue of annexation and this Charter has no effect on this subject.

§ 21.1-103. Grant of Powers.

 The Township shall have and may exercise any power and may perform any function not denied by the Constitution of Pennsylvania, by this Charter, or by the General Assembly, including without limitation any powers which may hereafter become available.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.1-104 commentary (relating to construction of powers).

§ 21.1-104. Construction of Powers.

 The powers of the Township under this Charter shall be liberally construed in favor of the Township at all times in order to provide the Township with the greatest possible power of self-government, and the specific mention of any particular power in this Charter shall not be construed as limiting any general power stated in this Article.

   Commentary: : Sections 21.1-103 and 21.1-104 change present law. Today, unless the First Class Township Code (‘‘the Township Code’’) expressly gives power, the Township does not have it. Under this Charter, the Township will have all powers a Township can have unless some state law withdraws it.

ARTICLE II. DEFINITIONS AND RULES OF CONSTRUCTION


Sec.


21.2-201.    Definitions.
21.2-202.    Rules of Construction.

§ 21.2-201. Definitions.

 As used in this Charter:

   A. ‘‘Township’’ shall mean the Township of Cheltenham in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

   B. ‘‘Board’’ shall mean the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Cheltenham.

   C. ‘‘Absolute Majority’’ referring to a vote of the Board requires the affirmative vote of at least one more than half the number of Commissioners then authorized, including vacant seats.

   D. ‘‘Absolute Two-Thirds Vote’’ referring to a vote of the Board requires the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the number of Commissioners then authorized, including vacant seats.

   E. ‘‘Absolute Three-Quarters Vote’’ referring to a vote of the Board requires the affirmative vote of at least three-quarters of the number of Commissioners then authorized, including vacant seats.

   F. ‘‘Majority’’ referring to a vote of the Board requires the affirmative vote of one more than half the number of Commissioners present at the relevant meeting.

   G. ‘‘Unless otherwise provided’’ shall mean unless prohibited or required to be done differently by the Constitutions or statutes of the United States of America or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, by other provisions of this Charter, or by the final order of any court from which all appeals have been exhausted and after the time for filing such appeals has expired.

   H. ‘‘Compensation’’ shall include direct salary, fringe benefits such as insurance, and deferred compensation such as pensions.

   I. ‘‘Adopt’’, when used in reference to a Code, Codification or Ordinance, shall include the power thereafter to amend from time to time.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.3-307 commentary (relating to compensation).

§ 21.2-202. Rules of Construction.

 In construing and applying this Charter, the following rules shall apply:

   A. This Charter shall be liberally construed and applied to promote its underlying purposes and policies.

   B. The Commentary of the Government Study Commission should be consulted in the construction and application of this Charter, but if text and commentary conflict, text controls.

   C. Section captions are not part of this Charter.

   D. Nouns and pronouns of masculine gender shall be deemed to refer or apply to persons of both sexes.

   Commentary: : At the present time Cheltenham Township’s government operates under the First Class Township Code. The State Act which permits Government Study Commissions, and Home Rule Charters (53 P. S. §  1-101 et seq.) provides that an adopted Charter supercedes the First Class Township Code (except for certain limited areas) insofar as the involved municipality is concerned. Throughout the Commentary to this Chapter, there are references to the First Class Township Code and comparisons between how Cheltenham presently operates under that Code and how this operation may change under this Charter. Whenever the First Class Township Code is referred to in Commentary, it is called the ‘‘Township Code.’’

ARTICLE III. TOWNSHIP BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS


Sec.


21.3-301.    Vesting of Powers.
21.3-302.    Composition and Wards.
21.3-303.    Terms.
21.3-304.    Election.
21.3-305.    Redistricting.
21.3-306.    Qualifications of Commissioners.
21.3-307.    Compensation.
21.3-308.    Vacancies.
21.3-309.    Filling of Vacancies.
21.3-310.    Oath of Office.

§ 21.3-301. Vesting of Powers.

 All power of the Township shall be vested in the Township Board of Commissioners which shall exercise such power only by official action.

§ 21.3-302. Composition and Wards.

 A. There shall be one Commissioner elected from each of the wards of the Township.

 B. The initial wards of the Township shall be the seven wards on the effective date of this Charter.

 C. The number of wards may not be reduced to a number not less than five or increased to a number not more than nine upon an absolute three-quarters vote.

   Commentary: : Although it is expected that the present seven ward structure will continue indefinitely, it was felt desirable to give flexibility to the Commissioners in the future to change to five or nine members without Charter amendment. The three-quarters vote requirement assures that such a change would not be made except with the near unanimous agreement of the Board. Under Sections 401 and 504 of the Township Code it is possible to have from five to fifteen Commissioners.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.3-305 (relating to redistricting).

§ 21.3-303. Terms.

 The terms of all members of the Board shall be for a period of four years commencing at 8:00 p.m. on the first Monday of January following their election (or on the following day if such Monday is a legal holiday) except that a Commissioner filling a vacancy shall serve only for such time as provided in §  21.3-309, and except that a two year term may be established for a Commissioner following redistricting as provided in §  21.3-305.

   Commentary: : In its first drafts, the GSC provided that Commissioners’ terms would commence on the first Monday of December in the year of election, and also that the Board would organize at that time each year. It was deemed desirable to minimize the ‘‘lame duck’’ period, presumably the reason the State Legislature and School Districts organize on the first Monday in December, and Federal terms were moved from March to January. However, unlike those bodies, the Township budgets on a calendar year and (although this Charter does not require it) presumably will continue to do so. Budget preparation begins several months before adoption in late December. Several persons commenting on the earlier drafts felt bringing new Commissioners into the middle of the budget procedure might cause difficulty. For these reasons, the Charter provides that the terms of Township officials commence and the Board reorganizes on the first Monday of January, which is the present procedure under the Township Code.

   Consideration was given to institutionalizing the current practice of having newly elected Commissioners sit in before their terms commence. It was decided not to formalize this current practice, but its continued utilization is encouraged.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.3-305 (relating to redistricting).

§ 21.3-304. Election.

 Commissioners shall be nominated at the municipal primaries and elected at the municipal elections at the times and in accordance with the procedures established from time to time by the general laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The procedures for filling a vacancy in the office of Commissioner shall be as set forth in § §  21.3-308A6 and 21.3-309.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.3-309 (relating to filling of vacancies).

§ 21.3-305. Redistricting.

 A. The Board shall by ordinance redistrict the Township into wards which are compact and contiguous and as nearly equal in population as is practicable:

   1. When the number of wards is reduced or increased pursuant to §  21.3-302C.

   2. When the population of any ward is fifty percent higher than any other ward.

   3. At any time the Board determines by ordinance that redistricting is necessary or the Board is ordered to do so by final court order.

   4. Within one year after receipt by the Township of that information, from the Federal Decennial Census, which is necessary for redistricting, unless there has been a redistricting pursuant to §  21.3-305A1—A3 within the five years immediately preceding receipt of such information.

 B. Such redistricting shall become effective on the first Monday in January after the municipal election following enactment of the redistricting ordinance for which there is sufficient time for the completion of the municipal primary election procedure then established by the general laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For the purposes of such municipal primary and municipal election, such redistricting shall apply.

 C. In any redistricting ordinance, the Board shall number the wards consecutively, and shall specify when the terms of Commissioners of such redistricted wards shall commence, with the terms of odd numbered wards commencing simultaneously and those in even numbered wards commencing at a two year interval therefrom.

 D. Notwithstanding the provisions of §  21.3-303, the Board may fix initial terms of two years for any redistricted or new ward in order to accomplish the principle set forth in §  21.3-305C.

 E. At the municipal primary and municipal election to which such redistricting shall apply, an election shall be held for a term of two years in any of the redistricted wards in which an election would not normally be held at such time, but in which no elected Commissioner is residing as of the initial date for circulating nominating petitions for such municipal primary.

 F. Each elected Commissioner holding office upon the effective date of redistricting shall complete the term for which he has been elected, notwithstanding the requirement of ward residency in §  21.3-306, provided he continues to be a resident of the Township; provided, however, that his term shall terminate on the first Monday of January following any municipal primary election in which he has been nominated for the office of Township Commissioner.

   Commentary: : The Municipal Reapportionment Act of 1974 (53 P. S. §  11601 et seq.) presently would require reapportionment after every Federal decennial or special census. This would override the proviso in §  21.3-305A4. However, here and in several other provisions, the GSC has drafted what it deems most desirable should state law be changed or repealed. The ‘‘determines...is necessary’’ language of §  21.3-305A3 tracks the state statute (53 P. S. §  11508).

   The requirement that the Board redistrict whenever the most populous ward is 150% of the population of the least populous ward (§  21.3-305A2) is designed to establish a fair minimal standard for redistricting during the period between decennial censuses.

   Currently the initial census reports are in census tracts which do not provide sufficient information to redistrict. The time period described in §  21.3-305A4 begins when the Township receives the information (usually in blocks) which it must have to redistrict.

   The provision in §  21.3-305B makes the redistricting effective at the next municipal election following enactment of the redistricting ordinance, thus eliminating the distortion of the popular will and of the one-man, one-vote principle which occurs if the redistricting ordinance is made effective immediately and a Commissioner or Commissioners are appointed, thus resulting in a Board with an excessive number of members and with some constituents represented by two Commissioners, one of whom they elected and one of whom has been appointed.

   The provisions of §  21.3-305D and E contemplate that in the municipal election in which redistricting is to become effective, it may be necessary to elect a Commissioner for two years to make certain that a new ward will not be without an identifiable Commissioner residing therein.

   The provisions of §  21.3-305F with regard to the completion of term, and the removal of the ward residency requirement in that Section and in §  21.3-306, are necessary so as to accomplish the completion of term and make it possible for a Commissioner to move from the ward where he lives after redistricting to the ward in which his former constituents live without running afoul either of the continuing residency requirement during incumbency or the one year prior ward residency requirement (§  21.3-306). Should he be elected in such a ward where he does not live he will of course be required to establish residence in such ward prior to the beginning of his term, and he must maintain such residency throughout that term pursuant to §  21.3-306.

   The reason for the special exception from the completion-of-term rule which pertains in the case of a Commissioner who voluntarily seeks a new four year term while having two years to serve of his pre-redistricting term and the election machinery pertinent thereto are set forth in the commentary to §  21.3-308A6.

   It should be noted that the system for effectuating redistricting avoids the custom of appointment which inevitably further distorts the one-man, one-vote principle which redistricting is designed to implement. As the commentary to §  21.3-308A6 indicates, the GSC is aware that under certain circumstances the redistricting system here adopted will lead to a Board with more or less Commissioners than are currently authorized; the system adopted is designed to limit the circumstances under which this result may occur.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.3-303 (relating to terms); 346 Pa. Code §  21.3-306 (relating to qualifications of commissioners); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.3-308 and commentary (relating to vacancies).

§ 21.3-306. Qualifications of Commissioners.

 A Commissioner shall be a citizen of the United States and shall have been a resident of the Township for a continuous period of at least two years, and of the ward he represents for a continuous period of at least one year, immediately prior to the date on which his term commences, except that the ward residence requirement shall not apply in the first municipal election after any redistricting. A Commissioner during his entire term of office shall be a registered elector and shall reside in the said ward except as otherwise provided in §  21.3-305F.

   Commentary: : The two-year residency requirement is new but deemed appropriate to insure that the Commissioners know the Township. Under §  21.5-504 of the Township Code, there is presently a one-year ward residency requirement. It was decided to retain this provision as to wards because of the same principle justifying the township residency requirement. It was necessary to remove all ward residence requirements on redistricting.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.3-305 and commentary (relating to redistricting).

§ 21.3-307. Compensation.

 The initial compensation of Commissioners shall be that compensation in effect on the date this Charter becomes effective. Thereafter, compensation shall be set by ordinance, passed by an absolute two-thirds vote. Any ordinance fixing compensation shall provide uniform compensation for the office of Commissioner. However, no change in compensation shall apply to a given Commissioner during a term of office if such ordinance is enacted less than one year prior to the commencement of that term. Furthermore, the Board at its discretion and by an absolute majority vote may pay as additional compensation to the President of the Board an amount equal to ten percent of the compensation then fixed for Commissioners. Commissioners shall receive no other direct or indirect compensation for the performance of their duties. They shall, however, be entitled to the actual, reasonable and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.

   Commentary: : This provision follows the general rule that an elected official shall not be permitted to benefit from an increase in compensation for which he or his fellow officials vote unless and until he is reelected. It extends that limitation for a period of one year before the term commences so that compensation to be paid will be known by any person contemplating seeking election to office. ‘‘Compensation’’ is defined in §  21.2-201H.

   Because this Charter envisions that the President is given additional responsibility, it permits the Board to pay him limited additional compensation. That decision may be made at any time. The increase would be based on the then fixed salary for Commissioner. For example, if the President were then receiving $2400, and the most recently fixed salary were $3000, then the President could receive an additional $300. Receipt of that additional compensation does not violate the prohibition against change in salary during a Commissioner’s term.

§ 21.3-308. Vacancies.

 A. The office of Commissioner shall become vacant:

   1. Upon the death of a Commissioner.

   2. Upon the written resignation of a Commissioner, which shall be submitted to the Township Manager.

   3. Upon the removal of a Commissioner from office in any manner authorized by law or by this Charter.

   4. For failure to take the oath of office after election or appointment thereto within ninety days after the commencement of his term or tenure.

   5. Upon determination by the Board that a Commissioner has forfeited his office, which shall occur as follows:

     a. If at any time during his term of office he lacks any qualification for office as prescribed by this Charter or by law.

     b. If at any time during his term of office he pleads nolo contendre or guilty to, or if he has exhausted all direct appeals from, a conviction for the commission of a crime involving malfeasance or misfeasance in his office of Commissioner.

     c. If without the approval of the Board he does not attend at least one meeting of the Board within any six-month period.

     d. The Board shall determine whether an act of forfeiture has occurred at a meeting where that matter is on the agenda and the Commissioner in question has been given at least ten days prior written notice. Such determination shall require an absolute majority. In the event that the Board determines that a forfeiture has taken place, it shall cause notice of such determination to be sent by certified mail to the Commissioner involved at least ten days before any action shall be taken to fill said office.

   6. Upon the termination of the term of a Township Commissioner prior to its normal termination date pursuant to §  21.3-305F, where the effect of such termination will be that no incumbent Commissioner shall thereafter be residing in the ward in which the terminated Commissioner resided as of the date of the enactment of the redistricting ordinance.

   Notwithstanding the provisions of §  21.3-309, such vacancy shall be filled by a special election to be held at the municipal election immediately preceding the termination of such term of office and the term of any person elected in such election shall commence on the first Monday of January following:

 B. In addition to the vacancy which shall occur as set forth in §  21.3-308A, the office of a Commissioner shall become vacant if the Board in its discretion shall determine by an absolute two-thirds vote that the ability of such Commissioner to perform his responsibilities has been impaired because he has, during such term of office, pleaded nolo contendre or guilty to or has been sentenced by a court of plenary jurisdiction for any of the crimes enumerated in §  21.14-1413. The Board shall follow the procedural requirements set forth in §  21.3-308A5d in making this determination.

   Commentary: : Criminal activity on the part of a Township Commissioner is the ground for removal from office under three separate provisions. Automatic removal is provided in certain limited situations in §  21.3-308A5b, discretionary removal by the Board is provided in a broader range of situations in §  21.3-308B, and should the Board not so remove, removal by the voters in the same circumstances is permitted through the use of recall, as provided in §  21.14-1413.

   A separate framework for removal for criminal activity exists under state statute (65 P. S. §  121) which provides for forfeiture of office upon conviction of the crimes enumerated in § §  21.3-308B and 21.14-1413 of this Charter. It presently is unclear as to when in the criminal process such forfeiture occurs and how and by what agency it is declared. Additionally, removal may occur under the Pennsylvania Constitution (Article Six, Section Seven) which provides for removal of all civil officers on conviction of ‘‘misbehavior in office’’ or any ‘‘infamous crime;’’ here too, the timing and procedure are unclear. The state statute and Constitutional provision continue to be applicable to Cheltenham officials.

   The provision of §  21.3-308A6 is part of the redistricting system (see the text and commentary at §  21.3-305). It provides for a special election to fill a vacancy where a Commissioner, who has two more years to serve of a term at the time of a municipal election in which redistricting becomes effective, decides to seek a four year term. It was the GSC’s view that his continuation on the Commission under such circumstances should depend upon his acceptability to the voters in the new district in which he seeks election. If he is successful in his efforts, he does not need the remaining two year term since he has a new four year term; if he is unsuccessful in seeking election, he should not be permitted to serve as a Commissioner for two years after rejection by the voters.

   Because the original term of this Commissioner will terminate on the first Monday in January following the municipal election in which he is seeking a four year term in the new district, a special election will be required to select a person to serve the remaining two years of the original term. The special election will take place at the same November municipal election in which the incumbent Commissioner is seeking a new four year term. The normal primary machinery cannot be used since the forfeiture of his remaining two year term is dependent upon his nomination in the primary (§  21.3-305F); accordingly, the nominating procedure employed in a special election, involving nomination by political parties, is utilized.

