Kolodesh: Synergy with Butler Township government is broken

In two recent articles, the Vandalia Drummer News has drawn attention to Butler Township Trustee-elect Joe Flanagan’s recent letter to Township Administrator Kim Lapensee, demanding her resignation. Questioning both the wisdom and motives behind the demand, those articles strongly rebuke Mr. Flanagan and his tack. Such is the nature of a free press, and I personally welcome the disinfectant of journalistic scrutiny.

But where I must take issue is the focus in the most recent article, dated December 13, 2015, on the contributions made by myself and my company, Singer Properties, to Mr. Flanagan’s election campaign. With not-so-veiled insinuation, the article intimates that those contributions evidence my complicity in Mr. Flanagan’s demand of Ms. Lapensee, or worse yet some sort of cabal, plotting the control of Butler Township politics through Mr. Flanagan’s election. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I have never made any secret of my desire for change in Butler Township. It will come as no surprise to the involved audience that I believe the success of any community requires a strong synergy between the community’s residents—both commercial and individual—and its local government officials. Indeed I have routinely devoted columns in the York Commons- Miller Lane Business District Newsletter to that very platform. In Butler Township, I am one of those residents.

Unfortunately, I believe the synergy is broken. My disagreements with Butler Township generally, and Ms. Lapensee specifically, are long-running and well-documented. They have been public when they occur, and remain publicly discoverable through a basic records request. I will not apologize for them and I will continue to have the courage of my convictions.

To be clear, I have never condoned Mr. Flanagan’s intention to demand Ms. Lapensee’s resignation. It was hasty and ill-advised to be sure. More poignantly for me, I fear that it has accomplished the very divisiveness that I had hoped Mr. Flanagan’s election would end. By beginning his tenure under the cloud created by this demand and the attention it has received, Mr. Flanagan will have fences to mend before the Butler Township administration can begin focusing on its relationship with its residents and making the changes that are needed to put the Township on the right track.

I have every confidence that that will happen. Stumbling blocks occur, and good officials hurdle them for the mutual benefit of all the citizens. I for one am excited about this new era in Butler Township, and the rejuvenation that accompanies the infusion of new people and new ideas. I will never stop advocating for healthy communities, good governance, and the personal relationships that both require. And while some decisions of those I advocate for may be impulsive as Mr. Flanagan’s surely was, I am not prepared to judge the efficacy of a person or their value to a community based on one ill-considered action.

Alex Kolodesh

Singer Properties