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Former Supervisor Linda Houldin Tells All

Marple Newtown Patch talks to former Newtown Township Supervisor Linda Houldin about life after politics and current issues in town like the status of Newtown Township Police Chief Dennis Anderson.

NEWTOWN SQUARE–After 27 years serving of serving as an elected official in , former Supervisor Linda Houldin tells Marple Newtown Patch she's moved on from politics.

Houldin clears the air on rumors about her relationship with Chief Dennis Anderson and former Township Manager Jim Sheldrake, her son's application for a position on the Newtown Police Department, and more with Marple Newtown Patch.

Read below for the exclusive interview.

What are your thoughts on

I’m really not bitter of losing the election. I’m not sad. I’ve had my chances. I think I did make a difference and made a lot of things happen at each chance I was an elected official (school board member, tax collector and, lastly, supervisor). It was time for me to move on and to be more with my family and friends, and take on this wonderful cause [Houldin currently serves as Executive Director of the Delaware County Historical Society]. I really thank the residents and citizens for allowing me to be an elected official for the last 27 years. I’ve worked very hard and have accepted that they wanted somebody new.

What are you doing now?

My new job, as executive director of the Delaware County Historical Society, has taken many, many hours of my time. I love my job. I love what I do. It really takes a lot of time and commitment. We have really little staff here, so we really have team effort.

Are you still involved in politics in town/Newtown Republican Committee?

Not at all involved—I think I’ve just moved on. I’m a republican. I’ve always been a republican and I’ll die as a republican. I think it’s time to move on. I’m ready to make this [Delaware County Historical Society] successful. The preservation of history is very important to me. It always has been. And hopefully I will make a difference here.

What is your relationship like with Newtown Township Police Chief Dennis Anderson?

I never knew either one of them [former Township Manager Jim Sheldrake and Police Chief Dennis Anderson] before they came to Newtown. Chief Anderson and I never talked–hardly ever. If I saw him in the hallway, we'd say 'hi.' Or once or twice to lunch about a weekly police report he gave us. It would strictly be about that issue. I never tried to run his department. That wasn’t our job. And it takes the majority of the board to make a decision. Is it because I’m a woman on the board? I don’t know. I definitely did not know this man. I did not try to run this man. I did not have control over this man.

When it was time to find a new police chief in town, how did the process work?

[Supervisors Chairman] Joe Catania and [Supervisors Vice Chair] Ross Lambert were actually on the interviewing committee for the Board of Supervisors then. I had no idea who Dennis Anderson was.

When they [interviewing committee] brought the list of candidates to the Board of Supervisors, they brought it down to 4-5 people, as I recollect, they were Lt. Mike Savitski, Lt. Chris Lunn, two other officers, and Dennis Anderson. We interviewed them, they were recommended from the committee. And I remember during the interviewing process I stated, 'Don’t we want to pick from someone within?'

It was recommended by the committee that Dennis Anderson was the most qualified, that he had the most experience, he had great ideas and recommendations and at this time that’s who they would recommend. The board unanimously voted to put in Dennis Anderson. But it was a unanimous vote. Linda Houldin did not know these people before they came to Newtown Township for an interview.

What are your thoughts on the ?

During the election, we all heard that Dennis Anderson was going to be replaced. I questioned it and, of course, they all said, 'No, he’s doing a wonderful job.' I didn’t know if there was a deal going on but I was suspicious back then.

I heard nothing but praises from his work. I really think someone should ask, 'How long ago was this brought up and was it during election time?' All of a sudden, this man was a good man and now he’s not a good man. I mean, why?

This man was well qualified. He did tell us publicly the things he accomplished. He updated the police manual, I know that he got grants (I know that he got grants for computers). He updated the police manual–it hasn’t been touched since the 60s and 70s. He also updated the armory–the weapons were in disarray. He promoted the police to go to the schools to get more educated. He brought the dogs here. I was against the dogs at first but I was proved wrong. He convinced a majority of the board. I was looking at more of a liability issue. But the dogs helped protecting the men and protecting our township. I publicly said I support these dogs 150 percent and that I was proven wrong. Can someone change their minds? Yes. And Dennis was the one.

He was very supportive and all the other supervisors–I never once heard he was a bad police chief or any of these negative things that I’m hearing today. I really think if the Board felt like he wasn't doing the right thing then it should've been brought up. And it’s sad. I think we’re at an era that if you really want to get rid of someone you can.

What was your relationship like with former Township Manger Jim Sheldrake?

