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In this quarterly correspondence as your president county commissioner I want to first welcome home Army Reserve Col. Craig T. Trebilcock from his tour in Afghanistan. Judge Trebilcock spent almost one year deployed in Afghanistan with the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, helping the country establish a framework to root out corruption.

In addition, Judge John Kennedy is to be thanked for his professional and dedicated service as the presiding judge in our successful Drug Treatment Courts. Both men are due our sincere thanks.

As I consider the first quarter priorities of 2017 in county government, we will be conducting searches for new leaders of the prison, our nursing home and the Emergency Services including 911. Each of these key roles oversees a budget in excess of $20 million (prison - $50M; nursing home - $46M; and 911 - $20M). This is an opportunity to positively impact both the employees and the cultures of each organization. We will undertake each search process with an eye on the candidates’ administrative know-how and their leadership capabilities.

A leadership change enacted in 2016 was the hiring of Terry Gendron as director of Veterans Affairs. Terry and his team are a terrific example of the power of new leadership. They are to be commended for the professional level of assistance and service being delivered to our veterans and their families.

With any new leader we need to establish clear and measurable timetables for performance. An initiative we began in 2016 and expanded in 2017 is our Continuous Improvement Team. This group of private citizens and county employees is led by Mark Derr, our county administrator. I look forward to their ongoing efforts to identify opportunities to reduce expenses and increase efficiencies in the coming year.

A working example of public/private partnership is the series of recommendations developed to improve the Pleasant Acres Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. An operationally focused study, led by professionals from RKL’s Government & Services Group with input from the nursing home staff and community citizens identified opportunities to impact effectiveness and efficiency while not losing the compassionate care that underscores the purpose of the nursing home. Our new director will need to hit the ground running with this valuable information.

Our state legislators and county commissioners will continue meeting on a quarterly basis to discuss the impact of laws and regulations being considered in Harrisburg. This is vital for our ability to locally manage costs and services to our citizens. We greatly appreciate their work on our behalf, and are fortunate to have strong relationships with them.

Having completed my first year as president commissioner, I am grateful to my fellow Commissioners Reilly and Hoke, Chief Administrator Derr, County Solicitor Smith, President Judge Adams, elected officials, many department directors and employees who supported my efforts to consider changes in some long-standing practices in county government. In 2017, we will continue to seek opportunities to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our services always with an unwavering attention to the caring component of what we do.

Two quotes by Peter Drucker will serve to guide many of our efforts in 2017: “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes” and “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your president commissioner. Should you wish to contact me, I can be reached at Spbyrnes@yorkcountypa.gov

Susan P. Byrnes is the president of the York County Board of Commissioners.  

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