For most spouses, keeping secrets is a big no-no. But, for Vincent and Barbara LaSorsa, it is sometimes a way of life.
“My husband respects that and I with him as well. He knows if I could tell him, I would,” Mrs. LaSorsa said. “He’ll say, ‘everything ok?’ I’ll say ‘everything is fine.’ "
Mrs. LaSorsa, president of the Hatboro-Horsham School Board, is no stranger to conversations legally required to be kept behind closed doors. The board has been embroiled in teacher contract negotiations with the Hatboro-Horsham Education Association – the union representing the district’s more than 400 teachers – since 2009. Throughout the year and a half since the contracts expired, the board has met in countless executive sessions with union representatives to discuss various offers.
And while Mrs. LaSorsa is not permitted to disclose specifics of the board’s executive sessions, she seems steadfast in her stance that the board made its “best offer.”
“We know what our bottom line is. We know what we can afford. We can’t go any higher,” she said. “To give them what they want – we can’t afford it.”
Hatboro-Horsham Education Association President Jackie Anderson could not be reached for comment.
Mr. LaSorsa, on the other hand, a Hatboro Borough Councilman of five years, contends that the couple’s busy lifestyle takes the focus off of topics that are off limits.
“We believe in taking care of our family,” he said. “We have other things to talk about.”
And, much like the school board versus union dilemma, Mr. LaSorsa’s public service isn’t without its controversy. The council had been at odds most recently over the 2011 budget, as well as an anti-discrimination ordinance that was vetoed last month by Mayor Norm Hawkes. The Democrats that LaSorsa and his Republican cohorts disagree with are female, which has raised questions by some on whether the council members’ arguments are gender-based.
“We are united. That ordinance divided us,” he said. “We have a difference of opinion. It has nothing to do with gender.”
Despite the council’s division on some issues, Council President Marianne Reymer said the disagreements don’t get in the way of the governing body’s ability to handle borough business. Like LaSorsa, she agrees that the council comes together “on the really, really important stuff.”
For Mrs. LaSorsa, coming together – between the school board and the union – could not happen soon enough.
“It’s important that the kids get the best education they can, but it can’t be at the cost of the taxpayers,” she said. “My constituents are senior citizens. My heart hurts for these people who can’t afford to stay in their homes. How can we say to them ‘you need to pay more in taxes.’ "
Because of her familiarity with the teacher contracts, Mrs. LaSorsa said fellow taxpayers on the school board appointed her to finish out Harriet Ehrsam’s term, which expires at the end of this year. Prior to that, LaSorsa had served for eight years, but chose not to run for re-election.
“Somehow or other I got to be president,” she said. “It was not something we planned.”
Nor did she plan to work as a hospice nurse for Abington Memorial Hospital as long as she has – eight years. When she’s not haggling over teacher contracts, Mrs. LaSorsa is probably making rounds to her patients’ homes in Hatboro, Southampton and Willow Grove.
A CPA by trade, Mr. LaSorsa blends finance into his day-to-day work life, as well as his first four years serving on borough council’s finance committee.
Nowadays, revitalizing Hatboro’s downtown is a top priority. As part of Hatboro’s Economic Redevelopment Partnership, Mr. LaSorsa works to bring developers, buyers and sellers together. “We’re making some headway,” he said, noting that parties are eyeing the former Big Marty’s property on South York Road.
And while a sports-loving Mr. LaSorsa and his wife – a long-time community theater actor – have different roles, duties and closed-door discussions encompassing their lives, they do share one task in common: Training a rambunctious chocolate poodle puppy named Petey.