   The proviso clause ‘‘where the effect of such termination will be that no incumbent Commissioner shall thereafter be residing in the ward in which the terminated Commissioner resided...’’ is added so as to avoid the filling of the ‘‘vacancy’’ where there is no absence of a resident Commissioner, e.g., where two Commissioners reside in what will become the new ward after passage of the redistricting ordinance and one will remain even after the termination of the term of the Commissioner seeking a four year term pursuant to §  21.3-305F.

   The GSC recognizes that the redistricting system and the various procedures are not perfect and may lead to a situation where there are less or more than the authorized number of Commissioners for a period of two years. However, the procedure is designed to limit to the extent reasonably possible the circumstances under which such a distortion will occur.

   The only perfect way to avoid the possibility of an enlarged or reduced Board of Commissioners for two years would be to require election of the entire Board in the municipal election following redistricting, some for terms of two years and some for terms of four years. Such a scheme was deemed to be unfair to incumbent Commissioners and a factor which might make more difficult the recruitment of competent Commissioners in face of the possibility that their terms might be reduced to two years through no voluntary act of their own.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.3-304 (relating to election); 346 Pa. Code §  21.3-305 commentary (relating to redistricting); 346 Pa. Code §  21.3-310 commentary (relating to oath of office); 346 Pa. Code §  21.8-804 (relating to vacancy); 346 Pa. Code §  21.11-1113 commentary (relating to penalties); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.14-1413 (relating to officers subject to recall).

§ 21.3-309. Filling of Vacancies.

 Any vacancy which shall occur in the office of Commissioner shall be filled for the unexpired term in the following manner:

   A. By majority vote of the committee persons in the ward where the vacancy exists who are of the same political party or parties which nominated the Commissioner whose office has become vacant. In the event the Commissioner whose office has become vacant was not a nominee of a political party which has committee persons, then by a majority vote of all of the committee persons in said ward of all political parties which elected committee persons in at least half of the voting districts in said ward in the preceding municipal primary election. The vote shall be taken by secret ballot at a meeting convened by the Township Manager within forty-five days after the occurrence of such vacancy. Committee persons may vote only in person. Said meeting shall be open for public attendance and shall be held not less than six days nor more than thirty days after notice of the time and place thereof shall have been advertised in a newspaper of general circulation in the Township. The Township Manager shall promptly certify the results of the vote to the Board, at which time the tenure of the Commissioner so selected shall commence. In the event that the term of such newly designated Commissioner shall subsequently become vacant, such subsequent vacancy shall be filled by the same committee persons (or their successors) who had designated such Commissioner. The tenure of the Commissioner selected under this §  21.3-309A shall terminate on the first Monday of January following the municipal election in which a person is elected to complete the unexpired term in accordance with §  21.3-309B or is elected to a full term pursuant to §  21.3-304.

   B. By election at the next municipal election in accordance with the regular municipal primary and municipal election procedures, providing there has been time for the completion of such primary and election procedures, and provided that following the first Monday in January subsequent to such municipal election there is a period remaining in the term of the Commissioner whose office has become vacant. The tenure of the Commissioner so elected shall commence on the first Monday of January following such municipal election.

   Commentary: : Initially, the GSC considered requiring vacancies to be filled at the next election, whether primary or general, and with no interim appointment. While this provides assurance that the new Commissioner represents his electorate, there could be Board deadlock with only six members during the interim. The next draft then provided for appointment until the next election, which solved the deadlock problem. But several people objected to electing a Commissioner at a primary or at the Presidential or gubernatorial general elections. It was felt the local election could be overshadowed and its results distorted by other events (e.g., where only one of the political parties had a primary contest). The GSC was urged to delay until the next municipal election.

   The final text resolves these competing values. The vacancy is filled within forty-five days after its occurrence, thus preventing deadlock. It is filled, however, by the party committee people from that district, thus giving that constituency a say in naming the replacement, and also avoiding the anomalous situation of having a Commissioner of one party replaced by someone of a different party because of the Board’s political composition at that time (the result currently possible under Section 530 of the Township Code).

   The Manager is given the administrative responsibility for arranging the public meeting and placing the advertisement. He also is responsible for ascertaining the relevant committee people, and presumably will consult them before fixing a meeting date. The election itself is held by secret ballot. This is closest to the regular election procedure and is also consistent with the present manner in which the Township’s political parties endorse nominees. The Manager certifies to the Board who has been elected.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.3-303 (relating to terms); 346 Pa. Code §  21.3-304 (relating to election); 346 Pa. Code §  21.3-308 (relating to vacancies); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.8-804 (relating to vacancy).

§ 21.3-310. Oath of Office.

 Each Commissioner, prior to entering upon the duties of his office, shall take an oath or affirmation as follows: ‘‘I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of this Commonwealth and the Cheltenham Township Charter, and that I will discharge the duties of my office with fidelity.’’ The foregoing oath shall be administered by a person authorized to administer oaths, shall be signed in his presence, and filed with the Township Manager.

   Commentary: : Although it has been traditional for the oath to be administered at the organization meeting, this provision does not require the oath to be taken at a particular time or place. Neither does present law, Township Code, Section 601, but under this Charter failure to take the oath can create a vacancy (§  21.3-308A4).

ARTICLE IV. OPERATION AND PROCEDURES OF THE BOARD


Sec.


21.4-401.    Organization of the Board.
21.4-402.    Meetings.
21.4-403.    Rules of Procedure.
21.4-404.    Quorum and Majority Action.
21.4-405.    Form of Action by the Board.
21.4-406.    Minutes.
21.4-407.    Inquiries and Investigations.

§ 21.4-401. Organization of the Board.

 A. The Board shall organize at 8:00 p.m. on the first Monday of January of each year (or on the following day if such Monday is a legal holiday) and shall elect by an absolute majority vote one of its members as President and one of its members as Vice President. In the event the Board does not elect a President within thirty days, the Commissioner with the most seniority in office shall become the temporary President until such time as the Board shall elect a President. If two or more Commissioners share highest seniority, whichever of those Commissioners received the highest percentage of the vote cast in his last election contest for Commissioner shall act as temporary President. The same procedure shall be utilized to select a temporary Vice President if the Board does not elect a Vice President within thirty days.

 B. The Board by resolution shall create standing committees which shall continue until dissolved or changed by subsequent Board resolution. Special committees may be created by Board resolution or by the President’s designation for such term as the creator determines.

 C. The President, with the advice and consent of the Board:

   1. shall appoint the members of all standing committees promptly after his election, and the members of all special committees upon their creation, and shall fill vacancies as they occur.

   2. shall designate the chairman and vice-chairman of each committee.

   3. may remove any member of any committee or add additional members to any committee at any time.

   In making appointments of Commissioners to committees, and in nominating Commissioners as members of citizens’ groups pursuant to §  21.13-1302, the President shall, to the extent practicable, allocate such memberships equitably among the other members of the Board.

   Commentary: : Under this Charter, the President has been given new responsibilities for initiating planning and budget suggestions to the Board. See Article VI. He is nevertheless given only a one-year term for several reasons. First, the Board must be content with the direction in which the President is moving and a one-year term permits periodic reaffirmation. Second, there has been a tendency to automatic election of the most senior Board member as President. While this was understandable when the President’s function was essentially to preside, it is a less desirable tradition given the President’s expanded role. The Board may certainly want to elect or reelect its most senior member President, but hopefully for qualities other than mere longevity. Requiring election of a President each year permits frequent and regular appraisal of the President’s performance.

   The present Board has developed the salutary practice of utilizing committee review prior to Board action wherever such is feasible. It is anticipated by the GSC that this practice will be continued.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.6-602 (relating to duties); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.6-603 (relating to the vice president).

§ 21.4-402. Meetings.

 A. The Board shall meet officially at least once a month at a stated time and place. At its organizational meeting, the Board shall establish and shall promptly thereafter advertise the calendar of regular monthly meetings for the following twelve months. If no quorum is present at a meeting, a majority of those who do meet may agree upon another date for a meeting and may continue to so agree until the meeting is held. Additional official meetings may be called by the President upon his own motion and shall be called by the President, upon the written request to him of at least one-third of the Commissioners then in office, within ten days following the delivery of such request.

 B. All members shall be given at least twenty-four hours written notice of all meetings of the Board and of its committees, except where an emergency makes such notice impractical the members shall receive such notice as it is possible to give. At the same time a copy of such notice shall be given the public by posting it prominently in the Township Building. The notice shall contain a statement of the nature of each item of business then expected to be proposed for consideration.

 C. All meetings of the Board at which official action is to be taken, and all meetings of its committees at which a vote to recommend official action is to be taken, shall be open for public attendance. At such time as otherwise permitted by state statute, the foregoing shall not limit the right of the Board or its committees to engage in private discussions of matters upon which a vote to recommend or take official action is subsequently taken at a public meeting.

   Commentary: : Posting notice of a meeting is a new requirement, and is one of the several vehicles used to provide additional public notice of the Board’s prospective activities. The first sentence of §  21.4-402C follows the state’s present ‘‘Sunshine Law.’’ The second sentence of that section could not presently be followed because the ‘‘Sunshine Law’’ with limited exceptions does not permit executive sessions even if the actual action is taken at subsequent public meetings. However, it was the GSC’s desire to enumerate in §  21.4-402C the principles which should apply to Township meetings if the ‘‘Sunshine Law’’ were repealed or changed to permit such procedures.

   The GSC believes a proper balance must be struck between the beneficial effect of ‘‘sunshine’’ and the modesty of expression which such public exposure often requires of normally careful politicians. In order to encourage free expression among the Commissioners of what might be easily misconstrued views, the rule is adopted that the Board and its committees may meet privately without restriction as to the subject matter of such private meetings, provided an opportunity for public expression of views by the Commissioners is required prior to an official action or a committee decision leading to such Board action. The Sunshine Law permits such private meetings only as to limited subject matters which the Legislature expects might be sensitive, e.g., labor negotiations, while the principle incorporated in the foregoing text recognizes the possibility of such sensitivity as to any subject matter.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.5-505 commentary (relating to ordinances); 346 Pa. Code §  21.6-602 (relating to duties); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.14-1402 (relating to public right to information).

§ 21.4-403. Rules of Procedure.

 A. The Board by ordinance shall adopt rules of procedure for the meetings of the Board and its committees, and until it does so, the then current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall apply. In either event the applicable rules of procedure must include the following:

   1. No second shall be required for any Commissioner to propose any action specified in §  21.4-405 hereof.

   2. All votes of the Board on all proposed ordinances, and on any other matter when requested by any Commissioner, shall be taken by roll call.

   3. The citizens’ right to be heard, as provided in §  21.14-1406, may not be limited or contravened.

   4. Such other rules as are necessary to implement the procedural provisions of this Charter.

 B. The Board may, by ordinance, adopt rules of procedure for meetings of citizens’ groups of the Township or may delegate that responsibility to those bodies. Until such rules have been adopted by the Board or a particular citizens’ group, rules in use by the Board pursuant to §  21.4-403A shall apply.

   Commentary: : Under this Charter, any Commissioner may make a motion which requires further action by the Board—even if only a refusal to consider it further. It was felt that the requirement of a second is inappropriate for a small legislative body. Thus, any Commissioner can require the Board to take a position on a matter. It should be noted that in most legislatures any legislator may introduce a bill without a second.

§ 21.4-404. Quorum and Majority Action.

 A majority of the Commissioners then in office shall constitute a quorum. The Board shall take no official action except in the presence of a quorum. The action of a majority of the Board present and entitled to vote, unless otherwise provided, shall be binding upon and constitute the action of the Board.

§ 21.4-405. Form of Action by the Board.

 A. Official action by the Board shall be taken only by an affirmative or negative vote on the proposed adoption of an ordinance, a resolution, an administrative directive or a procedural motion, or by an election. Official action may be taken only by the Board at an official meeting. While this exclusive right to take official action may not be delegated to any one or more members or committees of the Board, each member and committee of the Board nonetheless shall have the absolute right to seek and obtain information at any time from any employee of the Township.

 B. An administrative directive is any instruction or suggestion to the Township Manager or Township personnel not contained in an ordinance or resolution.

 C. All actions of a legislative character shall be taken by ordinance or resolution which must be presented to the Board in written form prior to enactment. In addition to any other actions required by law or by this Charter to be taken by ordinance, those actions of the Board shall be taken by ordinance which:

   1. Provide for a fine or other penalty, or establish a rule or regulation for violation of which a fine or other penalty is imposed.

   2. Levy or enact taxes, fix tax rates or collect taxes.

   3. Grant, renew or extend a franchise.

   4. Establish, alter or abolish rates or charges for any utility or other service supplied by the Township.

   5. Authorize the borrowing of money except for revenue anticipation or emergency loans.

   6. Exercise the power of eminent domain.

   7. Amend or repeal any ordinance previously adopted.

   8. Establish, alter or amend any zoning ordinance, comprehensive plan, subdivision or land development ordinance.

   9. Approve or authorize any intergovernmental agreement that transfers the exercise of any Township power or function to any other governmental body, or which transfers to the Township the exercise of any power or function of any other governmental body.

   10. Open or vacate streets.

   11. Ordain the construction or assessment for sewers, streets, curbs, sidewalks or other assessable public capital improvements.

   12. Authorize the promulgation of regulations by the Township Manager, Township Staff, or citizens’ groups if permitted by §  21.13-1301C. Each such ordinance shall provide for an appeal from the promulgation or enforcement of any regulation so authorized, unless the Administrative Code provides a general appeal procedure for such matters. Such appeal procedures may include a right of appeal to the Manager and must include a right of appeal to the Board.

   13. Adopt or amend the operating or capital budget as provided in Article XII.

   Commentary: : This section defines how the Board acts. An Administrative Directive is the method by which the Board tells the Manager or Township staff what to do. Legislative action can be by Ordinance or perhaps by Resolution. Ordinances are more formal actions, requiring procedural formality and notice. Resolutions of celebration, congratulations, etc., need not meet the procedural requirement of ordinances, nor need they be in writing prior to adoption as is required for resolutions of a legislative character.

   The reference in §  21.4-405C8 to subdivision and land development ordinances refers to such ordinances as defined in Section 503 of the Municipalities Planning Code. Under this Charter, as under the current practice, where an individual plot is rezoned it will require an ordinance, but the subdivision of such individual plot may be approved by resolution provided the procedural requirements of the subdivision ordinance have been followed.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.4-403 (relating to rules of procedure).

§ 21.4-406. Minutes.

 The Board shall cause accurate minutes of its meetings and committee meetings to be made and preserved. There shall be recorded in the minutes the vote or abstention of each member on a roll call vote, and the reason why a Commissioner has disqualified himself pursuant to §  21.11-1110 if requested by such Commissioner. These minutes shall be open for public inspection and copying at cost during business hours.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.14-1402 (relating to public right to information).

§ 21.4-407. Inquiries and Investigations.

 The Board shall have power, by resolution, to authorize inquiries and investigations to be conducted by the entire body or by any of its committees in aid of its legislative, appropriating, policy-determining and governing powers and functions. The President of the Board or the Chairman of any of its committees shall have the power to administer oaths to witnesses.

 The Board shall have power to issue subpoenas over the signature of the President to require the attendance of witnesses and the production of records and papers pertaining to any investigation or inquiry. The fees of such witnesses for attendance and travel shall be the same as for witnesses appearing in the courts. If any person shall refuse or neglect to obey any subpoena issued by the Board, the Board may petition the Court of Common Pleas of Montgomery County for an order requiring the attendance of such person before the Board or the Court, there to testify and to produce any records and papers necessary, and in default thereof he shall be held in contempt of Court.

ARTICLE V. ORDINANCES


Sec.


21.5-501.    General Ordinance Requirements.
21.5-502.    Penalty.
21.5-503.    Recording of Ordinances and Resolutions.
21.5-504.    Codification of Ordinances.
21.5-505.    Emergency Ordinances.

Cross References

   This article cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.12-1205 (relating to adoption of budget).

§ 21.5-501. General Ordinance Requirements.

 A. Unless otherwise provided, the Board may consider for enactment only such proposed ordinances as shall have been posted and advertised in the following manner:

   1. The advertisement of a proposed ordinance shall contain the title and a synopsis of the proposed ordinance and shall designate the date and place of the meeting where it will be considered by the Board for enactment. Such advertisement shall appear in a newspaper of general circulation in the Township not more than thirty days nor less than six days prior to the meeting at which the ordinance is to be considered for enactment.

   2. The proposed ordinance, in substantially the form in which it will be considered by the Board for enactment, shall be posted prominently in the Township Building for a period of at least the forty-eight hours immediately prior to the meeting at which the proposed ordinance will be considered for enactment.

 B. At the meeting noticed in the advertisement, or at any subsequent meeting to which the matter is referred by official action of the Board at the advertised meeting, the Board may enact the ordinance.

 C. The Board may amend a proposed ordinance before final adoption, but if an amendment makes any significant substantive change from the proposed ordinance as originally advertised and posted, no final action may be taken until the proposed amended ordinance has again been advertised and posted in accordance with §  21.5-501A.

