Zahorchak prepares for manager's post in Baldwin Twp.
Rob Zahorchak jokes about plans to knock on the front door of each of the nearly 900 homes in Baldwin Township in an attempt to meet every resident in the less- than-one-square-mile town.
While he says that in jest, the new assistant to the manager who will take over the municipality's top job next month said he does plan to find a way to better get to know the community and its citizens.
“I don't know that that would be the most efficient way to meet everyone,” said Zahorchak, 29, who began working in the township last week. “But I want people to know that the door is always open here.”
Township commissioners approved Zahorchak's hiring in a unanimous vote at their Feb. 25 work session. He will make $50,000 annually and work as assistant to the manager, under the direction of retiring manager Mary McGinley, until being sworn in to serve as manager April 2.
McGinley, who has worked as township manager for the last three decades, will retire on March 28.
“It's been a great 38 years,” said McGinley, wiping tears from her eyes, as she oversaw her last meeting of the board of commissioners last week.
Zahorchak, of Pittsburgh's Bloomfield neighborhood, was chosen from 35 candidates who applied for the post.
The Greensburg native stood out to township commissioners for many reasons, they said.
“He's got the experience that we were looking for in grant writing. He's got connections throughout the county. He's got some good ideas,” said commission Vice President Nick Pellegrino. “What impressed me the most was not only his enthusiasm and general knowledge, but he took the time to investigate the township. He did his homework.”
Zahorchak, who received his bachelor's degree in political science in 2006 and master's degree in public education in 2008, both from the University of Pittsburgh, has worked for both consulting firms and economic-development groups.
He spent three years doing policy work at the Green Building Alliance and interned in Murrysville during graduate school. This is his first full-time stint in municipal management.
“He's very well-rounded,” commission President Eileen Frisoli said.
Zahorchak said he's excited to work in the close-knit “relatively stable community.”
“It's a great chance to have a big impact on the community,” he said. “I feel like I'm at home. It looks like the place where I grew up.”
McGinley will stay on as a consultant, working 10 hours a month for the next nine months. Her daily presence in the township, though, will be missed.
“Working with her was a pleasure,” Frisoli said.
“It's going to be difficult to fill her shoes,” Pellegrino said. “Difficult, but not impossible.”
Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or email@example.com.