UNREDACTED, Finally. Derry’s Government Waste Continues

Posted by By at 20 March, at 12 : 24 PM Print

Summary: The whole front page of a recent Sun was about the Unredacted expenses related to the previous school board’s expenditures.  This is my follow up on exponentially bigger waste, for the same reasons (political connections alone) at the Twp.  It is also a call to action.

My Tweets @stevenwtodd, headed: “UNREDACTED” summarize the excellent journalism of our local newspaper, The Sun:

1) Bravo Derry Twp School Board majority: releases documents, hidden by ousted majority.

2) Derry paid to “Review email from Ellen Sheffey re local news article & attack on hiring of our law firm…”

3) Derry Twp taxpayers paid School Board lawyer $750 on a conference call.

4) Derry: $10,300 to “Identity Advisors” strip mall office empty during business hours.

5) Sheffey to liquidate Co that owes $80k+ tax, “intends on bidding on the assets with appropriate funding.”

The full expose to date, and all associated archives are available here.

I am proud to have freelanced to The Sun for years, and still do. I applaud Dave Buffington’s call in that week’s Editorial:

6) If solicitor, auditors, administrators raised red flags, why were those flags ignored?

Our ire is rightfully up on DTSB shenanigans, and we are thankful to finally appear to have a Board with the courage and integrity to at long last let us see these tremendous costs. At first glance, those appear of unclear benefit (at best) to We The Taxpayer. But the root problem is the process, not one wasteful extravagance, by one group of individuals. My final Tweet in that series urges us to:

7) Pay attention to Derry “professional services”: >$1M+ for design storm pipes and substandard website from campaign donors, HRG?

Pay attention, Derry folks. We are being taken to the cleaners by “professional services”. These no-bid, no-oversight allocations of your hard earned cash are unaccountable havens for sweetheart deals to the politically connected. I have been reporting for years on our similar situation with Twp engineer and campaign donor to sitting Supervisors, HRG:


So far way over $1M for design and inspection of storm pipes and a website which for years was substandard of the bare minimums require of its over-inflated contract.

I publicly endorsed all four of the Sheehan-backed Citizens for Collaborative Leadership (CCL) candidates. I did so although all are Republicans, and I am a Democrat. I have also publicly and repeatedly questioned the Board’s actions while under the Democratic leadership of Ellen Sheffey and Hank Donahue. Both actions have brought both applause and condemnation; I’ll own both.

During the election in which Derry Dems and Republicans both swept in all CCL candidates, I ran unsuccessfully for the office of Derry Twp Supervisor. My main impetus for pursuing this office was to put an end to gov”t wastes, and primarily – or, at least as a first one of attack – professional services, with which I have expertise. While I was not successful in my election, many of my neighbors agreed with me on Election Day.

I received 23.6% of the vote, while the winners got 26% and 27%. But my Democratic party is outnumbered 1.5 to 1.0 in registration, and both candidates of each party ran as a slate. We Dems ran one winner with 26% of the vote, and one loser (me) with 23.5. The GOP slated one winner with 27% of the vote, and one loser with 23.5. I actually beat one R by a few votes, call it a statistical draw. So combined, the GOP beat us by 1%, or 50.5 to 49.5. The only way that could mathematically happen is either 1) The Derry Dems completely swept all independents and third parties, or 2) Many, many Rs voted for us. Both presume we virtually swept the Dems, but if not, then scenarios 1 and/or 2 or a combination would have been even more pronounced.

I have repeatedly brought concerns of municipal engineering charges to my Supervisors. I have, as an expert in that field – indeed, a former engineering consultant to Derry – informed them of the inflated amounts. As just one example, I presented this email verbatim to that Board, and handed copies of it to The Sun and PennLive reporters, who were both in attendance. Besides a few “we’ll take a look at it” level responses, to my knowledge, nothing has been done to improve our huge expenditures in this matter:

Request to Table HRG Change Order

Those of us who were fed up enough to attack the problem of the inefficient (at very best) use of $150k of our cash by DTSB should surely be wondering why we’ve so far paid almost ten times that amount for engineering services to similarly-politically connected corporation’s professional services, under the exact same no-bid, no oversight process.


Photo by Spiezle

This post was written by:
- who has written 3 posts for Rock The Capital
Steve Todd's concentration at Rock The Capital is in documenting the activity of PACs, how they are funded, and how they wield influence. Todd is a self-employed civil engineer in Hershey. He has been a Municipal Affairs Reporter for The (Hummelstown/Hershey) Sun since Oct 2009. Todd is also Board of Directors' Secretary of the Stewards of the Lower Susquehanna; a member of the Uniform Construction Code Appeals Board, and former Chair of the Derry Environmental Action Committee, both in Derry Township, Dauphin County, PA. - Email Steve Todd

Dauphin County Watch Featured Pennsylvania Issues

Related Posts