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Thomas the 'natural choice' to become township manager

July 08, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, PA. - Ben Thomas, co-administrator for Antrim Township since 1997, was named township manager last month following the unexpected resignation of Teresa Schnoor, who shared administrative duties with Thomas.

The Antrim Township Supervisors set Thomas' salary at $65,000 a year, $10,000 more than he was making as a co-administrator. Schnoor also earned $55,000.

"Ben was a natural choice," Township Supervisor Larson Wenger said. When Schnoor announced her resignation, the supervisors decided to shift to a single administrator and Thomas was their choice, he said.

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"We could have gone outside the township to find an administrator," Wenger said. "There are some good ones out there, but Ben grew up in the area. He knows it and the people and they know him. He's very capable."

He said Schnoor, whose administrative duties included public water, sewer and storm water management services, offered no explanation in her resignation letter to the supervisors, Wenger said.

Thomas, 49, will assume her duties in his new position.

Antrim Township has 24 full-time employees and operates on an overall budget of about $4 million a year including the general fund, water and sewer services and capital reserve fund, Thomas said.

He said the biggest challenge he and the supervisors face is the township's rapid growth in recent years.

"Right now we're getting about 100 new homes a year and we're reviewing development plans for more all the time," he said.

Antrim Township's population hovers around 13,000 people. Thomas predicts that it will double in 15 years.

He said he is reviewing a three-year plan on future staffing requirements for the supervisors.

The supervisors recently announced plans for a new $2.6 million township office building to replace the one on Antrim Church Road.

The township bought a 26-acre tract on U.S. 11 south of Greencastle across from Henry's Floor Covering Inc. for $1 million. All of the township's government functions will be on the new property, Thomas said.

Construction is expected to begin in 2006, with completion the same year.

The existing township building and land on Antrim Church Road will be sold, he said.

Thomas' duties also include that of emergency management coordinator. He is a member of Rescue Hose Co. No. 1 and is on the board of directors of Medic 2. He is a certified emergency medical technician and advanced life support technician.

He holds a bachelor's degree in organizational leadership and development from Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, W.Va., as well as an associate's degree in administration of justice.

He worked as a police officer in the Washington County Sheriff's Department, Franklin County Sheriff's Department and for the Borough of Greencastle. He also served as assistant borough manager for Greencastle.

Thomas and his wife, Tina, have one daughter, Jennifer. She is a Greencastle-Antrim High School teacher.

Antrim Township was founded in 1741 and is named after a county in Northern Ireland.

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