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Williamson is new Lower Swatara Township manager, moving up from public safety director

By David Barr davidbarr@pressandjournal.com
Posted 5/17/17

By David Barr

davidbarr@pressandjournal.com

Frank Williamson Jr. is the new township manager for Lower Swatara Township, hoping to bring stability to a position that has seen its share of …

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Williamson is new Lower Swatara Township manager, moving up from public safety director

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Frank Williamson Jr. is the new township manager for Lower Swatara Township, hoping to bring stability to a position that has seen its share of turnover since January 2012.

On May 3, the Lower Swatara Board of Commissioners unanimously approved Williamson — who had served as public safety director and assistant township manager since August 2016 — after receiving several dozen resumes for the position. He and two others were selected for interviews.

Williamson will oversee township affairs such as the operation of all departments, purchasing and budgeting. He will supervise 38 employees. He will receive a salary of $97,000, a $7,000 increase from his previous role.

“I like local government. You can really affect change at the local level,” Williamson told the Press & Journal.

Already with township

Williamson became the township’s public safety director Aug. 29, 2016 after retiring from the Lower Allen Township in 2016. He had spent 35 years there, the final 16 of which were in the public safety director and police chief roles.

He officially retired Dec. 31, 2015, but continued to work for another three months, helping his replacement become familiar with the job. He spent the summer of 2016 retired before deciding to apply for the Lower Swatara Township vacancy, which he says fell into his wheelhouse because it was a public safety director position.

Williamson had temporarily assumed the township manager’s duties after Anne Shambaugh resigned in September 2016 following a 10-month tenure, before relinquishing the title to Terry Kauffman in October 2016 when Kauffman was selected to fill the township manager’s position in an interim role.

Kauffman works for Lancaster County-based ARRO Consulting and is a former Lancaster County commissioner. He was paid $100 hourly for 20 to 25 hours a week under a six-month, month-to-month contract approved in October to provide services to the township while still with ARRO. That contract stipulated that both sides had to provide a 30-day notice should a replacement be found or if Kauffman’s services no longer were required.

Kauffman said he waived the 30-day clause when Williamson was selected as manager. Kauffman will continue to work a limited number of hours at the same fee. Kauffman said he was unsure exactly how many hours he would be working for the township, but he estimated it being no more than six to eight hours total. Starting June 3, he will be back spending two to three days a week with ARRO Consulting.

When asked about Williamson’s qualities that led to the decision, Kauffman referenced his maturity and the respect Williamson has for employees. Kauffman said Williamson “listens to people.”

“You can’t really train that,” Kauffman said.

As the interim manager, Kauffman said his role was to keep the ship sailing smoothly and “making sure employees could do their job.” Kauffman praised the quality of the residents and employees and the hard work of the board of commissioners.

Williamson will continue to work with Kauffman for another month before taking over.

Williamson said that some of the biggest issues that will be on his plate are aging infrastructure, stormwater management, government mandates, and laying out a five-year capital plan.

He’s looking forward to receiving feedback from residents and addressing their issues. At some point, Williamson wants to conduct a survey of Lower Swatara residents, but he’s not sure in what format it will be conducted.

“We all need to get to one-team thinking. One individual department can’t solve everything,” Williamson said.

Board president Jon Wilt said Williamson’s time with the township “just confirmed in this time period that he could handle the job.”

“If we weren’t satisfied, we wouldn’t have chosen him,” Wilt said.

Williamson stressed that when he and Kauffman discussed the manager position, he wanted to ensure it was an open process, and he didn’t want to be handed the role without following the proper procedures.

Turnover since 2011

Williamson is the fourth full-time township manager since Ron Paul retired after 16 years in the position in October 2011. Paul, who worked for the township for 35 years, was a candidate for Lower Swatara commissioner on Tuesday’s ballot.

• Harry Krot served from September 2011 to April 2013. No reason was given for his departure in his resignation letter. Krot previously had worked as a manager in the state Department of Community and Economic Development’s Center for Local Government Services. According to his LinkedIn account, he now works for Benecon, an employee benefits solutions company, as an account manager. The township paid Krot $82,000 a year.

• The position was vacant from April 2013 to February 2014.

• Sam Monticello was in the role from February 2014 to December 2015. Monticello was the city of Hazleton’s administrator and first director of community and economic development from 1980 to 1995 and 2000 to 2008. Between his two stints in that role, Monticello was the borough manager of West Hazleton from 1995 to 2000. He also served briefly as Silver Spring Township manager, from July 2011 to April 2012, before being dismissed from that job. Lower Swatara Township commissioners unanimously moved to terminate his employment in November 2015. His starting salary was $85,000.

• Anne Shambaugh served from December 2015 to September 2016 before resigning, saying: “I will take some time off and look at my options.” Shambaugh left her post as borough manager in Camp Hill to take the Lower Swatara job. She had worked for the borough since 2005, serving as manager from January 2014 to November 2015. She made $92,000 a year.

Replacing Williamson

With Williamson accepting the new role, the township is looking for a new public safety director. Williamson will remain in his previous role of public safety director until a new director is hired. He said he expected the search to be completed by July.

The public safety director is responsible for the administrative and operational functions for the police department, is liaison to the volunteer fire department and contracted EMS and serves as coordinator of all township emergency preparedness functions. Go to lowerswatara.org to see the job description.

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