A Day in the Life

Friends, Neighbors and Fellow Upper Merion Area Residents:

A Day in the Life.

At the Monument in Valley Forge

Last year in response to a question from a resident I wrote a lengthy piece about what it’s like to be a Supervisor.  Relatively recently a resident asked me to describe a typical busy day for a Supervisor.  In response to this question here’s a general township related activities timeline from this past Tuesday, May 7.  The timeline below doesn’t include spending a few minutes here and there reading emails and thinking about various township matters.

The times listed below are approximates.

6:40 a.m. – I wake up.  Shortly thereafter I check personal, township and work email.  I rarely eat breakfast and this day was no different. After about 30 minutes of working on my full time job I’m feeling a little sluggish so I run out to Wawa to get some coffee as I’m not a huge coffee drinker so I don’t keep coffee in the house.

7:25 a.m. -  A resident approaches me at Wawa and she tells me she appreciates my social media posting.  I ask the resident for her name and thank her for the good feedback.  Residents frequently approach me when I’m in public.

7:40 a.m. -  I publish a post on Facebook about the upcoming Upper Merion Township Pool open house.

8:30 a.m. -  I call Supervisor Tina Garzillo to respond to a question.  The call lasts around 5 minutes.

11:10 a.m. – I proactively contact a resident who is a leader in her neighborhood to inform her well in advance of a possible issue.  We exchange messages for about 15 minutes.

11:45 a.m. – In response to a request I received from a new small business in King of Prussia a few days prior I publish a post on Facebook about a discounted medical marijuana program.

11:55 a.m. – I receive a text from an active township resident asking me when she can call me to talk about an issue.  I tell her now is a good time.  The call lasts about 10 minutes.  The activity during the past hour and the upcoming Chair/Solicitor Meeting results in me skipping lunch.

12:20 p.m. – I head to the township building for Chair/Solicitor Meeting.  Chair/Solicitor Meeting is held almost every Tuesday around 12:30 p.m.  The purpose of Chair/Solicitor Meeting is to review the agendas for the coming weeks and to communicate with key township personnel about important issues. There’s never a quorum of the Board of Supervisors at Chair/Solicitor Meeting and we don’t make any substantive decisions.  In fact there was one issue in which we wanted to consult Supervisor Bill Jenaway so we called him and Vice Chair Carole Kenney was required to step out of the room until after we finished discussing the matter and Supervisor Jenaway was off the phone.  Additionally we often meet with various stakeholders including representatives of resident groups, local organizations, redevelopers and/or businesses.  There was one meeting scheduled with a developer at Chair/Solicitor Meeting but he didn’t show up. No shows are rare. The meeting ends around 1:20 p.m. making this one of the quicker Chair/Solicitor Meetings as typically these meetings run 2-3 hours.

1:30 p.m. – A resident reaches out to me to express appreciation for working to resolve a matter on his street.   I respond about an hour later.

1:40 p.m. -  I head to the King of Prussia Mall for the presentation of the King of Prussia Restaurant Week check to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).  A resident attending the check presentation talks to me about a township issue.  I also have a conversation with a CHOP representative about the timeline for their hospital groundbreaking.  I speak for about 2 minutes and take a few pictures.  I arrive home around 2:40 p.m. and I have a snack.

3:50 p.m. – A resident gives me a call to talk about an issue.  We play a little phone tag but we eventually connect and the call lasts about 20 minutes.

4:20 p.m. -  I receive pictures from the CHOP check presentation. I fit in drafting a lengthy post in between non-township work and other matters.  I share the pictures on Facebook and Twitter around 5 p.m.

4:40 p.m. – I call a leader in the business community to inform him another member of the business community has an issue he would like addressed.  The call lasts about 5 minutes.

5:30 p.m. – A resident reaches out to me about playing pickleball tonight.  It’s been a beautiful afternoon and I haven’t really been able to enjoy it.  This time of year I have meetings around 50% of Monday-Thursday nights.  But not tonight.  We play from around 6:30 – 8:15 p.m.

8:30 p.m. – I microwave a large dinner.  I generally like to cook dinner but I just wasn’t in the mood to cook tonight.

9:50 p.m. -  A resident reaches out to me about posting something on my Facebook page.  I agree to do so and we communicate online for about 25 minutes so I can get the details correct.

10:40 p.m. – I turn off my laptop and mute the smart phone.  No more work tonight unless it’s an emergency.

11:45 p.m. – I fall asleep.

In between all of the above I managed about 7 1/2 hours of work at my non-township full time job.

While no two days as Supervisor are ever the same I would describe what you’ll read above as a typical Tuesday for this time of year. Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually the busiest days of the week.  May is always a busy month.

Technically the position of Upper Merion Township Supervisor is a part time job which many people traditionally view as an evenings and weekends position.  The reality is serving as an active and engaged Supervisor in Upper Merion Township is now much closer to a full time job especially if you’re Chair of Vice Chair.

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