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Commissioners to review Penn manager's duties

| Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Penn Township commissioners hope to vote in October on an updated version of an ordinance governing the position of township manager.

Commissioners are evaluating changes to the ordinance in preparation for replacing manager Bruce Light, who plans to retire in May.

“I believe we have no choice but to have this all done and wrapped up for the caucus meeting of October,” Commissioner Charles Horvat said.

Officials discussed proposed changes to the ordinance that was used to hire Light, 62, in 1995. Light said during the board's meeting on Wednesday that some of the proposed changes are a “180-degree” reversal from what the current ordinance dictates.

Solicitor Leslie Mlakar made a few suggestions for the commissioners to consider, including how much power to give the new manager.

“You have to be clear on your delegation of hiring and firing,” Mlakar cautioned the board.

In the proposed ordinance, a new manager would have power to hire or terminate township employees, except police. That, Light said, is a reversal of his current role.

The ordinance used in hiring Light was crafted so commissioners would have ultimate control over the hiring and firing of employees, Mlakar said.

“They didn't want a manager who could, carte blanche, fire someone,” he said.

Commissioner Larry Harrison suggested that the new manager have the ability to suspend an employee and the board retain control over hiring and firing. Harrison added that gender-related wording was taken out of the ordinance.

The updated ordinance must be in place before commissioners can advertise for the opening, Light said.

His salary has grown from $45,000 upon his hiring in 1995 to $80,126 for 2013. He also receives $6,974 to serve as the township secretary.

Staff writer Chris Foreman contributed. Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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