Checking the pay: Interim East Cocalico manager retained at $150 per hour

By on February 24, 2016


It was an eye-opening East Cocalico Township meeting for Steve Gabriel who was attending the first time in his role as interim township manager on Feb. 18.

Gabriel was witness to the variety of topics of interest to residents who regularly attend the meetings. The uptick in new development business was also evident.

During public comment, Jeff Mitchell, a township resident, asked how the interim manager will be paid.

“With a check,” replied supervisor Chairman Douglas Mackley.

Following two more inquiries from Mitchell, Mackley responded:

“We were going to get to that later,” said Mackley following two more inquiries from Mitchell. “It’s $150 per hour.”

The new manager’s contract/compensation was not listed on the agenda.

Gabriel won’t be fulltime.

He said he envisions “about 10-15 hours per week, maybe 20, depending on the number of meetings and other things happening.”

When Mitchell asked Mackley how the search for a new township manager will be done, Mackley first responded: “We only learned that Mark (Hiester, township manager) was leaving about a week or week and a half ago.”

Hiester and Vice President Alan Fry, seated adjacent to each other, chatted.

“Mark resigned almost three weeks ago,” Fry said, contracting Mackley.

“These things take time,” Mackley responded. “I am circulating a draft advertisement for the township manager vacancy. I just gave it to Noelle (Fortna, supervisor/board secretary) to read and comment on.”

Mackley answered Mitchell’s next question about where the ad will run by stating it will be in the newspaper and, perhaps, the monthly publication of the Pennsylvania Association of Township Supervisors.

“I don’t know when that’s published,” he said.

Mitchell then asked what percentage of the pension fund was fully funded in light of the recent stock market fluctuation.

Mackley said the stock market had nothing to do with the pension fund because that money was not invested in stocks.

Fortna said that pension monies are invested in many different venues, and the stock market, if part of the portfolio, is a very small part.

Hiester, working his last week on the job with the interim manager on transition activities, offered an answer.

“The actuarial study at the end of 2015 said our pension fund went from 77 to 83 percent fully funded,” he said.

Next up was the continued plight of Carriage Hill residents and their undedicated roads.

At the previous meeting 17 residents from the development located next to Ridgeview, adjacent to Reamstown Elementary School, complained that they’ve been waiting 14 years for their streets to be dedicated.

A flurry of residents’ phone calls to developer Paul Stitzel in Hamburg, Berks County, resulted in the township and Stitzel agreeing that the township will plow and clear any future snowstorms.

Carriage Hill residents understand Stitzel has items needing completed prior to street dedication. Supervisors said Stitzel indicated he would do what was needed on his part.

Graeme Quinn, a 14-year Carriage Hill resident, was doubtful.

“What have you seen happen since the last meeting (two weeks ago) with this issue of work needing completed?” he asked.

Township officials said they’ve heard nothing. Hiester said the township will try to reach Stitzel by phone.

“Some items Stitzel must accomplish require an engineering study which can’t be done until the snow melts,” said Kenny Eshelman, roadmaster. The township holds in escrow about $45,000 from Stitzel.

Brent Lied, land planning engineer, introduced the largest item of new business — requests for approximately a dozen waiver modifications for Fox Brooke development. First discussed in 2011, the development will be on Route 897 south, about one-half mile from the Route 272 and 897 intersection.

Attorney J. Dwight Yoder, from Gibbel, Kraybill & Hess, Lancaster, and design team members explained waivers for the planned development consisting of 88 acres, 426 multi-unit structures, and 38 open acres.

Fox Brooke plans a tree-lined boulevard entrance, coordinated street lights and signage, landscaping, walking paths, stone/masonry facades, and a community center with clubhouse, pool, tennis courts, and public restrooms.

Supervisors approved, among other items, allowing the development to exceed the 70-percent maximum impervious coverage up to a maximum of 77 percent. This waiver affects some of the center resident units.

Another waiver approved dealt with townhouses and driveway length, which will vary from 21 feet to 28 feet long. Scott Russell, transportation engineer, reviewed plans and expressed no safety concerns relative to intersections and driveway placements.

Lied said, following the last township planning commission meeting, it was agreed that driveways would be kept at least three feet from a neighbor’s lot line.

Alleys in the Fox Brooke development will not be dedicated to the township. Their maintenance will be part of the homeowners’ association agreement, as will be any trees planted to satisfy township ordinances.

Three development intersections will not intersect at the usual 90-degree turn radius. The design team explained how they used township specs regarding emergency equipment needs and a computer simulation ran successfully.

After more discussion about required turning radius for emergency equipment, another condition was added to the approved waiver that the turning radius must be satisfactory for local fire trucks and other emergency apparatus.

Additional discussion with the developer and township personnel is slated for the waiver denied by the zoning board dealing with a request for a special exemption and variance to construct utilities, public facilities, and improvements through the riparian buffer overlay zones.

The planning commission upheld current ordinances while Yoder indicated if the developer needs to build a bridge to cross the small stream “it could add a million dollars to the project.”

In other business:

* Supervisors wished Hiester well in his new position as Penn Township manager.

* Zoning Officer Tony Luongo reported “one of our highest months for false-alarm violations at 17. Our frigid weather was a factor and some businesses are having alarms checked.”

* Supervisors approved a $5 increase in pool season pass rates.

“We’ve not raised prices in a few years,” said Fry.


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