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Penn commissioners consider hiring recruitment company

| Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Penn Township commissioners might decide to hire an executive-recruitment firm to help them sift through the applicants for the upcoming township-manager vacancy.

Commissioners said Monday that they intend to discuss that possibility at their caucus meeting on Jan. 15, which is around the time they want to begin advertising the opening.

Commissioner Ed Sullivan said a consultant could help to give an unbiased opinion about the candidates to succeed Bruce Light, who is retiring in May. Officials did not discuss how much they might consider spending on a consultant.

Sullivan said he estimated that the commissioners would hire a manager in April, so he or she will have about a month to work on a transition with Light.

No tax increase

As they proposed last month, commissioners on Monday passed a 2014 budget that will not require a higher property-tax rate.

After minor changes to some line items, they approved a spending plan that includes using about $400,000 of an estimated $1.8 million surplus to cover expenses.

With a property-tax rate of 13.7 mills, the owner of the average assessed property of $26,925 in the township would pay about $369 in real estate taxes.

Properties owners also will be charged a 1-mill fire tax, which generates revenue that the township divides equally among the five volunteer fire companies.

Salaries for nonunion, full-time employees will increase by 2.5 percent, including police Chief John Otto, $96,317; Solicitor Les Mlakar, $75,750; community-development director Dallas Leonard, $72,894; public-works foreman Tom Lamacz, $64,715; and finance director Linda Iams, $64,715.

Light's 2014 salary will be determined at the Jan. 6 reorganization meeting.

Horvat retiring

Board colleagues, township staffers and a Claridge firefighter thanked Commissioner Chuck Horvat for his 16 years of service to the township. Horvat, 78, declined to run for a fifth term and will leave office at the end of the year.

In particular, Commissioner Paul Wersing and tax collector Larry Wojcik said Horvat was well-prepared to discuss matters in the township and earned the respect of even those who disagreed with him.

“You surrounded yourself with facts,” Wersing said. “You didn't back down from anything.”

Mlakar, who has been the solicitor for 40 years, credited Horvat for his leadership and said Horvat didn't “play politics” as the board chairman and worked to build consensus for unanimous votes.

Lisa Zaucha, district manager for state Rep. George Dunbar (R-56th)), a former township commissioner, presented Horvat with a proclamation from the state.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8671, or

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