Jefferson Hills welcomes John Stinner as new manager
John Stinner has worked in government at the national and international levels.
What he likes about working in local government, he says, is the chance he has to make a difference in someone’s life every single day and see the results come to fruition relatively quickly.
“I’ve always wanted a job where I can help people,” he said.
Stinner, 40, of Upper St. Clair, was hired in June as the new Jefferson Hills borough manager.
The borough’s last manager, Tricia Levander, left in April 2018. Business manager Charles Bennett served as acting manager in the interim.
Stinner, who worked as the borough manager of Blawnox for two years, started in Jefferson Hills in early July. He will be paid an annual salary of $100,000.
Stinner stood out for his communication skills and displayed elements of a good leader, council President Chris King said. There were about 30 applicants for the job.
Council members initially want Stinner to “get his feet on the ground” and become familiar with the area. Then, they will set goals for him, King said.
“We’re glad to have him in the role. We think he’s going to do good things for the borough,” he said.
Stinner’s path to becoming a borough manager is far from traditional.
The Gering, Neb., native was a wrestler at the University of Wyoming, where he majored in political science. After graduation, he moved to Japan where he taught English for two years through a program put on by the Japanese government.
Returning home, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked as a staff member for then-Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel.
He went on to get his master’s from George Mason University in public policy. While in school, he worked for a nonprofit, The Asia Foundation, which does international development and relations between the U.S. and Asia.
During that time, Stinner also met his wife Erin, a Pittsburgh girl who worked in communications for Laura Bush and the Bush administration.
The couple ultimately moved to Nebraska, where Stinner worked as special projects coordinator for a bank that his dad ran.
The couple had two boys, Jack and Henry, and Erin wanted to move back home, Stinner said.
Since coming to Pittsburgh in 2014, Stinner worked as a policy fellow for the Congress of Neighboring Communities, was a part-time analyst for Mt. Lebanon and worked in constituent services for former Congressman Tim Murphy.
“I feel like everything that I have done in my career has come full circle in being in municipal management,” Stinner said.
What drew Stinner to Jefferson Hills was its attributes: “It has affordable, quality housing, great schools, solid municipal government and it’s growing,” he said.
Jefferson Hills is only roughly 60 percent developed. So, there’s a lot of growing that is happening, he said.
In a community where there is a lot going on that involves the local government, he’s ready for the challenges.
His past jobs have taught him adaptability, how to build relationships and be a “jack-of-all-trades” when needed, he said.
“My time in banking, I learned a lot about the financial side of things and budgetary priorities,” he said, going through how each job prepared him for where he is today.
His main job as borough manager, he said, is to make sure that all the employees working in Jefferson Hills have what they need to complete their jobs.
That’s his management style.
Starting out, he plans to listen and interject when he can help.
“I know other times in my career when I’ve stepped into a role, being adaptable is probably the best thing,” he said.