As far as I know, he was friendly with all supervisors. It was difficult at the time because we had a board that didn’t agree on a lot of things. Sheldrake got bonuses every year except his last year. That last year was because Catania, Lambert and I felt it was because of the economy. I was never told by any other board member that he was doing a bad job. The only thing I heard was that he needs to be more aggressive. But if you’re giving a manager a bonus every year, it’s not saying that he’s doing a bad job. If the Board felt otherwise they should’ve spoken up.

Them thinking that he was in my pocket? No. Linda Houldin did the newsletters and worked very hard at questioning issues or things that I wanted answers to. Was I there more than the average board member? Maybe. But I did not control any of these men. It amazes me to think that people really believe I had this power as one board member.

What happened when your son applied to be a Newtown police officer?

People say that I retaliated against [Magisterial District Judge] Lee Hunter because my son did not get the police position. Lee hunter first came to me when I was a tax collector in my office and said he should apply. I was not supervisor when my son applied for this job. I was a tax collector. I did not know that my son wrote a letter to Hunter. He was a marine. He wrote a letter in 1997 stating that his personal goal is to become a member of the Newtown Township Police Department.

He worked at the park police for the county. My son moved on. My son wasn’t bitter, he moved on. I even said to Lee Hunter, if my son got a job here, I wouldn’t run for supervisor because I felt like it was a conflict of interest. I wouldn’t have ran for supervisor if he became a Newtown police officer. Lee and I went door-to-door campaigning together. There’s no bitterness between us and there never has been. I don’t think it’s right to bring my son into it when he’s a good kid. He’s served this country.

How do you feel about the township under the direction of the new Board of Supervisors?

I don’t like the direction it’s going. That’s probably why I’m not there today. I think that what disappointed me the most is the Dennis Anderson issue and not because I’m a friend of Dennis Anderson now but I think because they’re hurting a good person and a good man.

And the other disappointment for me is the . When you’re on a trial period, you get paid a certain amount of money to be in that trial period. To go back and to raise his salary now when it wasn’t budgeted...to me, I don’t care anyone in that position, I would’ve never supported that. It bothered me as a resident when you have people not getting raises in the township that have sacrificed their second year not getting a raise, medical benefits going up, economy is doing poorly, etc. How can they say they don’t have money but they found this money?

I’m not happy as a resident. It took Jim Sheldrake 11 years to get to $100K. I’m not saying someone isn’t worth that kind of money but why would you go back when you’re in a trial period. I’d like to know where they found that money. I would like to know short- and long-term plans. They have a right to have their own opinions, and make their decisions and that’s just the way it is. And I just see it differently and that’s how I see it. I’m way more conservative than they are.

