This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
Five West Chester residents are seeking the Democratic nomination for the West Chester Borough Council in the May 19 Primary Election.
Diane LeBold is the lone candidate for Ward 2 while Sue Bayne and Jordan Norley vie for one seat in Ward 4 and Jim Jones and Stephen Shinn fight for one seat in Ward 6.
Norley and Shinn are incumbents for their wards.
Diane LeBold (Ward 2)
LeBold, a borough resident, has one daughter and two grandchildren.
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LeBold is currently a freelance marketing-communications consultant.
“I’m seeking election again because, from my perspective, this is a fairly inexperienced council and I think they might benefit from my experience and ‘institutional knowledge.’ Three of the seven members, in fact, are only in their second year and two others are just in their fourth year — which, given the complexity of this borough, isn’t a very long time. On top of that, we also have a new borough manager. My goals include, but are not limited to: Helping improve the council’s communication with residents, business owners and developers in the borough — communication I feel has deteriorated somewhat over the past couple of years; ensuring that council pays strict attention to the recommendations of its advisory boards, especially the Planning Commissions and HARB (in a couple of instances, failure to consider these recommendations has caused unnecessary complications in important development matters); helping ensure that council’s decisions regarding legal matters are informed and sensible, so our legal fees are kept at a minimum; and finding a way to ensure that our police and public works departments receive the funding they need for important improvements to their facilities.
Sue Bayne (Ward 4)
Bayne is a resident of the borough.
Her educational background includes the University of Delaware.
Bayne is currently a contingent workforce analyst at Cerner Health Services.
“Among my concerns are the issues of communication and finance. Previous councils worked hard to maintain an open line of communication with all residents, visitors and business people and consulted with their veteran department managers and experienced boards and commissions before making decisions. Current council has shown poor communication skills with regard to residents and business people. There also has been an alarming number of senior borough management and staff who have left over the past few years. This council has shown very little appreciation for their years of service and experience — experience, I should add, that helped make West Chester what it is today. Finances for the borough continue to be a concern — everything from the ‘small’ items, such as E-books for council members to the draw-down from the Capital Reserve for a prepayment on the proposed Barclay Park. This last item is particularly disturbing because our police and public works departments have been begging for years for much-needed upgrades to their facilities that have been denied by council.”
“My opponent succeeded me when I termed-out after eight years on council. During his tenure, he has done a poor job of communicating with the residents of our ward, and appears more interested in making political alliances than in representing the interests of our ward and community. If elected, I will continue my practice of talking to my neighbors from all parts of the ward, letting them know what borough government is considering, and making sure that their views are heard at Borough Hall.”
Jordan Norley (Ward 4)
Norley, a borough resident, is married.
Norley owns a retirement plan consulting firm called The Plan Advocate, focusing on consulting with business owners and the executive suite with companies that typically have 50 to 3,000 employees and educating the workforce on investing and financial-related topics.
“Improving the quality of life for the residents of West Chester and the fourth ward has always been my primary goal. To that end, as president, I broadened the scope of the Public Safety Committee to include Quality of Life issues; started a standing committee to restore rail service to West Chester; put up ‘quiet zone’ signage that ensures that all residents are aware of our noise ordinance; raised fines for quality of life violations by over double; brought a paid neighborhood watch to my ward; and have worked to strengthen the rental regulations to ensure timely mitigation of quality of life issues. West Chester is a wonderful, walkable and diverse community and everyone has the right to peaceful enjoyment of their homes and public transit accessibility.”
“During my time on council, I have never voted to raise taxes. I even championed and was the deciding vote against a 50 percent increase in the borough’s earned income tax rate that was entirely unjustified. I believe our taxes are high enough already and we should take steps to ensure our taxes do not go any higher if at all possible. During my opponent’s time on council, she voted to raise taxes five times. This is clearly an area where we disagree.”
Jim Jones (Ward 6)
Jones, a borough resident, is married.
His educational background includes the University of Delaware.
Jones is currently a history professor at West Chester University.
“My main issue is parking in the borough. As the borough has grown and become more popular, parking has become more and more of an issue, in terms of convenience, personal safety and extent to which affects the environmental impact of automobiles. With that in mind, near the end of my last term on Borough Council, I compiled a list of every parking space in the borough, along with relevant characteristics, such as location — whether it is on- or off-street, what does it cost to use, etc. Borough officials have already used that list to show how the supply of parking affects specific areas, and I want to see council take it to the next level by identifying the demand for parking. Once that is done, then it will be possible to compare supply and demand and formulate ways to match them up, perhaps by building more parking facilities, but possibly by favoring pedestrian or bicycle traffic in town, improving public transportation or amending the zoning code to create more parking.”
“I met my primary opponent when he ran four years ago and have seen him occasionally since then because, as a member of the Planning Commission and Historic & Architectural Review Board, I frequently attend official borough government events. But most of the people who live in our ward have no idea who he is and claim to have never seen him. If I am elected, I will make sure that the residents of our ward know who I am, can easily contact me, are informed before council discusses the issues that affect them and have their voices heard before council votes.”
Stephen Shinn (Ward 6)
Shinn is a resident of the borough.
His educational background includes the University of Delaware.
Shinn is currently in the service industry.
“We need to preserve and enhance the livability of our town. We need to protect our parks, open space and buildings of historical significance. It’s important that we increase the walkability of our town and ensure smart growth so none of our citizens get left behind. I will continue to be a fiscal watchdog and ensure that no one gets taxed out of their homes. I am proud that during my term on council, we have not raised taxes once and we voted down a proposal to raise the earned income tax.”
“I respect my opponent for his prior service to our town. However, I feel I’m better suited to work collaboratively with the community, as evidenced by my endorsements by the West Chester Democratic Committee and Mayor Carolyn Comitta.”