Trafford JCP Mock Council Meeting Puts Penn-Trafford Junior in the “Driver’s Seat”
LOCATION: 296 East Edgewood Avenue, Trafford, PA 15085
START DATE: March 23rd, 2024
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May 11, 2023
The inaugural first term of the groundbreaking and award winning Trafford Borough Junior Council Person Program concluded on Thursday, May 11, 2023 with a mock council meeting in the borough council chambers.
The mock meeting was set up as an opportunity for Trafford’s JCP member, Penn-Trafford High School Junior Ally Moraca, to utilize everything she has learned in the program since September and place her in the “driver’s seat” running a council meeting in the role of Council President.
The Trafford Borough JCP Program is the brainchild of Council President Kris Cardiff and the original conception of the program begain in December 2019 when Cardiff was trying to figure out a way to get more of the community’s youth involved in local government. The program was put on hiatus due to the pandemic but Cardiff continued to develop the program. After in-person public meetings were permitted again, Cardiff reignited the project and Moraca was “sworn in” at the September 2022 borough council meeting.
When asked how Cardiff came up with the idea for the mock council meeting, he stated “It was a sudden epiphany one day while I was trying to figure out how to close out the program’s first term. I immediately emailed the council’s JCP committee to get their thoughts on the idea. Everyone thought it was a great idea so here we are.”
Cardiff created a mock agenda for the meeting and assigned roles to anyone interested in volunteering. “I researched meeting minutes on borough websites across the state for inspiration for agenda and public comment items that walked a fine-line of fiction and reality. Most of them were meant to have an element of humor to keep the meeting light-hearted and fun.”
The meeting had four volunteers that provided fictional public comment as means to initiate thoughtful discussions and responses from the sitting “council members”.
“The real stars of the show were Borough Manager Jaime Peitcca, Solicitor Craig Alexander and Councilwoman Pat Bayko. All three of them helped move the meeting along by providing guidance to Ally. But they did it with humor. It was exactly what I was hoping for.”
Among those playing the roles of council members were two prospective JCP members for September 2023, Penn-Trafford High School Junior Ainsley Gilmore and Sophomore Gregory Maynard.
When asked if Gilmore and Maynard will be considered for the next term of the JCP program, Cardiff stated “It’s up to the council JCP committee to make the recommendation and ultimately up to council to approve. They’re here. They’ve showed their commitment. They will have my full recommendation.”
If approved by council, Trafford Borough will have three JCP members this fall.
Many thanks go to the following volunteer participants in the JCP Mock Council Meeting (name, title, mock meeting role):
-Ally Moraca – PTHS Junior Student; Council President
-Gregory Maynard – PTHS Sophomore Student; Council member
-Ainsley Gilmore – PTHS Junior Student; Council member
-Jaime Peticca – Borough Manager; Borough Manager
-Craig Alexander – Borough Solicitor; Borough Solicitor
-Pat Bayko – Council member; Council member
-Steve Perovich – Council member; Public Commentator
-Jerry Scheller – Resident; Public Commentator
-Nina Mulnix – Borough Secretary; Public Commentator
-Matt Harris – PT Superintendent; Public Commentator
-Jesse Dapra – Resident; Council member
-Ed Llewellyn – Mayor; Mayor
-Kris Cardiff – Council President; Cooridnator