Laurie July 13, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Yes, and Arlen Specter doesn't have any support anymore now that he is no longer a government official. Good luck with that!
Laurie July 13, 2012 at 09:07 PM
I agree with An insider - tell your story, Patchy McPatch. You always know the real scoop.
Laurie July 13, 2012 at 09:10 PM
David C. Couper, great product placement <sarcasm>. I didn't know this comments section was used to advertise your book. Besides, reading it now is like closing the barn door after the horse has run off.
Laurie July 13, 2012 at 09:13 PM
I couldn't have said it better. Lies, lies and more lies. Linda, just shut up and go away.
Justin Brodsky July 13, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Obstructionist- town centre - Arlen specter ! Geez Walt , you sound like a man on a mission! Sounds like a scorned idiot speaking. So according to Walt, if your against the town center , then your in claudes pocket! Since you are obviously FOR THE town centre, Does that PUT you in BPGS POCKET? Walt, I mean the obvious hate coming through those keyboards is pathetic! I would love to see a town center in Newtown square !!! And what is with the pathetic LINK! That gives you credibility? PLEASE!!! What is the difference between WALT AND LINDA? NOTHING. PATHETIC ! BI. - I agree with you, Bruce irvine was a wast of money!
PatchyMcPatch July 13, 2012 at 09:56 PM
I will gladly touch on a comment made by Newtown19073. Newtown19073 is right, Linda's son did not pass the written test to move on through the hiring process. She was in fact the tax collector when all of that happened. However, she was a supervisor when she hen-pecked Chief Hunter to hire her son. It got so bad he had his Sergeants interview John Houldin, and ONLY John. As a result of the interview John was turned down~ yes he bombed the interview according to my sources. So Linda got even more upset with the PD and Chief Hunter, hence the whole George Clement/Public Safety Director job designed to replace Chief Hunter. Linda, just stop. Your efforts to clear the air are about as fruitful as George W. Bush trying to convince us WMD's actually existed in Iraq. Pull the blinds closed and bow your head in shame.
PatchyMcPatch July 13, 2012 at 09:58 PM
MN Patch, I just have one question. Who approached who to do this Houldin interview?
Justin Brodsky July 13, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Probably Houldin herself
Walt July 13, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Yo, easy Justin, you're blowin a gasket. That's just my opinion of the shenanigans she's pulled. And it's not just my opinion- I heard that voiced by others about how Claude's development was greased and that she had a hand in it. And yes, Claude has continued on with his bs to stop the towne center. No mission, just an opinion.
Laurie July 13, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Hey Justin, cool off. The "obvious hate" comments are well deserved. How many township meetings did you attend? I go to just about every one and ther are only about 5 residents who ever show up. I went to all three public forums about the town center and voiced my opinion about having no town center. All of the spaces at the Edgemont Square Shopping center were never filled, and now it's half empty.I would rather not have any town center here. Traffic studies have proven that our traffic will be much worse than that at Exton Town Center (Rt. 100 and Rt. 30). There is even "talk" about making Rt. 3 and Rt. 252 an underpass just like at Rt. 1 and Rt. 320. If you think rush hour traffic is hellish now, just wait. Go look at the Newtown Square Town Watch Facebook page for comments about this. Some people on that page are more informed than others.
Laurie July 13, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Well said Patchy!
Jennifer Kim (Editor) July 13, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Hi PatchyMcPatch, Linda approached us saying she wanted to "clear the air."
Local Resident July 14, 2012 at 12:57 AM
You people are pathetic. You bring up Linda in your comments about Anderson and when she tries to clear the air you accuse her of lying. Where are you all getting your info? Let us know so we can tap in too. It seems like a choice few feel as though they know exactly what has gone on within this twp. . . no questions asked. Who the frig cares who OKed the dogs. Why don't you question the raise given to the manager with your tax dollars during a time when we are selling off township owned property for funds? Why not question the 6.5% tax increase this year? Why not question who realy put both Anderson and Sheldrake up for those jobs and gets his way in this township? Are you stupid? Jennifer Kiim, you should be ashamed of yourself!
david jordon July 14, 2012 at 02:19 AM
So after speaking to several officers and other twp employees today, I was able to confirm by facts, answers to Linda's lies. His responsibility for the "new guns" went only as far as signing the invoice, which I understand the funds came from "drug seizures". As far as the suggestion/idea to do it, that came from the firearm instructors (? names) The policy manual was written by a Sgt. who was also passed over the for Chief job that Anderson wasn't qualified for to begin with. So hurah for his grants!! As far as Sheldrake's relationship with her, I was told to just drive by her house any weekend night and you would find his twp vehicle parked on the street, in addition to her daily lunches with him. Hardly "passing in the halls" Please Linda take your 400 friends and clear the air somewhere else! Facts are facts, easily proven by simply speaking to long time residents and twp employees.
david jordon July 14, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Local resident If it was't for Linda and Sheldrake's financial mess over the past years, maybe we wouldn't have to raise taxes as much. Most twp are now raising taxes yearly due to financial enviorment, so we are not much different. The Twp had millions in reserve funds that they spent to avoid raising taxes (to make her and Sheldrake look good) and now we have nothing. So I don't think we really have much of a choice. I do agree, maybe we should be holding off on raises for the manager at this point due to our $ situation. But please don't allow yourself to be fooled by her and her shannagins to "clear the air"
Joe Vandegrift July 14, 2012 at 04:06 AM
Jen, I'm glad to see that you were approached by Linda Houldin to "clear the air" and that you didn't go in search of her for this story. Why does she need to clear the air in the first place?
