Steve Lucas Seeks To Return Trust To Kennett Township — Lisa Moore’s embezzlement of $3.249 million from Kennett Township came to light in early 2019 after the township’s bank asked why it was spending money in France.
Ms. Moore, the township manager, was vacationing there.
She would confess the embezzlement which occurred over her nine-year tenure. She had started with the township in 1997 and worked her way to the top job.
Kennett got $1 million back from Ms. Moore and another million from an insurance bond. There is, however, more than a million the township will likely never see. That’s real pain for a place with an 8,300 population.
The lackadaisical attitude to finances and indifference to accepting responsibility got a Republican on the previously all Democrat Board of Supervisors when Geoffrey Gamble beat incumbent Whitney Hoffman in 2021.
Tuesday’s race may flip the board to R.
Incumbent Scudder Stevens chose not to seek another term so Democrat Pat Muller and Republican Steven Lucas are battling to be his replacement.
Kennett supervisors serve six year with one elected every two years.
Lucas is a wealth manager in a partnership with a private firm. He got an electrical engineering degree from the University of New Hampshire via ROTC. He then spent nine years in the Army leaving as captain and company commander of a communication unit.
After getting out, he worked for a Japanese firm building fiber optic equipment while getting an MBA from the University of Texas and that led him to his 18-year career in finance.
“I liked math,” he said.
The supervisors’ attitude towards fiscal issues inspired his campaign.
Like many, he was angered by the Moore matter.
“I don’t feel there was an accountability that happened from the three supervisors that were in charge,” he said. “None of them took responsibility for it. All three of them should have resigned.”
He notes that present supervisors seem to live in a bubble and don’t seem to really consider the needs of the citizens.
Kennett has low crime, for instance, and just a few short years ago had no police department relying on State Police.
Now, it has a 9-member department with talk about taking it up to 16 members.
That’s a pretty big expense for an 8,300 bedroom, quasi-rural community.
And then there’s the proposed hiking trail at Chandler Mill Road.
“We see the township spending money on what we think are basically luxury items. For example, we spent $300,000 on consultants for building a trail. We haven’t actually built the trail. Who knows how much the trail is going to cost.”
Is that the best way to spend $300K?
Lucas notes that a visit to Kennett Area Community Services (KACS), which is a private non-profit, revealed to him that 490 township residents a month use it to get food.
Three hundred thousand would go along way into keeping the township’s needy fed.
The only thing the township has done for KACS is give one payment of $5,000 and waive permit fees.
Lucas says it is estimated that KACS provided $480,000 of support to Kennett Township residents just last year.
For what it’s worth, we suspect that there are competent people in the community who would volunteer to design a trail and what they designed would cost a lot less than by those not using their own money.
Maybe the biggest issue for Lucas is the apparent indifference to the wants of the residents by the supervisors.
Voters don’t trust the township because they are frustrated with it and have no faith that they are going to be listened to, he said.
“I’m here to break that wall down and listen to the residents and get their voices heard.”
Steve Lucas Seeks To Return Trust To Kennett Township