Bustleton starts the summer with new civic association leadership

This is the second in a two-part report on leadership changes within the Greater Bustleton Civic League.

Before breaking for the summer, the new leadership of the Greater Bustleton Civic League held its first meeting at the end of June.

“From here on it’s all business,” newly elected President Jack O’Hara said as he got the meeting underway. “No turf wars, no squabbles. . . the cat fight, reality show stuff is in the past.”

The GBCL’s membership has grown since the May election, and many at the June meeting were first-timers.

Kathleen Lombardi has lived in Bustleton for 55 years. She attended her first ever meeting as a dues-paying member hoping to see improvement for her neighborhood.

“They don’t address citizens concerns,” she said. “The new leaders need to listen.”

Lombardi said she hopes to see this new board accomplish more for the area this upcoming year. She wants the newly elected board members to improve Bustleton, and really pay attention to what the residents want.

Former President John McKeever said he is happy to pass his responsibilities to O’Hara and welcomes a little break.

“There’s a lot of work involved,” he said. “I’m retired, so I had the time to do it, but these new board members work, and a lot of times people want you to be there when they’re there.”

McKeever said he resented previous allegations regarding disorganization and corruption in the GBCL, and insisted that he and other previous board members adhered to all bylaws and were committed to Bustleton.

“When I left in May, the account had $48,000 and now in June there is $45,000,” McKeever said. “There’s a difference. Im not accusing anyone, I’m just saying.”

Asked to clarify, GBCL corresponding secretary Maureen Green sent NEast Philly the bank account reports. They show a balance of $37,400.72 as of June 1 and $36,791.97 after expenses.

“The accountant is finishing the audit and we will be highly transparent as the months roll on,” Greene said, explaining the June 1 balance was on the report handed down from the last GBCL administration. “We are working to clarify tax status and other issues of critical importance.” She suggested unclear reporting might have made it unclear to McKeever how much was in the account to begin with.

At the meeting, McKeever continued to discuss accountability with money and how the members must vote on how to spend the money before it gets spent.

But it wasn’t an altogether unfriendly meeting. As the GBCL does every June, the meeting ended with an ice cream social. Monthly meetings will resume in September.

Laura Robb is a student reporting for Philadelphia Neighborhoods, the publication of Temple University’s Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab.

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