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Antrim supervisor says township running smoothly

August 25, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Just one day after the Antrim Township Board of Supervisors eliminated six upper-level staff positions, services at the township already began to improve Friday, according to Supervisor and newly-appointed Interim Township Administrator Fred Young.

"This shows just how good our remaining staff is," Young said. "They know their jobs and don't need someone holding their hands telling them how to do it."

Young said he spent his first day of his interim position ticking items off a very long to-do list, which included having the locks replaced at the Municipal Building along Antrim Church Way.

Young said he did very little "managing." Securing the township building was one of the board's top priorities, he said, adding that alarm codes were changed as well in case a disgruntled employee tried to "do something."

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The remaining township staff and the public are excited about the reorganization, which began in a special meeting last Thursday, Young said.

At the meeting, the Antrim Township Board of Supervisors eliminated the positions of longtime Township Manager Benjamin Thomas, Utilities Administrator Charles Goetz, Utilities Superintendent Larson Wenger, Roadmaster Paul Barnett, Assistant Roadmaster Robert Wible and Finance Secretary Eileen Strausner.

The board appointed Young to fill in as interim administrator and Supervisor Rick Baer as utilities and maintenance director until the board can hire two people to two new positions to manage the township.

Young, who said he holds a bachelor's degree in quantitative business analysis from Penn State University, said he noticed inefficiencies and waste in the township when he was appointed to fill the remainder of former Supervisor Robert Whitmore's term in August 2007.

The board was concerned about the way the township was being managed, Young said, so it commissioned Dhillon Management Services of Fullerton, Calif., to perform an unbiased and objective study of Antrim's management, operations, staffing and spacing needs.

Former township Zoning Officer Angela Garland defended Thomas in a statement Sunday night. She said "the six employees that have been terminated worked endlessly to make sure our township ran efficiently."

She also questioned Dhillon's study, saying that he was "not thorough."

During my brief interviews with Mr. Dhillon about my role as zoning officer he ... was not interested in learning the details of my day-to-day tasks," she wrote.

Young said the board placed a great deal of trust in Dhillon's expertise and objectivity and felt it got its $29,750 worth.

While the board said in a statement that it voted to cut positions on the recommendation of Dhillon, Young said the board had other reasons for the cuts, including its duty to the taxpayers to run an efficient township with as little taxation as possible.

"We definitely considered the consequences of this move, but we could not ignore the benefits," he said. "The benefits really outweighed the consequences."

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