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Fourteen years ago, New York City native Magdalena Byrne and her husband found themselves moving to Lansdowne, Pennsylvania when her husband’s employer relocated their offices. “It was really a fluke,” she said. “We knew no one, we had no family here – we couldn’t have ended up in a better place. Lansdowne is so community oriented.” Byrne loves being involved with the community. Long before being elected to Lansdowne’s Borough Council she joined the Farmers Market Board, and still holds a position there today.
Byrne is approaching the end of her second term and will have served eight years as a council member, with this current term as council vice president. She chairs the Community Relations Committee and is a member of the Public Health and Safety Committee, Finance & Administration Committee, council liaison to the Arts Board, and was the committee chair for the Lansdowne census. The borough also has a new technology committee that Ms. Byrne participates on. The committee is working on updating the technology infrastructure.
Communicating accurate information to residents has become more important than ever. The Lansdowne technology committee has been updating technology and bolstering online presence. However, it is not a complete shift to online information. Not everyone is on social media, and accessibility continues to remain an issue for some in the community. Some residents in Lansdowne only have access to technology through their child’s school-issued computer. Continuing to distribute a printed borough newsletter helps fill in some of the gaps, but more accessibility solutions are needed.
Byrne is currently working with the council on adjustments to their social media policy. The council has also agreed to create a sub-committee to handle the fireworks display for the 4th of July, 2021. In the past, the local non-profit called Union Athletic Association (UAA) funded the fireworks display with donations. Unfortunately, donations and membership have been dwindling over the years and COVID-19 was the last straw. As Byrne had been a regular volunteer with UAA in her pre-council days, it seemed logical for her to spearhead the subcommittee for 2021. Currently, council president Benjamin Hover is putting together an Arts & Culture committee, who are expected to take over the July 4th 2022 fireworks event.
When asked if she sees herself on council five years from now, Byrne says she isn’t sure.
“It’s hard – easy to burn out. It’s a second 40-hour per week job, and it’s hard not being able to please everyone. In a small town like Lansdowne, people are going to let you know.” Byrne assures that loves her community and will always be involved, she just doesn’t know in what capacity.
As all council positions are volunteer based, Byrne works for Comcast, the area’s largest employer. After recently receiving a promotion, she will move from cable compliance to cyber security.