Manager feels settled in borough

February 04, 1998


Staff writer, Waynesboro

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - Jim Leventry, on the job as Mercersburg's borough manager for a little more than a month, said one thing he's learned so far is that taking the job was the right decision.

"I've been impressed with Mercersburg and the people here. They've welcomed me and made me feel at home," Leventry said.

Police Chief Larry Thomas, who has been a police officer here for 16 years, said Leventry's personality should serve him well in his dealings with borough officials and residents.

"He has a nice way about him. That's important in a small town because he has to work with people. We only have about 1,650 residents. A borough manager often has to work one-on-one with people."


Leventry, 38, was chosen from a field of 19 candidates for the $30,000-a-year job. He started work on Dec. 29.

A native of Johnstown, Pa., Leventry accepted the position not knowing what his duties would be.

At the time, the Borough Council was enmeshed in a flap over proposed changes in the manager's duties. A majority wanted the job duties split, with an administrator to handle inside clerical staffers and a new position of public works director to oversee outside maintenance.

The move prompted longtime Borough Manager Judy Chambers to resign when she learned that her duties would be reduced and her $36,000 salary was threatened with a $6,000 cut.

The council hired an interim manager to run things.

A majority of the council members favored the change, including some who had lost their seats in the November election. Their votes were among the majority who passed an ordinance in December cutting the manager's duties.

Their plans were eventually thwarted by outgoing mayor Tom Ralston, who vetoed the ordinance in his final days in office.

The council's makeup changed on Jan. 1 when two newly elected members were sworn in, leaving those who favored the ordinance lacking the votes for an override.

"They never brought it up," Councilman Richard Rice said Tuesday.

Leventry's biggest challenge this year will be shepherding the estimated $1.7 million upgrade of the borough sewer plant. Bids for the project will be opened today. The work, which will increase the plant's capacity from 200,000 gallons per day to 300,000, will be done by year's end, Leventry said.

Leventry is commuting weekends to Johnstown. He said he and his wife, Maryellen, are looking for a home to buy in the borough.

"She's anxious to move here, but she won't come until we have a house," he said.

The Herald-Mail Articles