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Special Meeting: Thursday, February 3rd – Stacking the committees

Feb 03

Update: Special Meeting Summary posted.

Pete Alyanakian and the New Coalition are really making a lot of friends. At last month’s legislative meeting, they decided to spurn volunteers whose terms would renew for the boards and commissions in Media, and this Thursday, they plan on stacking the committees.

January Workshop

In the January workshop meeting, President Alyanakian discussed changing how appointed board members would renew their terms. There was general discussion among council members, but the consensus was that as of last year, all open positions had already been invited to return as board members, and several of these “renewed” committee members had already met in January. The general consensus was that getting competition for new board appointments was a good thing, but the timing was poor for appointments in 2011.

January Legislative Meeting

Then, at the January Borough Council legislative meeting, the following happened:

  • Eric Stein made a motion to re-appoint Arthur Brown and Carol Kreider to the Recreation Board
  • Jim Cunningham asked to “table” the motion … stating they needed “new” blood
    • Monika Rehoric seconded the tabling of the motion.
  • Pete Alyanakian admitted he made a “mistake” by re-inviting board members last December. He reiterated this a few times. (full quote below)

I made a procedural mistake, I think it was in November or December, by authorizing Jeff [Smith] to send out letters asking if people were still interested in serving and if you weren’t by notifying members of council. My intent back then was to advertise the openings, my goal was to see if they were still interested, but then advertise the openings to get some … you know, I think it’s really about time that we did look at, instead of roll over reappointments, that we actual get resumés in for some of these positions.”

  • Eric Stein stated that sending a letter last year and effectively changing members is “pulling the rug” out from people’s feet. Arthur Brown was already elected president of Recreation Board given the letter sent last November.
  • Jeff Smith read the letter sent to expiring board members which said that reappointment was up to the discretion of Council. The letter was sent on November 16th, 2010, nearly two months beforehand (at the time of the meeting)
  • Eric Stein asked what Arthur Brown and Carol Kreider should do in the meantime while Borough Council finds “new” resumés
  • Alyanakian: “Continue serving in their positions …”
  • Pete Alyanakian admitted he made a mistake again … that he should have brought it up in December legislative meeting.
  • Peter Williamson pointed out that the Recreation Board had four vacancies, and so getting additional resumés was not necessary, in that additional positions were open and could be filled by new volunteers
  • After more discussion about details, the vote to table the motion passed with Peter Williamson, Monica Simpson, and Eric Stein against.

According to Monica Simpson, none of the dissenting members (Stein, Williamson, and Simpson) had any warning that this would occur.

Now, this Thursday, February 3rd, Pete Alyanakian has called a “Special Meeting” (which means that legislative action can occur). And the agenda?


Apparently President Alyanakian has hand-picked his new appointments for Vacancy Board, Zoning Hearing Board, and Planning Commission and, surprise, they’ll vote on them in a rush “special meeting” this Thursday at 7:30 PM.

Wow. You have to appreciate the short notice, and scheduling legislative work when no one is bound to attend, or even show up. Is this the kind of government we need in Media?

If you care about this type of behavior, I suggest you show up and let them know what you think.

Update: Special Meeting Summary posted.


  1. John Hoffman /

    I don’t understand why anyone would be upset. Just because you served does not mean you should have the job when the term expires. These Boards generally need new blood, after ten years on any Board people should move on.

    I thinks the Leadership of this Board is doing a tremendous job and has accomplished more in the last six months that previous Boards did in the last six years.

    Long live the New Coalition, it is truly an era of Bi Partisan Colaboration!

  2. Chickadee /

    I am very concerned about this type of action by the ‘new leadership’ – I agree it is just what you say it is, stacking committees. Without fair notice and time for all sides to submit resumes, this is just a ridiculous abuse of power. Alyanakian should not get away with this. I hope the dissenting democrats reach out and communicate with their constituents about this issue. My fear is that no one knows it is going on.

  3. Median /

    @John: I agree that no member should be automatically renewed. However, the issue is that people were already notified last November about being reappointed and have been serving for now 6 weeks with their status “in question.”

    All Borough Council members were in favor of having a more open process, it was simply in bad taste to make this change suddenly, and then with almost 4 days notice have a “special meeting” to appoint new committee members. It reeks of a closed, rushed process which is not democratic.

    I would challenge you to prove your statement about what the coalition has accomplished over the past 6 months? Like, what, specifically?

  4. John Hoffman /

    Well, since you asked here are a few accomplishments:

    1. obtained a grant to 50/50 cost share the design of the dam saving borough tax payers $75,000 of the $150,000 design fee
    2. Applied for a grant for $650,000 to pay for the balance of the 3rd St Dam project that has been tied up for 13 yrs.
    3. Have a draft settlement w/ the 3 litigants for the 3rd St Dam.
    4. Secured a sponsor for Media Bus Authority (MBA) events from the Brandywine Visitors and Convention Bureau to spend $30,000 on various events in the business district.
    5.Created the Cultural and Economic Development Committee that includes all groups in Media including the Media Arts Council, Fair Trade Committee, MBA, Media Theater, and other non-profits to promote all events jointly and to develop a single message for Media Arts and Economic development issues.

    These accomplishments would take most Boards years to complete, we are very lucky to have this group leading Media especially in a time where most municipalities are not even balancing their budgets.

  5. Median /

    Thanks for posting, John. Unfortunately, I think they can only take credit for #5, which, I agree, is a good thing.

    1. This grant was applied for in early 2010 under the previous leadership.
    2. The funding for the dam has never been an issue, as PennDOT has the money allocated to pay for it. This issue is about who owns it, which is directly related to 3.
    3. The litigation between Media Borough, Broomall’s, and Delaware County has been going on for years and has been tied up in the courts until January 2011. This has nothing to do with the new leadership, it just so happens to have been scheduled for January.
    4. Brandywine is required to give this money to Media Borough by mandate, so I’m unsure how much of an accomplishment this is.
    5. Kudos, this was a good idea.

    Thanks for your posts, it is well appreciated.

  6. There are two issues here, which have already been identified. 1) Whether we need “new blood” in these positions and 2) How and when to go about replacing the “old blood.” I have no problem with getting new people involved, and I’m sure there are many capable people in Media who might be interested. But I don’t see any evidence that any effort was made to take time to recruit new volunteers, given the timeline of Mr. Alyanakian’s broaching his concerns and now this special meeting. How did he find appropriate people to fill these spots? How did he advertise? And who are the new appointees?

    So what happened at the meeting? Any news? Who was appointed and to what committees?