For many years, old-time politicians were quick to tell people that “qualifications don’t matter in politics.” Perhaps they felt that way because most of them lacked formal educational credentials. Frank Rizzo rose to become police commissioner and then mayor of Philadelphia, America’s then-fourth largest city, with just an eighth grade Catholic school education.

But times have changed and, through the years, political service has evolved to where credentials “do matter,” according to a majority of voters as determined by national polls.

But maybe some folks in Delaware County didn’t get that memo.

Those who brand themselves as being “for the people” must prove they have what it takes to serve, which results in many candidates engaging in a chest-beating match to prove their credentials are far superior to their political opponents’.

In the quest to knock out their competition, did Chester Township Democratic candidates for auditor, Stanley L. Dike, and Roberta Hartman, for tax collector, falsify their credentials? Is the information that appears on their campaign literature outright lies? Did they fabricate their resumes?

According to campaign brochures bearing the Chester City Democratic Committee endorsement seal, Dike is the chief executive officer and president of a small, Southwest Philadelphia-based accounting firm. While Hartman reportedly worked for the IRS some time ago.

But one credential that has raised some eyebrows is that both Dike and Hartman reportedly hold bachelors of science degrees in taxation from Cheyney University and West Chester University, respectively, when neither of these schools offer a four-year degree in that discipline.

Both universities, under their lists of academic programs on their websites, as well as other accredited universities, offer taxation as a master’s degree.

Sources familiar with finance and accounting said, “Most universities only offer accounting for a four-year degree. Any other accounting-specific disciplines are postgraduate or masters (degree).”

At this month’s Chester Township meeting, Council President Calvin Bernard, who is running for re-election, was asked about the information on the distributed political literature.  Was it a a possible misprint? Bernard said he knew nothing about the brochures.

With the township solicitor present, Bernard was asked to have his running mates contact a reporter since the reporter’s requests for comment were not answered. He agree. Neither has made contact.

“Credential-gate” doesn’t stop there.

In neighboring Chester City, Chester GOP campaign literature and published news reports incorrectly referred to Republican City Council candidate Emmanuel “EU” Gilbert as “Dr. Emmanuel ‘EU’ Gilbert”, but the candidate admits he’s not a doctor, at least not yet.

On a path to obtain his Ph.D in Organizational Leadership, Gilbert can, at the very least, be classified as “ABD” or “all but dissertation.”

“I completed all of my classes; I’m just finishing up my dissertation,” Gilbert told The Spirit last week. He said the expected completion date for his dissertation, “…depends on me. It can be as early as November, but with campaigning I’m now looking at February 2018.” He added that with his dissertation completed next February, at the latest he will be looking forward to commencement for his doctoral program in May.

While no one has claimed credit, or blame, for the misprint, it could have potentially cost Gilbert his job as a behavioral therapeutic counselor at Chester Community Charter School and also have him expelled from his doctoral program at Wilmington University by officials who caught wind of the articles prematurely listing him as “doctor.”

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