On Jan. 8 during their first public council meeting since three new members were elected in November, Delaware County Council announced three immediate reforms to make local government more open and accessible to residents and employees. These reforms are the first step in what will be a series of broad ethics and government reforms announced in the coming months. The announcement builds on the new majority’s commitment to include diverse voices in government decision-making which began when its transition team invited all interested citizens to submit a statement of interest and qualifications to join a Transition Working Group. More than 800 citizens applied.
“We wanted to implement these reforms as one of the first things we did this year because one thing that came through loud and clear during the transition process was that the residents, workers and taxpayers of Delaware County have great ideas for making our county better and we need to ensure that those ideas are part of building a better future for Delco,” said Brian Zidek, the Chair of County Council. “We need to make it easier for people to participate in their government and hold us accountable, and these reforms are the first step in doing so.”
The three reforms announced during the Jan. 8 public meeting:
Changes to council meetings to increase public participation in county government. Council will now hold public meetings on Wednesdays at 6:00p.m. Public meetings were previously held at 10:00a.m. on Wednesdays. Council will now offer public comment during both the beginning and end of the meetings and is broadcasting the meetings live for those who cannot attend.
Set public office hours for each Council member to allow employees and residents to directly ask, and get answers to, important questions. Office hours for each Council can be found here: www.delcopa.gov/council/officehours.html
Council members will be designated to act as liaisons to County departments and will oversee and be accountable for the performance of the departments.
Council also announced it will build on these reforms by beginning a public process to develop a series of broad ethics and government reforms over the next few months. The public process announced on Jan. 8 follows the repeated rejection by the previous majority of proposals to update and expand the county code of ethics and conflict of interest provisions. The first public listening session is scheduled for Feb. 6 at 6:00p.m in the County Council Public Meeting Room. (201 W. Front St., Media, PA.)
“It is critical that with a new majority on County Council, we take this opportunity to fundamentally change how the County operates by enacting broad ethics and government reform,” said Monica Taylor, who serves as Council’s Vice Chair. “We know that if we are going to make the changes our residents need and taxpayers deserve, there must be no question about why decisions are being made and that the only people who will benefit will be Delaware County residents.”
The schedule for agenda and public council meetings can be found here: www.delcopa.gov/council/calendar.html
The agenda and public council meetings will be livestreamed here: www.facebook.com/DelawareCountyCouncil
Archived video of the agenda and public Council meetings can also be found here: >www.delcopa.gov/council/video.html
On Jan. 6, Christine A. Reuther, Elaine Paul Schaefer, and Dr. Monica Taylor were sworn in as members of County Council, joining Brian P. Zidek and Kevin M. Madden who were first elected in 2017. Zidek was elected Chair and Taylor was elected Vice Chair by their colleagues.