The Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs (PSAB) recently held its annual conference at Hershey Lodge. Over 350 attendees from the 956 boroughs in the commonwealth met to discuss municipal issues, network for proven solutions and share information to provide better service to their local constituencies.
Attendees also listened to presentations from leaders in various industries on topics such as interpreting the borough code, board conflict resolution, annual municipal audits, combating property blight, Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) stormwater compliance, police liability and safety concerns, the 2020 census, diversity and leadership and conflicts of interest.
Leaders from the US Census Bureau, PA State Ethics Commission, PA Housing Finance Agency, PA Department of Labor & Industry, PennDOT, PA DEP and others gave reports on topics concerning boroughs within the state. Many local and state elected leaders addressed the gathering, including Sen. Scott Martin and Sen. Tim Kearney, as well as Rep. Robert Freeman, Rep. Garth Everett and local Rep. Dan Moul, representing Adams County as the House Local Government Committee chairman.
During the hustle and bustle of this conference, where elected and appointed officials race back and forth among sessions from 8:30 a.m. to almost 9 p.m. most nights, there is organizational business occurring. Serving on the board of directors of PSAB for Adams County, arrival time is a day ahead of the regular conference attendees. A meeting with the other 32 board representatives, the officers and key staff of PSAB offers a chance to review our financial status, discuss pending bylaw changes, elect colleagues to serve on the Executive Committee, and approve or reject any motions brought forward. Lasting several hours and covering legal, personnel, advocacy and financial matters, this board meets three times a year to steer the PSAB in the direction so chosen by its 915 member boroughs.
Each county also receives a representative to the Resolution & Policy (R&P) Committee, where local resolutions submitted for discussion are reviewed by a panel of 40 locally-elected representatives. Should the committee show no opposition to a resolution, it goes before the 150-plus borough and CBA delegates for approval or rejection. Those gaining favor are actively lobbied to our leaders in Harrisburg by the PSAB Legislative staff for co-sponsors and “whipping” votes. Many boroughs (and even townships) from Adams County have contributed to this process, as our county has been a leader in the R&P process for many years now, and the changes in legislation brought forward by Adams County is usually well met with support and success in changing our state laws.
Abbottstown and other boroughs submitted two such resolutions this year (opposing UCC TPA mandates and pursuing changes to protect employee info in RTK requests) which were unanimously approved by the attending delegates.
PSAB believes in recognizing those who put forth great effort to advance the ideals of the organization, which protects the interests of our boroughs. Through this recognition, they hope to inspire others to service. Soliciting nominations through the Adams County Boroughs Association (ACBA), we had several elected and appointed officials from Adams County recognized for their service by the PSAB.
Abbottstown was busy improving its communication to its constituents, winning three awards for dissemination of information to the public (second place, Social Media; third place, Website; and third place, Newsletter).
Additionally, as the borough administrator, I was honored to receive the PSAB Distinguished Service Award for service to Adams County communities from my good friend PSAB President Carl Cox (Tioga).
Congratulations to all the Adams County award recipients. Now, I task you with finding others to inspire to service so that we can recognize their efforts and to further spread the concepts of citizenship and the rewards of serving others.
Thanks to Abbottstown Borough Council for the opportunities they have given for these efforts to occur, and to all our Adams County municipal leaders who give their time to serve.