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From the Desk of County Commissioner
 Marty Qually

(7/2013) The Commissioners circulate TGIF notes to the courthouse staff as a way of keeping them informed of events in and around Adams County. This month we thought you would appreciate a rundown of our busy spring schedule and some of the important events that have taken place these past few weeks.

Memorial Day Weekend

Two Commissioners attended the Gettysburg Memorial Parade and program in the National Cemetery. This is one of the oldest programs in the nation. I have attended this program almost all my life. This Gettysburg tradition is a wonderful slice of patriotism and Americana. Governor Corbett was the featured speaker.

Student Civil War Video Presentations

Commissioner Phiel had the pleasure of presenting Adams County Commissioners Proclamations to 260 Gettysburg Middle School students at the Majestic Theater. With the support of Journey Through Hallowed Ground Education Partnership, the students have worked since December with a professional in-house videographer to immerse themselves in the research, creating topic themes, filming at locations, editing the film and inserting credits. The result was six excellent Battle of Gettysburg themed videos created by the students. You can view these 4 minute videos by going to the Journey Though Hallowed Ground website. Many of our younger (and older) residents do not fully appreciate the heritage of our community. These students and the audience now have a better understanding. This project and premier certainly helped make those dusty old history books come alive!

IT Update

Mr. Chip Guise has been hired to fill the Technician I position. Chip has been an intern with the Information Technology Department for the past year and has proven to be a valuable asset. Mr. Zach Platts has been hired to fill the Intern position. Zach is majoring in Computer Information Systems at York College.

Election Tuesday

The election went smoothly, although unfortunately, the turnout was disappointingly light. We had 16% turnout as opposed to 68% for the Presidential General Election. Please impart to your family, friends that election of local officials impact our everyday lives significantly.

COG Legislative Forum

We attended the Adams County Council of Governments Legislative Forum. Participants were Senator Alloway, Representative Tallman and Holly Sutphin from Representative Moul's office. Hot topics were transportation funding and improvements, one of the worst bridge repair situations in the nation, games of chance revisions, funding fire departments, 150TH funding and privatizing liquor sales.

Department News

The Public Defender Office move is complete. They have relocated from the Union Square building to the former Human Relations Office next to the Sheriff’s Office in the courthouse. Rural Resources has finally become one with Planning in the Union Square Building. I would like to express the Board’s appreciation to our staff affected by the move for their positive outlook and big picture mentality, and for the support staff that worked to get these areas ready for occupancy.


We held our 6th Commissioners Community Forum, with the topic being the 150TH Anniversary Commemoration. The forum attracted over 100 interested community members, organizations and public officials. Our panel included the Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau, National Park Service, Rabbit Transit, Pennsylvania State Police, County Emergency Services, County Planning and the Board of Commissioners. Topics included traffic, sanitation, water, shuttles, security, size of events and community hospitality. The panel presentations were followed by a forty-five minute Q & A.

Fallen Officer Memorial

All three commissioners attended the Fallen Officer Memorial ceremonies at the 911 Center and Oak Lawn cemetery last Friday morning. The annual memorial and ceremony honors all police officers killed in the line of duty in Adams County since the late 1800’s police officers and all over the nation. Thank you to the Sheriff’s Department for their vital role in this significant memorial.

Jury Commissioner Decision

At yesterday’s public meeting the Board abolished the position of Jury Commissioner – again. The first abolishment in March was negated by a lawsuit challenging the 2011 enabling legislation. Yesterday’s action was a result of the legislature enacting another version to abolish - with some different language.

Adams County Fire Study

The Pennsylvania State Fire Commissioner is worried. He is worried about the condition of the state's volunteer fire fighting force, which has dwindled by about 250,000 members in the past 40 years. "We are beyond sounding the alarm," said Fire Commissioner Edward Mann to a room full of Adams County government and fire department officials at the Adams County 911 Center. "We are beyond hitting the panic button. "The damage over the years to volunteer fire departments might be too great to fix entirely, Mann said, but Adams County is certainly taking a leading step in the right direction. The county released the results of a year-long study about local fire services last month. It was the first study of its kind in the state, Mann said, expressing his wish that every county in Pennsylvania embark on the same. The study was spearheaded by the Adams County Council of Governments and recommends each municipality levy a 0.25 mill fire tax to help with escalating fire protection costs, to ebb the flow of decreasing volunteerism, reduce the need for continuous fundraising efforts, increase volunteer training time and act as a deterrent against the possible astronomical costs of a full time fire service. According to the study if the municipalities in Adams County were forced to switch to professional fire departments, they would have to levy a 4.25 mil tax in order to cover the additional costs. According to the results of the study, for a resident living on a property valued at $100,000, this would amount to an extra $425 in taxes each year, instead of the $25 that would be expected under the recommended .25 mil tax. The ultimate decision on enactment lies with each of our 34 municipalities in Adams County.

Courthouse Security Exercise

The Sheriff’s Department and County Security conducted a joint training exercise in the courthouse last Saturday. They were assisted by several certified trainers and mentors from other agencies that specialize in this type of pro-active security training. This is the first in a series of practical exercises to refresh and better prepare our deputies and security personnel for those situations we hope never happen – but too frequently and unexpectedly do happen. Before the next exercise, on Friday August 2nd, all courthouse staff will be thoroughly briefed in July on the exercise - as it will take place in and around the courthouse at the end of the day. A huge shout out to the Sheriff’s Department & Security for coordinating this valuable training that is so important to those two departments, our courthouse staff and our residents.

What an exciting time to live in Adams County. Get out there and enjoy all the cultural, recreational, natural, educational and historic opportunities that beautiful Adams County has to offer.

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