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Letter to the Editor: Disappointed with Norristown Council Committee Assignments

Councilwoman Dr. Mary DeSouza submitted the following letter to the editor following Monday's Norristown Municipal Council reorganization meeting.

Tonight during the Norristown Council meeting, re-elected Council President Gary Simpson formed the committees that are associated with critical departments within the Norristown Municipality. In those appointments he chose not to appoint me to a single committee.

In my first year on council, I was the Chair of the Personnel Committee and Co-Chair of the Public Safety-Code Committee. In my second year, I was appointed (by Gary Simpson) to Chair the Public Safety-Code Committee and was a Co-Chair on Finance/Personnel and Administration.

In my time on these committees I have been very active. As the Chair of the Personnel Committee in my first year, I worked closely with the then Chair of Public Works, Bill Procyson, to ensure the equitable and efficient hiring of new Public Works Director. That Public Works Director, Robert Glisson, has gone on to perform an exceptional job in that role, saving the tax payer significant money in cost overruns and finding additional grant funding for Public Works projects.

In my second year, as the Chair of the Public Safety-Code Committee I have worked diligently with the Code Department to find significant cost savings. For example this past budget we were able cut the budget 9% from the previous budget cycle, and at the same time hire a more efficient Building Code Inspection firm and purchase a new more effective mobile software in order to database our Codes information. The purchase of the new software will make every Norristown Code Inspection agent more effective and efficient in the field, again doing more with fewer tax-payer dollars.

My hope had been to continue my work on the Public Safety-Code Committee to push to ensure that our ordinances were enforced on obtaining the Names and Employer Information of every Renter in Norristown. This information provides the basis by which we are legally able to collect the Earned Income Tax (EIT) from residents. We have had the requirement of landlords to provide us that information since 2006 but it has not been enforced within the Municipality.

This is not a trivial matter. Over 7000 residences within Norristown are rental units. The vast majority of those are a minimum of 2 units per address. If there are 2 adults per unit that is some 28,000 adults that live in rental properties. If we only collected $100 EIT from each of these people that would be $2.8 million dollars in additional revenue for Norristown per year. Rest assured this is a rough and likely very low estimate of the potential lost revenue in not collecting this information. 

While it is the Council President’s prerogative to decide how committees will be structured and who among Council would sit on these committees, I am disappointed by his decision to not place me on a committee. I do want to ensure residents of Norristown that even though I will not be on a committee I will continue to do the hard work to ensure that your tax dollars are used effectively to make Norristown a better place to live.

Regards,

Dr. Mary (Mimi ) M. DeSouza, Council 1st District
235 East Airy St
Norristown, PA 19401-5003
(610) 272-8080
(610) 721-1053 (Cell)

