After almost two centuries, rural Kiski Township hires its first manager
Kiski Township hired its first-ever township manager, Donna Piper, the former secretary and treasurer of Harmar.
For 186 years since its incorporation, the rural township with a current population of almost 5,000 has relied on its elected supervisors and, later, a secretary to conduct township business.
But an increased workload and a range of responsibilities caused supervisors in June to unanimously approve the new position of township manager.
Deeper knowledge is needed to navigate a number of duties such as securing grants, coordinating public works projects and dealing with a myriad of professionals including staff, engineers, attorneys, government officials and the public, according to township officials.
“Our secretary does a great job but is overloaded,” said Jack Wilmot, chairman of the township’s board of five supervisors. He has been on the board for 34 years.
“Things have gotten more complicated,” he said. “And there’s so much out there that we are not aware of, such as bringing grants into the township.”
A township manager can better respond to residents, according to Wilmot, as well as supervise the operations of the township, its road crew, with three full-time workers, and police department, with three full-time and about six part-time officers.
Supervisors voted 4-0 on Monday in a special meeting to hire Piper.
There will be no tax increase to cover the expense of the new manager’s position, Wilmot said. There are funds to cover Piper’s salary this year and supervisors will incorporate her salary in the 2019 budget, he added.
Piper, a resident of South Buffalo, started work this week and will earn $75,000 annually, a $10,000 bump from her salary in Harmar, where she worked as a manager for about four years.
Before her tenure in Harmar, Piper worked as a planner for Armstrong County. She also was a consultant for the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, where she helped local governments deal with administration and finance issues.
Piper said she looks forward to working in a rural area, “a change from Harmar, which was so busy with the Turnpike and Route 28.”
She has a doctorate in business organization management from Capella University and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in planning and public administration.
One of Piper’s immediate tasks is to work with engineers for a feasibility study about installing public sewerage and expanding water service in the township, a key to attracting more businesses to the township.
Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary Ann at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter @MaThomas_Trib.