Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Funny Business

If you're like most people, every week you go to work, pay your bills, feed your dog, play with your kids, and put out your trash. If you are like most people, that is.

If you are Lower Providence Township supervisor Don Thomas, you undoubtedly do all that, and put your trash out, too, but the difference is, who is picking it up?

G&C trash truck pulling out of Thomas' driveway on trash day
As I'm sure most everyone knows, like many other communities on the East Coast and in Pennsylvania, our community has one company, J.P. Mascaro, under contract to remove residents' trash. Unless you can  prove you are eligible for an exemption or, in rare instances, grandfathered from compliance by having another contractor in place prior to 1990,  the current contracted hauler must pick up your trash.

One such exemption is that if you own a business, you can use whatever company hauls your business trash away in lieu of the Township trash hauler. Supervisor Thomas claims that he owns and runs a valid business, Earl Thomas Heating Oil,  out of his home address and is thus exempted from compliance with the Township ordinance, a claim he substantiated by taking out a business license with the Township in that name. Accordingly, he is having HIS family's trash picked up by a private hauler, G & C Waste Services of East Norriton (see photos).   

While it is true that at in the past, there WAS a family business - Earl F. Thomas Heating Oil Inc.  - being operated out of  Don's home address, that business was sold to competitor Jay Gress, Inc. approximately three years ago, according to a principal at Gress. My understanding is that a condition of the sale was that Mr. Thomas was to be given a desk job at Jay Gress, and my sources confirm that not only does Mr. Thomas work there in a full-time capacity as a dispatcher, but that he "shows up for work every day and apparently only ever leaves the office to eat lunch..." Really? So when, exactly, is he running this business of his? Why would he even have another job if he was running his own business?

I suspect Jay Gress, Inc. would be very interested to know that a company they acquired and presumably paid good money for is allegedly still operating, particularly if there is a non-compete provision in the agreement of sale.

A Gress source told me that as a typical rule, whenver Jay Gress has acquired a business, it keeps the old entity name open, but the business address is changed to Gress' corporate address in Conshohocken to facilitate the transition from the old business's customers to Jay Gress. So, although the business name may still be active (and per the State Corporation Commission, it is), it is no longer owned or operated by the Thomas family and as such, the business license taken out by Don Thomas in their former company's name could potentially be considered fraudulent and taken out in an effort to evade compliance with the ordinance and payment of the contracted trash fees - fees that the rest of us must pay. 

G&C trash container awaiting pickup at the Thomas residence
Whether or not you agree with the issue of a single hauler or not, it is the current law of the land, and it's only fair that if residents are subject to it, supervisors should be too unless there is a legitimate exception.  

As an elected official, supervisors take an oath to "serve with fidelity", which Webster's defines as "strict observance of promises and duties".  One would presume compliance with the Township's own ordinances would fall into that category, and that our elected officials would not try to get away with any 'funny business', as it's no laughing matter to the rest of us.


Renie said...

I was solicited by this company when my husband and I purchased our home a year ago (it came in the mail, I wish I kept it now, it talked how about we don't HAVE to go with the JP company). I was so confused to see it since I had read and called about trash pickup when we were getting ready to close on our house. I see a lot of my neighbors using them, I wonder if anything will happen at all.

Anonymous said...

Did the Thomas family ever have township approval to run the oil business out of there residence & park those oil trucks in that huge garage on the property?? Did they ever get permits to build that garage in the first place. He should go back & pay the Mascaro trash company all the money that he would owe!!!! Residents don't have a choice why should he!!!!

Fred said...

Actually Ms. Kearney to "serve with fidelity" is more of a question for you. As a zoning board member who permitted large billboards on Mascaro's property, you were seen at Mascaro's Christmas Party prior to the vote. You had no trouble drinking his booze and eating his food, now I think this speaks volumes as to your character and personal values. For sure, you exhibited poor taste in judgement, and maybe violated the Pennsylvania Ethics law to boot. Shame, Shame, and more Shame.

Anonymous said...

This is what is wrong with people elected to office these days. They forget who put them there and why and think they are above it all. Rules are for the little people I guess.

Janice Kearney said...

I absolutely was NOT at that event, nor was anyone else on the ZHB, precisely because we had an open matter and it would have been inappropriate for us to attend an event sponsored by any party with a matter pending before the board.

Please provide details as to who, exactly, saw me attending the Dec. 9 event you referenced and what time, so I can call them a liar to their face. Why? Because I had major surgery on Friday, December 3, and during the entire following week I was on doctor’s orders not to drive or work, and my family and friends who were there for me during that time can verify that I did neither.

