Advertisement

Never a dull moment in Rep. Fleagle's office

May 20, 2002|BY RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

One of Sandy Hook's earliest recollections as chief of staff in the Waynesboro office of Pennsylvania Rep. Pat Fleagle is of a man calling to ask if Fleagle would get a dead cat off the road.

"A guy and his mother were walking along a state highway and they came upon this dead cat," Hook said. "They called the office and asked if Pat could come and take care of it."

Hook, 53, started working for Fleagle, R-90th, in January 1989, a week after Fleagle was sworn in for his first two-year term. He's running unopposed for an eighth term this year.

Advertisement

Hook and legislative aides David Mackley, 25, and Heather Blount, 28, staff Fleagle's office at 116 W. Main St. Blount works part time.

Picking up road kill is not part of Fleagle's duties, but his office staff handles every constituent problem brought to them through the door or over the telephone. The office receives 20 walk-ins and up to 50 phone calls in a typical day, Hook said.

Last year, the office handled 4,600 constituent problems involving the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, she said. Many involved renewing automobile registrations and driver's licenses.

The staff members help senior citizens find reduced-cost prescription medicines, field pothole and snow-removal complaints, handle tax problems, obtain birth certificates, help new businesses and assist nonprofit groups with grant applications, among other things.

If a problem crops up that they can't handle, they refer people to the appropriate local, state or federal agency.

"A big part of this job is getting constituents on the phone with the right people. We help them cut through the red tape," Blount said. "We see our jobs as social workers," Hook said.

All three agreed that their main job is making their boss look good.

"About 95 percent is public relations work because everything we do reflects on Pat," Hook said. "My job is to see that everyone who comes in here gets what they came in for and that Pat gets the credit for it."

"We wouldn't have jobs if Pat wasn't in office," Blount said.

Fleagle was not in the office during the interviews.

Hook met Fleagle when they were children. He and her brother, Joseph Mackley, David's father, were in first grade at the then-Clayton Avenue Elementary School.

"Pat was an only child so he spent a lot of time at our house," Hook said.

Fleagle earned a degree in political science from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa. He worked in the marketing department at Grove Worldwide for 10 years and was elected to the Waynesboro Borough Council in 1981.

He was elected mayor in 1985 and won his first term in the state Legislature in 1988 in the seat that had been held by Terry Punt, who ran for the state Senate.

Hook worked on Fleagle's first legislative campaign.

"I stuffed envelopes and worked the polls," she said.

Hook was Fleagle's first staff member in the West Main Street office. She worked for a local greenhouse as a flower arranger before that.

"I had no idea what I was doing when I came to work here," she said. "I learned on the job."

The 90th District covers all of Washington, Antrim and Montgomery townships, the boroughs of Greencastle, Waynesboro and Mont Alto and parts of Quincy, Guilford and Peters townships.

It costs about $80,000 a year to run the office. State representatives in Pennsylvania earn $62,000 a year. The job is considered full time.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|