"This site has to be one of the best tools for everyone, thanks!"
-Don Hetrick, Newport Borough Council Member
Q. What is the BDG?
A. The Borough Discussion Group is an online non-legal forum for borough officials to discuss daily operational type questions (i.e., what type of equipment they use, whether they have certain ordinances, and what companies they use for certain services). The forum is not a traditional bulletin board type discussion or a chat room, and when a participant responds to a question, the BDG member receives a separate email.
Here is a sampling of past BDG postings:
What kind of accounting software does everyone use?
The responses were overwhelming 'Quick Books.'
Does your solicitor attend all council meetings?
The majority answered that the solicitor attends all regular meetings, and only three responded as attending special meetings on an as needed basis.
How does your borough handle stray animals? Do you have an agreement with the Humane Society or do you have your own animal control officers?
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The responses were a couple had agreements with neighboring communities' animal control officers.
Q. Who is eligible to use it?
A. Council members, the mayor, the appointed secretary and the appointed borough manager are eligible to join.
Q. Is there a membership fee to join the BDG?
A. No, there is no charge, but your borough must be a PSAB member in good standing.
Q. Are there any guidelines for participating in the BDG?
A. Yes, they are listed after the Q&A section.
Q. We have only one email address at the borough. Can we all use it?
A. No. Each person must have a separate email address so PSAB can prevent unauthorized personnel from compromising the BDG.
Q. Can a new manager simply resume use of the former manager's email for the BDG?
A. No. He/she must enroll per the instructions at the web site. We request that if the official leaves the borough, that he contact the administrator so we can remove his name from the list serve.
Q. I am an elected official who will not run for another term. Can I still remain a member when my term expires?
A. No, only the current officials are eligible to participate.
Q. Are there topics or issues that shouldn't be discussed at the BDG?
A. Yes, the members must discuss information such as salary and opinions about companies off-line due to legal liability. Moreover, if the appointed official is trying to obtain information to be used against their bosses (elected official), PSAB reserves the right to prohibit responses from the BDG.
Q. Can I send attachments if I have a document that another borough needs/requests?
A. PSAB wants to prevent computer viruses, so if you have a requested item, please send it to the administrator who will forward it to the requestor. Also please note that when you have an item most of the BDG participants will request it too, so that takes a lot of your time.
Q. What happens if someone gives an incorrect answer?
A. The BDG is monitored by the administrator for compliance with the rules and will step in when false information is posted or if there is update on the topic, due to news, court case, etc.
Q. What if I have trouble with the BDG in regards to my computer?
A. Please note the administrator is not equipped to answer computer technology questions. PSAB will contact our I.T. consultant first if it appears to be from our end, but he cannot give the member computer technical assistance for his own computer.
Q. How do I know if a certain question can be posted or not?
A. Always check with the administrator if in doubt. The following types of questions should not be posted, but referred to the Research Department:
1. What law states ...
2. Can a borough do . . .
And if someone asks "is it legal to"- he will be referred to his borough solicitor.
For any additional questions about the BDG, please contact Shelley Houk, PSAB Director of Research, at email@example.com or 717-236-9526 x 18.