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Lansdale Council VP Accused of Putting Political Career Ahead of Borough in Public Shaming

During public comment Wednesday, Communication Commission member Rick Murphy accused Steve Malagari of playing party politics and siding with council President Jack Hansen for future political endeavors.

Lansdale Borough Vice President Steve Malagari. Photo: Twitter.com.
Lansdale Borough Vice President Steve Malagari. Photo: Twitter.com.

A member of the Lansdale Borough Communication Commission publicly shamed Lansdale Council Vice President and Economic Development Committee member Steve Malagari at council’s work session Wednesday, accusing him of playing party politics by siding with council President Jack Hansen for potential future political endeavors.

During the public comment period, Rick Murphy, a resident of Cedar Street, told Malagari that he does not put Lansdale first and was disappointed in his support of Hansen for president at this month’s reorganization meeting.

Malagari works as a senior account executive at Warrior Diamond Inc., a concrete and stone cutting solution firm in Conshohocken, whose CEO is Nathaniel Webster. Coincidentally, Webster was also the campaign manager for Hansen’s unsuccessful State Representative run against Republican Bob Godshall in 2008.

“I, unfortunately, am a constituent of Steve Malagari,” Murphy said. “I should be at home, tending to my wife, my newborn and my toddler, but I am here tonight because one of my councilmen last week made an irresponsible vote.”

Murphy said he thought he knew Malagari quite well, but never realized how well he knew him until his vote for Hansen instead of Jason Van Dame for the presidency.

“I have even said to you, Steve, that I felt sorry for you when it came to this time. I thought you were for Lansdale instead of your own political career,” Murphy said.

Murphy mentioned a conversation he and Malagari had on a train ride home from Philadelphia with the topic of running against Godshall for his 53rd District seat.

“I knew, within the first two months of being on council, you wanted to run against Bob Godshall,” Murphy said. “You even asked me if I would consider running against him. I said ‘no,’ and I asked you the same question, and you said ‘yeah.’”

Murphy said Malagari’s status as councilman, at that time, was a stepping stone. Being voted as vice president at last week’s reorganization meeting, he said, was another stepping stone.

Murphy continued berating Malagari, bringing up two other examples of Malagari’s alleged foibles as councilman and committee member to put Lansdale first.

Murphy said that, in May 2013, during a joint session of the Communication Commission and Economic Development Committee where they interviewed consultants for the borough’s website redesign, Malagari missed interviewing three of the consultants because he was at the gym.

 “I have the email here stating what day we were to meet and at what time,” Murphy said.

The third example Murphy revealed to the public occurred in October 2013, he said. At that time, a joint selection committee comprised of Economic Development Committee and Communication Commission members met with the website consultant, he said.

“You never told anyone you were going to be late and showed up with five minutes left in the meeting,” he said. “You have a Smartphone; you should have let someone know.”

Murphy said he trusted Malagari and voted for him in November 2011.

“When you run for re-election this time, I’m not going to vote for you,” he said.

“I don’t know what deal you made with Jack (Hansen), whether you’re not going to be Primaried—unlike what happened with (Councilwoman) Mary (Fuller) this year—or if you’re going to be put on the ballot to run against Godshall,” Murphy said. “Just remember this Steve: Any vote you make that is against Jack, he has leverage over you.”

Murphy told Malagari, any time he does not vote for Hansen’s way, he will potentially be Primaried next year or won’t be on the ballot for a State Representative race.

Being “Primaried” means an incumbent is challenged on the grounds that he or she is not adequately partisan. In many cases, it can involve a wealthy political backer supporting someone from the same party who will publicly bash and oppose said incumbent.

“I told you, I don’t play party politics and I don’t have the time,” Murphy said. “I want what’s best for Lansdale in Ward One, and, right now, that’s not you.”

Murphy said, if Malagari, a Democrat, put Lansdale first, he would back him and do all he could for him, just like he did for the 2013 re-elections of Democrat Fuller and Independent Van Dame.

“You did not. You put your own political career ahead of Lansdale. You lost my vote,” Murphy said. “I hope everyone that voted for Mary and Jason will vote against you next time. You burned a bridge last week and that’s one thing I’m truly sorry about.”

Malagari had no comment after the meeting.

The Voice January 17, 2014 at 07:09 PM
Sorry Mr. Sawyer, but Mr. Van Dame did get re-elected, by a large margin I might add. As for crybaby wanna be politicians, explain how people who want what is best for their community are crybabies? Mr. Malagari choose to support a person who is not well liked by many in Lansdale for President. He knew going into the reorganization meeting that many of his constituents and some from the Lansdale Democratic Party did not want Jack Hansen as President. He has divided a party that was once strong and many feared he could and would do the same to Lansdale. Mr. Malagari decided to go against all this because he did not want to burn his bridges with the County Democrats. Sometimes in life you have to stand on principal and do what you know is right for your community even if you now that it could effect you politically. Mr. Malagari chose his path and when he runs for office whether it be for Council or State Rep. The voters will remember where his true alliance is and it's not with the people he represents.
tom sawyer January 17, 2014 at 09:25 PM
Most of you people don't even know why you don't support Hansen the last crew of hey hand cost more tan they were ever worth and did the same thing you complain about Hansen for been here 63 years and the council just gets worse every election. Our hole in the wall makes Philly look heaven sent. They spent 6 million for main st and it's still a hole now they put in a route to go around main st what's next one way out?
tom sawyer January 17, 2014 at 09:28 PM
Some times you have to grow up and shut up. Lansdale is getting just like Washington dysfunctional and no hope in sight just gets worse never better it's the worst it's ever been
tom sawyer January 17, 2014 at 09:30 PM
Do these clowns really think they qualify for Harrisburg or Washington? Never happen in a million years to much dirty laundry hanging in public if you can't get along then move on
The Voice January 18, 2014 at 03:23 PM
Once again Mr. Sawyer you show your ignorance and very bad spelling. The previous Council left Lansdale with a surplus and received awards from the County and State for their fiscal responsibility. They also only changed the Soliciter and the Borough Manager unlike Mr. Hansen who wants to change everything and even add a few so he can give everyone who contributed to his PAC or ran unsuccessfully for office in the Borough a job in Borough Government. Far different than the last group. As far as why most hate Mr. Hansen is because he will outright lie to your face while all the while smiling and telling you to trust him as he is sticking a knife in your back at the same time. He says he is for Lansdale, but yet his votes over the last four years prove otherwise.

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