In fact, the ONLY place I went in the week following the surgery (Dec. 4-11) was to attend our zoning hearing the evening of Dec. 6, and someone had to drive me to and from that. Just participating in the hearing was uncomfortable and took a lot out of me. The nature of the illness/surgery made eating and drinking anything a traumatic event for a couple weeks afterward, so no, I was not eating great food or boozing it up anywhere, not even at home, let alone the event you reference.

Nice try.

Fred said...

Dear Ms. Kearney:

Now I see that you are stalking township supervisors and their garbage men. How low can you go, and what won't you do for the Mascaro family?

Anonymous said...

I like the new photo.

Janice Kearney said...

How do you figure that, "Fred"? The man lives on a main road a mile away from me. I and thousands of others go by his house at least a couple times every day on our way back & forth to work. I got lucky one day sitting in traffic as far as the photo goes. Although he does seem to be very careful to put his cans out as late as possible and pull them in as quickly as possible. I wonder why, if he's got nothing to hide? My neighbors all leave theirs out all day and well into the evening.

As for Mascaro, I've said it before and I'll say it again - this has zero to do with them. They are but one of many businesses and vendors in the township I've had to deal with over the years, and I've never done anything that benefited ANY individual or company on the basis of anything other than the merits versus the law, and looking at what's best for ALL the township residents, not just a handful. And Mascaro, to their credit, has never asked or expected me or anyone else I know to do otherwise (and if they ever did they'd find out fast that's not how I roll), despite what you and your friends would like others to believe. My experience and observation is that they've never asked to be treated any differently from any other entity.

If you knew where the tip for this article came from it would absolutely blow your mind, but nobody at Mascaro nor any of their principals asked me to write it. I'm pretty sure they have better things to worry about than this.

I've never been 'for sale' to them or anyone else, & I'm very proud of that and will defend that position to the end of my days - because it's the truth, whether you want to believe it or not.

Is it your position that any business in the township should never get anything they may be entitled to or anything they may ask for, simply because they operate a business here? At that rate, we very quickly would have no corporate tax base at all.

As I said before, maybe that's how you or others you associate with do business, but I never have and I'm not planning to start now. My closest friends know I'm an independent thinker and am not subject to anyone's influence, not even them. Personally, I think that's what offends you and a few other people most - that THEY cannot control me; that I don't defer to what they want me to do.

It's really disappointing to me that some people find it easier to believe lies instead of the truth, and presume the negative position is true instead of the positive, but then again, most of the people doing the gossiping about this stuff really don't know anything at all about any of the parties involved - it's certainly obvious to me they know nothing about MY operating beliefs and values -and refuse to pick up the phone and try to educate themselves before rushing to judgment.

And that, "Fred", makes you and they no better than jr. high school girls - same immature mentality, same juvenile gossipy tactics. Can't we all move past that? If you want to debate further, let's take it offline - CALL ME - that's what adults do. If some people had reached out to myself and others a long time ago in the spirit of trying to understand and respetfully listening, there would not be two 'sides' battling each other and this blog would very likely never have been started.

Fred said...

In the same vain, why didn't you call up Mr. Thomas off line and ask him why he has an exemption from the Mascaro contract? It certainly whould have been much better than to smear the good name of the Thomas Family. Too bad you can't walk the walk that you expect others to walk.

Janice Kearney said...

Believe me, I have tried to reach out over time to certain individuals in an effort to understand someone's position on something or ask a question to educate myself, but have been consistently rebuffed. Phone calls are unreturned; emails unanswered, or I get blown off if I ask in person.

How many times must one keep turning the other cheek before giving up and working around people who don't want to be open minded and respectful or work together? If they don't want to deal with the party or township's dirty laundry in private, it may be aired in public. And many of those same individuals have not been shy about trashing me or others on camera in public meetings in blind, unprovoked attacks. I guess it's only acceptable if they are the ones dishing it out.

Besides, this comes with the territory when one is a public official. Thick skin required.

TFTM said...


How dare you point out a Supervisors hypocrisy.

Who do you think you are?

There are already people doing this.

Do you understand that what the economy is like out there?

Do you plan on taking others jobs?

What will Borai, Brown and Dipolo and the rest of the Insane Clown Posse do for work?

And you call yourself a Republican?!

TFTM said...

And one more thing.

Fred is Comroe.

No bout a doubt it.

I liked your badges for the planning commission.

And you got the police involved in taking the pictures?

Great waste of taxpayer money.

Better dull the edges on those.

If you go to the wrong persons property, it might get shoved somewhere.

Anonymous said...

I find this very interesting b/c I questioned the Twp. Staff about Mr. Thomas being able to have a different trash hauler and I was told to keep it quiet and not to mention it again and so I did because I was afraid of retribution from Twp. Staff. And no one can say that doesn't happen if you start questioning certain people. I can say I use to be proud to live in Lower Providence but I am seriously starting to reconsider that thought.