Monday, October 12, 2009

Richard M. Kirkner - Candidate for Phoenixville Borough Council, North Ward

Several weeks ago, as a service to the Phoenixville community, I extended an invitation through the local Democratic and Republican Committees to host candidate statements on this blog.

Those candidates who respond, by sending information to be published, indicate their intention to reply to any questions or comments as they deem necessary.

As this is an excellent opportunity for the public to ask questions and receieve answers, I ask that you please be courteous and mindful of past practice on this board.

Rich Kirkner, Democrat incumbent from the North Ward, is the first and currently the only candidate to submit a statement.


Rich Kirkner for North Ward
Phoenixville Borough Council

I’m seeking re-election as the North Ward representative on Phoenixville Borough Council because we have much unfinished work ahead of us. Our accomplishments over the past four years include:

The new Gay Street Bridge

New life for the former Polychem factory as the Phoenixville Education Center

Friendship Field has been saved as a public park

Andre Thornton Park reconstruction

I also ask to be a voice for prudent fiscal management. As former Finance Committee chair, I supported practices that increased the borough’s fund balance $750,000 one year.

In these difficult economic times, municipal governments must learn to do more with less. We must closely examine any non-essential cost. I’ve successfully advocated for a hiring freeze through 2010, and cast the lone vote to freeze wages of non-union staff through 2010. I will continue to seek spending cuts until the economy shows signs of recovery. Sure I’m a Democrat, but I’ve made no secret about my fiscal conservatism.

In the next few years, Council will be asked to make these important decisions:

Adopt a new Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance. I’d like to apply my zoning and planning knowledge to fight for a plan that preserves the integrity of our most valued asset—our residential neighborhoods—and preserves the diverse commercial character of downtown.

New labor agreements. Existing labor agreements expire in 2010. I promise to raise my voice to advocate for contracts that reflect today’s economic realities.

Complete work on our parks. Now that Friendship Field and Veteran’s Park (on Mowere Road) have been preserved for recreation, we must take the next step: Complete the construction of fields at these parks. I will provide a strong voice to do so.

I came to Phoenixville 30 years ago as a young newspaper reporter. My wife Maureen and I have lived in the North Ward since 1992. Maureen is the daughter of Eugene and Mary Rose (McGuigan) Sakal of Phoenixville, and we have three children—John, 24; Robert, 21; and Hannah, 18 — all fourth-generation Phoenixvillians. We belong to Sacred Heart Church, where I’m a lector and former CCD teacher.

I make my living as a writer, editor and communications consultant. I grew up in Frazer and graduated from Great Valley High School. I’m also a graduate of Gannon University in Erie, PA. Some of you may even know my parents, Robert and Amelia (D’Antonio) Kirkner of Frazer. My father is a charter and life member of the Chester Valley Sportsmen’s Association, whose advocacy helped preserve the Valley, French and Pickering creeks.

I don’t believe in grand promises. I’ve been around long enough to know that one voice can only do so much. My sole pledge is to stick to my principles, raise my voice and make informed decisions that serve the best interests of we who make our homes here.

I always welcome input and feedback. You may call me at 610-935-1397, or e-mail me at


Anonymous said...

Questions for candidates:
1. Your personal opinion of the Library's expansion plans?
2. Development of the Phoenix Iron Co.'s land?
3. Trash hauling fees?
4. Enforcement of traffic, parking, pedestrian crossings, and other safety laws?

Anonymous said...

wage freeze for non union workers? thats stupid. its the union workers who have this town in the mess its in for the last 30 years

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a smart man. Assuming he's against the liar-brary? Then he's got my vote.

R.M. Kirkner said...

Hey Anonymous 1:

Direct answers:
1. I oppose selling Second Avenue for $1, closing the street and letting the Library build on it. I'm opposed to doing that on any street, for any $1, for any building.
2. Three words: commercial, commercial, commercial.
3. They've held steady for three years--lower now than they would have been had we chosen the private hauler.
4. Of course, I'm in favor of equal enforcement of all laws--and as an avid pedestrian, especially at crosswalks.

Hope that answers your questions.

R.M. Kirkner said...

Hey Anonymous 2:

I think the reason for the wage freeze for non-union workers is obvious. Union employees have contracts through 2010 that guarantee wage increases.

Anonymous said...

why should non union workers be punished for the union workers lack of work ethics, and past problems?

Anonymous said...

Mr Kirkner,

You claim to make informed decisions. How did you come to the decision to support the HUD housing project at Starr and Bridge Streets after reading the hundres of pages of legal paperwork regarding the actual ownership, authentic lease and proof that the land was not for sale by the owners of record?

After council changed the zoning - while they had all the facts and proof to make an educated decison, they falter and state they had to do this for the town and approve the application.

This project should not have proceeded to this stage if you did your homework. This project should have never been approved for zoning changes if you had done your homework.

Who will pay the legal bills for the uneducated decisions on behalf of the town?