An Insider July 14, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Thank you David! I don't think most people realize how much they hurt our township financially......the taxpayers will be the ones trying to fix their mess!
Healthy1234 July 14, 2012 at 09:33 PM
I am disgusted to hear the cruel and extremely harsh comments about Linda and John Houldin. It is clear that PatchyMcPatch is such a verbally abusive person. I am proud to know John Houldin. He was a volunteer fireman and served as an EMT for many years in Newtown Township. John you helped to save many lives in Newtown and proudly served our country as a Marine. I hope that your fellow veterans are ashamed of those Newtown citizens that are bashing your character. You are a hero and have touched many lives. Thank you. Stop harrassing John. Linda you were dedicated to your community for over twenty years and have volunteered to many causes. There are numerous Newtown residents that you spent countless hours helping. I am so sorry you are getting bullied. None of us are perfect with all of our decisions and choices but you are a woman of integrity and have tried your best. It is not necessary for individuals to use such hatred language against you. Linda they will not stop until they get want they want! To those that are saying such cruel lies about Linda and John Houldin, I wish you would have all of you facts correct and not twist them to make you feel powerful. Talk about lies!! I would like to know how all of you have served your community! You should be ashamed for your behavior , especially towards a VETERAN. This is rediculous, Linda has left politics and has moved on. She is a dedicated Grandmother and feel her family would appreciate a stop to this negativity.
Gummyman July 15, 2012 at 01:52 PM
19073 resident, You state "You look like a complete fool trying to protect a woman that is so stupid she asks for a interview with the patch, and tells lie after lie, only to have her lies exposed." there is one problem 19073 resident. WHO ARE YOU AND WHO IS TO SAY YOU ARE NOT LYING. 1- Linda's name are on her interview . 2- you have no verifiable email . 3- we really don't know who is lying . At the very least, you can come forward with your real name and gain some credibility ! We doubt that would happen.
healthy1234 July 15, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Jusr returned from church. I prayed for all of you ignorant individuals that have nothing better in your life than to badger and disgrace Linda Houldin. If any of you had any faith, you would know that what you are doing to her is wrong. Although everyone has a right to there own opinion , taking it to another level and attacking someone so cruely is wrong. If you lived in Newtown long enough, you would know the TRUTH about most of the people writing the mean comments. Many cobwebs in their past. Not for me or Linda or anyone to judge though! God is the only one who should be the judge. To all of you who are acting which such hatred , maybe it is time to just act like civil human beings. Think about it, how would you feel it you or anyone in your family was treated like this !!!! Honestly, all of you got what you wanted. Once again, LInda is out of Politics. She is spending her time volunteering for great causes while your harassing and bullying. MOVE ON!!!
Walt July 15, 2012 at 04:00 PM
What a bunch of crass inconsistencies, healthy1234. 1. You say you're a church goer, only God should judge. Yet you call people ignorant, have hatred, etc. Are you judging? 2. Move On???? We know now it was Linda who contacted Patch. Obviously, she hasn't moved on. So who are you to tell others to move on? 3. Are you Linda?
19073 resident, You have been booked for this week. You pick the date .
Local Resident July 16, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Thank you for speaking out on this Linda bashing. We need to remind Patchy, 19073Resident and Walt that THEY brought up Linda back in June when the Anderson suspension came out and they read that there are those of us who think he is a good chief. They are too daft to remember what they did yesterday let alone three weeks ago. That alone speaks magnitudes. She is out of township politics and had every right to respond to negative words you brought up three weeks ago. It looks as though she answered your allegations on all points, your just mean spirited, ugly people.
Newtown19073 July 18, 2012 at 03:23 AM
Let's all take a deep breath and "move on". I for one am waiting to hear what Anderson has to say for himself at his hearing. Personally I think the township is going to buy him out. I hope I'm wrong. More money down the drain.
Buca0630 July 18, 2012 at 05:57 PM
So....I'm still wondering the real reason that Chief Anderson was put on suspension?
Buca0630 July 18, 2012 at 06:09 PM
If they have to, it's because somebody did something wrong, and the tax payers will be the ones to pay. I still don't understand why he was suspended. All politics.
Local Resident July 20, 2012 at 03:14 AM
I think she would love to be out but as long as your buddies keep bringing her up for every issue, thinking they can ride the ugly, lying coat tails of the Partridge campaign, she has no choice but state the facts and prove the liars wrong. Deal with it!
david jordon July 20, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Local resident, Have you tekn the time to read the above post by Ms.Kim? Houldin approached the Patch to do the article, not the other way around. What lies are you talking about? Facts, your kidding me right? Linda wouldnt know a fact if it fell from the sky and hit her in the head! Apparently neither would you! Where is your proof on any of her "facts"
Newtown Square 5512 September 11, 2012 at 09:43 PM
I can not tell you how happy I am,I told him Karma would bite him in the ass, and so it has. He made threats to me right in the police station. He turned his head when I told him who was responsible for attacking me, favors are more important then justice, everytime I saw him smile holding a check from a local business it made me sick, conflict of interest. I always wondered how he looked at himself every morning and could go to work, he had to have no concious. One down, I guess Karma will get the local batender next.
Marge December 19, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Any thoughts about the Anderson suspension now?

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