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Who Had Final Say on Tredyffrin Wesbite Post?

A politically charged letter posted on the Tredyffrin Township website against a private citizen/blogger and the media raises serious questions.

A "Letter to Tredyffrin Citizens from Vice Chair DiBuonaventuro" posted on the Tredyffrin Township official website leads to an obvious question: who has final say on what is posted on the Township's official, taxpayer-funded, site.

The answer comes in an email to TE Patch from outgoing Tredyffrin Township Manager Mimi Gleason:

The Manager has final say on what is posted to the website. In the past, there have been statements from the Board of Supervisors on the website, . (Editor's note: the referenced announcement is attached to this article as a pdf)  There will be a similar statement when they select the next manager.

It is unusual to post a statement from an individual Supervisor, but given the inaccurate and derogatory statements and innuendo publicly made about John DiBuonaventuro, I decided to approve the posting of Mr. DiBuonaventuro’s letter on the Township website.  In this case, he was the subject of baseless public speculation simply because he is a Tredyffrin Supervisor.  The circumstances justified the use of the website to publicly defend him, carrying with it the implicit endorsement of the Township to the accuracy of his statements.  It is important to note that the Chairman of the Board of Supervisors and the Township Solicitor agreed that it was appropriate for the letter to go on the website.

The letter will remain on the website through the weekend to give residents and the press an opportunity to see it.  We will take it down on Monday.  If anyone would like a copy after that, they can contact me.

Gleason announced over the summer that she is stepping down from her post on September 17 after ten years with the Township, the past seven as Township Manager.

As indicated in the Township Manager's letter, the contents of DiBuonaventuro's letter carries the "implicit endorsement of the township."

The letter that has the township's official endorsement includes blatantly political attacks, including a mocking tiatribe against Pattye Benson. Benson is a private citizen/blogger who is also  former Democrat candidate for a seat on the Board of Supervisors.

In his letter, DiBuonaventuro says of :

"..What is more important for our community to realize from this example is the disturbing trend which has developed with most of the internet elements of legitimate newspapers and the tabloid formatted blogs like "Community Matters." That trend is that there is apparently no accountability for those that feed on the topic or person of the week that happens to get thrown into the "chum tank" of anonymous commentators.  Additionally the "Community Matters" posts about Tredyffrin Township Government appear to be an on-going effort to discredit our government and its efforts to serve the citizens by creating and fostering an environment of conspiracy and misrust among its limited readership. The irony is that some who continue this campaign are the same who at one time, so eagerly aspired to be your elected representatives in that same government, only to fail in absolute defeat."

In his letter, (attached to this article as a pdf) DiBuonaventuro clearly states in the first paragrpah that he is responding to opinion. "I write to the citizens of Tredyffrin regarding the recent article that appeared in Main Line Suburban Life and the subsoquent opinion blog posting and comments on "Community Matters."

A few paragraphs later DiBuonaventuro, who is also Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman, takes issue with Main Line Media News and its reporter for inaccurate reporting and for failing to ask him for comment on the story.

The root of DiBuonaventuro's letter surrounds the arrest of his former girlfriend on charges of public drunkeness and disorderly conduct. The woman, Suzanne Pratowski, is a also a member of the Tredyffrin Township Zoning Hearing Board. She was arrested in an incident outside her ex-husband's home. She was ultimately found not guilty when two Tredyfrrin police officers failed to appear at a summary hearing in a Tredyffrin Township district court.

Tredyffrin Police Superintendent Anthony Giaimo issued a press release saying a clerical error had been found to be the reason the officers missed the court appearance. A copy of the press release is also attached to this article.

The Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors next meets on Monday, September 17.  It will be Gleason's last official event as Township Manager. The agenda, which is not yet published, will include time for public comments.

