Challenger earns GOP endorsement for supervisor
By Mike McGann, Editor, the Times
EAST MARLBOROUGH — John Sarro is, if you’ll excuse the pun, seeing signs that the township needs a new supervisor who is better at bringing people together to work for long-term solutions.
Sarro and incumbent supervisor Richard Hannum won the endorsement of the local Republican Party Committee and are seeking the GOP nomination for two spots on the township Board of Supervisors in the May 21 primary election. Incumbent Richard Hicks is also seeking reelection, but did not get the party endorsement. No Democrat has filed to run for supervisor this year.
As a small business owner who runs a township-based sign company, Sarro says he knows a great deal about working with people, something he’s developed during the two decades he’s grown his operation from nothing to a thriving operation.
Generally speaking, he’s a fan of the way the township has been operated.
“I think we have some great people on the Board of Supervisors,” Sarro said, specifically mentioning his running mate, Hannum.
But, he said, there apperars to be some dissatisfaction with Hicks, who also serves as president of Chester County Association of Township Officials (CCATO). He points to the fact that the local Republican Committee voted unanimously to endorse him and Hannum as a sign that Hicks no longer enjoys broad support in the community.
“It’s a matter of approach,” Sarro said. “I want to bring people together, find solutions, the way you would running a business.”
He said he wants to improve relations with the school district — both of his kids graduated from Unionville High School and his grandchildren will soon attend the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District, as well as with neighboring towns to work jointly on issues such as fire protection and other regional issues.
But one issue he feels strongly about is the growing concern over heroin use in the area — pointing specifically to the stories about the young Kennett Square woman, Kacie Rumford who died in March of a heroin overdose.
Acknowledging that the drug — and other drugs — are an increasing concern in the area and the township, Sarro said he’d like to find a way to increase police presence in the community.
“We have a great officer in (Lt. Robert) Clarke,” he said. “He has a really great rapport with the kids — so if elected, I’d be looking for a way to increase his hours.”
Sarro grants that adding headcount to the local police is not really an option because of financial concerns ranging from added anticipated costs from storm water management, ongoing litigation and an ongoing reduction in tax revenue because of the economic downturn. But he thinks that with a small additional amount of money, the township could make Clarke more effective in battling the drug issue and working with the township’s youth.
Another priority is that he feels it is important that residents and local businesses be treated with respect — a concern he’s seen in working on behalf of various local companies attempting to get signs approved. He said he feels that sometimes those processes feel more adversarial than they should.
In his business, Sarro said, he deals with a large number of municipalities around the region, and both the good and bad experiences have educated him about he feels the township should conduct its business.
“I’ve seen the good and the bad,” he said, noting that East Marlborough doesn’t usually fall into the latter category, but that there is always room for improvement.