Wrightsville leaders in the wrong
Thumbs down to members of the Wrightsville Borough Council who seem to have it in for first-term mayor Tayne Slenker.
Slenker, a Democrat, defeated the incumbent Republican mayor by four votes in November 2021. She has not exactly been welcomed with open arms by the council.
She entered office without … well, an office. The council suggest she conduct business out of council chambers or a conference room in the building owned by the municipal sewer and water authority — the latter provided it was OK with the water authority.
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The mayor wisely said thanks but no thanks and worked out of her home. She had to use her personal phone, too.
A year later, Slenker continues to face municipal hurdles. She finally got official office space last fall after much lobbying, but still neither readily nor regularly receives phone calls from constituents. Calls are instead funneled to a different extension or a general voicemail box.
And despite separate tabs on the municipal website for “Newsletters,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Stormwater,” there’s no such link to the mayor’s office. Not even her direct phone number is listed (which, has been established, might not be much of a help anyway).
This is no way to run a borough.
Council President Joseph Giandalia, a Republican, wasn’t exactly exercised over the roadblocks at a recent council meeting. He indicated the borough would attempt to rectify the phone situation but couldn’t say how long that might take.
There was a similar lack of immediacy in addressing Slenker’s complaints about the borough’s recently established committee to oversee code enforcement, which she was appointed to. Not only does having to address code issues as one of three members of the committee impede her effectiveness, the mayor pointed out, the committee has never even met.
Council member Brian Lyly, who chairs the committee, hasn’t responded to requests for an explanation.
At best, council leaders are getting in the mayor’s way through ineptitude and laziness. At worst, they’re cavalierly undermining her ability to do her job.
Either way, Wrightsville’s mayor — and its residents — deserve a lot more cooperation.
Thumbs up to state Rep. Joanna McClinton, who last week became the first woman to serve as speaker of the Pennsylvania House.
McClinton, a Philadelphia resident first elected to state office in 2015, ascended to the post in the wake of a topsy-turvy two months of leadership questions in the House.
Democrats took control of the 203-member body in November but because two of their members resigned after being elected to higher office and a third died shortly before the election, debate ensued over which party should assume control when the new sessions opened in January.
Democrat Mark Rozzi emerged as a surprise compromise leader and filled the seat until special elections could be held. When Democrats swept those three races last month, the majority was clear. And last week, McClinton became that majority’s choice to lead the chamber.
The 40-year-old lawmaker has made a name for herself as a consensus-builder who focuses special attention on women’s health issues and criminal justice reform.
The election of a woman as House speaker was, frankly, embarrassingly overdue.
“It was almost 250 years before a woman could stand at this desk, not just to give a prayer, but to get the gavel,” McClinton said upon assuming the leadership.
The fact that women still make up only about 30 percent of the House may have had something to do with the long wait.