Berwyn Neighbor September 07, 2012 at 07:04 PM
I say again: The police have confirmed that in the course of an internal investigation on why TWO officers both failed to appear at the hearing, resulting I the Judge's decision to find the defendant not-guilty, they interviewed John DiB. How is their right to interview him any less offensive than the speculation left to the rest of us? Ms. Gleason could have pre-emptied this entire story with a recognition of appearance of unequal treatment. Isn't the police questioning Mr. DiB indicative of concern? If they resolved it, why couldn't the township manager have come forward. Our new Chief has not hesitated to inject his press releases with passion and comment. Where was that in this case....clerical error didn't cover much.
Silence Dogood September 07, 2012 at 11:10 PM
My regards and respect go out to the people who seem to be subject to repression by Tredyffrin Township in their constitutional right to free speech and their right to information. Pattye Benson went out of her way to present in a factual manner all the background to quell the ongoing speculation about JD’s involvement in the reported incident. She cleared JD of any involvement more than once and yet received this unwarranted attack. And worse the attack is supported by those who should know better. Why is this? It doesn't make any sense. Pattye you are making a great contribution to the community in many ways with Community Matters, Historic House Tour, Paoli Blues Fest, etc. Kudos to you. Don’t let this attack get to you most will see it for what it is. It is extremely troublesome that JD and the township reacted this way.
Ray Clarke September 08, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Agree 100%. Thank you Pattye for all you do.
Harry Hoople September 08, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Mimi Gleason said, "The letter will remain on the website through the weekend to give residents and the press an opportunity to see it. We will take it down on Monday." She should of said, "I reserve the right to look stupid for at least 3 more days."
ZootsuitLarry September 08, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Dear Every Elected or appointed Tredyffrin Township Official who has had anything to do with this (yes, that includes all of y'all whose names are on that letterhead-your name IS attached to it know whether you want it to be or not): GROW UP. This is one of the most shocking and pathetic and extremely revealing displays of petty, slimy, revolting backroom politics every to ooze out of city hall. JD: Man up and grow a set. Awww your wittle bitty feewings got hurt. Poor wittle ittums. Apparently you are not just an idiot, you are also a bully. You don't like what a blogger said about you? Tough, you jerk. You are a public official. You want to defend yourself in an open public letter posted on a taxpayer funded website? Ok. You want to savagely attack a private citizen of the township on the same website just you don't like what she wrote about you? Buzz. Out of Bounds and totally wrong. I am paying for that website with my taxes. You will be paying for that comment with your position at the next election. At least it SHOULD cost you your seat. I'm betting you have a tiny little package. Why else would you show your total lack of knowledge about blogs and opinion about PUBLIC figures. That's my OPINION. You want to post a public letter on official letterhead the township website to dispute MY opinion and prove that you are as big a pr*ck as you appear to be. You're an abusive, petty, whining bully. Just my OPINION.
ZootsuitLarry September 08, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Mimi Gleason: So you think we are all idiots? Either that or you've had enough of dealing with these petty politicians and you are abdicating your responsibility as gatekeeper of this zoo called Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors. If your job, as I understand it, is NON-political you either are blindingly stupid (which I HIGHLY doubt-I've always thought you were a good steward of my tax dollars until now-dealing with these kindergartners on the board while trying to save me money) or you just don't give a crap anymore. Who could blame you? I'd be exhausted too dealing with bullies and idiots like "JD" . It appears that you either agree with him, just don't give a hoot anymore (Hey, you're leaving so what the heck!) or possibly you are sitting at home watching all this unfold this weekend and laughing yourself silly at the havoc that has ensued as a result of posting this childish, petty and yet savage political attack on a private citizen on the public website that YOU control. (i can just picture you like in a scene from the Wizard of Oz peering into your crystal ball and watching these elected idiots destroying themselves while conjuring up an evil laugh mwahahahahaha!") Kind of a fun image and one you'd be entitled to after wrangling these fools on the board for so many years. BUT you also apparently think we are all idiots comparing this letter to the one announcing the appointment of Chief Giaimo. Come on, Ms. Gleason we-and you- are smarter than that.
ZootsuitLarry September 08, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Michele Kichline: Ever think of trying out for the Rockettes as Michelle Kick Line? Yes, that is a childish and stupid thing for me to say. About as childish and stupid as you endorsing this abuse of township power. I wonder if you think throwing your support behind this abuse of my tax dollars will make this idiot "JD" look bad? He wanted your job as chairman, right? Well it DOES make him look bad. But it makes YOU look worse. A lot worse actually. This is not Washington and Capitol Hill, it's Tredyffrin Township. You look unbelievable petty by throwing yourself behind this cesspool of a letter. You are obviously looking to make political points or settle some kind of political score. What you have done is create a circular political firing squad. Good. Every single one of you on that letterhead deserves to be voted out. You are pathetic for allowing a bully like "JD" use a public resource to set a political score. Maybe if you put the kind of energy into keeping the Board of Supervisor meetings under 4,5,6 or 7 hours in length you wouldn't have drive Mimi Gleason to a point where she wants to quit or is willing to put a match to the pool of gasoline that "JD" created on official township letterhead. What DOES "JD" stand for anyway? I'm thinking now it's gotta be "Just Desperate" or "Just Detestable" Wanna post another letter on the township website setting the record straight on that?
