Sen. Eichelberger receives township association’s highest honor
Sen. John Eichelberger, a Republican whose district includes Greencastle and Antrim Township, was given the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors’ Founder’s Award for his support of local government and unfunded mandate reforms. The honor was presented Monday at at the organization’s 95th Annual Educational Conference and Trade Show in Hershey.
The award is PSATS’ highest honor and is only given to those who show exceptional commitment to townships.
“I’m humbled to receive this award from such an important organization,” Eichelberger said. “PSATS represents the hard-working men and women who are truly the backbone of local government and an integral part of state government as well.”
As a former local government official, Eichelberger understands the challenges facing local officials, as well as their dedication to serving their constituents, PSATS President Shirl Barnhart said. He also understands the need for a strong working relationship between the state and local governments.
“Pennsylvania’s local governments have been strengthened through the senator’s determination and leadership as chairman of the Local Government Commission and former chairman of the Senate Local Government Committee,” Barnhart said. “Sen. Eichelberger’s unflagging support for local government has ensured a better quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.”
Four years ago, the lawmaker led a Senate task force that urged Harrisburg to reverse current unfunded mandates on municipalities and analyze the financial impact before passing future ones. More than 6,500 such mandates have been imposed on Pennsylvania’s local governments over the past 30-plus years. Of those, some 800 directly impact townships.
In addition, Eichelberger is a staunch advocate for government accountability and fiscal restraint and has adopted many cost-cutting procedures in his own offices to save taxpayer money. He drives his own blue pickup truck, does not request reimbursement for eligible in-district mileage, and returns his cost-of-living adjustment to the state each year. His responsible spending has saved an estimated $1 million over his first two terms.
“While I appreciate the recognition,” the lawmaker said, “it’s an even greater honor to work alongside those township supervisors whose dedication and passion to serve our communities are on display daily. I’m looking forward to continued collaboration with everyone involved as we strive to constantly enrich the quality of life we enjoy here in Pennsylvania.”
The Founder’s Award recognizes individuals or groups whose outstanding efforts on behalf of local governments have resulted in significant benefits to townships. Past recipients have included Govs. Dick Thornburgh, Robert P. Casey, and Tom Ridge, Lt. Govs. Mark Schweiker and Jim Cawley, and former Cabinet Secretaries Karen Miller and Dennis Wolff.