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From the Desk of County Commissioner
Randy Phiel

(6/2015) Now that the Primary Election became history on Tuesday, May 19, the Board can go back to being fully engaged in the primary task of serving the residents of Adams County with no distractions. On the plus side, eight candidates in an enthusiastic race for commissioner, certainly did cause interest and conversation, not to mention media coverage. There was also an unusually high level of campaign rhetoric from opponents. As an incumbent, it is evident that there are only so many hours in a day, and campaigning at any level takes time and energy away from the primary task at hand - serving the residents of Adams County. Reflecting on the last several months, I am so proud that this is a full-time Board that has been out there every day, evenings and weekends, all over Adams County, meeting with and working for the residents for the past 3 ½ years. This was true even during the last several months despite an intensive campaign. Folks ask me if being Adams County Commissioner is a full-time job. My answer is "No…. it is not, if you are fully committed as this Board is, it is more than a full-time job." As Board Chairman, I would like to recognize and thank the full Board for their professional conduct and unwavering commitment to the residents of Adams County!

I am pleased to report that we are getting closer to completion of the very important Adams County 911 Public Safety Radio Project. The 19 tower sites have been generally completed. The Adams County Emergency Services Department is looking to begin testing the approximately 2220 grids across the county on September 9. The "turn on day" for most Adams County law enforcement agencies is projected to be October 20.. The current Board is pleased to have taken the position that this project must move forward when we first took office. There is no doubt that this is an extremely important project that will have significant impact on the lives and safety of Adams County residents for the future.

Regarding another new and important initiative in Adams County, we are continuing to move forward to improve community reintegration into the community from the Adams County Adult Correctional Complex. The County of Adams, the York/Adams Mental Health Joinder, Pyramid Healthcare, Warden Brian Clark, and Judge Tom Campbell are presently engaged with the PA Department of Health to establish a licensed Drug and Alcohol counseling service at the Correctional Complex. We understand that a program of sustained counseling must begin at the prison and continue into the community to be most successful.

At the Wednesday, May 13th commissioner’s public meeting, it was an honor and privilege for the Adams County Board of Commissioners to recognize the dedication and service of the Adams County Allied Veterans Honor Guard for their 17 years of service. The recognition ceremony was facilitated by Adams County Veterans Affairs Director Stan Clark and resulted in over thirty Honor Guard members attending. These Honor Guard members are personally committed to render final military honors at the funerals of our veterans throughout the county. The pledge of allegiance, led by Director Clark, was the most emphatic heard in the historic courtroom in memory. As Director Clark and the Board delivered remarks, the veterans aged 60-90 in uniform, stood at attention on each side of the podium. The display of discipline, pride in service, dignity and respect was moving and poignant.

Full military honors include: flag folding and presentation to family, a rifle detail with volley, and the sounding of Taps. During the remarks, I pointed out that these individuals donate their time to perform these duties in all types of weather, despite the fact that many have physical limitations. I also stated that there is no doubt that these Honor Guard members deserve the special recognition they received. They have taken it upon themselves and made a personal commitment to honor their brothers and sisters with a final and poignant act of respect and esteem for service to our country. On behalf of myself, and all the residents of Adams County, I thank the Adams County Allied Veterans Honor Guard for your noble service to our veterans!

Having spent 30 years on Federal Law Enforcement training ranges, I understand there is a need for a law enforcement training range that is not simply a point & shoot range. Ideally, a law enforcement training range allows: effective point & shoot, barricade, moving barricade, shoot /don’t-shoot and vehicle ambush situations to name just some of the training scenarios. The recent shooting event at the Adams County Correctional Facility personifies the stark reality. We are in the process of meeting Straban Township zoning requirements and will keep residents abreast of progress. We are hopeful to have the range completed within one year. The safety of our emergency responders is a critical need and obligation we all share!

Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 20th. The Adams County Law Enforcement Range Committee is organizing a fundraiser in support of the proposed Law Enforcement Firearms Training Range which will be located at the Adams County 911 center site. Specific plans have not been finalized; but you can plan on a great day with good friends, good food and good family entertainment. The event details will be completed this week and advertised in the local media. This Adams County Law Enforcement Training Range has been on the wish list of Adams County Law Enforcement officers for over 15 years. In cooperation with the Adams County Law Enforcement Association and the Adams County Sheriff’s Department, the current Adams County Board of Commissioners has agreed to support the range as long as county tax dollars are not the primary funding source. By building and facilitating public/private partnerships, I believe we can achieve that goal. The range will be leased to The Adams County Law Enforcement Association.

Two weeks ago it was my privilege to join Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding and Adams County Planning Director Sherri Clayton in welcoming the Pennsylvania Farmland Alliance to Adams County. PFPA is made up of Administrators of participating County Farmland Preservation Programs throughout the State. Later that evening I had the privilege of participating in a joint reception for the PA Land Trust Alliance and PA Farmland Preservation Association at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center by welcoming this large combined group to Adams County. Two iconic names in Adams County agriculture were honored at the event. Tom Clowney and Tim Brown were co-recipients of the "Local Heroes Award". This is an award presented by American Farmland Trust (AFT) and PFPA to a host individual(s) who have made a significant difference to our County farmland preservation program. The award was given to Russell Redding the last time PFPA was in Gettysburg. Tom and Tim have been on the Farmland Preservation Board since the inception of the program. Tom was the original Chairman and Tim is currently the Chairman. Both have preserved their farms as well. For these guys, I believe it could also be called the life-time legacy award. Thanks to all our planning staff for the work that they have done to host this conference in Adams County. Tom and Tim congratulations on a career well done.

No matter what you do, spring is here in full force – get out there and experience all the historical, recreational, agricultural, natural and cultural opportunities that beautiful Adams County has to offer.

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