I think one thing we all should be able to agree on is that we all want Eddystone to be a great place to raise a family. To that end, maybe I need to clarify why I am concerned with Ralph Orr as a mayor. A few people have stopped me to talk about Ralph Orr. In defense of him, they have suggested that he should be reelected for these reasons.
He runs dances for the kids.
He has Bingos for the kids.
He gives t-shirts on birthdays to the kids.
He gives out turkeys to families who could use it.
He gives out coats to the kids.
He coaches kids.
I won’t argue against the fact that he does these things. But, I also think there is more to being a mayor than just doing things for kids. I think that just because the kids like Orr does not mean he is good at running a police department. Just because he works in a school and volunteers his time does not mean that he has the capability to bridge people with differing opinions toward a common goal.
The reasons listed above include: turkeys donated by a church and Shop-Rite and coats donated by Exelon. In both cases, the donations will continue for years to come because that is what good corporate neighbors do. They give back to their communities, regardless of the political leaders. The defense of Ralph Orr also includes: dances (recreation), Bingos (recreation), birthdays (recreation), and sports (recreation). All of these things can be done as a member of the recreation board, where Orr and several on his ticket sit. It seems that he has an eager team in place on the recreation board. That group of people have young kids, and parents with young kids are going to be the most motivated to enhance recreation. Maybe they should focus that positive energy on making the recreation center the best it could be. Orr could even incorporate activities for seniors and veterans as part of the expansion of recreation activities.
Imagine how good things in recreation could be if Ralph Orr could concentrate on those activities, rather than having to try and juggle getting everyone to compromise (something a mayor has to do) and having to handle the police issues. The Camden Iron issue was a disaster for him. After all, he had a company that purchased land, received all of their permits, were supported unanimously by a Council, but still did not move into the Borough. Clearly, this was not entirely his fault, however this issue is a perfect example of how Orr struggles in dealing with people that disagree with him on a non-personal level. I liken a Mayor to the Captain of the ship. He has to keep everyone rowing in unison. The Camden Iron issue is a prime example of where he failed to do this. In addition, he is clearly struggling with the police-we lost officers to other communities, lost the bike patrol under Orr’s leadership, and had a department grossly understaffed until Bill Stewart got the civil service commission going to fill some of the gaps. Taxpayers have also massively overpaid the position of Chief because we have had to pay multiple people simultaneously for almost all of Orr’s tenure. Drugs continue to creep around certain corners of town according to residents.
For these reasons, I think it would be prudent for voters to allow Orr to concentrate on doing all of the great things people say he does with recreation and let someone else handle the duties of a mayor.
Imagine how great the town could be if we had Orr doing what he does best for kids as part of the recreation, a Mayor who knew something about police, and a Council willing to work with all of the residents, not just a select few that agree with them.
“To say my fate is not tied to your fate is kind of like saying your side of the boat is sinking.” We all do want a thriving Eddystone to raise our families in for years to come.
It may help to consider that my opinion of Ralph Orr as mayor has nothing to do with the recreation work he has done. I think he has done a commendable job with dances, bingos, and birthdays. He would make a great recreation board member. I just think that there is more to being a mayor than hiring a DJ, getting Bingo cards, and making birthdays special. After all, the Titanic still did sink even though the band was playing as it went down. Orr's greatest triumphs have been with kids and recreation. I think the town would be wise to put someone in the Mayor's seat who has the experience and ability to have an equal amount of success with the police department.