 D. Every ordinance shall contain the date of its enactment, and its enactment shall be verified by the signature of the presiding officer of the meeting at which final action was taken. The official seal of the Township shall be affixed to the original copy of each ordinance. However, failure to affix the official seal shall not in any way invalidate an otherwise valid ordinance.

 E. No ordinance shall contain more than one subject which shall be clearly expressed in its title. The enacting clause shall be: ‘‘The Board of Commissioners of the Township of Cheltenham hereby ordains....’’ In its proposed form, any ordinance which repeals or amends an existing ordinance shall set out in full the ordinance portion to be repealed or amended and shall indicate matter to be omitted by enclosing it in brackets or by strike-out type and shall indicate new matter by underscoring or italics.

 F. The Board may adopt any standard code of technical regulations by adopting an ordinance incorporating said standard code and by attaching a copy thereof to the ordinance as enacted. The details of such standard codes need not be advertised but copies of such codes shall be available at the office of the Township for public inspection. The Township shall also have the responsibility of assuring that copies of such codes are available for purchase at a reasonable charge. Adoption of standard codes shall be in accordance with the procedures set forth in this §  21.5-501.

 G. Promptly after enactment and in any event within thirty days thereafter, all ordinances shall be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation in the Township. The title of an ordinance and a synopsis will constitute sufficient advertisement. The advertisement shall clearly indicate the location and the hours that such ordinance can be inspected and the procedure whereby a copy of the ordinance can be obtained.

 H. The effective date of an ordinance shall be ten days following the advertisement date except where a later date is specified in the ordinance or unless otherwise provided.

 I. Any appeal otherwise provided by law from the passage of any Township ordinance must be taken, if at all, within thirty days from the effective date of such ordinance. Upon such appeal, the court may require the filing of a bond with sufficient security for the payment of costs by any person aggrieved.

   Commentary: : Under this Charter, an ordinance may not be considered by the Board prior to six days after advertisement, except for emergencies. This is a new provision, as is the requirement of posting and having a copy of the proposed ordinance available for inspection. At present, the Township Code does not require any advertisement before an ordinance is passed. A First Class Township could literally pass an ordinance (except for zoning) upon its initial consideration, and the first time the public would hear about it could be when it was advertised after passage. That is not true today for Second Class Townships, where prior advertisement of proposed ordinances is required. Furthermore, the Municipalities Planning Code now requires prior advertisement and public hearing before passage of any zoning ordinance. Under this Charter, the public will have the right to know what ordinances are being considered for passage, and the right to make its views known to the Board before passage.

   The Charter does not specify who must order the advertisement, only that it must be placed. The Board may adopt the practice of ordering advertisements itself, or permitting them to be ordered by committees, their chairmen, Commissioners, the Township Manager, or other township personnel.

   At present, the Commission hears from the public more fully at the committee level, although it sometimes entertains public discussion at Board meetings. However, there is no formal procedure to notify the public as to what will be considered by a committee. Under Charter § §  21.14-1406 and 21.5-501, the Board has an option. It can advertise that a committee will be considering a proposed ordinance, and, if a quorum of the Board is present at the committee meeting, the Board will then not be required to hear again from the public at the subsequent Board meeting. Or it can have the committee consider and recommend an ordinance without such advertisement but then the public must be heard at the Board meeting. In either event, the fact that the Board will be subsequently considering the proposed ordinance must be advertised.

   If a committee of the Board orders an advertisement of an ordinance so as to permit Board consideration and if the committee desires to avoid the necessity of hearing from the public at the Board meeting, the effect of § §  21.14-1406 and 21.5-501 would be to require the committee to advertise both its meeting at which the public will be heard and the meeting of the Board at which the ordinance will be considered for enactment; this could be done either in one advertisement or two. If, on the other hand, the committee is satisfied that the public should be heard by the Board at its meeting before enactment, it is not required to hold another committee meeting to hear the public.

   ‘‘Significant substantive change’’ requires readvertisement and a second consideration by the Board only when an amendment to the proposed ordinance so changes its purpose and effect that those persons who would have been affected and might have desired to make their views known to the Board or its committee would not have been placed on notice by the language or advertisement of the proposed ordinance in its prior form. Although an ordinance amending or repealing an existing ordinance will contain, in its proposed form, brackets or underlining designating the change as required in §  21.5-501E, the ordinance in final form would not be required to include such emphasis or reference to deleted material.

   The GSC does not believe that these requirements for public notification significantly slow down the ordinance procedures or interfere with the Board in its activities. Such limitations as they may place on the Board are more than outweighed by the gain in public awareness of what the Board is proposing to do.

   With respect to standard Codes adopted by the Board, the Township must have a copy available for inspection. It need not have copies available for purchase if it can direct interested parties to a source where such codes are available.

   The ordinance procedures of this section, where inconsistent, do not apply to budget procedures (see §  21.12-1205G) or to emergency ordinances.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.5-504 (relating to codification of ordinances); 346 Pa. Code §  21.5-505 and commentary (relating to emergency ordinances); 346 Pa. Code §  21.7-703 (relating to removal or non-renewal); 346 Pa. Code §  21.14-1402 (relating to public right to information); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.14-1406 (relating to citizen’s right to be heard).

§ 21.5-502. Penalty.

 The Board may provide for a penalty for violation of an ordinance in the nature of a fine which can be collected either by criminal or civil procedure.

§ 21.5-503. Recording of Ordinances and Resolutions.

 All Township ordinances and resolutions shall be entered verbatim in permanent record books maintained separately for ordinances and resolutions. Ordinance and resolution books shall be in the custody of the Township Manager and shall be available for public inspection during business hours.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.14-1402 (relating to public right to information).

§ 21.5-504. Codification of Ordinances.

 A. Within one year after the effective date of this Charter, a codification of ordinances of general application and of a continuing nature shall be created and thereafter shall be maintained on a regular basis. In any codification, any standard code adopted pursuant to §  21.5-501F may be incorporated by reference and need not be separately printed.

 B. A copy of the codification shall be available for public inspection at the office of the Township during business hours, and copies shall be available for purchase at a reasonable charge to be fixed by the Township. Citizens may also receive by subscription copies of all changes in the codification made to maintain it on a continuing basis, at a reasonable charge to be fixed by the Township.

   Commentary: : Present law does not require codification although Township Code Section 1502 governs procedures if it is done. There is no present requirement that citizens may obtain copies of an ordinance, or a class of ordinances.

   The Township Solicitor has completed what is probably the Codification this section requires, and it may be adopted by the Board after its review. It is the anticipation of the GSC that the Board will use a looseleaf or similar system so that additions or deletions may be easily inserted where required.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.3-306 commentary (relating to qualifications of commissioners); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.14-1402 (relating to public right to information).

§ 21.5-505. Emergency Ordinances.

 A. To meet a public emergency affecting life, health, property or the public peace, the Board may adopt one or more emergency ordinances as may be required. An emergency ordinance shall be clearly so designated and shall contain a declaration of the emergency in clear and specific terms.

 B. Emergency ordinances shall take effect immediately upon enactment and shall expire no more than sixty-one days from the date of enactment; nothing however, shall prevent a single extension of the emergency ordinance for not more than thirty days should the emergency still exist.

 C. The Board may waive by emergency ordinance the requirement for competitive bidding for such services and materials as may be required to deal with the emergency situation.

 D. Emergency ordinances shall not be subject to the general ordinance requirements provided in §  21.5-501 except subsections D, E and I.

 E. Emergency ordinances shall be advertised as soon as possible after the date of enactment.

   Commentary: : Section 21.5-505 provides ample authority to deal with an emergency—but there must, in fact, be a described emergency. All of the §  21.5-501 prepassage formalities are waived, although the ordinance must be in requisite form and be advertised after passage. The twenty-four hour written notice of meeting requirement of §  21.4-402B might not apply; that section requires in emergencies only such notice as it is possible to give. An emergency ordinance is limited to sixty-one days maximum, with a maximum thirty day extension, which should give the Commissioners adequate time to pass an ordinance by normal procedures. Of course, a regular ordinance could be self-limiting to expire at the end of a particular condition, so that it need not necessarily ordain a permanent change.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.12-1206 (relating to amendments of budget during the fiscal year).

ARTICLE VI. THE BOARD PRESIDENT


Sec.


21.6-601.    Functions.
21.6-602.    Duties.
21.6-603.    The Vice President.
21.6-604.    Removal.
21.6-605.    Vacancy.

Cross References

   This article cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.4-401 commentary (relating to organization of the board).

§ 21.6-601. Functions.

 The President of the Board shall have the following two functions in addition to any others required by law or this Charter:

   A. He shall be the presiding officer of the Board.

   B. He shall supervise the development of financial and planning policies for the Township for submission to the Board for its review and for such adoption and implementation as it deems appropriate. Such policies shall include the development of long range objectives, the setting of priorities, and the consideration of other matters relating to the quality of life in the Township.

   Commentary: : See Commentary following §  21.6-602.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.6-602 (relating to duties); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.3-1305 (relating to planning commission).

§ 21.6-602.  Duties.

 A. In performing the function set forth in §  21.6-601A, the President shall discharge the following duties:

   1. Chair meetings of the Board. He may, however, without leaving the Chair, exercise any of his perogatives as Commissioner.

   2. Call additional official meetings as permitted or required by §  21.4-402A.

   3. Create special committees as permitted by §  21.4-401B.

   4. Appoint and remove members of committees and designate officers thereof with the advice and consent of the Board as provided in §  21.4-401C.

   5. Participate as fully as he may desire in activities of all committees, including the right to vote.

 B. In performing the functions set forth in §  21.6-601B, the President shall discharge the following duties:

   1. Supervise the preparation of and submit annually to the Board for its consideration, in such form as shall reflect his recommendations, the Financial Plan which shall include his proposed Operating and Capital Budgets and his Budget Message, all as more specifically provided in Article XII.

   2. Submit to the Board annually his message on the State of the Township.

   3. Cause to be prepared and submit to the Board for its consideration the Annual Report of the Board to the People.

   4. Submit to the Board from time to time for its review, and for such adoption and implementation as it deems appropriate, such plans, policies, resolutions and ordinances which he would recommend as the result of the planning process supervised by him, and he may submit to the Board his recommendations on such plans, policies, resolutions or ordinances relating to financial or planning policies as are submitted to the Board or a Board committee by the Manager or his staff or any citizens’ group.

   In the performance of the above functions, the President shall supervise and review the preparation of any report, recommendation or message for which he has responsibility under this Charter, so that it contains his personal evaluations, recommendations, and statement of priorities.

 C. In the performance of the functions set forth in §  21.6-601, and in the discharge of duties set forth in §  21.6-602A and B, the President may utilize all of the instrumentalities of the Township, including the Manager, Township personnel, the Board and its committees, the Planning Commission and all other Township citizens’ groups. The President shall be a non-voting member of the Planning Commission and may assign to that Commission any special or continuing project.

   Commentary: : The Board President has been given new functions under this Charter to provide cohesion to the planning function and to give him some responsibility for initial suggestions on policy and direction. Although the Commission-Manager structure is well suited to Cheltenham’s needs generally, that form inherently tends to address immediate or short term needs and problems. Also, Commission government is by definition one of diffused leadership. This provides the benefit of many perspectives, but runs the danger of failing to define direction.

   The President is the logical commissioner to whom to assign long range planning responsibility. It is contemplated that he will utilize the Planning Commission to assist him in predicting and suggesting policy for the future of the Township. Preparation of the Capital Budget is another aspect of that activity.

   In addition, the President is given other opportunities to initiate suggested policy or program to the Board. The Budget Message and both Operating and Capital Budgets are prepared under his direction. The Board’s Annual Report to the People is prepared under him for submission to the Board.

   The Charter also provides that the President shall annually give a State of the Township message. This will allow an annual occasion for the President to reflect on the past and suggest for the future. In an earlier draft, this message was required to be given in February, since the Budget Message would probably be given in the Fall. This requirement was deleted to permit the President to decide when the message is best given.

   Despite his increased role, the President nevertheless is subject totally to official action of the Board. He makes suggestions to the Board, but it is the Board which accepts, revises, or rejects. Nonetheless, the power to initiate and to suggest is significant and that is the President’s brief.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.6-601 commentary (relating to functions); 346 Pa. Code §  21.12-1203 commentary (relating to budget message); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.14-1404 (relating to availability of the State of the Township message).

§ 21.6-603. The Vice President.

 In the President’s absence, the Vice President of the Board shall perform such of his functions and discharge such of his duties as may be required during such absence. In the absence of both, and unless the Board has determined a contrary procedure, the President’s functions and duties shall be performed by such Commissioner as would have been temporary President in the absence of the election of a President pursuant to §  21.4-401.

§ 21.6-604. Removal.

 The Board may remove the President or Vice President at any time by an absolute two-thirds vote.

   Commentary: : The President’s term is only for one year unless renewed, and it has been argued that such a short period is not adequate time for a new President to perform the functions assigned him. If this is so, such a problem is accentuated if the Board can remove him at any time. Also, that power may cause the President to be more timid in suggesting potentially controversial matters.

   These are proper concerns. But it should be remembered that the President has the power to advise and recommend, not dictate. If the President is suggesting that the Board go in a direction it finds unacceptable, it should not have to wait until the end of a formal term to have a President whose viewpoint mirrors the Board’s. On the other hand, if the President is performing his functions to the Board’s satisfaction, it is assumed that he would be reelected.

§ 21.6-605. Vacancy.

 If the President or Vice President ceases to be a Commissioner, or if the Board removes either, the Board shall fill such vacancy by an absolute majority vote.

ARTICLE VII. TOWNSHIP MANAGER


Sec.


21.7-701.    Functions, Appointments, Qualifications and Compensation.
21.7-702.    Powers and Duties.
21.7-703.    Removal or Non-Renewal.
21.7-704.    Contract.
21.7-705.    Acting Manager.

§ 21.7-701. Functions, Appointments, Qualifications and Compensation.

 A. The Township Manager shall be the chief administrative officer of the Township.

 B. The Board shall, at its organization meeting on the first Monday of January following each municipal election, appoint a Township Manager for a term of two years or until his successor is appointed, subject to removal pursuant to §  21.7-703. In the event of a vacancy in the office of Township Manager, the appointment of a successor shall be for a term expiring on the first Monday of January following the next municipal election. The appointment of a Manager or his successor shall be by an absolute majority vote of the Board.

 C. The Manager shall be selected on the basis of the Board’s evaluation of his administrative training, professional qualifications and experience. The Manager need not be a Township resident when appointed, but must become a Township resident within six months after his initial appointment and thereafter remain such a resident so long as he is Township Manager.

 D. The Board shall fix the compensation of the Manager by separate ordinance or by specific indentification of such compensation in the annual budget. If the Manager is employed pursuant to a contract which sets compensation, Board approval of that contract by ordinance represents compliance with this provision. No reduction in compensation shall effect the Manager then serving during his then current term of office.

 E. During his tenure, the Township Manager shall not have any other employment for compensation without the approval of the Board, nor shall he hold any elective public office or the office of Township Controller or Solicitor. In addition to the prohibitions of §  21.11-1107 hereof, and except in the performance of his official duties, the Manager shall not engage in activities in any way related to the election to public office of any public official other than by voting.

   Commentary: : Managers are given two-year terms so that the Board can review that decision regularly. It may be necessary, to induce someone to leave another position, to provide some contractual protection, as provided in §  21.7-704. The manager can be removed at any time, but that removal may trigger severance pay. However, the Board cannot reduce a Manager’s pay to drive him out. The Manager is the one Township official who should be as insulated from political affairs as possible.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.7-705 (relating to acting manager).

§ 21.7-702. Powers and Duties.

 The Manager shall be in charge of the administration of all Township affairs except those delegated to citizens’ groups in accordance with §  21.13-1301. In administering the affairs of the Township the Manager shall be solely responsible and subject to the supervision of the Board which shall be effected by official action. He shall have the following powers and duties:

   A. Carry out all policies established by the Board by ordinance, resolution or administrative directive.

   B. Appoint heads of departments, with the advice and consent of the Board, and suspend any head of department subject to an appeal to the Board. No appointment shall be for a term longer than that of the Manager. The Board may suspend or terminate any such appointment at any time.

   C. Appoint, suspend or remove other Township employees pursuant to the provisions of the personnel system created under Article XI hereof. He may authorize any head of department or the immediate subordinate serving under such head of department to exercise such powers or any of them with respect to his respective subordinates, providing any such authorized exercise shall be ultimately subject to the Manager’s supervision, review and modification.

   D. Make such reports and recommendations on the administration of Township affairs as the Board or any Board member may request, but all such reports or recommendations shall be provided to all members of the Board.

   E. Direct the activities of all Township employees. Unless this Charter otherwise provides, this responsibility shall be exclusively the Manager’s except where such activity has been specifically directed by official action of the Board. The Manager may delegate such responsibility as he deems appropriate to department heads or other Township employees provided any such authorized exercise of direction shall be ultimately subject to the Manager’s supervision, review and modification.

   F. Supervise the development and promulgation of regulations as authorized by the Board.

   G. Enforce the ordinances, resolutions and regulations of the Township, the provisions of this Charter and applicable State and Federal law.

