Stephen W. Simchak, chairman of the Rush Township Board of Supervisors, Schuylkill County and Terri Conville, secretary/treasurer, were among the hundreds of township supervisors, managers, and secretaries to travel to the state capitol during the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors' 88th Annual Educational Conference and Trade Show to meet with state lawmakers.
More than 800 township officials attended PSATS Fifth Annual Legislative Reception, a grassroots event that brings local and state officials together to discuss shared issues and concerns.
While the largest concern was addressing unfunded mandates and the forced consolidation of local government, township officials also urged lawmakers to reject legislation that would require them to pay state police service fees; revise money-wasting laws governing road bonding, legal advertising, and bidding requirements; and address the prevailing wage, which is now imposed on a broader range of road projects and is driving up costs.
PSATS President Kenny Grimes says the sheer size of this event - attendees fill the lobby of the Commonwealth Keystone Building - symbolizes its importance.
"State and local officials were all elected and appointed to serve the same constituents, and they are looking to us to do the right thing," Grimes said, "and by coming together like this in Harrisburg every year, we are building a solid relationship, guided by trust, honesty, and a desire to give Pennsylvania the very best."
The state Department of Agriculture co-sponsored the event, and food was provided by members of PA Preferred, a program that promotes products grown and manufactured in Pennsylvania. Other sponsors were Malady and Wooten, LLP, Smith Barney, and Dawood.
The association of township supervisors represents the state's 1,455 townships of the second class and for more than eight decades has been committed to preserving and strengthening township government and securing greater visibility and involvement for townships in the state and federal political arenas. Townships of the second class represent more residents – 5.4 million Pennsylvanians - than any other type of political subdivision in the commonwealth.