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From the Desk of County Commissioner
 Randy Phiel

(1/2012) On November 8, after an unusually enthusiastic and well publicized eleven month campaign season for Adams County Commissioner, Adams County voters elected myself and fellow Republican Jim Martin, and Democrat Marty Qually to the next Board of Adams County Commissioners. This will be the first all new board of Adams County Commissioners in fifty years. The swearing in ceremony will be held on Friday, December 30th at 1PM at the courthouse in the historic courtroom. All residents are invited to attend. If you have not ever been in the old courtroom, it is a beautiful Adams County historic resource. I would highly recommend you experience it. On a related note our new board is already working on some ideas to make the old courtroom more accessible to the public on a regular basis. The new board’s first official day of work in the courthouse will be Tuesday, January 3rd beginning with the mandated re-organization meeting at 9AM. At the re-organization meeting, we will be selecting a Commissioner Chair, Commissioner Vice-Chair, announce appointments to numerous committees, and appoint or re-appoint various "at will" officials. Regular commissioners meeting will be held every other Wednesday at 9AM - with workshops on the opposite Wednesday.

I am happy to report to you that your three new commissioners, after taking a very short breath following the general election, have been continually meeting and working together since mid-November to make the transition into office as smooth as possible for the residents of Adams County. In November we attended the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania general conference. In conjunction with the conference we also attended two days of informative workshops for newly elected commissioners. We have been meeting with the county manger, judges, department directors, boards and other county staff as part of an orientation and information exchange initiative. The three of us have had numerous meetings to define our own personalities, goals, management and operation objectives. As a result we will not be walking in the front door on January 3rd introducing ourselves to one another and core staff members. On the other hand we have no illusion that we will have plenty to learn – and will continue to work both hard and smart to achieve the best management results for our residents. I applaud my fellow commissioners for their contribution to our effort in getting out of the blocks as quickly and effectively as possible.

A major objective of this new board before taking office has been to identify and discuss key strategic areas of concern for Adams County. Although this initiative should be a constant work in progress, at the outset we have identified components of Effective Government, Efficient Government, Long-Term Planning, Improved External and Internal Communications, Economic Stimulation and the Emergency Management Radio project as key initiatives. Balancing our rural/agricultural heritage with our significant need for economic stimulus also ranks very high in my opinion.

Beside the three new commissioners, Steve Renner will be seated as Adams County’s first County Controller. Steve's controller office replaces the three part-time auditor positions. The position was mandated as a result of Adams County moving from a sixth class to a fifth class county. In simple terms, Steve Renner will be the financial watchdog of the county. All three board members look forward to working with Steve, who has an extensive professional background in financial and administrative management.

During the campaign we heard many requests for better communications with residents and that many residents in outlying areas felt disenfranchised from their county government. As a result we are announcing two new initiatives immediately. Prior to every commissioner’s meeting and workshop, the agenda for those sessions will be available on Monday afternoon to the public, both in hard copy at the courthouse and on the Adams County website. That should improve our resident’s ability to know and understand what will be discussed. Also, beginning in late February, we will be implementing a series of county-wide commissioner’s communications forums at different locations around Adams County. The six public sessions in 20112 will be held in the evening beginning at 7PM. The first forum will be held in East Berlin and they will continue at two month intervals moving to McSherrstown/Conewago, York Springs/Upper Adams, Cashtown/Buchanan Valley and Fairfield/Carroll Valley. Each session will have a theme or key topic based on what is currently relevant in the county or that community – but will not be limited to that topic.

Our new board of Adams County Commissioners pledges to our residents that we will make ourselves available to the residents, listen to their opinions, effectively gather the best information we can from all sources, make the best decision that we can based on all the information gathered, make decisions in a timely manner, and specifically explain our reasoning for the decision to our residents. We know that not everyone will always agree with every decision we make – but we hope that by following the aforementioned process, our residents will be better informed to understand and respect our reasoning for a decision.

It has been my pleasure since last June to contribute monthly articles to the ENJ as a commissioner candidate. My two colleagues and I will continue to keep you informed by contributing a monthly column on a rotating basis as part of our on-going enhanced communications pledge. I believe the ENJ is a valuable community and communications resource serving the southern portion of Adams County.

On behalf of myself, and Commissioners Martin & Qually, I wish you and your families a happy, healthy and blessed New Year. Get out there and take advantage of all the natural beauty, history, recreational opportunities, culture and resources that Adams County has to offer! Best Regards!

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