   H. Act as the secretary of the Board and, in that capacity, prepare the agenda for meetings of the Board and its committees, attend Board meetings, place such advertisements and give such notices as are required to be given to the members of the Board and the public, keep the Commissioners and public informed of relevant Township activities, and make or cause appropriate records to be made, preserved and certificated as required by state law, this Charter or official action of the Board. He shall attest the execution of all instruments and record all ordinances and he shall have custody of the minutes of the Board and the Township corporate seal.

   I. Perform such contracting and financial functions as are assigned to him pursuant to Article XII of this Charter or authorized by the Board.

   J. All action of the Township Manager is subject to modification or reversal at any time by official action of the Board.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  27.11-1105 (relating to personnel code).

§ 21.7-703. Removal or Non-Renewal.

 By an absolute majority vote the Board may by resolution remove the Manager at any time with or without cause. Upon removal, or non-renewal of a term, the Board may by resolution provide for severance compensation in an amount not exceeding the Manager’s salary for six months. Any resolution removing the Manager, providing severance compensation, or both, shall be adopted only in accordance with the procedures set forth for ordinances in Sub-sections A, B, and D of §  21.5-501 of this Charter and shall be effective immediately upon enactment, unless a later date is specified in the resolution. If severance compensation is payable under a contract as provided by §  21.7-704, severance compensation authorized by this Section may not be greater than the amount by which the Manager’s salary for six months exceeds the amount he is to receive under that contract.

   Commentary: : Section 21.7-703 permits severance compensation for the Manager on removal or non-renewal. This is at the Board’s discretion. Although the Board must and does have an unlimited right to remove him, a Manager can assume that he will usually complete his term. To encourage that result, and provide inducement to accept or retain the position, §  21.7-704 permits but does not require a contract which can stipulate severance compensation on removal (presumably without cause, although this is left for contract negotiation). A removed Manager can receive more severance compensation under a contract than would otherwise be permitted under §  21.7-703. If the contract gives him less, then the Board may authorize a payment which brings aggregate severance compensation up to the maximum §  21.7-703 permits. The Board is given the right to pay severance compensation on non-renewal to provide for those rare situations where a Manager might reasonably have expected renewal, made no other arrangements, and then been disappointed by a sudden turn of events.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.7-701 (relating to functions, appointments, qualifications and compensation).

§ 21.7-704. Contract.

 When appointing a Manager, the Board shall have the power to enter into an employment contract with him for a period not to exceed his term, which may provide, in the event of his removal, for severance compensation in an amount not exceeding the lesser of his salary for the remainder of the term or his salary for one year.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.7-701 commentary (relating to functions, appointments, qualifications and compensation); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.7-703 and commentary (relating to removal or non-renewal).

§ 21.7-705. Acting Manager.

 A. The Manager shall designate in writing, subject to the approval of the Board, an employee of the Township who shall exercise the powers and duties of the Manager during his absence or disability.

 B. In the event of a vacancy in the office of Township Manager, the Board by resolution shall appoint a township employee to serve as acting manager until the vacancy is filled pursuant to §  21.7-701B hereof.

 C. In the event of the appointment of an acting manager pursuant to §  21.7-705B, or in the event that an employee exercises the Manager’s powers and duties pursuant to §  21.7-705A, the Board may provide for additional compensation to such acting manager or employee above his then salary, provided that his total compensation shall not exceed that theretofore paid to the Manager.

 D. The Board shall at all times have the right to change a Manager’s designation of his substitute pursuant to §  21.7-705A, to make such a designation if none was made, and at any time to designate an acting manager under any circumstances or to change any prior designation.

ARTICLE VIII. FINANCE OFFICER


Sec.


21.8-801.    Elected Finance Officer.
21.8-802.    Election.
21.8-803.    Duties.
21.8-804.    Vacancy.
21.8-805.    Compensation.
21.8-806.    Termination.

§ 21.8-801. Elected Finance Officer.

 A Finance Officer shall be elected at an at-large election in the municipal election of 1977 and at four year intervals thereafter. The Finance Officer shall be a citizen of the United States and shall have been a resident of the Township for a continuous period of at least two years immediately prior to the date on which his term commences and must be a resident of the Township during his entire term of office. The Finance Officer shall be a registered elector. He shall serve for a four year term beginning on the first Monday of January following his election.

   Commentary: : Under this Charter the Finance Officer will be elected; currently, under the Township Code, a Treasurer is elected. The Finance Officer will perform some of the present Treasurer’s functions. Each, ‘‘by virtue of his office’’, is the Tax Collector (compare §  21.8-803A with §  21.8-805 of the Township Code), and because the Finance Officer is elected, the School District and County and its institutional district are required to use him to collect taxes within the Township. Bogdan v. School District Coal Township, 369 Pa. 147 (1952); Black v. Duquesne Boro School District, 239 Pa. 96, 103; Public School Code of 1969 (24 P. S. §  6-683).

   The elected Treasurer is converted into an elected Finance Officer to give the Board the option, as more specifically set forth in §  21.8-803 of restricting his duties to tax collection or of assigning him either the additional duties traditionally performed by a treasurer or the additional duties of Controller.

   Currently, several officers and auditors perform these Township financial functions: pre-audit (Manager and appointed Finance Director); tax collection (elected Treasurer); disbursement and investment of funds (elected Treasurer) and post-audit (an independent auditing firm and three elected auditors). The Charter can be implemented by an independent auditing firm, the elected Finance Officer and another person acting either as Treasurer or Controller.

   Thus, the Charter operates to eliminate the elected auditors and to free the Manager from the pre-audit control functions. The GSC believes that the current Treasurer and Finance Director could perform the functions of the elected Finance Officer, Controller and a Treasurer (investing and disbursing) under the Charter. The present Treasurer and Finance Director share that view.

   The Charter’s greater flexibility thus provides opportunity for the most efficient use of personnel while assuring the discharge of necessary financial functions at the lowest possible cost to the Township and its taxpayers (as taxpayers of the School District and County as well as of the Township).

§ 21.8-802. Election.

 The procedure for the nomination and election of the Finance Officer shall be as established by the general laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for municipal primary and municipal elections.

§ 21.8-803. Duties.

 A. The Finance Officer by virtue of his office shall be the tax collector and shall collect the Township taxes in the manner provided by state law and as directed by the Board.

 B. The Finance Officer shall collect all County, Institution District, Township, School and other taxes, levied by authorities empowered to levy taxes within the Township, and shall be permitted to collect taxes for such other governmental entities as may from time to time engage his services. It is the purpose and intent of this section that no local taxes shall be collected in the Township except by the Finance Officer of the Township.

 C. The Finance Officer shall perform the duties of Controller if the Board by resolution determines to appoint him as Controller and provided he meets the qualifications set forth in §  21.9-901B.

 D. The Finance Officer shall perform such duties other than those set forth in §  21.8-803A and B which involve the receipt, disbursement or investment of Township funds as the Board may by resolution direct, subject at all times to the supervision and direction of the Manager and the Board in the performance of such assigned duties.

 E. If the Finance Officer has been appointed Controller, he shall not be assigned the function of disbursing Township funds, nor shall he be required to accept any of the other duties described in §  21.8-803D.

   Commentary: : The Charter provides for an elected Finance Officer. The Board may appoint him Controller or Treasurer, but not both, and he must accept that function. If he is appointed Controller, he may also agree (but cannot be required) to be involved in the interim investment of funds. He cannot perform any other disbursement functions if he is Controller, because he would then be performing functions which it would be his duty as Controller to audit.

   The Board is not required to give the Finance Officer additional functions, because it has no control over who is elected Finance Officer and the person elected at a given time may be unqualified for either of the functions described in §  21.8-803C or D.

   As an elected official, the Finance Officer is not affected by the limitations on political activity of §  21.11-1107, even if he is appointed to the controller or treasurer functions as provided in this Section.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.8-801 commentary (relating to elected finance officer).

§ 21.8-804. Vacancy.

 A vacancy shall occur in the office of Finance Officer for any of the reasons set forth as to Commissioners in Sub-sections 1 through 5 (except for 5c) of §  21.3-308A and B; in each case the determination of vacancy shall be made by the Board in accordance with the procedures set forth in §  21.3-308. In the event of such vacancy, the office of Finance Officer shall be filled in the manner set forth for the filling of the vacancy in the office of Commissioner as provided in §  21.3-309 except that the selection pursuant to §  21.3-309A for the period therein described shall be by the Board by an absolute majority vote at a meeting called by the President and held within forty-five days of the occurrence of the vacancy. Notice that a selection shall be made at such meeting shall be advertised not less than six nor more than thirty days previously in a newspaper of general circulation in the Township. The person selected shall at the time the vacancy occurred have been a member of a political party, if any, which nominated the Finance Officer whose office has become vacant, unless the person so selected shall at such time have been a registered nonpartisan elector.

   Commentary: : It is the Board which fills a vacancy for Finance Officer since, unlike the situation where a vacancy exists for Commissioner, the Board collectively represents the same constituency which elected the Finance Officer.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.15-1502 (relating to existing elected officers).

§ 21.8-805. Compensation.

 The Finance Officer shall be compensated for his work for the Township by the Board at an annual rate fixed by separate ordinance. Any subsequent change in said compensation shall not apply to the Finance Officer during his current term if such ordinance is enacted less than one year prior to the commencement of that term.

   Commentary: : The Board may deem it advisable in fixing the Finance Officer’s salary: 1) to fix one lump sum salary to be paid the Finance Officer regardless of what duties he fulfills, or 2) to specify separate amounts of compensation to be paid him for acting as Finance Officer and, if he is asked to perform them, for acting as Controller or as the investor and disburser of funds. Whichever alternative the Board selects, all aspects of compensation must be set forth in the ordinance.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.8-801 commentary (relating to elected finance officer).

§ 21.8-806. Termination.

 Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Article, provided the Board determines that there is a more efficient and economical method of collecting all of the taxes collected by the Finance Officer, the elected office of Finance Officer may be abolished by ordinance by an absolute two-thirds vote. Such ordinance shall make other provisions for the collection of Township taxes. Any such ordinance shall not become effective prior to the expiration of the current term of office of the Finance Officer serving at the time of the adoption of said ordinance.

   Commentary: : It is conceivable that a better, more efficient and economical system for tax collection might be created some time, in which event this section would permit the Board to abolish the office of Finance Officer but only by an absolute two-thirds vote and on a finding that a better way exists to collect all taxes collected in the Township. Since this would remove from the county and school district the requirement that they use the collector, it is expected that the office will not be abolished soon or without good reason.

ARTICLE IX. TOWNSHIP CONTROLLER


Sec.


21.9-901.    Appointment, Function, Qualifications and Compensation.
21.9-902.    Acting Controller.
21.9-903.    Removal.

§ 21.9-901. Appointment, Function, Qualifications and Compensation.

 A. There shall be a Township Controller appointed by absolute majority vote of the Board, for such period as it selects, but such appointment shall in any event terminate on the first Monday of January following the next municipal election.

 B. The Controller shall be selected on the basis of the Board’s evaluation of his training in fiscal affairs, professional qualifications and experience.

 C. The Controller shall perform the following functions:

   1. Approve in advance all proposed expenditures after determining that they are in accordance with the Township budget and in accord with the provisions of state law, this Charter and any applicable ordinances, resolutions and administrative directives.

   2. Whenever an appropriation is exhausted, the object of which is not complete, immediately report that fact to the Board and accompany such report with a statement of the monies which have been drawn on such appropriation and the particular purpose for which they were drawn.

   3. Suggest plans to the Commissioners for the management and improvement of the financial affairs of the Township as often as he may deem expedient or the Board shall direct.

   4. Perform such other duties and functions consistent with the foregoing responsibilities as may be assigned to him by the Board.

 D. The Board shall fix the compensation of the Township Controller by separate ordinance or by specific identification of such compensation in the annual budget.

   Commentary: : There must be a Controller. He must be qualified by education and training. If the Finance Officer is not so qualified, he cannot be Controller.

   There is some feeling that the Controller should be elected, as is done in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania and optionally provided for in the Township Code paragraphs 525-526, in lieu of elected auditors. This is because the City Controller and State Auditor General have ‘‘watchdog’’ functions beyond regular pre-audit procedures. But in business corporations, even massive ones, the Controller is appointed by the Board.

   This Charter provides for the Controller to be appointed by the Board because he is to check the Manager and his staff for the Board, and report to the Board. He is not there to check on the Board. Thus, permitting the Controller to be independent of the Board could be counter-productive, and the Controller has not been given the ‘‘Watchdog’’ function over the Board.

   The requirement that the Controller approve in advance all proposed expenditures would not prevent the establishment of a petty cash fund with appropriate safeguards.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.8-803 (relating to duties).

§ 21.9-902. Acting Controller.

 The Board shall designate an employee of the Township who shall exercise the powers and duties of the Controller during his absence or disability.

§ 21.9-903. Removal.

 The Board may by absolute majority vote remove the Township Controller or Acting Controller at any time with or without cause.

   Commentary: : Since the Controller is an officer who acts for and is responsible to the Board, the Controller serves at the Board’s pleasure and must maintain its confidence at all times. Since he was appointed by an absolute majority, he can be removed by the same number.

ARTICLE X. TOWNSHIP SOLICITOR


Sec.


21.10-1001.     Appointment, Function, Qualifications and Compensation.
21.10-1002.     Removal.

§ 21.10-1001. Appointment, Function, Qualifications and Compensation.

 A. There shall be a Township Solicitor appointed by absolute majority vote of the Board, for such period as it selects, but such appointment shall in any event terminate on the first Monday of January following the next municipal election.

 B. The Township Solicitor shall serve as the chief legal advisor of the Board, the Manager and all Township departments and offices, shall represent the Township in all legal proceedings and shall perform any other duties prescribed by state law, this Charter, ordinance, resolution or administrative directive. No official or official body of the Township, except as otherwise provided by law or this Charter, shall employ additional counsel without the consent of the Board.

 C. The Township Solicitor shall be a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

 D. The Board shall fix the compensation of the Township Solicitor by separate ordinance or by specific identification of such compensation in the annual budget.

   Commentary: : The Solicitor is appointed for a limited term so the Board can at least ratify its decision at regular intervals even though he may be removed at any time. Although he usually will represent the Township, situations arise where other counsel is needed—e.g., labor or bond matters, or controversies among officials; the Zoning Hearing Board has its own counsel. Section 21.10-1001B, taken from the Township Code, provides for these situations, but with Board consent. If the Solicitor is in a law firm, he may utilize members and associates of the firm in the performance of his duties. Since he is generally an independent contractor, the Solicitor cannot collect damages or other compensation for removal at any time, except for services theretofore performed, including expenses.

§ 21.10-1002. Removal.

 The Board may remove the Township Solicitor by absolute majority vote at any time with or without cause, in which event the Solicitor shall be entitled to compensation for services rendered and for no other amount.

ARTICLE XI. OPERATION OF THE TOWNSHIP


DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATIVE CODE

Sec.


21.11-1101.     Township Departments and Offices.
21.11-1102.     Administrative Code.
21.11-1103.     Surety Bonds.

PERSONNEL


21.11-1104.     Personnel System.
21.11-1105.     Personnel Code.
21.11-1106.     Fair Hiring Practices.
21.11-1107.     Prohibition of Political Activity.

INDEPENDENT AUDIT


21.11-1108.     Independent Audits.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AND CODE OF ETHICS


21.11-1109.     Representation of Others.
21.11-1110.     Financial Interest in Matters Involving the Township.
21.11-1111.     Gifts or Favors.
21.11-1112.     Disclosure and Use of Confidential Information.
21.11-1113.     Penalties.
21.11-1114.     Code of Ethics.

DEPARTMENTS AND ADMINISTRATIVE CODE


§ 21.11-1101. Township Departments and Offices.

 Except as otherwise provided, the Board by ordinance shall create and prescribe the functions of Township departments and offices and may from time to time by ordinance alter or abolish any such department or office or its functions.

   Commentary: : The Charter does not attempt to determine the precise structure of Township administration or to require specified departments. It is contemplated that the administrative structure of the Township could change if Township needs changed. It is for that reason that there are no specific references to particular Township officers (such as the Township Engineer), except those who are elected, or who are responsible directly to the Board rather than the Manager (e.g., the Manager, Finance Officer, Controller and Solicitor).

§ 21.11-1102. Administrative Code.

 Within eighteen months after the effective date of this Charter, the Board shall by ordinance adopt an Administrative Code which shall provide for the administrative organization of Township government and administrative procedures.

§ 21.11-1103. Surety Bonds.

 The Township Manager, Finance Officer, Controller and such other Township officers as are engaged in the handling and disbursement of funds shall deliver a bond or bonds to the Township with a surety or sureties approved by the Board, conditioned upon the faithful performance of their official duties. The bond(s) shall be in such amount(s) as the Board shall from time to time provide in the Administrative Code. All such bonds shall be approved by the Township Solicitor as to form and sufficiency. The Board may from time to time require other Township officers, employees or citizens’ group members or their employees to deliver such bonds by so providing in the Administrative Code. The Township shall pay the cost of all such bonds.