John Sacharok September 08, 2012 at 03:30 PM
To all involved in this obviously heated topic. Welcome to the NFL! "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Franklin's Contributions to the Conference on February 17, 1775
Uncle Floyd September 08, 2012 at 06:59 PM
I guess the Offical Tredyffrin Township Website has now become another social media outlet? Does this mean that any taxpayer can use the site for their own personal platform since it is funded by their dollars. Will the site continue to be used for personal reasons since, a precedent has now been set? What official, important and relevant township business was conducted by allowing this personal tirade? If there is a problem with the accuracy of “reporting” by any form of media, go directly to the source. Don’t try and hide behind ones position and in turn, the apperance that the elected and appointed officals are in agreement? Guilt by association? I do believe that this ill advised “abuse” has done harm to all in our townsip and many in various offical capacities are due an offical public apology. However, until the next election or appointments, there are some that display traits that they are evidently, educated beyond their intelligence. OOPS, guess I'm next to be roasted? If so, maybe the township can generate revenue by advertising for the regional comedy clubs on the website?
What's Good For the Goose September 09, 2012 at 03:47 PM
I still don't understand what the big deal is. When Mayor Michael Nutter issues a statement, it's done through the city of Philadelphia, when the Governor or President does it, it's through their respective press offices. They are all using tax payer funded resources to make comments and respond to criticisms. If its ok for them and not JD, you're all a bunch of hypocrites because that's how it's done. Pattye's bloggers begged for a response from JD and when his response threw their own garbage back in their face, they cried foul. it's ridiculous.
Berwyn Neighbor September 09, 2012 at 04:29 PM
I find it interesting that you characterize the JDB letter as a statement. No where in the letter does Mr D acknowledge that in examining the fact that neither policeman showed up for the hearing, our own police department's internal investigation included a "full page of questions" of JDB. So the bloggers speculations were clearly NOT baseless. Likewise JDB can only tag Ms. Benson with the "false statement" that he is the police liaison, and based on that, he reminds us of her "absolute defeat" in a Supervisor election (where her opponents were, like Ms. Pratowski, well connected Republicans). JD should discuss his connection to the police with the Secretary of the board, whose monthly minutes include his report on the Safety, Traffic and First Responders under the "liaison" reports. A statement would have said he was not involved in the officer's failing to appear and that he had submitted to a police investigation to put it to rest. His "statement, was unworthy of an elected official, and belonged on the sites he was addressing: a letter to the editor, or a "in my words" piece in the paper, or even a letter to CM. It NEVER belonged on township letterhead where it carried the "implicitl endorsement" of the BOS. The use of the township website was an act of intimidation If YOU have a beef with the government, you next could find yourself the target of a public letter that you may not rebut to the same audience it is directed to. This is policy, not personal.
Uncle Floyd September 09, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Goose, I was not aware that JDB was the President, Mayor and Governor of the township? I thought that was the Township Manager? The decision she made, as a lame duck, appears to have cooked his goose. Berwyn, TT has translucency or translunacy not transparency or accountability? Agreed, incorrect reporting by a news organization should be dealt with them, not at the expense of the public. Were there facts in the letter posted by the township? Community Matters is not a news or political organization but, they generate serious dialogue of and for the community. Kudos to CM for the multi-faceted investigation into the true, not political, facts! MS Benson did not succumb to personal attacks or the speculative and politically motivated suppositions but, clarified the accurate and actual events by those individuals directly involved. Where's the investigation from the township or would that be a waste of resources to determine the truth? Not only are we being categorized as, "Welcome to the People’s Republic of Tredyffrin", see http://chestercountyramblings.wordpress.com/tag/welcome-to-the-peoples-republic-of-tredyffrin/, our township has become the regional candidate for "The Fickle of the Pickle of Fate You Are In” Award. http://chestercountyramblings.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/tredyffrin-has-blogging-issues/ As Abraham T. Bear said: "You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time and that is sufficient".
John Q Public December 13, 2012 at 04:51 AM
Don't you get it? The inmates are running the asylum and "JD" thinks he's the local count or duke or whatever they had back in the old country. In his mind, you are his peasants.

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