jeff jones January 09, 2013 at 07:47 PM
You make a valid point I wish you were chosen on a committee. I don't agree how the committee or elections for posts were done. I seen more talk than actions this past year and business as usually this year. The Muinmeter system is also not bringing in anticipated budget dollars either, on any given day the Blocks of De Kalb st, East main and 100 block of Swede st are empty plenty of spaces. How you budget dollars in a budget when nobody uses the spaces Back to Code Enforcement, wish background checks were part of registration of tenants, might uncover additional problems we face
LibertyLover January 10, 2013 at 02:56 AM
It seems that maybe the agenda of Gary Simpson and his pals is to further obscure lost tax revenue from the continuing blind eye towards illegal aliens who have taken over West Marshall Street. Many of the illegal alien supporters like to say that allowing illegal aliens to live in a city does not cost the city money but it's clear from your efforts to collect this info on rentals to increase the EIT amount collected, that hiding this information does indeed result in less tax revenue for Norristown and any other town that provides "sanctuary" for illegal aliens. Meanwhile, they are only too happy to hand out taxpayer funded social services to everyone including illegal aliens. Anyone who does not see this activity as a net drag on any town is really blind - as apparently Mr Simpson is and wants to continue to be. You were not chosen because you are an honest, hard working citizen and that apparently gets in the way of whatever agenda Mr Simpson came here to accomplish and I can tell you it probably is NOT good for Norristown. That's why I left.
big jon January 10, 2013 at 03:37 AM
I hate dr. Desouza, stop whining about this crap when norristown has way more problems especially crime,drugs,corrupt cops and deadbeats.
Mr. Santangelo January 10, 2013 at 03:51 AM
How did this guy get re-elected as president? What has he done for Norristown? Does he even live here? Isn't he the one who sent an e-mail which asked the municipal manager to pin the sandy st mess on the developer to deflect the blame? Dr. Desouza seems to be the best thing For Norristown and must scare Simpson. Why in the world would he not appoint her to a committe when she gives so much to our town?
Mr. Santangelo January 10, 2013 at 03:57 AM
@big John.....what part don't you understand? Dr Desouza brings integrity and a strong work ethic to council. She is trying very hard to overcome all the past sins of previous administrations and get Norristown on the road to recovery. I don't know if some others on council can even balance their own checkbooks! Kathy lawerence has also performed above and beyond the call of duty in achieving fiscal responsibility. I have yet to read an achievement of Simpsons. Norristown has truly lost its way!
Ruger January 10, 2013 at 04:11 AM
An obvious political move. This man cares not for the town in which he has been elected to represent, but rather more about his own political aspirations and his cronies. During his presidency Norristown has nosedived faster than any other time in Norristown history. He has got to be the very worse way have ever had. I guess arrogants goes a long way.
Us Citzen January 10, 2013 at 02:24 PM
I Agree With Big Jon I hate her ass to. She doesn't even care about the code position of her Job. If you can't attend to your hole Job description you can't do any of It. I'm sorry I like Mr. Simpson He does great things for the kids in need. Oh And Dr. Desouza can't be to educated She can't even handle and email.
Mary Ellen Digregorio January 10, 2013 at 03:09 PM
It amazes that after all these year since the Democrat Machine took over that you still think that Council makes decisions. Remember when Councilman Milner gave the public real information regarding hiring qualified employees, the Council team pulled his committee away from him then they berated him during a council meeting headed by Dr Desouza, requesting his resignation from Council. Now Dr. Desouza wanted the Council to find a replacement through the proper channels to find a New Chief of Police and now she is on the outside looking in. How sad for Councilman Desouza to be in the glass house now. Remember they have done this too often over the years, going way back to when Rochelle Culbreath was on Council. She too was left out from committees and black balled by fellow councilmen back in her day as a councilman. But with Norristown being abundant in transit people no-real voters will remember all this Child play Bull Shit to change the makeup of our government. So people keep voting the same butt holds back in on the merit of the phony mail literature they send out on election time. Wake up Norristown Stop the Crazy child games NOW…..We need Safe Street we need safe structures and clean streets….
Tim Armstrong is a DICK January 10, 2013 at 06:26 PM
My guess is, this is probably retaliation for trying to oust Marlon Milner.
Michael January 11, 2013 at 02:23 AM
@Mary Ellen, what are you? A drum beater for Milner? You have so many facts wrong, I don't know where to start. I went to those town hall and council meetings when this all went down. Both of those meetings were controlled by Linda Christian who was then the President of council. Also all of council voted to censure Milner, it wasn't just DeSouza. Milner wanted to hire the candidate that wanted over $100K. DeSouza told us at that town hall meeting what the salary cap was and it was no where near $100K for public works director. All of council made the decision to hire the 2nd guy that was willing to take the salary offered. Only Milner was complaining. Maybe the first guy was a buddy he promised the job to? He always overpromises and underdelivers. Oh and by the way, if you knew anything, council did not have to do a job search for the police chief, they can just appoint anyone that they want. That's why Simpson and Milner were dragging their feet, they never wanted a search to find the best police chief. They just wanted to appoint the guy that their political 'friends' wanted them to. Milner has always been positioning for a higher political office and moving on. Ask him, why has he not bought a house in Norristown this whole time he has lived here if he is so committed to this place??
Michael January 11, 2013 at 02:30 AM
This is so blantantly retaliation it isn't even funny. But it has nothing to do with Milner, Simpson was pissed because she wouldn't vote for him for President again because he has done such a piss poor job.
Durable January 11, 2013 at 02:34 AM
When was Code a position of her council job? She was appointed to those committees. Are Christian and Caldwell cops? They have been on Police committee for a long time... You are so ignorant- and by the way learn how to write a sentence. You and Big Jon should get a room.
jxjipper January 11, 2013 at 02:37 AM
There is a faction on council that feels some personal obligation to act as bullies. They will support all sorts of "bully education" for other peoples kids in school but conduct themselves as bullies. Wake up Norristown. Every bit of what goes on in council is all politics all of the time. Everything is political, parking meters, towing contracts, weed and seed, hiring, firing, arts hill, code enforcement or lack thereof. It's all a game of political chess. Some of these bullies are grooming themselves for higher office with the help of the BCM. If something doesn't go their way the pull "THE CARD" on their opponents. What is amazing is that a council full of ""Christian"" men are corrupt as the people they replaced.
Alma January 11, 2013 at 02:41 AM
@big jon. You are the same despicable person that said all those hateful things about her when she won that award from ACPPA for giving up her entire council stiped for Norristown organizations. She gave money to the Arts Festival, Project 21 Film, the International Festival and Unity Day. All of these are Norristown groups and needed the money. Did anyone else give up their money? No. She doesn't go around boasting about her work on council, but from her letter it seems like she has saved tax payer dollars and that makes a difference to me. @big jon if you own a home and pay taxes you should be happy that she is on council finding a way to cut costs and improve staff performance.
Alma January 11, 2013 at 02:43 AM
@Mary Ellen, sounds like you should run for office if you feel you could do a better job.
Durable January 11, 2013 at 02:45 AM
Amen to that!
Mary Ellen Digregorio January 11, 2013 at 07:42 PM
@Michael as for a fan drummer for Milner you are far from reality…..As for Desoza’s pay pack for not voting for Simpson for President why was Lawrence not black balled too since she also did not vote “YAY” for Simpson? There has been so much dysfunction, disengagement, and utter stupidity among the Council that is spill abundantly through the street of this town as if the sewer plant flooded all over the place. What I found to be funny is that being this was the year to rotate president and Milner was in line for that but did he get his turn? Why they change the rotation after all these years since the New Home Rule Charter took place…..Why Simpson again since all he know is how to put a positive spin on a bad situation in hope that people won’t know the real truth and where our tax dollar are going to? How does he display leadership if he too does not own a home in Norristown?
Durable January 12, 2013 at 04:40 AM
As for the dysfunction on council, seems like the President is not doing a very good job being a leader and bringing people together. Yet, all of them except Lawrence and Desouza voted for Simpson. I guess the rest of them are brain washed... even Milner who should have rotated in, voted for Simpson, so go figure.
Annie January 12, 2013 at 04:39 PM
How on GODs earth did this guy get voted in again? Politics in Norristown are a contact sport! Bring you helmets and shoulda ma pads cause this is getting rough.
Karla's January 12, 2013 at 04:47 PM
What has Caldwell, Simpson, Christiansen, Milner or rooster done for Norristown? Bueller.....Bueller.....
Mohandus Frieri March 14, 2013 at 09:36 AM
Are you kidding me???? Norristown has been run like a joke. Anarchy and randomness would be safer than under the direction of DOCTOR DESOUZA.

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