Zunino honored for 40 years of service
● By Steven Hoffman
Most council meetings do not include a moment when everyone in the room rises up in unison to applaud the good works of one man.
But, as his 40th anniversary as a full-time member of the police department approaches, Kennett Square Police Chief Edward Zunino received a heartfelt standing ovation from everyone in attendance at the Jan. 19 Kennett Square Borough Council meeting. The standing ovation came moments after a brief, but glowing, tribute from Mayor Matt Fetick, who talked about Zunino's tireless dedication to serving the residents of Kennett Square during his 40-year career.
Fetick explained that Zunino began working as a full-time officer in the Kennett Square Police Department in January of 1976, though his official starting date as an auxiliary officer was in the spring of 1975. Zunino worked his way up through the ranks, spent many years as the department's second-in-command, and was promoted to the position of police chief in August of 2007. To illustrate what kind of a police chief Zunino is, Fetick noted that Zunino is known to work Christmas Day himself so that the officers in the department can enjoy the day off with their families. He is also known to work late nights whenever necessary, and to have an extremely effective management style.
In other business at the Jan. 19 meeting, Kennett Square Borough Council had a lengthy discussion about ways to improve communications with residents.
Council member Wayne Braffman, one of five new faces on borough council, was one of the people who wanted to have a public discussion about how borough council communicates with residents about what it is working on.
Council president Dan Maffei said that while they would like to think that they do a fair job at communicating, it is also an area where they would always like to make improvements.
There was a discussion about public comment sessions during meetings. The general rule is that public comment sessions are for public comment. They are not question-and-answer sessions, and no one benefits if borough council members and residents start debating each other on issues. Sometimes, residents raise issues and concerns, and council members aren't prepared to respond on the spot.
Mayor Matt Fetick noted that it's always awkward when residents pose questions or raise issues that borough officials might like to respond to, but can't.
Braffman said that it's important to maintain effective communications between borough officials and residents. Public comment sessions have their limitations, so he suggested establishing another way to provide residents the information that they want and need.
Fetick had previously suggested holding town hall-style meetings, and several council members were in favor of that.
There was also a discussion about the possibility of making video recordings of the meetings available online for residents who can't make it to the meeting.
Another possibility is offering residents the opportunity to add issues to the agenda of a meeting if there is something specific that they want to discuss. The residents would contact the borough manager in advance to arrange to have the issue placed on the agenda. This would allow borough officials the time to gather any information that might be necessary regarding the issue.
Maffei noted that in recent months there have been more residents in attendance at council meetings, and he's very happy about that.
Council member Ethan Cramer suggested forming an ad hoc committee to analyze public communication. After some further discussion, it was decided that Braffman, Cramer, and council member Doug Doerfler should serve on the committee. The committee will update borough council in a month about its progress.
Borough council also approved a series of appointments or re-appointments to various committees and boards. Karen Scherer, the assistant to the borough manager, was reappointed to serve as borough secretary and the open records officer. Kathy Holliday, the borough's finance director, was appointed to again serve as the borough's treasurer.
Council appointed Dr. Brenda Williams-Mercomes to serve as its representative on the Kennett Public Library board.
Borough council concluded the meeting by approving the special events application for the Kennett Run for May 14.