PERSONNEL


§ 21.11-1104. Personnel System.

 The personnel system of the Township shall be based upon the principles of merit and fitness.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.11-1105 commentary (relating to personnel code); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1303 (relating to operation).

§ 21.11-1105. Personnel Code.

 The Board shall, within eighteen months of the effective date of this Charter, adopt by ordinance a Personnel Code. The Code adopted by the Board at a minimum shall include:

   A. Methods for determining the merit and fitness of candidates for appointment and promotion which shall include competitive examinations open to all qualified candidates or such other methods as the Board deems appropriate to attain the objective of selecting the most competent applicant. The evaluation of candidates for permanent and full time non-policy making positions shall be made by the Civil Service Commission, and the Township Manager, pursuant to §   21.7-702C, shall appoint and promote to such positions from among the candidates certified as qualified by the Civil Service Commission.

   B. Classification of all Township positions, by duties, authority and responsibility, including provision for reclassification.

   C. Development of a pay plan for all Township positions based on the principle of equal pay for equivalently classified positions.

   D. The policies and procedures regulating reduction in force and disciplinary action, including suspension and removal of employees.

   E. The hours of work, overtime compensation, and provisions for sick and vacation leave, holidays and pensions.

   F. Procedures for handling grievances, including hearings.

   G. General procedures establishing and protecting employees rights by due process of law, including the right of non-policy making employees to a hearing and determination by the Civil Service Commission in connection with any determination by it or the Manager pursuant to §  21.11-1105A and, in the event of disciplinary action, including suspension and removal.

   The Board may by ordinance eliminate the right to a hearing as herein provided in the event and to the extent to which the individual employees of the particular class have been provided the right to an equivalent hearing under a collective bargaining agreement.

   Commentary: : Sections 21.11-1104 and 21.11-1105A impose the obligation upon the Township to employ on the basis of merit. Although the Township is encouraged to utilize competitive examinations, it is not required to do so in situations where other methods of finding the most competent applicant are more appropriate. It may impose additional or licensing standards where relevant. For example, the Township Engineer may be required to be a licensed professional civil engineer. The administration is required in selecting an applicant to choose the person most competent; in doing so; it has reasonable discretion.

   Section 21.11-1105G recognizes that where employees are covered by union contracts, grievance procedures therein provided could duplicate the Civil Service appeal provisions. In such situations, if an individual employee’s rights are equivalent and the Board determines there is no value in retaining parallel procedures which could permit an initial determination by its own agency, it has the option to eliminate the Civil Service hearing for such employee.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1303 (relating to operation); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1304 (relating to civil service commission).

§ 21.11-1106. Fair Hiring Practices.

 Neither the Township nor any of its citizen’s groups, in the hiring, promotion or discharge of employees, shall discriminate on the basis of race, religion, age, sex, or national origin or, as to non-policy making positions, on the basis of political opinion or affiliation.

   Commentary: : Section 21.11-1106 provides for non-discrimination in hiring and treatment of employees. It is the Commission’s perception that there is very little political hiring by the Township, if any, but that many citizens believe the situation to be otherwise. Thus, the GSC feels that the prohibition of discrimination in employment because of political affiliation or opinion will require no significant change in Township practices, but will reassure the public.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1303 (relating to operation).

§ 21.11-1107. Prohibition of Political Activity.

 No employee of the Township or any employee of any of its citizens’ groups shall serve as an elected or appointed official of a political party, nor shall he solicit funds on behalf of a political party or a candidate for public office, nor shall he on election day be within one hundred yards of a polling place except for the purpose of voting or on official business, nor shall he engage in political activity related to the election of officials of the Township or of its school board; provided, however, that the foregoing prohibitions shall not apply to any such employee when he is running for nomination or election to any elective office other than office in a political party. This section shall not apply to any elected Township official.

   Commentary: : The prohibition of political activity is a limited one designed to eliminate such participation only in situations where it could conceivably compromise the proper governmental operations of the Township or present the appearance of so doing. It is the GSC’s understanding that with few, if any, exceptions the rules here incorporated are followed currently in practice; the purpose of this provision is to require the continuation of this current practice.

   Township employees remain free to engage in political activities in county, state, or national elections where the officials elected will not directly supervise the Township employees, but they cannot work at the polls or solicit funds in these or any other elections. They also remain free to contribute to political parties or candidates, although in accordance with state law they cannot be compelled to do so. They also are free to attend meetings or rallies of a political nature provided they do not become actually involved in the campaigns of candidates for Township office or for the school board.

   Hopefully the limited prohibitions set forth strike the proper balance between a concern for politically unbiased government and the desire for maximum political participation of all members of the community, including those who may be government employees.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.7-701 (relating to functions, appointments, qualifications and compensation); 346 Pa. Code §  21.8-803 commentary (relating to duties); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1303 and commentary (relating to operation).

INDEPENDENT AUDIT


§ 21.11-1108. Independent Audits.

 The Board shall provide for an annual independent audit of the Township’s financial statements, to be made by a Certified Public Accountant in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. The Board may provide for more frequent audits, as well as special audits, as it deems necessary. An audit report containing the Township’s financial statements and the Certified Public Accountant’s opinion relating thereto shall be submitted to the Manager and to the members of the Board. A summary of the audit report, in such forms as may be approved for such purposes by the Certified Public Accountant, shall be included in the Board’s Annual Report to the People and shall be published at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the Township within one hundred twenty days after the close of the fiscal year.

   Commentary: : The Board may appoint an individual CPA or a CPA firm to perform the independent audit. It is contemplated that the summary of the audit report included in the Report to the People may be more detailed than the summary which is advertised. Elected auditors have been eliminated since their function will be performed by the Certified Public Accountant.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.14-1405 (relating to the annual report of the board to the people).

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AND CODE OF ETHICS


§ 21.11-1109. Representation of Others.

 Except in the performance of his official duties, no elected or appointed official of the Township or employee thereof shall represent or appear on behalf of any other person before any citizens’ group or any department or office of the Township, nor shall such official or employee, other than a member of the Board, so appear before the Board or any of its committees.

   Commentary: : No Township officer or employee shall appear in any representative capacity before the Township Board, its committees, its departments or its citizens’ groups, except in an official capacity or for his own personal business.

   This provision prohibits a Commissioner from appearing on behalf of his constituents before bodies such as the Zoning Hearing Board, the members of which the Commissioner might have a part in selecting.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.11-1113 (relating to penalties); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1303 (relating to operation).

§ 21.11-1110. Financial Interest in Matters Involving the Township.

 Any elected or appointed official or employee of the Township, and any member or employee of a citizens’ group, who has a direct or indirect financial interest in any matter requiring decision by any of the foregoing, whether that interest be as an employee, a principal, a partner, a stockholder (except where such interest is in the nature of minimal stock holding in a public corporation), or otherwise, shall not participate in nor directly or indirectly seek to influence the making of such decision.

 Whenever the Manager or any member of the Board is aware that he has such an interest, he shall disclose that fact at the Board meeting next following his becoming aware of it. In no event shall the Township enter into any contract with any Board member, the Manager, or any entity in which either has a direct or indirect financial interest as described above, if such contract is of the nature described in §   21.12-1207C5 or C6, or, in the case of the Manager only, as described in §  21.12-1207C2.

   Commentary: : A Commissioner is prohibited from participating in a matter in which he has a financial interest or in seeking to influence a decision thereon to be made by another Township official. In addition he is required to disclose publicly his interest so that the general public can make a judgment as to whether his fellow Board members have been affected by their knowledge of his interest. Finally a Commissioner cannot participate in a professional service or insurance contract with the Township. The GSC determined not to prohibit other contracts in which a Commissioner may have financial interest since in most such cases competitive bidding will protect the Township’s interest and in other cases such a prohibition might deprive the Board of a proper bargain. ‘‘Direct or indirect financial interest’’ is to be broadly defined and would include one retained as a consultant, or who would receive a finder’s fee or a commission in connection with a transaction. ‘‘Direct or indirect financial interest’’ does not include such interests as might be common to all or a group of Township residents, e.g., a utility rate increase, a zoning change not of the official’s property, but in the immediate neighborhood.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.4-406 (relating to minutes); 346 Pa. Code §  21.11-1113 (relating to penalties); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1303 (relating to operation).

§ 21.11-1111. Gifts or Favors.

 No elected or appointed official of the Township, or employee thereof, shall directly or indirectly accept any gift, favor, service or other consideration, from any person with whom he deals or expects to deal in his official capacity, except where the Board has provided in the Code of Ethics that acceptance of a benefit less than a specified value will not tend to influence a recipient in the discharge of his duties.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.11-1113 (relating to penalties); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1303 (relating to operation).

§ 21.11-1112. Disclosure and Use of Confidential Information.

 No elected or appointed official of the Township or employee thereof shall willfully and knowingly disclose to any person for direct or indirect pecuniary gain any confidential information acquired by him in the course of his official duties, nor shall he use any such information for the purpose of direct or indirect individual pecuniary gain.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.11-1113 (relating to penalties); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1303 (relating to operation).

§ 21.11-1113. Penalties.

 Willful violation of any of the provisions of § §   21.11-1109—21.11-1112 shall constitute a summary offense punishable upon conviction by a maximum fine of Five Hundred Dollars. Conviction thereunder, when final, or a plea of nolo contendere or guilty to such violation, shall subject such person to surcharge to the extent of the damage shown to be thereby sustained by the Township, and shall result in forfeiture of office.

   Commentary: : Violation of §  21.11-1113 is ‘‘malfeasance in office’’ as provided in §  21.3-308A5b. Conviction is ‘‘final’’ when all direct appeals have been exhausted or time therefore has expired.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.11-1114 (relating to code of ethics); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1303 (relating to operation).

§ 21.11-1114. Code of Ethics.

 The Board by ordinance may adopt a Code of Ethics setting forth such additional standards of conduct as the Board deems appropriate to be required of all elected and appointed officials of the Township and employees thereof, and members and employees of all citizens’ groups. The Code of Ethics shall specify the sanctions, if any, which may be imposed for violation of each additional standard of conduct set forth therein, which may include the sanctions set forth in §  21.11-1113.

   Commentary: : Although the Board may enact a formal Code of Ethics, the provisions of this Charter establishing ethical standards of conduct are mandatory and become operative on the effective date of this Charter.

Cross References

    This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1303 (relating to operation).

ARTICLE XII. FINANCIAL ADMINISTRATION


Sec.


21.12-1201.     Fiscal Year.
21.12-1202.     Definition and Form.

BUDGET PROCEDURE


21.12-1203.     Budget Message.
21.12-1204.     Financial Plan Including Proposed Budgets.
21.12-1205.     Adoption of Budget.
21.12-1206.     Amendments of Budget During the Fiscal Year.

CONTRACTS


21.12-1207.     Contracts.
21.12-1208.     Disbursements.
21.12-1209.     Records and Reports.

FINANCIAL LIMITATIONS


21.12-1210.     Financial Limitations.
21.12-1211.     Pension Fund Limitations.

Cross References

   This article cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.4-405 (relating to form of action by the board); 346 Pa. Code §  21.6-602 (relating to duties); 346 Pa. Code §  21.7-702 (relating to powers and duties); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1303 and commentary (relating to operation).

§ 21.12-1201. Fiscal Year.

 A. The fiscal year of the Township shall coincide with the calendar year.

 B. The fiscal year may be changed by ordinance, but no change shall be made by the Board within a period of three years following a previous change by the Board. When a change is made in the fiscal year, the Board shall determine the procedures and fiscal arrangements for the transition.

§ 21.12-1202. Definition and Form of Budgets and Programs and Classification of Accounts.

 A. The Board shall adopt in the Administrative Code a uniform classification of accounts and codes to be used and followed in all financial plans, budgets and financial reports which are required by this Charter.

 B. The Board shall prescribe the form in which the operating budget and capital program shall be prepared, and such form shall be followed in the preliminary and final budgets adopted by the Board.

 C. The operating budget is the operating plan of revenue and expenditures for a fiscal year. The form of the operating budget shall include, in addition to the major classification of appropriations by which expenditures are to be allocated and controlled, a detailed analysis of the various items of revenues and expenditures. All appropriations shall at minimum be specified as to each office, department, major operating unit, board or citizens’ group.

 D. The capital program is a projection of construction or acquisition of capital assets and the means of their financing. The form of the capital program shall include an identification of each expenditure by project, the year in which acquisition or construction is to be scheduled, a suggestion as to the means by which each capital project is to be financed, the effect of any proposed capital expenditures on future operating expenses and the effect of any proposed new indebtedness on the amortization schedule of existing debt and on the debt limit. Said capital program may provide for the capital projects to be financed from current revenues, available surplus or monies borrowed as authorized by this Charter or state law. The first year of a capital program shall be the Capital Budget, when adopted for a fiscal year.

   Commentary: : The Charter requirements with regard to the form of the operating budget as set forth in §  21.12-1202C do not include the line-by-line system which is currently employed. It was the GSC’s view that the Charter should require only a minimum classification of the budget by department and that the Board will determine from time to time whether it desires a line-by-line budget by type of expenditures as is currently utilized or a line-by-line budget by program within each department.

BUDGET PROCEDURE


§ 21.12-1203. Budget Message.

 The Budget Message submitted by the President shall explain the budget both in fiscal terms and in terms of programs, policies, activities and plans. It shall outline the proposed financial policies of the Township for the ensuing year; describe the important features of the budget; indicate any major changes in financial policies, expenditures, and revenues from the current year, together with the reasons for such changes; summarize the Township’s debt position and include such other material as the Board may request or which the President deems desirable.

   Commentary: : As is provided in §  21.6-602, the Budget Message described in this Section and the Financial Plan described in the following §   21.12-1204 may be prepared with the assistance of the Township Administration staff, but must reflect the personal evaluations, recommendations and statement of priorities of the President of the Board. The Budget Message is particularly the document of the Board President.

§ 21.12-1204. Financial Plan Including Proposed Budgets.

 A. The Financial Plan as submitted by the President to the Board shall provide a complete plan of all Township funds and activities for the ensuing fiscal year and, except as required by this Charter, the proposed budgets contained therein shall be in such form as the President deems desirable except as otherwise required by the Board. The Financial Plan shall contain, among other things, the following:

   1. Comparative figures for actual and estimated income and expenditures for the current fiscal year and actual income and actual expenditures for the preceding fiscal year.

   2. Proposed Operating Budget for the next fiscal year, in such form as the Board shall prescribe.

   3. Forecast of revenue and expenditures for a period of at least two additional years, individually stated, to be advisory only for the purpose of long range planning. The information to be provided shall be stated in general categories only.

   4. Capital program for the remainder of the term of the improvements then in progress or proposed to be undertaken, but in no case less than the next five fiscal years, the first year of which shall be in detail and designated as the proposed Capital Budget, in such form as the Board shall prescribe.

   5. Statement of debt with an amortization schedule through a time period covering the latest final maturity of any existing issue and showing in addition to existing debt the amortization schedule for all proposed debt for each project included in the capital program.

 B. In the operating budget as proposed by the President, the total of proposed expenditures shall not exceed the total of estimated revenue and available surplus, and in the capital budget as proposed by the President, the proposed expenditures shall not exceed the anticipated available means of financing.

   Commentary: : The Financial Plan includes the proposed operating and capital budgets and also the various schedules and figures and projections which are necessary for the Board and its committees to make a proper evaluation of these proposed budgets. In general, the items required are the ones which are now customarily supplied.

   The changes from current procedure which this section contemplates include the submission of a proposed forecast of revenue and expenditures for at least two additional years in general terms (§  21.12-1204A3) and the adoption of a capital budget at the same time as the adoption of the operating budget, rather than at a separate time as is the current practice. With regard to the two year forecast projection of operating budget, it is not expected that any attempt will be made to forecast with any definitive accuracy the likely inflationary or salary increases; it is rather the purpose of this projection to indicate areas in which a shift of priorities or the deletion or addition of programs is suggested in terms of current dollars. Thus, as the GSC views it, it would be satisfactory to set forth such items as salaries and material costs in current dollars for the purpose of projection.

   The GSC contemplates that the requirements that the Board may impose on the President regarding the form of the proposed operating budget and capital program to be submitted by him may be different and less detailed than the form in which the Board will ultimately adopt the operating and capital budgets. Thus, the Board might not require the President to set forth the salary levels for employees while it would undoubtedly set forth such salary levels in its ultimately adopted operating budget.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.12-1203 commentary (relating to budget message).

§ 21.12-1205. Adoption of Budget.

 A. The President shall present the Budget Message and the Financial Plan, including the proposed operating and capital budgets, to the Board at a Board meeting at least fifty days prior to the end of the current fiscal year. Any budget recommendations made to the President by the Manager, department heads or staff during his supervision of the preparation of the Financial Plan and budgets and Budget Message, shall be made available to all Commissioners when made to the President.

 Copies of the Budget Message and a summary of the Financial Plan shall be available for distribution to all interested persons attending such meeting or who request them following the meeting. The Financial Plan in its entirety shall be available for public inspection at the Township Building and copies shall be made available at the request of any person upon payment of a reasonable charge therefor.

