GREENCASTLE — Greencastle Borough Manager Eden Ratliff will leave his job of nearly three years on Sept. 20 to become manager of Kennett Township.

Kennett Township supervisors voted last week to hire Ratliff. He gave Steve Miller, borough council president, and Matt Smith, head of the personnel committee, a heads-up that he was considering a new job several weeks ago.

"The personnel committee will meet and figure the way ahead ... options, what we need to, how to fill the job, make a recommendation. There will be some work going on before the next council meeting," Miller said. Borough council's regular monthly meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3, in borough hall.

"The personnel committee has been and will continue to have strategy sessions about the manager position to ensure a smooth transition," Ratliff said. Among the items being worked out is Ratliff's payback on tuition under the terms of his employment agreement with the borough. He has been pursuing his master's degree in public management at Johns Hopkins University.

 'Our first home' 

"Greencastle is an extraordinary community and it's been an honor to serve. I wasn't really looking to leave ... I am leaving one great opportunity for another," said Ratliff. "It would have been perfectly fine to stay here, but the opportunity came along. We struggled and fought and prayed about it a lot."

The move to Kennett Township in Chester County in the eastern part of Pennsylvania puts Ratliff and his wife, Gabby, closer to their families.

"It's perfect for us for the next stage of our lives ... we want to have kids and share memories with our families," said Gabby Ratliff. Previously an office assistant in the Borough of Mont Alto, she currently works in the Franklin County Planning Office, focusing on transportation. She will stay on through at least the end of November and the next meeting of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, while her husband and their dog Otis, a treeing walker coon hound adopted from Antietam Humane Society, move east next month.

The Ratliffs, who married last year, are sad to be leaving the community and their friends behind.

"This isn't our home, but it was our first home. We've developed relationships and friendships. I don't think this is good-bye," Gabby Ratliff said.

"There are great people no matter where you look in this community," Eden Ratliff said.

They have talked about coming back for the next Old Home Week, having just experienced their first triennial celebration.

"What a remarkable event," Eden Ratliff said. "I've been hearing for three years that no community has something like this. You have no idea until you are here experiencing it."

 On the job 

"It was clear from the outset what a special community this is. It's been an incredible experience and my privilege to serve," said Eden Ratliff, who started in Greencastle on Oct. 31, 2016. He previously worked as manager for the Borough of Ford City.

He mentioned Greencastle staff in all departments, police, council and the mayor and the high level of service they all provide to the public.

Ratliff said one of the most significant issues he had dealt with in Greencastle is the implementation of a stormwater management fee and the creation of a stormwater utility to handle the borough's Chesapeake Bay cleanup and MS4 (municipal separate storm sewer system) requirements.

"It goes without saying MS4 is going to impact this community for a very long time," he said, adding the approach he recommended will fulfill those obligations without impacting the level of service in other areas. He also said he thinks he has done a good job letting lawmakers know the financial impact MS4 and the bay cleanup have on communities.

From day one, it was stressed to Ratliff the importance of a good relationship with Antrim Township and the Antrim Township Municipal Authority. The municipalities are working together on MS4, share information and cooperate in other ways.

"We've made tremendous strides. Collectively, we're more focused on the future of development and not the past," Ratliff said, referring to the sometimes historically rocky relationship between ATMA and the Greencastle Area Franklin County Water Authority.

He was also involved in the quarter-million dollar borough hall renovation and safety improvement project that retains the hometown feel, makes it safer for staff and borough residents and continues customer service.

The borough's new website, rolled out earlier this year, is something else Ratliff is proud of.

"I've engaged a lot more financial planning for the Borough of Greencastle," Ratliff added, noting he is leaving behind capital budgets, planning tools and transparency and the "community can see where tax dollars are being spent before decisions are made."

"I like taking on financial challenges and making positives for the community," he said.

 What's next 

His interest in finances will be well-used in his new position. Kennett Township's previous manager was dismissed this spring after bank officials discovered suspicious transactions in the township's bank accounts, according to the news release issued by Kennett Township announcing Ratliff's hiring. The Chester County District Attorney's Office and forensic accountants are continuing to investigate.

Ratliff starts his new job Sept. 23 and will be working with Alison Rudolf, who has been serving as interim manager.

Kennett Township, with a population of around 8,200, is seeing a lot of growth and development. It also is where most of the world's mushrooms are grown and part of Longwood Gardens is located in the township, which surrounds the town of Kennett Square.

"The board is looking forward to working with Eden," Scudder Stevens, chair of the three-member Kennett Township Board of Supervisors, said in the press release. "Eden has the skills, background and foresight to lead our great township into the future."