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This is the first of what will be an ongoing communication from me, as your president commissioner, to our York County citizens.

My intention is to inform and raise awareness regarding the operation of your county government. In doing so, I hope to recognize efforts by our county workforce and encourage your participation in making the delivery of services by us even more effective and efficient. You are invited to email me at SPByrnes@YorkCountyPA.gov with ideas and actions that might serve to improve our community.

It is just under thirty days since the newly-elected York County officials took an oath of office. In the Commissioners’ office, initiatives large and small are underway. Some, such as developing multiple Task Forces composed of community volunteers and county employees to evaluate all the processes and systems utilized in our work and seek opportunities for increased efficiency and effectiveness will be a slow and steady effort.

Others, like the spontaneous awarding of a Commissioners’ Gold Coin to an employee “caught" in an act of kindness will occur with no formal publicity or announcement but quietly recognize the many acts of caring that permeate our county workforce. Two of the first recipients of a Commissioners’ Gold Coin were Steph Fry and Lauren Little who work in the Area Agency on Aging offices. They took the initiative to visit a 93-year-old veteran and his wife to make sure they were receiving Meals on Wheels in response to a request by their son-in-law. Congratulations and thanks, Steph and Lauren for the quiet, extra effort.

With regard to increased communication, the following actions were taken in the past 30 days:

  • Commissioners met with new president judge Joseph Adams;
  • I sent emails to all 2,618 county employees making sure they know they are appreciated and we recognize their work;
  • Quarterly meetings were established with many Row Officers and Dept. Heads to improve the quality of interactions and strengthen the budget management process.

Action Items undertaken from the Commissioners’ Office in the past 30 days:

  • Partnered with Rep. Seth Grove to raise over $7,500 and bring the Mobile Vietnam Veterans Wall to York this May;
  • Approved expansion of White Deer Run treatment facility, a provider of services for the Dept. of Human Services, to add forty-five beds; 
  • Met with representatives of the York County Planning Commission Regional Storm Water Initiative to create a comprehensive Integrated Water Resource Plan;
  • Reorganized a number of roles and responsibilities in the Commissioners’ Office and communicated same to all county employees with an updated organizational chart illustrating the reporting relationships for each department.

Weekly commissioners meetings with the public, face-to-face conversations with department leaders and monthly meetings with the Prison Board, Pleasant Acres Nursing & Rehabilitation Center representatives and leaders from Human Services support our ongoing commitment to be available and responsive to our employees.

Finally, a recognition for new businesses such as J-Dog Hauling – a new veterans business; organizations that sponsored wonderful events honoring Dr. Martin Luther King and the leaders of the 4H Beef Banquet for recognizing our youth who live by the 4Hs: Head, Heart, Hands & Health. All these folks make our community a great place to live.

This note is a first step in establishing an openness and commitment to direct communication that will support our work together.

Thank you for all you do to build and serve our caring community.

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Read or Share this story: https://www.yorkdispatch.com/story/opinion/2016/02/04/oped-connecting-caring-community/79825366/