 B. The Board, acting through committees or as a committee of the whole, shall review all aspects of the proposed operating and capital budgets and may add, delete or modify programs and increase or decrease estimated revenue and amounts allocated as may be required in its judgment. As a part of such process, representatives of each department of the Township and the Manager shall appear before the appropriate committee or committees of the Board and shall explain their views as to the President’s proposed budget and shall discuss generally budgetary considerations regarding their departments.

 Following such consideration, the Board shall adopt a preliminary operating budget which must be balanced so that appropriations are matched by anticipated revenues and the available surplus, and a preliminary capital budget in which proposed expenditures shall not exceed the anticipated available means of financing.

 C. The Board shall cause to be published upon the adoption of such preliminary operating and capital budgets in one or more newspapers of general circulation within the Township:

   1. A general summary of the preliminary operating and capital budgets.

   2. Notice of a public meeting with date, time and place specified at which said preliminary budgets will be considered by the Board.

   3. The times when copies of the preliminary budgets shall be available for inspection by Township residents. Copies of said preliminary budgets in their entirety shall be available for public inspection at the Township Building and copies shall be made available to Township residents upon their request at a reasonable cost to be fixed by the Board.

 D. The Board shall conduct a public hearing which shall follow the publication of notice thereof by no less than fifteen nor more than thirty days to receive the comments and suggestions of the public regarding the preliminary budgets. Such a public hearing may take place at any regular or other official meeting of the Board.

 E. Following the public hearing and before the start of the fiscal year to which the budgets apply, the Board shall by ordinance, with or without amendment of the preliminary budgets, adopt the operating and capital budgets which shall become effective immediately upon adoption and which shall constitute for the ensuing fiscal year appropriations of the amounts specified therein as expenditures from the funds indicated and shall constitute a levy of the taxes therein specified. The operating budget as adopted must be balanced so that appropriations are matched by anticipated revenues and available surplus. In the capital budget as adopted the proposed expenditures must not exceed the anticipated available means of financing.

 F. In the year immediately following any municipal election which is held within ninety days preceding the beginning of the next fiscal year, the Board may within forty-five days after the start of the fiscal year adopt revised budgets, provided that prior to such adoption of revised budgets the proposed revised budgets shall be advertised and a hearing held as hereinabove provided.

 G. To the extent that the procedures for the adoption of the budget set forth in this §  21.12-1205 may be inconsistent with the provisions of Article V, the provisions of this §  21.12-1205 shall prevail.

   Commentary: : The procedure for the adoption of the budget is in many respects similar to that traditionally employed by the Board of Commissioners, except that it is contemplated that the review by the individual committees of the Board and its finance committee will occur following submission of the proposed budget by the President, rather than representing the initiation of the budget process.

   It is the GSC’s view that the President’s submission should occur at least ninety days prior to the end of the fiscal year so as to provide adequate time for review by the departmental committees and the Finance Committee prior to the promulgation of the preliminary budget. In deference to the concern of some members of the Board of Commissioners that there would not be sufficient financial experience in the current fiscal year to permit meaningful budget making, the Charter requirement is set at 50 days.

   The Charter provisions set forth a specific system for the holding of a public hearing prior to the adoption of the budget by the Board. §  21.12-1205F is similar to Section 1701.1 of the Township Code.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.5-501 commentary (relating to general ordinance requirements); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.14-1402 (relating to public right to information).

§ 21.12-1206. Amendments of Budget During the Fiscal Year.

 A. If, during the fiscal year, there is evidence of a need for supplemental appropriations and there are or will be available revenues in excess of those appropriated in the budgets, the Board may, by ordinance, make such supplemental appropriations for the fiscal year in an amount not to exceed such excess.

 B. To meet a public emergency declared by the Board, affecting life, health, property or the public peace or welfare, the Board may, during the year, by ordinance, make emergency appropriations. To the extent that there are not available unencumbered or unappropriated revenues to meet such emergency appropriations, the Board may, by ordinance, authorize the issuance of emergency notes, which may be renewed from time to time, but such notes or renewals thereof shall be repaid not later than the last day of the fiscal year next succeeding that in which the emergency appropriation was made.

 C. If, at any time during the fiscal year, it appears probable that the revenues available will be insufficient to meet the amounts appropriated, the Board shall take such action as is necessary to prevent any deficit, and for that purpose it shall, if at all possible, by resolution reduce or eliminate one or more appropriations.

 D. At any time during the fiscal year the Board may, by administrative directive, transfer part or all of any unencumbered balance appropriated within an office, department, major operating unit, board or citizens’ group, and the Board may, at any time during the fiscal year, by ordinance, transfer part or all of any unencumbered balance appropriated from one office, department, major operating unit, board or citizens’ group to another.

 E. No appropriation for existing debt service may be reduced or transferred except to the extent to which refinancing has eliminated or reduced the debt requirement.

 F. The ordinances enacted under §  21.12-1206B and D shall be subject to the procedural requirements applicable to emergency ordinances pursuant to §  21.5-505.

 G. All unexpended or unencumbered appropriations shall lapse at the end of a fiscal year to the extent that they have not been expended or encumbered.

   Commentary: : The Charter provision makes possible the transfer during the course of a year within a department by administrative directive and, although requiring an ordinance for transfer between departments, it adopts the emergency ordinance procedure which eliminates the requirement of prior advertising otherwise applicable with respect to emergency appropriations or transfers. With regard to supplemental appropriations, preadvertising and an opportunity for the public to speak to the issue is required pursuant to Article V but the formal public hearing required in connection with the adoption of the budget is not required.

CONTRACTS


§ 21.12-1207. Contracts.

 A. The Township may make contracts and incur obligations for lawful purposes subject to the provisions of this Charter and state law and subject to the following limitations:

   1. Limitations on Amount

     a. As to the amount payable thereunder in the current fiscal year, at the time of the execution of the contract there shall be a sufficient unencumbered balance in an appropriation and sufficient funds therefor shall be anticipated to be available to cover such payment.

     b. As to the amount payable thereunder in future fiscal years, the total amount which may be paid in each future fiscal year on account of each such contract or obligation (except those hereinafter mentioned) shall not exceed ten percent of the annual arithmetic average of the total operating revenues of the Township for the three full fiscal years ended next preceding the date of the making of such contract or the incurring of such obligation. This limitation shall not apply to obligations for debt or for the purchase of capital goods and services properly to be funded by debt, nor shall it apply to employment contracts with Township employees, to contracts with other governmental entities or with regulated utilities.

   2. Limitations on Duration

     a. Employment contracts with Township employees shall be limited to a maximum of four year terms.

     b. The terms of contracts for the purchase of supplies shall not exceed three years.

     c. Any contract which has a duration of two years or more must be approved by an absolute two-thirds vote.

 B. All contracts exceeding Twenty Five Hundred Dollars:

   1. Shall be in writing.

   2. Shall be approved by ordinance or resolution, except that all contracts for the construction of assessable public capital improvements shall be authorized only by ordinance, regardless of amount.

   3. Shall be signed by the Manager. A written contract for less than Twenty Five Hundred Dollars may be signed by the Manager’s designee if for a term of less than two years, provided that such action is in accordance with the budget or any other specific prior authorization required by this Charter.

   Any officer required to execute a written contract shall submit the form of contract to the Township Solicitor for approval before executing the contract.

 C. All contracts exceeding Twenty Five Hundred Dollars shall be awarded after competitive bidding to the lowest responsible bidder where the Township is purchaser and the highest responsible bidder where the Township is seller, except that competitive bidding need not be required for the following contracts:

   1. Labor or services rendered by any Township officer or employee.

   2. Contracts for labor, material, supplies or services available from only one vendor, providing that the Manager shall have certified to the Board in writing that the material, labor, supplies or services are available from only one vendor.

   3. Contracts relating to the acquisition or use by the Township of real property.

   4. Contracts relating to the lease or sale by the Township of real property owned by it, provided a system for obtaining independent appraisals is developed and utilized so as to assure that the Township is obtaining adequate compensation.

   5. Contracts for professional or unique services or supplies.

   6. Contracts for insurance where competitive bidding is impractical.

   7. Contracts for emergency repairs, services or supplies.

   8. Contracts with other governmental entities, authorities, agencies or political subdivisions.

   9. Contracts for regulated utility services.

   10. Contracts pursuant to joint purchasing arrangements entered into with other governmental entities, providing one of the participating governmental entities utilized similar procedures to those which would be here required in the absence of such joint purchasing agreement.

 The Board shall adopt an ordinance establishing the procedure for competitive bidding which shall include publication and notice requirements, including advertisement at least once in a newspaper of general circulation in the Township, deposit and bond requirements, conditions, terms, rules and regulations.

 D. The Board, by ordinance adopted by an absolute three-quarters vote, may change the Twenty Five Hundred Dollar amount specified for any or all of the requirements stated in §  21.12-1207B1—B3, or C, and may provide for differing amounts for each such requirement.

 E. No person shall evade the provisions of this Section by purchasing or selling goods or contracting for services to be supplied piecemeal, or at separate times, which transactions would, in the exercise of reasonable discretion and prudence, be conducted as one transaction requiring payment or receipt of an amount greater than the amount above which competitive bidding is then required.

 F. Willful violation of any of the provisions of this section shall constitute a summary offense punishable upon conviction by a maximum fine of Five Hundred Dollars. Conviction thereunder, when final, or a plea of nolo contendere or guilty, shall subject such person to surcharge to the extent of the damage shown to be thereby sustained by the Township, and shall result in forfeiture of office.

   Commentary: : The provisions of §  21.12-1207A limiting contracts as to future years with regard to both amount and duration represent an attempt by the GSC to avoid the possibility that a particular Board will bind future Boards by obligating the Township in areas where no such obligations are in fact legitimately required.

   The permission granted to the Board in §   21.12-1207D to increase the Twenty Five Hundred Dollar amount for exemption from competitive bidding, written contract, signatures and Board approval requirements, provides a method for adjustment because of changing inflationary levels. It is not contemplated that the Board will increase the Twenty Five Hundred Dollar limit except to reflect increases in the cost of living.

   The exceptions from the competitive bidding requirement as enumerated in §  21.12-1207C are in general currently applicable under the Township Code, Section 1802. Somewhat special provisions are here included for the exemption from the competitive bidding requirement of items available from only one vender (§   21.12-1207C2), lease or sale of Township real property provided independent appraisals are obtained to assure adequate compensation is being received (§  21.12-1207C4) and contracts pursuant to joint purchasing arrangements providing that one of the participating units followed competitive bidding procedures where they would have been required pursuant to this Charter (§  21.12-1207C10).

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.11-1110 (relating to financial interest in matters involving the township).

§ 21.12-1208. Disbursements.

 The Manager shall authorize disbursement of Township monies only after determining that the Controller has given all approvals required of him by this Charter or by ordinance and that all goods and services have actually been received or performed, except where commercial custom or practice makes such procedure impractical. The Board shall provide in the Administrative Code for procedures for the signing and countersigning of all checks, drafts and other orders of payment by two persons.

§ 21.12-1209. Records and Reports.

 A. The Manager shall be responsible for providing for the recording of all financial transactions and related activities for the Township in accordance with the form and procedures prescribed by the Board in the Administrative Code.

 B. The Manager shall inform the Board of any significant financial fact which would have an impact or influence on the Township’s affairs.

 C. The Manager shall prepare for the Board financial reports, at least monthly, and at such other times as the Board may direct, and shall at the end of each fiscal year prepare for the Board an annual financial statement.

 D. The Manager shall provide for the preservation of financial records which shall be kept at the office of the Township and shall be available for public inspection during normal office hours.

FINANCIAL LIMITATIONS


§ 21.12-1210. Financial Limitations.

 A. Limitations on Taxation.

   1. Real Estate. The Board shall not impose a tax on real estate in excess of the aggregate amount permitted by the state statutes which would limit the Board with regard thereto in the absence of this Charter, except that only with the approval of an absolute two-thirds vote the Board may:

     a. utilize that taxing power which would otherwise be permitted only upon court approval.

     b. utilize for any purpose proper under this Charter any taxing power which would otherwise be restricted to specific purposes.

   2. Other Sources of Taxation. As to all other sources of taxation, the Board shall be limited as to sources and rates by any applicable state statue which would govern the Board in the absence of this Charter.

 B. Limitations on Borrowing.

   The Board shall be governed in the incurring, refunding and repayment of debt by the substantive and procedural provisions of the Local Government Unit Debt Act of 1972 (Act 185 of 1972); provided, however, that the limitations as to the amount of debt shall be increased from time to time to the full extent of debt which would be permitted to the Township by all applicable state statutes in the absence of this Charter.

   Commentary: : In general, the Charter does not enlarge the taxing ability or the borrowing ability of Cheltenham’s Board of Commissioners. It does eliminate the current requirement that the Board petition the Court for some part of its real estate taxing authority, substituting for that requirement the necessity that the change be made by an absolute two-thirds vote of the Board. In essence, this provision provides a greater guarantee against the use of the additional taxing authority since it is more difficult to obtain an absolute two-thirds vote under the Charter than it is currently to obtain a mere majority vote of the quorum of the Board in attendance at a meeting in order to authorize the application to a Court and the fairly routine approval which normally results thereafter. The provision permitting the Board to shift to general purposes taxing authority made available only for special purposes under the First Class Township Code, upon approval of an absolute two-thirds of the Board, provides greater protection that the Board will not fully utilize specific taxing authority for the purpose specified in situations where it would prefer to utilize a portion of that taxing authority for items of greater priority.

   As the text makes clear, the borrowing limitations are precisely those already applicable to the Township pursuant to the Local Government Unit Debt Act of 1972.

§ 21.12-1211. Pension Fund Limitations.

 Any pension system continued or established by the Board shall at all times be maintained in an actuarially sound condition as determined annually by an independent qualified actuary in a report to be submitted to the Board.

   Commentary: : The purpose of this provision is to assure the continual appropriate funding of any Township pension plan. The requirement of actuarial soundness does not, of course, require the plan to be fully funded at all times since in any situation in which benefits are significantly increased there inevitably will be a back-funding requirement. Actuarial soundness requires that this back-funding be provided in a reasonable period of time as recommended by an actuary.

ARTICLE XIII. CITIZENS’ GROUPS


Sec.


21.13-1301.     Creation and Functions.
21.13-1302.     Appointment and Term of Office.
21.13-1303.     Operation.
21.13-1304.     Civil Service Commission.
21.13-1305.     Planning Commission.
21.13-1306.     Joint Park and Recreation Board.
21.13-1307.     Library Board.
21.13-1308.     Joint Financial Resources Board.
21.13-1309.     Application of Article XIII to Specifically Designated Entities.
21.13-1310.     Members of Board May Serve on Citizens’ Groups.

§ 21.13-1301. Creation and Functions.

 A. A ‘‘citizens’ group’’ is any entity, other than the Board of Commissioners or the Township Administration, however created, exercising any power of municipal government or advising any agency of municipal government in Cheltenham Township, which the Board either creates or to which the Board has the power to appoint any member.

 B. Unless otherwise provided, the Board by ordinance by an absolute majority vote may create, modify or abolish citizens’ groups, whether called boards, commissions, authorities, or by any other designation, in each instance prescribing the functions and organization thereof, and providing for the compensation, if any, to be paid to employees thereof.

 C. Citizens’ groups shall be advisory only, except that a citizens’ group may exercise such governmental functions as are conferred upon it by the Board or state law in any of the following cases:

   1. Where the creation of a citizens’ group is required by state law or this Charter.

   2. Where at least one member of the citizens’ group has been appointed by a governmental instrumentality other than the Board.

   3. Where any significant portion of funding to the Township or to a citizens’ group is to be provided by sources other than the Board when the condition of any such appropriation, grant, gift or loan is that such citizens’ group shall have such governmental functions.

   4. An administrative function otherwise exercisable by the Township Manager may be delegated to a citizens’ group when an ordinance of the Board provides that any administrative action of such group may be approved, modified or rejected by the Manager at the instance of any aggrieved party, and that the action of the citizens’ group or the Manager may be approved, modified or rejected by the Board on its own motion or on appeal thereto by the citizens’ group involved or by any aggrieved party.

   Commentary: : ‘‘Citizens’ group’’ is the generic name used by this Charter to describe any agency of government. It would not include the Board, its committees, or the Township officers or employees. For example, a meeting of Township department heads would not be a citizens’ group, but a Township department head could be one member of a citizens’ group.

   The threshhold question is what function should be delegated to citizens’ groups and in what manner. Obviously, unless statutes require otherwise, the power to make policy should be left to the Board. It was felt that even administrative functions should not be delegated generally except with supervisory review by the Manager and ultimately by the Board. Section 21.13-1301C4 states the general principle. One example would be the Electrical Examining Board.

   The only other areas where it is contemplated that governmental functions will be exercised by other than the Board are those areas where there is a public purpose which transcends the fundamental principle that governmental functions in the Township should be exercised by the Board. Such areas are: a) where a joint function is to be undertaken with other governmental units such as another township or the Cheltenham School Board (§  21.13-1301C2); or b) where the condition of a grant from the state or federal government (or in significant amounts from a private source) is that the funds are to be administered by a citizens’ group (§  21.13-1301C3).

