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Williamson resigns as Lower Swatara Township manager after less than three months on the job

By Jason Maddux jasonmaddux@pressandjournal.com and David Barr davidbarr@pressandjournal.com
Posted 7/18/17

Frank Williamson Jr. has resigned as township manager for Lower Swatara Township, less than three months after taking the job.

It continues a revolving door trend. Williamson was the fourth …

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Williamson resigns as Lower Swatara Township manager after less than three months on the job

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Frank Williamson Jr. has resigned as township manager for Lower Swatara Township, less than three months after taking the job.

It continues a revolving door trend. Williamson was the fourth full-time township manager since Ron Paul retired after 16 years in the position in October 2011. He told the Press & Journal he gave two weeks’ notice when handing in his resignation to board president Jon Wilt last Thursday. His last day is July 28.

Williamson told the Press & Journal that he resigned to pursue other options and for family reasons. He said he was only able to attend one of his youngest son’s baseball games this summer. He has two sons, ages 16 and 13.

“I didn’t feel it was fair to him or my family,” Williamson said, despite the fact that he enjoyed his role with the township.

Williamson became the township’s public safety director and assistant township manager on Aug. 29, 2016, after retiring from the Lower Allen Township in 2016, before being unanimously approved as township manager by the Lower Swatara Board of Commissioners on May 3. He had spent 35 years with Lower Allen Township, the final 16 of which were in the public safety director and police chief roles. 

Williamson said board members were “surprised and disappointed’’ by his decision.

“This was all my decision. This caught them completely by surprise,” he said.

He called the township employees with whom he worked “second to none” and said he will remember the good friendships he made.

He said there are no job prospects in the short term.

“I’m looking forward to enjoying the end of summer with my kids and catching up with them,” he said.

Wilt reiterated that it was Williamson’s decision to step down from the job.

“We were sorry to hear it because we thought that he was doing a good job,” Wilt told the Press & Journal on Tuesday.

Given that the decision was based on Williamson wanting to spend more time with his family, Wilt said he understood the reasoning for Williamson’s departure.

“We did not want him to leave. We thought this was it,” Wilt said.

Wilt said the board would work on finding Williamson’s replacement in the coming days.

“I can’t say we have anybody yet,” Wilt said of potential replacements.

Williamson oversaw township affairs such as the operation of all departments, purchasing and budgeting.

The manager supervises 38 employees. Williamson received a salary of $97,000.

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.

Williamson and two others were selected for interviews before Williamson was hired in May. 

The township has not yet filled Williamson’s prior role of public safety director. Williamson was continuing to fill that role until a new director is hired.

It is more than likely that the township manager position will be filled first, followed by the public safety director position, Wilt said.

Wilt said that if the township manger position is filled first, he or she could have a say in selecting the public safety director, but ultimately, that decision would be up to the board.

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.

Recent managers

Here is a timeline of recent township managers prior to Kauffman and Williamson:

• 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. 

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