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Local Government – Bristol Borough

Exclusive: Two Challenger’s for Bristol Borough Council Seats Set to Run



The worst kept secret in Bristol Borough became official Friday as two candidates entered the November General Election officially for seats on borough council, county officials confirmed Friday.

Andrew McMillan, who lost in the democratic primary by 32 votes to vice president of council  Betty Rodriguez (181 to 149) and new comer Mike Brannigan will challenge May’s winner in the north ward, Maria Figueroa, who tallied 172 votes on primary day, will be on the ballot in November.

McMillan, received at least 10 write in votes from local Republicans to run on that side of the ballot, officials said. County data puts his final number at 17 write in votes on the Republican side.

McMillan, 35, currently away on family vacation told Lower Bucks Source late last week he was indeed in the race

Credit: Andrew McMillan for West Ward Councilman

“I would say this. I could have easily not ran to start or even gave up and decide not to run again in November. But I decided not to allow the obligations and/or beliefs of different parties stop me. I chose my passion to want to help my ward over the ideas and/or what’s ideal for individual people and parties,” he said.

His reentering the race has been just about worst kept secret operatives tried to keep since June when it became known,  McMillan was leaning towards a second challenge of Rodriquez because of her narrow win in May.

McMillan, who moved to Bristol Borough a little more than five years ago, is a Marine Veteran who served two tours in Iraq, and  fell in love with the borough about a year before buying a home on Locust Street.

We were house hunting in the borough on  a Friday evening, and  as we were leaving,  my wife Alba,  and I noticed a bunch of activity on Mill Street, he said.

“I’m pretty sure it was a First Friday event” he said, “What my wife and I noticed were all the racially mixed couples, and people at the event having a good time. We both knew from that moment on, we wanted to find a home here in Bristol Borough” he said.

Rodriguez is seeking a 5th term in office and declined to comment for this story.

Credit: Mike Brannigan for Northward Councilman

Brannigan, 26 of Garden Street in the north ward is running as an independent versus Figueroa, who won the May Democratic Primary unchallenged. The seat has been held by David Girard, for the last two terms.

Girard said it was time for “new blood” on council thus his decision to not seek for a third term.

Brannigan, in the past has wanted to put his name on the ballot but decided to wait til after the primaries this year.

“Bristol Borough isn’t being heard town wide when it comes to certain issues, we need to ensure EVERYBODY (His Caps) is heard & knows how their tax money is spent. We need transparency and that word hasn’t come out of any mouth within this majority. It’s time to bring it back!,” he said on Friday to the publication.

Figueroa declined to comment on the race she now faces leading to November’s election.

Brannigan, a tile mechanic for the last 4.5 years for Tile All is has been rather outspoken on social media about issues facing Bristol Borough. Last week he started fire school as he is a volunteer at Goodwill Hose Fire Company #3 Station 52, since October 2012.

In the last municipal elections (2019) current northward councilman, Tony Devine, sat out the democratic primary and to decide later, he would seek reelection, as an independent winning his seat back by a small margin.

Brannigan seems to be following a similar game plan.








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Education - Bristol Borough

Bristol Borough School District Hires from Within to Fill Principal, Asst Principal Positions at Elementary School



The Bristol Borough School District announced the hiring of new leadership beginning July 1 at Snyder-Girotti Elementary School.

Schoolboard President Dave Chichilitti said Wednesday he’s really excited about the appointments of Ms. Julie Balcer, as the new principal and Ms. Danielle Leyrer, as the elementary assistant principal at Snyder-Girotti.

Former principal Kelli Rosado tendered her resignation in March, officials said, however no explanation for her leaving in the middle of the academic year was provided.

Balcer began her educational journey in 2009 at Snyder-Girotti Elementary School. Over the past 15 years, she has made significant contributions as a 6th-grade teacher, a 5th-grade special education teacher, and later as a kindergarten teacher. In the past year, she has served as Dean of Students and Acting Principal of Snyder-Girotti, demonstrating her leadership skills and dedication to the school community, officials said.

Leyrer is a dedicated educator who is committed to empowering students and educators by fostering a supporting and enriching learning environment. She earned her bachelor’s degree in education from Millersville University. She completed her master’s degree and Principal Certification at Pennsylvania Western University – California, says a district release.

The duo were approved for the new “official” roles unanimously by the board last week.

Balcer is scheduled to make $125,000.00 per year and Leyrer has an 11- month contract coming in at just over $104,000.00.

Both Chichilitti and Truelove said they could not answer any questions with regards to any personal or social media related comments on personnel matters of any kind.

“As for social media posts not authorized by the District, we can’t comment on those matters…” in regard to recent allegations made and reported on by Lower Bucks Source last week which were commented on by a self-reported school district employee.

If any parent is having some kind of issue or concern, Chichilitti said, please reach out to us. We’re here for the students of school district and their parents and or guardians. We encourage everyone to contact us with questions.







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Education - Bristol Borough

Sources Allege School Bus Driver Left 1 Student Alone, Almost Forgot 2nd on School Bus



Multiple sources over the last week say children with challenges have been left unsupervised at one drop off location and almost forgotten by Bristol Borough School District bus driver in separate incidents over the last four weeks and “nothing” has been done to correct the situation.

More than three sources contacted Lower Bucks Source to say in the most serious alleged incident, a bus driver almost forgot a student with challenges, pulling into the bus depot and parking before realizing the student was still on the bus.

In the second alleged incident, another student with challenges was dropped off out in front of the afterschool program they attend daily, alone for about five minutes. The student in question immediately recognized the situation and called their legal guardian, the sources told the publication.

The multiple sources, who have direct information about each of the incidents said it appears to them the school district is “protecting” the bus driver due to his public role in the community. Lower Bucks Source contacted the school bus driver over the past weekend, and they declined to comment.  A source supportive of  the “fill in” driver said, this is a character assassination effort by a now temporarily laid-off bus driver who the school district is looking into after a complaint was lodged against him by a local motorist.

Meanwhile with the academic school year ending, and the extended school year program launching soon, locals are concerned nothing will be done about the alleged incidents.

Last Friday, Lower Bucks Source contacted School Board President David J. Chichilitti who did not respond to  a request for comment.

The parents of the students involved in the alleged incidents were also contacted by this media outlet and declined to comment.

As one source said Monday, “this can’t stand.”

On Tuesday Solicitor for the school district, David J. Truelove said the district would not comment on employee related matters.

” As these allegations involve potential personnel matters the District cannot provide comment. ”

The bus driver in question will not be identified by Lower Bucks Source at this time, due to the seriousness and nature of the accusations, and the fact that the sources for this story requested to remain anonymous.





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Health - Bristol Borough

Planet Fitness Opens in Bristol



Planet Fitness celebrated the opening of its newest location Wednesday in Bristol Borough.

Located in the Bristol Plaza shopping center on Commerce Circle where a Chinese restaurant had a short run several years ago and the state run Fine and Good Spirits shop that closed last year.

The workout fitness center has a myriad of features seeking to serve a wide but yet diverse clientele. Cardio machines, strength equipment, a 30 minutes express Circuit, locker rooms with showers and day lockers.

Locals welcomed the fitness centers opening in social media posts.

The fitness center will be open Monday through Friday 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 7 a.m to 7 p.m weekends.

Founded in 1992 in New Hampshire the company now has 2,400 clubs world wide

The company markets itself as a “judgement free zone” providing a ” hassle-free non intimidating environment.”









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