   The Fire Board is a citizens’ group permitted by this Charter. The fire companies are not citizens’ groups. Nothing in this Charter prohibits the continued appropriation of Township funds to fire companies as is the current practice.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.4-405 (relating to form of action by the board); 346 Pa. Code §  21.7-702 (relating to powers and duties); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1303 commentary (relating to operation); 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1309 commentary (relating to application of Article XIII to specifically designated entities); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.15-1504 (relating to citizen’s groups).

§ 21.13-1302. Appointment and Term of Office.

 A. The President shall nominate, other members of the Board may nominate, and the Board by absolute majority shall appoint to all citizens’ groups those residents whom the Board shall have the power to appoint.

 B. Except for appointment to temporary citizens’ groups (groups which shall not continue to exist for more than ninety days after their creation), such appointments may be made only after notice of intention to make such nomination has been posted in the Township Building and, with respect to the citizens’ groups described in §  21.13-1309, has been advertised in a newspaper of general circulation in the Township at least ten days and not more than thirty days prior to the nomination. Said notice shall indicate the date and time when such nomination shall be made and shall invite citizens to make application for such position. Copies of all applications received shall be provided to each member of the Board prior to or simultaneously with the submission by the President of his nomination.

 C. Except as otherwise provided, the following provisions shall govern the term of office of members of citizens’ groups:

   1. The Board by ordinance shall determine a uniform term of office for each class of members of each citizens’ group. The Board may provide that the terms of members may expire simultaneously or on a staggered basis. If the Board desires to provide for expiration of terms on a staggered basis, it may establish some shorter initial terms when creating a new citizens’ group.

   2. No term of office of any member of a citizens’ group shall be for a period longer than four years, nor for a period of less than the lesser of one year or the remaining period of existence of the citizens’ group.

   3. Appointments to fill a vacancy occurring during the course of a term of office shall be for the remainder of the term.

 D. No person may be appointed to the Civil Service Commission, the Planning Commission, the Zoning Hearing Board, or to any other citizens’ group, or a class of members thereof, which functions other than in an advisory capacity when, in the case of a citizens’ group or class thereof with fewer than five members, such appointment would result in more than two-thirds of the members of such class or such citizens’ group being members of the same political party, or when, in the case of such class or citizens’ group with five or more members, such appointment would result in more than eighty percent of the members of such class or citizens group being members of the same political party. This provision need not be implemented during the two year period following the effective date of this Charter. This provision shall not apply to any class or citizens’ group whose members are required by statute or ordinance to be appointed by virtue of positions they hold at the time of such appointment; provided, that no statute or ordinance, nor any provision of this Charter, shall create or be deemed to create any such class on the Zoning Hearing Board, Planning Commission or Civil Service Commission.

   Commentary: : The President is required by the terms of §  21.13-1302A to make a nomination in order to assure that someone will have that responsibility, but the other Board members may also nominate, and it is the Board which appoints. Because such appointments are important the Charter requires at least an absolute majority of Commissioners to agree.

   The purpose of §  21.13-1302B is to assure, to the extent practicable, that the public is aware that a vacancy on a citizens’ group is to be filled so that interested citizens may apply. Thus, as to the certain important citizens’ groups, advertising is required. As to other citizens’ groups, in order not to delay the Board, advertising is not required, but a notice must be posted in the Township building; any citizen desiring to be informed of such posted intentions to nominate may obtain copies of such notices pursuant to §  21.14-1403A.

   The four-year term provided in §  21.13-1302 is to ensure against indefinite tenure by neglect. The Board must at least review and appoint each four years. A six year term is provided for Civil Service Commission members (§  21.13-1304) since the current Civil Service Commission for police requires such terms, Township Code Section 626, and it was desired to have one such Commission for the Township.

   Section 21.13-1302D enunciates the principle that appointment to citizens’ groups will be made from among Township electors of more than one political party. Although it does not apply to purely advisory bodies, the GSC hopes that the principle is adopted for all citizens’ groups except where size makes its application impractical. This will minimize use of citizens’ group appointments for honoraria or political reward.

   As stated, §  21.13-1302D would not operate to remove any present member from a citizens’ group, but no new appointment or reappointment could be made if this would result in more than two-thirds (or eighty percent where applicable) of that group being composed of members of one political party. To avoid a prohibition against reappointing the member of a citizens’ group whose term first expires after the Charter’s effective date, the operative date of the §  21.13-1302D requirement is postponed for two years after the Charter’s effective date.

   It should be noted that this provision does not pertain to a situation where an ordinance or statute requires such appointment because of the position that a person holds. For example, if an ordinance required that all members of a particular citizens’ group were to be the presidents of ten specific civic associations, then such appointments would be made ‘‘by virtue of positions...’’ and would be made without regard to the membership which such persons might hold in any particular political party.

   If the ordinance provided that those officers in the ten civic associations were to sit with five other persons appointed by the Board, then the civic association representatives would constitute a class, as would the remaining five members to be appointed from the public. Again, the ten representatives of civic associations would be appointed without regard to their political affiliations. Inasmuch as the ordinance does not specify that the remaining five members are appointed because of ‘‘positions’’ they hold, the provisions of this section would apply and not more than four of the five persons appointed in that class could be members of the same political party.

 E. All residents who are appointed as members of a citizens’ group pursuant to §  21.13-1302A shall be registered electors of the Township provided they qualify for registration.

   Commentary: : Some citizens may not qualify for registration—e.g., someone under eighteen. Hence the exception.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.4-401 (relating to organization of the board); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.14-1402 (relating to public right to information).

§ 21.13-1303. Operation.

 A. Each citizens’ group shall elect from its own members its officers who shall serve for terms of one year.

 B. Each citizens’ group shall report its activities to the Board at the times (but not less frequently than annually) and in the manner specified by the Board.

 C. Any citizens’ group which is authorized to purchase goods or services shall do so in accordance with the principles of competitive bidding set forth in Article XII of this Charter.

 D. Any citizens’ group which is authorized to hire employees shall do so solely upon the principles of merit and fitness, and such citizens’ group shall be subject to the principles set forth in §   21.11-1106. Each such citizens’ group may create a personnel system in accordance with the principles established in §  21.11-1105 unless or until its employees are included within the Personnel System created by the Board in accordance with §  21.11-1104. All employees of citizens’ groups, and members of the Zoning Hearing Board, Civil Service Commission and any other quasi- judicial citizens’ group, shall be subject to the prohibition against political activity set forth in §  21.11-1107, except that such prohibition shall not apply to persons who are also elected Township officials.

 E. The members of citizens’ groups and any employees thereof shall be subject to the prohibitions and restrictions regarding conflicts of interest set forth in § §  21.11-1109—21.11-1113 or adopted pursuant to §  21.11-1114 of this Charter.

   Commentary: : Presently each citizens’ group reports to the Board through the committee of the Board which is most interested in its work. It is assumed that this reporting procedure will continue until and unless the Board decrees otherwise. Alternatively, the Board could provide that a particular citizens’ group should report its activities to the Township Manager.

   A citizens’ group may be authorized to purchase goods or services pursuant to a statute or in accordance with an ordinance promulgated as provided in §  21.13-1301. Certainly such a group should not be permitted to purchase goods or services in a manner less restrictive or careful than that mandated for the Board itself.

   The provisions of §  21.13-1303D extend the bar against certain political activity to employees of citizens’ groups because they, too, in reality are employees of the Township and are so perceived by the public. The justification for this limited prohibition is the same as expressed in commentary to §  21.11-1107. Generally, the §  21.11-1107 restrictions are not imposed on elected officials or members of citizens’ groups. Its imposition on members of the Zoning Hearing Board and the Civil Service Commission (other than a member who is also an elected official) is justified by reason of the sensitive quasi-judicial nature of these groups.

   Section 21.13-1303E subjects employees to the conflict of interest provisions of Article XII. It is just as desirable to prohibit, or at least require disclosure of, potential conflicts of interest for members and employees of citizens’ groups as it is for other officers and employees of the Township.

§ 21.13-1304. Civil Service Commission.

 A. There shall be a Civil Service Commission consisting of three members, only one member of which may be a member of the Board. They shall serve for terms of six years, which terms shall commence at two year intervals.

 B. The Civil Service Commission shall perform the functions assigned to it in §  21.11-1105A and G hereof and shall perform such other functions in the administration of the Personnel System as are assigned to it by state law or by ordinance of the Board.

   Commentary: : The three member, six-year term provisions are identical to those required by state law for the Civil Service Commission which presently administers civil service for police. This Commission will now expand its functions to include administration of the Township’s personnel system for all permanent, full time, non-policy making employees. The basic evaluation of candidates for Township employment shall continue to be made by the Township Personnel Director, who will now be supervised in performing that function by the Civil Service Commission.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1302 commentary (relating to appointment and term of office); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1309 (relating to application of Article XIII to specifically designated entities).

§ 21.13-1305. Planning Commission.

 A. There shall be a Planning Commission consisting of five members. They shall serve for terms of four years. The terms of not more than two members shall commence in any one year. The Board may by ordinance expand the Planning Commission to seven members by absolute majority vote, in which event it may set initial terms of less than four years, more than two of which may commence in one year, so that thereafter appointments shall be for four years and the terms of not more than two members shall commence in any one year.

 B. The Planning Commission shall perform the following functions in addition to those which are bestowed upon it by the state law, other provisions of this Charter, or ordinance of the Board:

   1. The Planning Commission shall make recommendations for the development of financial and planning policies for the Township as described in §  21.6-601B hereof.

   2. The Planning Commission shall undertake and discharge assignments or projects given to it by the President or the Board. In addition, consonant with its budget, it may at its own instance undertake projects or studies relating to the above matters.

   Commentary: : The Municipal Planning Code (53 P.S. §  10101) (the ‘‘MPC’’) permits a planning commission of three to nine members, with four-year terms, but its creation is optional. The MPC does not require a planning commission but this Charter mandates it. Under the MPC, any such commission may be required to submit a comprehensive plan and has the power to involve itself in broad questions of land use, housing, environment and capital improvements—if the Board requests. The Planning Commission must also be consulted on any change to the comprehensive plan, the official map or any zoning or subdivision ordinance, under the MPC. This Charter specifies the Planning Commission’s responsibilities, which go well beyond land use questions. The present planning commission felt that a group of five to seven was more manageable, and the GSC accepted this judgment.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1309 (relating to application of Article XIII to specifically designated entities).

§ 21.13-1306. Joint Park and Recreation Board.

 A. The Board shall, together with the Cheltenham Board of School Directors (School Board), create a Joint Park and Recreation Board, provided the School Board agrees at the continuing initiative of the Board to participate, and provided the Board and School Board agree to mutually satisfactory terms for the appointment of members and assignment of assets, functions and responsibilities to such Joint Park and Recreation Board.

 B. The Joint Park and Recreation Board shall operate, maintain and develop such parks, recreation land and facilities of the Township and School District as have been contributed to it, or the use of which has been contributed to it, and shall maintain, develop and supervise programs in connection therewith.

   Commentary: : The Board of Commissioners and the School Board have created a joint committee whose purpose it is to facilitate cooperative recreational programs. The GSC believes that this purpose will be further advanced and advantages of economy, increased utilization and better planning will result from joint operation of Cheltenham Township and School District park and recreational facilities by a Board. The Charter cannot command the School Board on this issue, nor can it require the Board to contract with the School Board at a negotiating disadvantage. Further it may in fact be determined not to be efficient or economical to have joint operation of some facilities. Thus, this Section commands the Board initially and from time to time (hence the word ‘‘continuing’’) to make a maximum good faith effort to create a Joint Board on mutually satisfactory terms.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1308 commentary (relating to joint financial resources board); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1309 (relating to application of Article XIII to specifically designated entities).

§ 21.13-1307. Library Board.

 A. There shall be a Library Board consisting of seven members.

 B. The Library Board shall supervise, maintain and operate the Township’s library facilities, and such other library facilities as it may agree to supervise, maintain and operate. The Library Board shall coordinate the Township library operations to the extent practicable with the school district library operations.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1309 (relating to application of Article XIII to specifically designated entities).

§ 21.13-1308. Joint Financial Resources Board.

 A. The Board shall, together with the Cheltenham Board of School Directors (School Board), create a Joint Financial Resources Board, provided the School Board agrees at the continuing initiative of the Board to participate. This Board shall consist of six members. The Board and the School Board each shall appoint two of its own members to the Joint Financial Resources Board and each additionally shall appoint thereto a citizen who is not then a member of either appointing Board.

 B. The Joint Financial Resources Board shall annually review the resources available to the Township and the School District, annually project needs of the Township and the School District for the performance of their respective functions, and make reports at least annually to the Board and the School Board containing recommendations with regard to the utilization of available resources.

   Commentary: : As to whether this Board appointed jointly by the Board and School Board is feasible, and how it would be created, see the Commentary to §  21.13-1306. The Joint Financial Resources Board is essentially a study, planning and advisory body. It is contemplated that such a joint board would attempt to recommend to both Boards plans which would harmonize the financial needs of the Township and School District, particularly on the timing of any tax changes.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1309 (relating to application of Article XIII to specifically designated entitites).

§ 21.13-1309. Application of Article XIII to Specifically Designated Entities.

 The entities referred to in § §  21.13-1304—21.13-1308, any Zoning Hearing Board, or any other citizens’ group which may be required by state law, are subject to all of the provisions of this Article XIII, except that the citizens’ groups referred to in § §   21.13-1304—21.13-1308 may not be abolished by the Board or modified in any way which would be inconsistent with the provisions of this Article XIII.

   Commentary: : All citizens’ groups, as defined in §  21.13-1301 are subject to the provisions of Article XIII. The purpose of §  21.13-1309 is to make clear that this Article also applies to particular groups mandated by state statutes, and to immunize others from Board change. For example a Zoning Hearing Board is now required by the Municipalities Planning Code. It is not required by this Charter. If the MPC requirement were dropped, the Township would be free to reappraise zoning procedures without any restrictions in this Charter. But so long as a Zoning Hearing Board exists, it is a citizens’ group under this Charter. The MPC specifies only that there shall be three members who shall have three-year terms. But the Charter additionally requires that no more than two members of the Zoning Hearing Board could be of the same political party (except that the terms of those in office when the Charter becomes effective shall continue without interruption).

   Generally, the Board may create, modify or abolish any citizens’ group. It does not have that power as to the groups specifically mandated by the Charter. The transition provision will keep all present citizens’ groups for a time. But it will be the Board which will then decide whether the non-Charter groups continue or not—and it will have to continue a group by specific affirmative direction in an ordinance. See §  21.15-1504.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1302 (relating to appointment and term of office).

§ 21.13-1310. Members of Board May Serve on Citizens’ Groups.

 Except as otherwise provided, members of the Board may be appointed to citizens’ groups.

ARTICLE XIV. CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN TOWNSHIP GOVERNMENT


Sec.


21.14-1401.     Declaration of Principles.

THE RIGHT TO BE INFORMED


21.14-1402.     Public Right to Information.
21.14-1403.     Subscription Rights.
21.14-1404.     Availability of the State of the Township Message.
21.14-1405.     The Annual Report of the Board to the People.

THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD


21.14-1406.     Citizen’s Right to be Heard.
21.14-1407.     Township Information and Complaint Officer.

RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN TOWNSHIP AFFAIRS INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM


21.14-1408.     General Authority.
21.14-1409.     Procedures.
21.14-1410.     Action on Petitions.
21.14-1411.     Results of Election.
21.14-1412.     Limited Initiative.

RECALL


21.14-1413.     Officers Subject to Recall.
21.14-1414.     Recall Procedure.
21.14-1415.     Notice to Incumbent.
21.14-1416.     Recall Election.
21.14-1417.     Resignation to Terminated Recall.
21.14-1418.     Disqualification for Office.
21.14-1419.     Limitations.

§ 21.14-1401. Declaration of Principles.

 The citizens of the Township are hereby guaranteed the right to be informed of Township actions, the right to be heard by Township officials and the right to participate in Township affairs as provided by this Charter.

   Commentary: : This Article attempts to bring together in one place all of those provisions of the Charter which are intended to afford various rights to the public. To a considerable extent, then, this Article repeats other provisions. However, in some instances matters referred to elsewhere in passing are fleshed out here (e.g., the Annual Report). In other instances, this Article contains provisions, e.g., Initiative, Referendum and Recall, not found elsewhere. It was felt that principles of such fundamental importance could bear some repetition. It should be noted that the present Board of Commissioners, although frequently not required to do so, now provides a fair number of these rights to the public.

THE RIGHT TO BE INFORMED


§ 21.14-1402. Public Right to Information.

