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All in a Day's Work for Rural Townships

Date: 7/16/2012

"Township secretary: is that a part-time job?"

That’s a question that township secretaries and administrators get pretty often (and no doubt get tired of hearing).Citizens assume that because our municipalities are small, so too is the job of running them. But providing good stewardship of tax dollars, keeping up with state and federal regulations, and responding to citizen concerns is a full-time job and then some.

Recently I had the opportunity to join 15 township secretaries and administrators for a networking meeting. This was a first-time effort, and no one was sure where the discussion would lead. We suspected that citizen concerns would top the list, but we were wrong. What was clearly on their minds was how to juggle countless responsibilities: taking official meeting minutes, keeping the township books, paying the bills, creating monthly financial reports, making payroll, issuing building permits, handling subdivision requests, responding to code violations . . . and yes, responding to citizen concerns on a daily basis. Not every township secretary handles all of these responsibilities, but the smaller the township, the more likely that it’s a one-man or one-woman shop.

Add to this list the many state laws and regulations that need to be followed such as bidding requirements and reports to PennDOT, DCED, DEP, DCNR and other state agencies. Let’s take just one example:



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