Incumbent Bill Scandone is one of four Republicans running for New Hope Borough Council in next month’s election. A resident of Kiltie Drive, Scandone received his MS and MBA from Temple University, and continues consulting after a human resource career in the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. He has specialized in international compensation and benefits, and negotiated contracts for the Pennsylvania State Education Association, among other duties.
Scandone has also been a member of Borough Council since 2009, a board member and treasurer of the New Hope Chamber of Commerce, and a main driver behind the New Hope-Lambertville Friday Night Fireworks program. He and his wife Cathy enjoy walking and bicycling together, and visiting with her nearby parents to play canasta and spend quality time.
Given the time demands of the often thankless position, I asked Scandone why he chose to seek a second term on Borough Council. “Because I’m certainly not done with what I think we need to accomplish in this town, and we still have a lot of work,” he responded.
“I think there are still some incredibly complex issues that are coming up: Our police department is going to be negotiating their contract again in 2014, and under Act 111 there is no right to strike, so you must either negotiate the contact or go into arbitration, which can be very, very costly. The labor negotiations with the police, if we do it right, will take us perhaps another four years. I have a whole skill set around labor relations, particularly on the union side, along with an economic and statistical background that can bolster the Borough’s collective bargaining capability.
“My sense is that over the next four years, there will also be some significant transitions in borough management staff, and I believe that we need the institutional knowledge that exists now with some of us on Borough Council. I like to be over-prepared for things. See that book over there?” asked Scandone, pointing to an overstuffed three-ring binder on the next table. “This is an easy one — it’s only 100 pages. Once a month we get one of these on a Friday afternoon to digest in preparation for the meeting on the following Tuesday.”
In fact, Scandone is so enthusiastic about his job, that he bridles at the adjective “thankless” often associated with public service. “It’s not really thankless…it’s a great opportunity to continue to exercise my skills, and is a superb opportunity for developing relationships with people. If you come to meetings prepared and approach them with logic, then there’s very little controversy. I have enjoyed every Borough Council Meeting, except my first one when I didn’t understand any of the rules,” he laughed.
“I think probably the most important thing we will deliver for the borough and for the residents and the businesses is continuity,” he added. “We recognize we need to keep taxes stable, we have collective bargaining to handle, we have revitalization, we have commercial development, and we’ve assembled a team that’s already demonstrated through experience that we can lead the borough, and we’ve also recruited two other people who will amplify our ability to provide proven leadership and experience.
“When you think about commercial development, businesses and residents, it is an incredibly complex dynamic. And I’m almost separating the kind of smaller mom-and-pop shop from larger commercial developments like the Playhouse, Odettes’s and Zadar’s…they’re incredibly complicated and incredibly complex. So we have to be ready to deal with those issues and strike balances between the needs of the residents, the needs of smaller businesses, and the needs of the restaurants already in town,” continued Scandone.
“It appears to me that the evolution is obviously moving toward entertainment and dining, and I think that’s good. If you look maybe five or 10 years out, you can buy things that these eclectic shops have by going to a web page. It’s economic Darwinism. I think the art galleries will come back. I think Apple Computer and Verizon may be more stable than some of the other stores that come in.
“For me it’s always about trying to strike the balance between everybody’s needs, and where you compromise, how you negotiate, how you address those kind of issues so there’s harmony and consensus for every stakeholder,” he said.
Scandone also sees marketing value in linking New Hope and Lambertville together as a tourist destination. “With the fireworks, we tried to blur the line between New Hope and Lambertville, because there’s only 1,100 linear feet separating them, and you can walk across a beautiful, scenic bridge and enjoy dining in both towns, galleries in both towns…so it brings more people here.”
Summing up, Scandone hopes in a second term to”maintain the vision of making a vibrant commercial district, as well as a place where individual residents can enjoy themselves, walk into town, continue to build on all the opportunities for exercising — walking, biking, canoeing or kayaking on both sides of the river. Where else can you live that has something for every age?”
Concluded Scandone, “My vision for New Hope is that we continue to be the model for how local government absolutely serves the entire community. Could it be better than it is today? Sure, but I really believe the team we’ve assembled is a great team.”