East Marlborough supervisor, CCATO president, faces primary battle
By Mike McGann, Editor, The Times
EAST MARLBOROUGH — Richard Hicks say he knows it is, if you’ll excuse the pun, the elephant in the room: why did local Republican Committee members unanimously decide not to endorse the two-term incumbent in his bid to remain on the township’s Board of Supervisors?
“I’m disappointed,” Hick said. “But I chalk it up to ‘the old-boy’ network. The committee chose the wrong person. I’m well respected in the community.”
Hicks, who also serves as president of the Chester County Association of Township Officials (CCATO) and was recently appointed to the legislative committee of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS), said that, in his opinion, personal relationships trumped committee members making the best choice for the township’s future.
He said that John Sarro, the challenger who did receive the county committee endorsement, was a former county committee member and that his wife Penny currently serves a committee member in the East Marlborough West precinct, prompting the endorsement of Sarro. Current incumbent Richard Hannum was also endorsed by the committee.
Hicks said he rejects the notion that he doesn’t bring people together to work for solutions, and points specifically to the county’s 2012 attempt to reestablish a 911 fee on municipalities, which would likely have led to local tax increases in most of the municipalities in the county. Hicks said he and CCATO were able to work with the County Commissioners to find other options.
In addition to his relationships at the county and state levels, Hicks said he feels that his extensive training in zoning and land use makes him a valuable asset to the community. A former businessman, Hicks has served a a zoning officer for various municipalities around Chester County and has gone through the training to be certified as a Master Planner from Chester County 20/20.
He said he was also involved in the cooperative effort with neighbors West Marlborough and Newlin to create compatible Comprehensive Plans for the three municipalities, just one example, he says, of many times he has worked to bring people together for a common cause.
“We’re all good neighbors,” Hicks said of that effort, as well as working together on fire protection and other issues. “By working on this together, we can make sure that we stay good neighbors.”
Hicks said he thinks that Sarro is sincere, but wonders whether he has the depth and breadth of knowledge to serve capably on the Board of Supervisors.
“The challenger is a one-issue candidate,” Hicks said, referring to Sarro’s desire to improve police services, as documented in The Times last week. “I was here (on the Board of Supervisors) when we implemented police services in the township.”
The Unionville native talks about his deep roots in the community — he’s been a member of the Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company four more than four decades he said — and worked to help build relationships on various fronts from co-operative paving deals, standing with other local elected officials to get the state legislature to revise or eliminate the prevailing wage rules for public projects and fighting for infrastructure repairs and improvements in the region.
He said he doesn’t see any need to fix something — in regards to the current Board of Supervisors — that isn’t broken.
“This is a good board,” he said. “We don’t agree about everything all of the time. But we talk it out civilly and reach consensus. I don’t think anyone wants a rubber stamp.”