Scalise named interim borough manager in Kennett Square
By Steven Hoffman
Joseph Scalise, Kennett Square’s director of public works, has been selected to serve as the interim borough manager.
Kennett Square Borough Council unanimously approved the appointment on Monday night, the last public meeting for current borough manager Brant Kucera, who announced last month that he is leaving to accept a city manager position for Cannon Beach, Oregon. Scalise will serve as interim borough manager until the search for a new borough manager is completed. The borough has retained Peter Marshall and Associates to assist with the search process.
Regarding the selection of Scalise as the interim borough manager, Kucera said that he fully supported the appointment because having an interim borough manager would maintain the channel of communication between the town’s administration and borough council.
Kucera said that he is confident that Scalise will do a good job as interim borough manager, an opinion that was echoed by council member Dan Maffei.
“If you look at every substantial project in the borough, Joe is involved in just about every single one,” Maffei said. “I feel he will do a very good job until a permanent borough manager is hired.”
Borough Council presented Kucera with a framed commendation for his six years of service to the town, and they also shared kind words about his job performance.
Council member Geoff Bosley said that Kucera is leaving Kennett Square much better off than the way he found it when he arrived. Several residents also expressed their gratitude for Kucera's work during the meeting.
The borough manager, in turn, reiterated how much he enjoyed working with the staff.
“The last six years have been a wonderful time here,” he said. “This is a fantastic group, top to bottom. This has been the best place I have ever worked.”
Kucera recommended that borough council also appoint Karen Scherer, the assistant to the business manager, as the designated Open Records Officer, which is the person who responds to all right-to-know requests. Kucera said that Scherer could fill this position on a permanent basis, not an interim one. Council approved this appointment, too.
Borough council also approved the Capital Improvement Plan for 2014-2018, which includes more than $10 million in projects that range from streetscape work for West Cypress Street to water meter replacements to an expansion of the town’s parking garage. Some of the projects in the plan are already nearing completion, while others are dependent on the borough’s ability to secure funding at some point during the five years.
One project that Kucera wants the borough to move forward with for next year is providing the funding—$600,000—for the Kennett Fire Company to purchase a new ladder truck. The borough is splitting the cost with Kennett Township. Kucera noted that the current ladder truck is 18 years old, and will be 20 years old before a new truck is acquired, which is about how long a ladder truck is expected to be serviceable. Kucera said that the proposed 2015 budget includes a millage rate increase to pay for the borough's share of the costs.
Council member Dan Maffei noted that the Capital Improvement Plan is just a planning document and does not authorize the actual spending of any money.
“A lot of these are contingent upon receiving grant money,” added Bosley.
Bosley said that the Finance Committee is passing along a recommendation to borough council to require residents to sign up for the Swift alert system, which provides emergency information to residents.
Mary Hutchins, the executive director of Historic Kennett Square, said that there is now an agreement in place to operate a shuttle between Kennett Square and Longwood Gardens during Saturdays between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The shuttle serves the dual purpose of helping Longwood Gardens alleviate some traffic congestion during its busiest times of the year, while Kennett Square gets to promote its shops and restaurants for visitors who are heading to Longwood Gardens.
The shuttle will be limited to 80 people on the first Saturday and 300 people on the Saturdays after that. The shuttle will run at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., the busiest times for Longwood’s light displays.
“There’s no financial obligation for either historic Kennett Square or the borough,” Hutchins explained.
During his council president's report, Spencer announced that Halloween is being celebrated with a parade on Sunday, Oct. 26 and trick-or-treat night on Oct. 31 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email firstname.lastname@example.org.