 This Charter provides that the public shall have the right to be informed of Township activities as follows:

   A. By requiring the Board to advertise its calendar of regular meetings, pursuant to §  21.4-402A.

   B. By requiring the posting of notice of meetings of the Board and its committees, pursuant to §  21.4-402B.

   C. By requiring meetings of the Board and its committees to be open to the public, pursuant to §  21.4-402C.

   D. By mandating that minutes of public meetings be open for public inspection, pursuant to §  21.4-406.

   E. By requiring advertisement of proposed ordinances prior to enactment, pursuant to §  21.5-501A.

   F. By requiring advertisement after passage of ordinances and by providing for the right to inspect ordinances, pursuant to §   21.5-501G and 21.5-503.

   G. By providing for the right to inspect and to purchase a copy of the codification of ordinances and to receive by subscription copies of changes thereto, pursuant to §  21.5-504B.

   H. By providing for public availability of the President’s Budget Message and proposed Financial Plan (§  21.12-1205A), the Preliminary Budgets (§  21.12-1205C) and requiring a public hearing on the budget (§  21.12-1205D).

   I. By requiring notice of vacancies on citizens’ groups and requiring public invitation to citizens to apply therefor, pursuant to §  21.13-1302B.

   Commentary: : This section simply recapitulates rights guaranteed elsewhere in the Charter.

§ 21.14-1403. Subscription Rights.

 A. Any citizen shall have the right to be mailed, contemporaneous with its posting, a copy of any notice required to be given the public by this Charter, at a reasonable charge to be fixed by the Township.

 B. Any citizen shall have the right to receive by subscription copies of all ordinances, all ordinances of a particular category or particular ordinances upon either their proposal or passage, or to receive by mail on request a copy of any specific ordinance, at a reasonable charge or reasonable charges as fixed by the Township.

 C. Any citizen shall have the right to receive by mail on request a copy of minutes of the Board or its committees at a reasonable charge to be fixed by the Township.

 D. ‘‘Reasonable charge’’ as used in this Charter to refer to charges by the Township for documents or notices shall not exceed the actual costs, direct and indirect, of preparing and/or disseminating the described notices or documents.

 E. An inadvertant failure to provide notices or documents as required by this section shall not impose any liability on the Township or its representatives in favor of third parties, nor shall it invalidate any official action.

   Commentary: : This section affords to each citizen the right to receive copies of notices, ordinances and minutes. The Board may pass the cost of such service through to the citizens requesting it; it is assumed that such charge nonetheless will not be so prohibitive as unreasonably to discourage or defeat the utilization by citizens of the rights herein provided.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1302 commentary (relating to appointment and term of office).

§ 21.14-1404. Availability of the State of the Township Message.

 The President’s report on the State of the Township, required by §  21.6-602B2, shall be presented by the President to the Board at a regular Board meeting. Said report shall be made available to the public and press in such manner as to afford it the widest practicable dissemination. Copies shall be available to the public at the office of the Township.

   Commentary: : A summary of the President’s State of the Township Message is to be included in the Board’s Annual Report to the People. See §   21.14-1405B.

§ 21.14-1405. The Annual Report of the Board to the People.

 At least once in each calendar year the Board shall make a report to the citizens. A copy of such report shall be distributed to each household in the Township. The report shall include, at a minimum:

   A. The summary of the report of the independent auditor, prepared as provided in §  21.11-1108.

   B. A summary of the President’s message on the State of the Township, in such form as he shall approve.

   C. Information concerning such dates of meetings of the Board, its committees and of citizens’ groups as have been scheduled.

   D. A summary of the operating and capital budgets then in effect.

   Commentary: : The Board presently provides such an annual report to the citizens. This section requires continuation of the practice and specifies the material which must at a minimum be included.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.14-1404 commentary (relating to availability of the State of the Township message).

THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD


§ 21.14-1406. Citizen’s Right To Be Heard.

 A. Residents and taxpayers of the Township shall be provided a reasonable opportunity to address the Board, its committees and citizens’ groups on matters of general or special concern.

 B. With respect to proposed ordinances or resolutions of a legislative character, other than budget ordinances, such opportunity to address the Board shall be afforded to the public immediately prior to the final action of the Board thereon, unless that opportunity to be heard has theretofore been provided either at a prior public hearing of the Board, or a prior meeting of a committee of the Board, on that proposed ordinance or resolution, provided that such prior consideration of the proposed ordinance or resolution has been advertised and posted in the same manner as is provided for consideration of ordinances at Board meetings in §  21.5-501A, and further provided that a quorum of the Board is present at such hearing or committee meeting.

   Commentary: : Presently, the Board does generally provide the opportunity for interested citizens to address the Board or its committees. This section requires that this practice be continued uniformly.

   It is important that members of the public receive an opportunity to present their varying points of view to the Board before it acts; similarly, the members of the Board will gain by knowing the views held by at least those persons who care to present them.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.4-403 (relating to rules of procedure); and 346 Pa. Code §  21.5-501 commentary (relating to general ordinance requirements).

§ 21.14-1407. Township Information and Complaint Officer.

 A. The Manager shall designate an employee of the Township to act as Information and Complaint Officer.

 B. It shall be the duty of such officer to receive all complaints and to supervise, under the Manager’s direction, the response thereto by the appropriate Township official or employee, and to inform the Board, on a regular basis, of such complaints and their disposition.

   Commentary: : The purpose of this section is to streamline the procedures for receiving questions and complaints from the public. The assignment of a specific employee to act as an entry point for complaints and requests should eliminate duplicative effort required when a citizen inquires of a number of employees before finding the right one. This procedure should be more effficient and should provide a better response to the citizens at a lower cost.

   Although not required by this section, it is assumed that the Manager may designate other employees of the Township to assist the Information and Complaint Officer if this be deemed necessary.

   The requirement that the Board be informed on a regular basis of the complaints made and the disposition provided will keep the members of the Board abreast of problems or concerns of the residents and will also permit them to assure that such problems or complaints are being handled in a satisfactory manner.

RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN TOWNSHIP AFFAIRS INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM


§ 21.14-1408. General Authority.

 Citizens shall have the right to propose ordinances by an initiative procedure, and the right to require reconsideration by the Board of an adopted ordinance by a referendum procedure, as is hereafter provided.

   A. Initiative. The registered electors of the Township shall have power to propose ordinances to the Board, and, if the Board fails to adopt an ordinance so proposed without any change in substance, to adopt or reject it at a primary, municipal or general election. No such proposed initiative ordinance shall contain more than one subject which shall be clearly expressed in its title.

   B. Referendum. The registered electors of the Township shall have power to require reconsideration by the Board of any adopted ordinance and, if the Board fails to repeal an ordinance so reconsidered, to approve or reject it at a primary, municipal or general election.

   C. Exceptions. The powers of Initiative and Referendum set forth in this §  21.14-1408 shall not extend to the budget, zoning, any emergency ordinance, any ordinance levying an assessment or providing for the issuance of special tax bills, or any ordinance appropriating money, levying taxes, or fixing salaries of municipal officers or employees.

§ 21.14-1409. Procedures.

 Initiative and Referendum procedures shall be initiated upon petition signed by thirty percent of the registered electors of the Township. All Initiative and Referendum petitions shall contain or have attached thereto (throughout their circulation) the full text of the ordinance proposed or sought to be reconsidered. Each elector signing such petition shall add to his signature his occupation, residence, election district and the date of signing. Signatures on an Initiative or Referendum petition may be on separate sheets but each sheet shall have appended to it the affidavit of its circulator, not necessarily a signer of the petition, that to the best of the affiant’s knowledge and belief the persons whose signatures appear on the sheet are registered electors of the Township, that they signed with full knowledge of the contents of the petition, and their residences are correctly given.

 Such petition shall be tendered for filing to the County Board of Elections. No signature shall be counted as valid which is dated more than sixty days prior to the date the petition is tendered for filing. Upon tender to the County Board of Elections, the petition shall be available for examination by any interested person. Within fifteen days after tender of the petition, the County Board of Elections shall determine the validity and sufficiency of the petition including the validity and number of signatures required thereon; in the absence of any such action by the County Board of Elections the petition shall be deemed valid and sufficient. The result of the action or inaction by the County Board of Elections shall be subject to immediate review on appeal to the Court of Common Pleas.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.14-1414 (relating to recall procedure).

§ 21.14-1410. Action on Petitions.

 A. When an Initiative or Referendum petition has been finally determined to be valid and sufficient, the Board shall promptly consider the subject ordinance by voting on its adoption or repeal. If the Board fails to adopt without substantive change in the case of Initiative, or fails to repeal in the case of Referendum, within sixty days after the date the petition was finally determined valid and sufficient, the Board shall submit the subject ordinance to the electors of the Township.

 B. The question of the adoption or repeal of the subject ordinance shall be placed on the ballot for an election to be held not less than thirty days and not later than one year from the date of the final Board vote thereon or the termination of the sixty day period referred to in §  21.14-1410A, whichever shall first occur. Copies of the subject ordinance shall be made available at the polls and to the public.

 C. An Initiative or Referendum petition may be withdrawn at any time prior to the fifteenth day preceding the day scheduled for a vote of the Township by filing with the County Board of Elections a request for withdrawal signed by a majority of the petitioners. Upon filing of such request, the petition shall have no further force or effect, and all proceedings thereon shall be terminated.

§ 21.14-1411. Results of Election.

 A. Initiative. If a majority of the qualified electors voting on a proposed Initiative ordinance vote in its favor, it shall be considered adopted upon certification of the election results and shall be treated in all respects in the same manner as ordinances of the same kind adopted by the Board. If conflicting ordinances are approved at the same election, the one receiving the greatest number of affirmative votes shall prevail to the extent of such conflict.

 B. Referendum. If a majority of the qualified electors voting on a referred ordinance vote against it, it shall be considered repealed upon certification of the election results.

 C. The Board may not rescind or repeal an ordinance approved at such Initiative election, nor may it enact an ordinance which has been repealed or rescinded at such Referendum election, for at least two years following certification of the vote thereon, unless the Board shall determine that such official action is required by a substantial change in circumstances.

§ 21.14-1412. Limited Initiative.

 A. Five percent of the registered electors of the Township may sign a petition to require Board consideration of a proposed ordinance, administrative directive or resolution. All signatures on said petition must be collected within one hundred twenty days prior to its presentation to the Board. The proposed ordinance, administrative directive or resolution shall be voted upon by the Board within sixty days of the receipt of the petition in the same manner as if it had been proposed by a member of the Board and a roll call vote requested.

 B. The same subject shall not be presented to the Board by petition pursuant to this §  21.14-1412 more often than one time in any one-year period.

RECALL


§ 21.14-1413. Officers Subject to Recall.

 Any person holding an elective office in the Township who, following the date of his election to his then term, has pleaded nolo contendere or guilty to, or has been sentenced by a court of plenary jurisdiction for, the crime of extortion, embezzlement, bribery, fraudulent conversion of public monies or property, or malfeasance, misfeasance, or misdemeanor in office, or conspiracy to commit any of the above crimes, shall be subject to removal from office at a Recall election in the manner hereinafter set forth.

   Commentary: : See Commentary to §  21.3-308.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.3-308 and commentary (relating to vacancies).

§ 21.14-1414. Recall Procedure.

 A recall of any person holding elective office in the Township shall be initiated upon petition signed by thirty percent of the registered electors of the Township or, in the case of a Commissioner, by thirty percent of the registered electors of the ward he represents. Every recall petition shall name the office and officer against whom it is directed, and shall state with specificity the grounds on which it is based.

 The procedure for the circulation of such petitions, filing, validation and judicial review shall be the same as that provided as to Initiative and Referendum petitions in §   21.14-1409.

§ 21.14-1415. Notice to Incumbent.

 Upon the final determination of the validity and sufficiency of a Recall petition, the President of the Board shall notify the incumbent named in the petition that the petition has been filed.

§ 21.14-1416. Recall Election.

 If the incumbent against whom a recall petition is directed has not resigned from his office within ten days after notice of the filing of such petition shall have been given to him, the County Board of Elections shall arrange a recall election. If a regular or special election is to be held not less than thirty days nor more than ninety days after the ten days have expired, the Recall question shall be placed before the electors at such an election. Otherwise a special Recall election shall be fixed by such Board for a date not earlier than thirty days nor later than ninety days after the ten days have expired.

 The following question shall be presented to each electors in a Recall election: ‘‘Shall     (name)     be recalled and removed from the office of     (office)     ?’’

 The above question shall appear as to every officer whose Recall is voted upon and provision shall be made for the elector to vote ‘‘Yes’’ or ‘‘No’’ on the question.

 If a majority of the registered electors who vote on the question at a Recall election shall vote ‘‘no’’ the incumbent shall remain in office. If such majority shall vote ‘‘yes,’’ the date of the removal and vacancy in the office shall be seven days subsequent to the date when the results of the election are certified by the County Board of Elections, unless such date is further postponed by order of a Court.

§ 21.14-1417. Resignation to Terminate Recall.

 All Recall procedures shall terminate in the event that the subject incumbent resigns from office.

§ 21.14-1418. Disqualification for Office.

 A person who has been removed from an elective office by a Recall election, or who has resigned from such an elective office after a Recall petition directed to him has been filed, shall not be eligible for appointment to any office of the Township within the two year period following his removal or resignation except in the event of reversal of his conviction or a pardon.

§ 21.14-1419. Limitations.

 A plea or conviction which was the basis of the filing of a Recall petition shall not be the basis for a subsequent Recall petition against such official.

ARTICLE XV. TRANSITIONAL AND GENERAL PROVISIONS


Sec.


21.15-1501.     Effective Date of Charter.
21.15-1502.     Existing Elected Officers.
21.15-1503.     Officers and Employees.
21.15-1504.     Citizens’ Group.
21.15-1505.     Continuation of Ordinances.
21.15-1506.     Continuation of Rights and Liabilities of the Township.
21.15-1507.     Severability.
21.15-1508.     Amendments.
21.15-1509.     Name.

§ 21.15-1501. Effective Date of Charter.

 The effective date of this Charter shall be January 1, 1977.

§ 21.15-1502. Existing Elected Officers.

 The Commissioners in office at the time this Charter becomes effective shall remain in office for the full terms for which they were originally elected. However, they shall have the responsibilities, duties and authority as set forth in this Charter. All other elected officials of the Township in office at the time this Charter becomes effective shall remain in office for the full term for which they were elected and they shall continue to perform the duties and receive the same compensation which they received prior to the adoption of this Charter; provided that with his agreement the Board may designate the elected Treasurer as the elected Finance Officer and may make such assignments to him as are provided in this Charter. If a vacancy shall occur in the existing office of elected Treasurer before the first Monday of January, 1978, it shall be filled as if it had been a vacancy in the office of Finance Officer pursuant to §  21.8-804, and the person so selected shall be the Finance Officer and shall be assigned duties accordingly. Any vacancy which may occur in the office of Elected Auditor shall not be filled.

§ 21.15-1503. Officers and Employees.

 Nothing in this Charter unless otherwise provided shall affect or impair the rights or privileges of persons who are Township officers or employees at the time of the adoption of this Charter. An employee holding a Township position at the time this Charter takes full effect, who was serving in the same or a comparable position at the time of adoption, shall not be subject to competitive tests as a condition of continuance in the same position, but in all other respects shall be subject to the personnel system as provided in this Charter and the Personnel and Administrative Codes when adopted.

§ 21.15-1504. Citizens’ Groups.

 Unless otherwise provided, each citizens’ group, unless earlier abolished or modified by the Board, shall continue in existence until December 31, 1977, at which time each such organization shall cease to exist unless otherwise required by state law or this Charter or unless the Board shall have enacted an ordinance continuing its existence pursuant to §  21.13-1301A.

 All appointed members of citizens’ group shall continue in office for the balance of the term of their original appointments or until such group ceases to exist, whichever first occurs.

 During the transition period herein specified, any citizens’ group which could under this Charter exercise administrative functions only pursuant to §  21.13-1301C4 shall have any such administrative action subject to review by the Manager or the Board as specified in §   21.13-1301C4.

Cross References

   This section cited in 346 Pa. Code §  21.13-1309 commentary (relating to application of Article XIII to specifically designated entities).

§ 21.15-1505. Continuation of Ordinances.

 All ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations, or portions thereof, in force when this Charter takes effect and not in conflict herewith, are hereby continued in force and effect until they are amended, repealed, superseded, or expire by their own terms.

   Commentary: : One of the effects of this section is to continue the standing committees of the Board.

§ 21.15-1506. Continuation of Rights and Liabilities of the Township.

 The Township shall continue to own and control all rights and property owned or controlled by it when this Charter takes effect and shall be subject to all its obligations and duties.

 All actions and proceedings of a legislative, executive or judicial character which are pending upon the effective date of this Charter shall be maintained, carried on or dealt with by the Township department, office or citizens’ group appropriate under this Charter.

§ 21.15-1507. Severability.

 It is the intention of the electors of the Township that if this Charter cannot take effect in its entirety because of the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction holding invalid any part or parts hereof, the remaining provisions of the Charter shall be given full force and effect as completely as if the part or parts held invalid had not been included herein.

§ 21.15-1508. Amendments.

 This Charter may be amended in conformity with the provisions of the Pennsylvania Home Rule Charter and Optional Plans Law, Act 62 of 1972, as amended from time to time.

§ 21.15-1509. Name.

 This Home Rule Charter shall be known as the Cheltenham Township Charter.



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