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Applications for manager of Pine due by Feb. 28

| Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 9:01 p.m.
Randy Jarosz | For the North Journal
Fereshteh Palmer of Allison Park gives a speech in an attempt to inspire her audience Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, during a Beacon Toastmasters of Pittsburgh meeting at Berkeley Hills Lutheran Church in Ross Township.

Time is running out for people who want take a crack at running Pine Township.

Applications for the job of managing the 16.8-square-mile municipality are due Feb. 28 in the Pittsburgh office of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

It has been three months since former Pine manager Cheryl Fischer retired to spend more time with her family.

It could be May or June, however, before Pine officials pick Fischer's successor.

Ads for her replacement are appearing in local and statewide publications.

Michael Foreman of the Governor's Center for Local Government Services — part of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development — is processing applications as a free service to the Township. “We're getting a regular stream of resumes coming in for the position,” said Foreman, declining to reveal how many people have applied.

“My experience is that most come in during the last week,” Foreman said. “There are jobs like this open throughout the commonwealth on a regular basis.”

Rather than hire a consultant or executive head hunter, Pine supervisors formally requested the state's help in finding a new manager.

“It's one option that a municipality has — to request from us technical assistance and to serve as a neutral, impartial facilitator,” said Foreman. “There's no monetary cost to the municipality.”

Mike Dennehy, chairman of the Pine Township Board of Supervisors, knew about the free service as a member of the executive board of the Pennsylvania Association of Township Supervisors.

“The state has a lot of services for local governments. Why not take advantage of them?” Dennehy asked. “Why should I go out and spend thousands and thousands of dollars in taxpayers' money for services that are free?”

Requirements for the Pine manager's job include a bachelor's degree in public management and at least seven years of experience in municipal management. The salary is negotiable. Residency in Pine is optional.

Since Fischer retired, Scott Anderson, assistant manager, has been handling the manager's tax collection duties, and Amy Pampiks, accounting administrator, is acting as assistant treasurer.

Pine supervisors initially will review applicants' resumes and qualifications without knowledge of the applicants' names.

“I give each resume a number, so the governing body doesn't get distracted by a name they might be familiar with,” Foreman said.

As each resume arrives, Foreman also charts the applicant's reported experience in about a dozen categories. “I record every resume that comes in, whether they meet the minimum requirements or not,” Foreman said.

“It's not my job to whittle down 30 resumes to 15 or 12. That's the board's job. They need to be the ones that make the decision,” Foreman said. “A lot of this is chemistry, dynamics, nonverbal communication and people's interpretation of the individual.”

Foreman expects to meet March 20 with Pine supervisors to hand over all information on all applicants.

Dennehy said the board will then pick the best candidates.

“It could be eight. It could be 12,” he said. “Then we're going to set up interviews. We'll probably have to do them in the evening or on weekends. That may take a month. When we get down to the final two or three, there's some more vetting we have to do.”

That final vetting will include criminal background and credit checks, plus talks with candidates' references, before Pine supervisors vote to hire the township's new manager.

“The earliest (hire date) would be May 1 but probably June 1,” Dennehy said. “It could be May 15. It just depends on how pleased we are and if everybody checks out.”

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or ddeasy@tribweb.com.

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