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Fleagle, staff moving on to new challenges

December 26, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

BLUE RIDGE SUMMIT, Pa. - On a routine spraying early one Monday morning, a pest control specialist was surprised to find his old friend and former state representative seated at a desk in the Blue Ridge Fire Hall.

"I planned on doing something like this when I retired. I just didn't plan on retiring so quickly from government service," Patrick Fleagle told the exterminator.

Their conservation took place less than two months after the election in which Fleagle lost the 90th House District seat he held for 18 years. Fellow Republican Todd A. Rock, who carried the election by 1,702 votes, will be sworn in early next month.

Life after politics, Fleagle has found, affords more time for family, fewer phone calls to his house and a chance to embark on a new job that capitalizes on leadership, organizational and financial management skills. The political life is packed in boxes in his attic, but he will rummage through them soon - if for nothing more than family pictures that could adorn the new desk.

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Fleagle's position as administrator of Blue Ridge Fire and Rescue Co. started in mid-December, affording him about two weeks of downtime after public service. Fleagle admits he was looking forward to a longer break, but said the two weeks drove him crazy.

The 55-year-old spent his first week at the fire hall working outside his shift to acclimate himself to the position and organize the office.

"Because it's a small company, a lot of the information here is diffused and hard to get to," he said.

Duties now include finances, administrative reports, payroll, committee coordination and information for the officers. Fleagle, a licensed emergency medical technician and nationally-certified paramedic, also runs ambulance calls.

"I'm really here in support of the officers and members. ... I just feel this is where I belong," Fleagle said.

The 1969 graduate of Waynesboro Area Senior High School has stressed in recent weeks that he feels blessed about how things have turned out, noting the Democrats' control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives means he would have lost his anticipated chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee.

"Pat Fleagles are a dime a dozen. They come and go," Fleagle said, adding that he feels there is going to be "general turmoil" in the state Capitol resulting from changes in power. He worries about projects already in the works.

David Mackley, who worked for Fleagle over the past six years, also used the word "blessed" when describing his recent professional transition. Mackley accepted a Franklin County (Pa.) Area Development Corp. position with the business retention and expansion program.

"I'm looking forward to getting into something new," Mackley said. "Learning all the ropes is taking up most of my time right now."

Sandy Shook, who worked for Fleagle through all nine terms, will be working for newly-elected state Rep. Dan Maul in Adams County, Pa., and Heather Blount accepted a job with Mercersburg (Pa.) Academy, Fleagle said.

"We're all in different areas now that involve people, helping people," Fleagle said.

One of Fleagle's primary focuses as an administrator has been consolidating files and information into a system that can be understood by everyone, saying that "you kind of work yourself out of a job if you're smart enough." He also wants to reinvigorate the department's fundraisers, which include bingos and carnivals held within the mountaintop community.

"I'm not going to change the world, but I'm going to change this corner of the world," Fleagle said.

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