Township Manager's Two-Year Contract Approved

Commissioners on Wednesday approved a new contract for Doug Cleland, who had been working without a contract since December 2011.

Lower Merion commissioners, after more than six hours of debate Wednesday night, voted 8-5 to approve a two-year contract for Township Manager Doug Cleland.

"I look upon this discussion as, how do we address excellence in Lower Merion?" Commissioner Rick Churchill told the board and residents gathered in the nearly full board room at the beginning of the human relations committee meeting. "Are we going to reward it, are we going to penalize it—what are we going to do?"

Commissioner Dan Bernheim, who along with Churchill and Commissioner Scott Zelov formed an ad hoc committee to draw up Cleland's new contract, summed up the contract—to expire Jan. 6, 2014, when the new board will reorganize—and the process used to shape it.

Cleland's base salary in 2012 will remain at $202,989; his base salary will increase 2 percent in 2013 to $207,049. With added longevity and deferred compensation benefits, Cleland's pay package will cost about $275,000 per year.

Many of the about 20 township residents who spoke during the public comment period expressed concern over the cost of the contract in the current economic climate, some noting that Cleland makes more money than the mayor of Philadelphia, the governor of Pennsylvania and every township manager from surrounding municipalities.

Several others, including former board Vice President Mark Taylor, who read a statement on behalf of a bipartisan group of 11 former commissioners, .

Commissioner Jenny Brown expressed concerns about the language used in multiple sections of the proposed contract and about the necessity of several added benefits—such as a township car and fuel, deferred compensation and longevity—and lamented that the board had not sought independent legal counsel in the matter.

Bernheim, who noted he wished he had received those comments in advance so he could provide more adequate responses, addressed Brown's concerns.

Commissioner Steve Lindner said he believed the whole process of providing Cleland with a new contract had taken too long and emphasized the importance of keeping Cleland with the township so he could pass on all of his expertise to a successor. Aside from the numbers, there are other costs, Lindner said.

"There's a cost to replace, a cost of morale—none of that shows up in a contract," Lindner said. "I vote to keep the continuity of the township."

Brown made several motions to amend the contract, none of which passed. If any had passed, it would have caused the contract to be tabled once again.

"To an objective observer, most commissioners on this board are blinded by their affection for Doug Cleland," Brown said. "If we were not looking at Doug Cleland, we would not be looking at a compensation package that cost $275,000."

Republican commissioners Brown, Zelov and Lew Gould voted against the contract, along with Democratic commissioners Brian Gordon and Cheryl Gelber in an 8-5 vote; Commissioner Phil Rosenzweig had asked to be excused from the meeting.

Rick Liberatoscioli July 17, 2012 at 11:42 AM
At the LM Township Board of Commissioners Meeting to investigate the widespread Felony Criminal Corruption of its township public officials … will make the Penn State criminal corruption look like child’s play by comparison.
Rick Liberatoscioli July 17, 2012 at 04:29 PM
I would like to present to the LM Township Commissioners at this Wednesdays commissioners meeting of the standing felony criminal charges against the Townships public official relating to Mr. Cleland's employment contract, Section 3. Termination and Severance Pay: In the event that the Township terminates Cleland for cause, this Agreement and the rights and obligations of the parties hereunder, cease. “Cause” is defined and hereby limited for the purposes of this Agreement to the following: (1) willful misconduct and/or neglect of duty, (2) felony or misdemeanor conviction of any crime involving moral turpitude, (3) dishonesty in the conduct of the Township’s affairs, or (4) any other act of similar or greater seriousness. The Lower Merion Police have made direct threats to falsely imprison and threat of bodily harm should I do so. I hope the Township Commissioners will contact me to arrange for a safe presentation before the commissioners of the felony criminal allegations against the public officials involved.
Rick Liberatoscioli July 19, 2012 at 10:01 AM
Excellent story on "co-operation, being co-opted,... then the final slide into full corruption". http://mainlinemedianews.com/articles/2012/07/18/main_line_suburban_life/opinion/doc50003aa56f5f7325499337.txt?viewmode=default Here a "AAA" rated teaching institution, in one day, is totally decimated by is long standing "cover-up" of its criminal corruption within. Damages are expected to total by the many millions of dollars and prison time for those involved .... simply because of corrupt officials chose to "cover-up" what they knew was in fact "criminal acts" under their watch. They themselves knowingly became an accomplice and or accessory to the criminal acts. The Lower Merion Township Commissioners will face the same fate as did Penn State through their own un-investigated and subsequent "cover-up" of criminal acts under their watch as well. Here an entire Lower Merion community stands to be decimated. The extensive criminal charges have been presented to the Lower Merion Township Commissioners. Richard Liberatoscioli richard.liberatoscioli@gmail.com
Rick Liberatoscioli August 04, 2012 at 09:54 AM
hongfeng January 02, 2013 at 04:24 AM
http://www.coachoutletonlinebfd.com/ Coach Outlet Online http://www.guccibeltstb.com/ Gucci Belt http://www.coachoutletonlinetdy.com/ Coach Outlet Store Online http://www.cocoachoutletonline.org/ Coach Outlet Online http://www.coachoutletonlinetsy.net/ Coach Online Outlet


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »