News Releases
See below for the latest news releases from the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania.
 
MEDIA CONTACT: Ken Kroski, Director of Media and Public Relations, Direct: (717) 736-4742, Mobile: (717) 576-5372, kkroski@pacounties.org
  • 2017/11/09-Pennsylvania's County Leaders to Gather for Fall Conference
    • Pennsylvania's County Leaders to Gather for Fall Conference
      Thursday, November 09, 2017
      Pennsylvania's County Leaders to Gather for Fall Conference

      Leaders from counties in Pennsylvania will meet on Monday, November 20 and Tuesday, November 21 at The Hotel Hershey to discuss issues of concern to counties during the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) Fall Conference.


      On Monday, November 20, 9 to 10:30 a.m. (in the Garden Terrace Ballroom), the Opening General Session will be presided over by CCAP President and Washington County Commissioner Harlan Shober. The first scheduled speaker is Billy Kirkland, special assistant to the president & deputy director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Brian Namey, director of public affairs for the National Association of Counties (NACo) will then discuss NACo’s iCivics public education program. Attorney General Josh Shapiro will end the session with a discussion of opioids.

      On Tuesday, November 21, 10 to 11:30 a.m. (in the Garden Terrace Ballroom), CCAP will conclude its 2017 Fall Conference with the Closing General Session featuring Senator Pat Toomey. Also, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale will discuss the findings and recommendations of the State of the Child report.

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      IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES:

      Media representatives are invited to attend the Opening General Session and the Closing General Session. Please contact Ken Kroski, CCAP Director of Media and Public Relations (717) 576-5372 (kkroski@pacounties.org) to receive a media pass. Ken may reached on-site at the conference using the same phone number. For media attending these sessions, please note the question and answer portion of any presentation is for CCAP conference attendees only. Speakers may, at their discretion, make themselves available to the media following the session for questions and interviews, which should be arranged independently with their scheduling offices. CCAP suggests that you make pre-arrangements for any special audiovisual/ technology needs directly with The Hotel Hershey. 

      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors. County governments are responsible for a wide variety of critical issues, including provision of human services (i.e., mental health, intellectual disabilities, juvenile justice, children and youth, long-term care, drug and alcohol services, housing) to people in need in our communities. In addition, counties are responsible for emergency management and 911 services, administration of the courts and corrections system, elections, maintenance of county bridges, and the county property assessment rolls, and also are involved in environmental and land use planning, protection of open space and community and economic development. CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties. For more information about Pennsylvania counties and CCAP, log on to www.pacounties.org and visit CCAP’s Twitter page @PACountiesGR.​



  • 2017/08/09-CCAP Honors Oustanding County Leaders
    • CCAP Honors Oustanding County Leaders
      Wednesday, August 09, 2017
      CCAP Honors Oustanding County Leaders

      County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania
      Honors Outstanding County Leaders
       
      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) has bestowed honors upon several Pennsylvania county leaders and others who have enhanced the well-being of counties and residents. The awards were given at the organization’s 2017 Annual Conference in Erie County.
       
      CCAP’s 2017 Outstanding County Commissioner/Council Member of the Year Award was presented to Potter County Commissioner Paul Heimel. Heimel was acknowledged for his dedicated service to fellow commissioners and constituents at the local, state and national levels, as well as his leadership and advocacy for veterans, criminal justice, communications and other issues.
       
      The 2017 Outstanding Affiliate of the Year Award was presented to the full membership of the Pennsylvania Children and Youth Administrators (PCYA) for their superior efforts pertaining to the challenges of increased child protection laws, including funding and staffing issues. PCYA President Shara Saveikis, of the Westmoreland County Children’s Bureau, received the award for the organization.
       
      CCAP’s 2017 Solicitor of the Year Award was given to Crystal Clark of McNees Wallace and Nurick LLC. Clark was honored for her years of service as Lancaster County solicitor, and currently CCAP solicitor, and for her leadership with issues that impact counties throughout the state.
       
      The 2017 Friend of County Government Award was presented to Graphtech, a Harrisburg-based design and printing company. Graphtech has been at the forefront of CCAP branding initiatives and progressive changes to the organization’s visual presence. The award is the highest honor CCAP bestows on a non-member.
       
      CCAP’s 2017 Excellence in Website Design Award was given to Warren County for enhancements leading to an accessible, modern design, with increased connectivity, more available data and greater transparency to improve residents’ interactions with county government. Commissioner Jeff Eggleston received the award for Warren County.
       
      Two President’s Awards were bestowed by CCAP President and Washington County Commissioner Harlan Shober to CCAP staff and Scott Fergus, director of administration for Washington County. The awards were presented to honor commitment to CCAP’s president and outstanding contributions leading to enhanced service to county residents.
       
      CCAP is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors.
       
      The Association strengthens counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties. For more information about Pennsylvania counties and CCAP, log on to www.pacounties.org and visit CCAP’s Twitter page @PACountiesGR.
       
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  • 2017/08/08-CCAP Announces 2018 Officers
    • CCAP Announces 2018 Officers
      Tuesday, August 08, 2017
      CCAP Announces 2018 Officers

      County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania Announces Officer Elections

       

      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) elected Lancaster County Commissioner Dennis Stuckey, as the 2018 president of the Association during its 131st Annual Conference in Erie County, Pennsylvania. Other county officials elected to be leaders of CCAP include Kathi Cozzone, Chester County commissioner, first vice president; Jeff Snyder, Clinton County commissioner, second vice president; and Michelle Kichline, Chester County commissioner, treasurer. 

       

      Elected as district representatives to the CCAP Board were: District 1 Representative Basil Huffman, Forest County commissioner; District 2 Representative Dan Vogler, Lawrence County commissioner; District 3 Representative Randy Phiel, Adams County commissioner; District 4 Representative Preston Boop, Union County commissioner; District 5 Representative, Terence Farrell, Chester County commissioner; District 6 Representative John Cusick, Northampton County council member; and District 7 Representative Daryl Miller, Bradford County commissioner.

       

      Those elected will begin their terms on January 1, 2018.

       

      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors. CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.

       

      For more information about CCAP and counties in Pennsylvania, log on to www.pacounties.org and visit CCAP’s Twitter page @PACountiesGR.

       

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      County governments are responsible for a wide variety of critical issues, including provision of human services (i.e., mental health, intellectual disabilities, juvenile justice, children and youth, long-term care, drug and alcohol services, housing) to people in need in our communities. In addition, counties are responsible for emergency management and 911 services, administration of the courts and corrections system, elections, maintenance of county bridges, and the county property assessment rolls, and also are involved in environmental and land use planning, protection of open space and community and economic development.

       

       

       

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  • 2017/07/27-CCAP Annual Conference - August 6-9
    • CCAP Annual Conference - August 6-9
      Thursday, July 27, 2017
      CCAP Annual Conference - August 6-9

      Pennsylvania’s County Leaders Gather for 131st Annual Conference

       
      Leaders from counties in Pennsylvania will meet in Erie County, August 6 through August 9, at the Bayfront Convention Center, to discuss issues of concern to counties during the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania’s (CCAP) 131st Annual Conference, the association’s premiere event. Media representatives are invited to attend the Opening General Session, Monday, August 7, 8:30 a.m. and the Closing General Session, Wednesday, August 9, 10 a.m.
       
      On Monday, August 7, 8:30 a.m. (in the East Ballroom) CCAP will kick off the Opening General Session with CCAP President and Washington County Commissioner Harlan Shober presiding. The opening session’s keynote speaker is Manley Feinberg, founder of Vertical Lessons, Inc., and award-winning international speaker, business leader and author.
       
      On Wednesday, August 9, 10 a.m. (in the East Ballroom) CCAP will conclude its 2017 Annual Conference with the Closing General Session. The session will feature presentations by Commissioner Roy Brooks, Tarrant County, Texas, and National Association of Counties’ (NACo) president, discussing NACo legislative priorities; John Wetzel, secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections speaking about the Justice Reinvestment Initiative 2 and state/county partnerships; and Jeffrey Boyle, deputy director for 9-1-1, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, discussing the 911 discretionary grant process and updating progress with 911 issues across the state.
       
      The conference also includes CCAP’s annual business meeting, the president’s report, consideration of the Association’s resolutions, the selection of next year’s CCAP officers, annual awards presentations, and the selection of the 2022 Annual Conference location, as well as numerous educational sessions. Bob Thomas, CCAP board chair and Franklin County commissioner and Dennis Stuckey, CCAP first vice president and Lancaster County commissioner also will conduct portions of the program.
       
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      IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES:
      Media representatives are invited to attend the Opening General Session, Monday, August 7, 8:30 a.m. and the Closing General Session, Wednesday, August 9, 10 a.m. Please contact Ken Kroski, CCAP Director of Media and Public Relations, (717) 576-5372, if you plan to attend. Ken may reached on-site at the conference using the same number.


  • 2017/07/05-Counties Express Appreciation for Funding Restoration
    • Counties Express Appreciation for Funding Restoration
      Wednesday, July 05, 2017
      Counties Express Appreciation for Funding Restoration

      Counties Express Appreciation for Funding Restoration in FY 2017-2018 Budget
       
      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP), representing all 67 counties in the commonwealth, today conveyed their support for the five party agreement among the House and Senate caucuses and Governor Tom Wolf, as members of the General Assembly approved a $31.99 billion commonwealth budget for FY 2017-2018.
       
      The budget, contained in HB 218, was amended in the Senate to incorporate the compromise agreement. For counties, it provides crucial funding to core government services such as criminal justice, human services and court systems that counties provide in partnership with the state. The approved funding will enable counties to maintain investments in successful criminal justice system reforms and to provide human services programs in the face of increasing caseloads. The quick action on the agreement, in advance of the fiscal year deadline, also provides funding certainty for counties, which are in the middle of their calendar-base fiscal years.
       
      Counties are truly grateful for the work of leadership and members in all caucuses to address the needs of counties and their mutual constituents, and look forward to continued discussions about the state/county partnership in delivering core government services.
       
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      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors.
       
      County governments are responsible for a wide variety of critical issues, including provision of human services (i.e., mental health, intellectual disabilities, juvenile justice, children and youth, long-term care, drug and alcohol services, housing) to people in need in our communities. In addition, counties are responsible for emergency management and 911 services, administration of the courts and corrections system, elections, maintenance of county bridges, and the county property assessment rolls, and also are involved in environmental and land use planning, protection of open space and community and economic development.
       
      CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties. For more information about Pennsylvania counties and CCAP, log on to www.pacounties.org and visit CCAP’s Twitter page @PACountiesGR.


  • 2017/06/20-CCAP Announces Graduates from Center for Excellence in County Leadership
    • CCAP Announces Graduates from Center for Excellence in County Leadership
      Tuesday, June 20, 2017
      CCAP Announces Graduates from Center for Excellence in County Leadership

      County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania Announces
      Graduates from its Center for Excellence in County Leadership
       
       
      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) Center for Excellence in County Leadership (CEL), a premier professional development program for county officials, recently graduated eight county officials from its intensive training program.
       
      The 2017 graduates include: Kevin Boozel, M.S., Butler County commissioner; Cynthia Cook, Beaver County chief clerk; Kathi Cozzone, Chester County commissioner and CCAP second vice president; Samuel DeMarco, III, Allegheny County council member at-large; Amanda Holt, Lehigh County commissioner; Christian Leinbach, Berks County commissioner and CCAP past president and National Association of Counties representative; Glenn Smith, Esquire, York County solicitor; and Jeff Snyder, Clinton County commissioner and CCAP chair of the Committee on Criminal Justice System Best Practices for the 21st Century.
       
       
      CEL training focuses on fostering individual growth through interactive and high level classroom training aimed at enhancing communication, management and leadership skills. CEL includes intense classes in styles of leadership, managerial versatility, interpersonal dynamics, crisis communication, media management, daily communication problem solving, decision making and other areas.
       
      Participation is available to one eligible person per county each year, with a maximum of 16 participants annually. An application is required for admittance to the program, with final selection being made by a standing CCAP committee. The program is open to county commissioners or council members, chief clerks, county administrators and solicitors of all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. The 2017 CEL program was produced by The Professional Edge, Inc., (www.theprofessionaledgeinc.com).
       
      For more information about CCAP and counties in Pennsylvania, log on to www.pacounties.org and visit @PACountiesGR on Twitter.
       
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      2017 CCAP CEL Graduates Photo
      Seated: Amanda Holt, Lehigh County Commissioner; Cynthia Cook, Beaver County Chief Clerk; Kathi Cozzone, Chester County Commissioner and CCAP Second Vice President
       
      Standing: Samuel DeMarco, III, Allegheny County Council Member At-Large; Glenn Smith, Esquire, York County Solicitor; Kevin Boozel, M.S., Butler County Commissioner; Christian Leinbach, Berks County Commissioner and CCAP Past President and NACo Representative. Jeff Snyder, Clinton County commissioner and CCAP chair of the Committee on Criminal Justice System Best Practices for the 21st Century is not pictured.
       
      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors.
       
      County governments are responsible for a wide variety of critical issues, including provision of human services (i.e., mental health, intellectual disabilities, juvenile justice, children and youth, long-term care, drug and alcohol services, housing) to people in need in our communities. In addition, counties are responsible for emergency management and 911 services, administration of the courts and corrections system, elections, maintenance of county bridges, and the county property assessment rolls, and also are involved in environmental and land use planning, protection of open space and community and economic development.
       
      CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties. For more information about Pennsylvania counties and CCAP, log on to www.pacounties.org and visit CCAP’s Twitter page @PACountiesGR.


  • 2017/04/04-County Commissioners: "Commonwealth proposes a tax increase budget"
    • County Commissioners: "Commonwealth proposes a tax increase budget"
      Tuesday, April 04, 2017
      County Commissioners: "Commonwealth proposes a tax increase budget"

      County Commissioners: “Commonwealth proposes a tax increase budget”
       
      The County Commissioners of Pennsylvania (CCAP) today expresses grave concerns with HB 218, the proposed 2017-2018 commonwealth budget under consideration today by the Pennsylvania House.
       
      Far from being a “no-tax-increase” budget and far from being a document that provides a path forward for the commonwealth, it instead represents a continuing pattern of the state failing to meet its full responsibility to its service delivery partners and its citizens most in need.
       
      The proposal contains sweeping cuts in funding for human services, criminal justice, and administrative programs that counties perform on the commonwealth’s behalf, amounting to millions of dollars. All are statutory mandates, and so the only option locally will be to increase the local tax burden – the property tax. Compounding the effect, the cuts will fall in the middle of the county fiscal year, which raises the specter of service interruptions as counties adjust to mid-year cuts.
       
      The proposal fails to recognize that funding is tied to outcomes. By way of example, we have been making progress toward removing our mentally ill from the criminal justice system and into community settings, but the budget proposal cuts the funding that supports this change. We have been improving our spectrum of public safety but the budget proposal cuts support of both the courts and adult probation.
       
      Funding is a tangible reflection of policy choices, and so the array of cuts being proposed signals the commonwealth’s failure to recognize its commitment to needed support and needed reforms.
       
      Line items to be eliminated include juvenile probation services ($18.9 million); adult probation services ($16.2 million); intermediate punishment treatment programs ($18.2 million); county trial reimbursement ($200,000); senior judge reimbursement ($1.4 million); and court interpreter county grants ($1.5 million).
       
      Line items to be decreased include county court reimbursement (reduced by $3.5 million); jurors cost reimbursement (reduced by $168,000); mental health services (reduced by $5 million from the Governor’s proposal for total cut of $19.6 million); behavioral health services (reduced by $4 million); Human Services Development Fund (reduced by $2 million); and homeless assistance (reduced by $2.8 million).
       
      Counties ultimately are responsible for delivering all of these services, and counties recognize both a statutory and a moral commitment to do so to the best of their capacity. The commonwealth must do the same. While the proposal before the House today is only the first step in legislative consideration of 2017-2018 funding, it represents a starting point that counties cannot support.
       
      Plainly and emphatically, the lack of adequate funding from the commonwealth will mean local tax increases to maintain services. This is clearly not a no-tax-increase budget. Any vote for this budget is a vote for property tax increases.
       
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  • 2017/03/07-Counties Highlight Critical Need to Address Funding Challenges Facing County Child Protection System
    • Counties Highlight Critical Need to Address Funding Challenges Facing County Child Protection System
      Tuesday, March 07, 2017
      Counties Highlight Critical Need to Address Funding Challenges Facing County Child Protection System

                                   Counties Highlight Critical Need to Address Funding Challenges Facing County Child Protection System

       
      Auditor General Eugene DePasquale recently announced that his office will be engaging in an audit of the child protection system in Pennsylvania, focusing on examining the job stresses for caseworkers in 13 counties, evaluating the impact of high turnover rates and minimal training, and offering recommendations to improve these stressors so that children and youth agencies can improve the quality of care at-risk children receive.
       
      “We are pleased that the auditor general is focusing attention on this critical issue and look forward to working with him on concerning trends in county children and youth agencies, namely increasing caseloads and service needs without corresponding resources, as well as his State of the Child report,” said Brian Bornman, Esq., executive director of the Pennsylvania Children and Youth Administrators Association (PCYA), an affiliate of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania.
       
      “However, it is important to understand that under state law county children and youth agencies submit their proposed budgets to the Department of Human Services to be certified some 2 ½ years in advance of when the funds are actually needed to provide services,” Bornman continued. “This process does not allow counties to take into consideration new mandates that are adopted in the intervening time, and unless the legislature would approve a supplemental appropriation, the counties’ only options are to cut spending in other areas, to request to move existing funds, or to increase property taxes.”
       
      In particular, Bornman noted that the enactment of nearly 30 new pieces of legislation in 2015 geared toward providing additional protections for children caused significant increases in referrals and workloads to county children and youth agencies, but without comparable increases in state funding, leaving the system badly strained.
       
      Adelaide Grace, Monroe County Children & Youth Services administrator and president of PCYA, added, “The issue of caseworker turnover has been a struggle for many counties in Pennsylvania. High turnover affects practice in so many ways, and overworked caseworkers burn out quickly, which further exacerbates the problem. It is critical that counties be able to hire sufficient staff to implement mandates before they go into effect.”
       
      Bornman continued, “The new child protection laws have brought increased and timely attention to child abuse prevention and treatment. However, while many positive results are anticipated, the new responsibilities placed on counties further highlight the critical and ongoing need to address funding challenges facing the county child protection system. But counties cannot do more without appropriate resources.”
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      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors.
       
      CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.
       
      For more information about Pennsylvania counties and CCAP, log on to www.pacounties.org and visit CCAP’s Twitter page @PACountiesGR.


  • 2017/03/02-Budgets Impact County and State Partnership on Critical Services
    • Budgets Impact County and State Partnership on Critical Services
      Thursday, March 02, 2017
      Budgets Impact County and State Partnership on Critical Services

      Budgets Impact County and State Partnership on Critical Services
       
      Douglas E. Hill
      Executive Director
      County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania
      (The Voice of Pennsylvania Counties Since 1886)
       
       
      Pennsylvania counties have a 235 year history of partnership with the commonwealth, dating from the earliest counties established by William Penn in 1682 (Bucks, Philadelphia and Chester). Over that time, the county role has evolved so that counties are now the primary provider of human services programs on behalf of both the state and federal governments.
       
      These human services programs protect the most vulnerable in our communities – children suffering from abuse, those fighting substance abuse addictions, individuals with mental illness and intellectual disabilities, and seniors in need of long-term care, for instance. However, the far-reaching effects of these services impact all residents, whether they use the services directly or not.
       
      To assure the health, safety and well-being of their residents in this way, counties depend on funding from their state partners. Unfortunately, county capacity to meet service needs continues to be compromised by stagnant state funding, at the same time that program mandates and service needs continue to increase.
       
      Preliminary surveys of counties conducted by the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) show that some 80 percent anticipated a budget shortfall as they developed their 2017 budgets, with nearly half pointing to state mandates and increased caseloads as cost drivers. About two-thirds of counties cited the impact of the drug overdose epidemic, while others shared their concerns that state funding will decrease in FY 2017-2018. To make ends meet, three-quarters of counties dipped into their reserves, while more than 40 percent made budget cuts, and one third made the difficult decision to increase property taxes.
       
      Counties also are watching what promises to be a difficult state budget process, with the six-month budget delay of FY 2015-2016 still fresh in their memories. During that time, in the absence of state funds counties put up an average of $12 million to maintain services at a consistent level for their residents, with 70 percent using funding from reserves and about 30 percent borrowing an average of $5.7 million. And they are keenly aware of their limited resources should another impasse occur, with many counties unsure whether they could manage an extended state budget delay.
       
      As we look ahead to the debate on the FY 2017-2018 state budget, we know that the General Assembly and the administration have heard counties’ messages about the need for adequate human services funding. Counties, in turn, understand the budget challenges of the state and in that context appreciate the program allocations Governor Wolf proposed a few weeks ago, which largely maintain current funding levels. But the fact remains that the state’s fiscal condition works against the funding growth needed across all human services programs, so that counties face a double dose of budgetary constraints while trying to do the right thing for county residents.
       
      For that reason, counties’ top priority for 2017 continues to center on human services funding, in particular seeking restoration of the ten percent aggregate cut in FY 2012-2013 to seven line items that impact core services in all 67 counties. Equally important, counties seek assurance that state funds will be provided without interruption for critical human services in the event of budget delays.
       
      Relatedly, counties extend a hand in partnership to the commonwealth as considerations progress on Governor Wolf’s proposals to consolidate several state agencies relating to human services and criminal justice. These discussions about system reform and program restructuring offer opportunities to improve service delivery, and counties, which have both responsibilities for and expertise in delivering these services, must be included in the conversation.
       
      Counties have more than two centuries of experience working with their state partners to assure Pennsylvanians have access to critical services that affect the fabric of our communities. Counties will continue to seek ways to strengthen that partnership in the years to come, so that appropriate structure and resources are in place to effectively plan for the future.
       
      Visit www.pacounties.org, Pennsylvania Counties Are and Pennsylvania County Human Services Are to learn more about what counties do and their 2017 priorities.
       
      #  #  #
       
      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors. CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.


  • 2017/01/25-Pennsylvania Counties Unveil 2017 Legislative Priorities
    • Pennsylvania Counties Unveil 2017 Legislative Priorities
      Wednesday, January 25, 2017
      Pennsylvania Counties Unveil 2017 Legislative Priorities

      Pennsylvania Counties Unveil 2017 Legislative Priorities
      Topics highlight stressed community services that affect all residents

       

      (Harrisburg, Pa.) – County leaders from throughout Pennsylvania today unveiled four key county government legislative priorities for 2017, led by a call to state officials to properly fund critical human services which counties perform on behalf of the state for residents and communities, in addition to maintaining the shale gas impact fee, diversifying the county tax base and working to overcome the devastating effects of substance abuse and drug overdoses. 

      Washington County Commissioner and County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) President Harlan Shober shared that many people are not aware that counties provide services that touch every person’s life, whether directly or indirectly, on a daily basis. “The services that counties provide require effective resources and partnerships. Those services form the fabric of our communities, our families, our incomes and our security, and are invaluable to our children’s futures,” said Shober. “Our 2017 county priorities first and foremost seek to move forward with meaningful reforms that protect our residents’ health and safety and defend our taxpayers.”
       
      For that reason, explained Dauphin County Commissioner and CCAP Human Services Committee Chair George Hartwick, counties’ top priority in 2017 is to assure adequate state funding is allocated for county human services programs, including the restoration of the ten percent cut to seven key line items that occurred four years ago. In addition, counties will be exploring all possible options to prevent counties from being made responsible in the event of any future state funding delays.
       
      “To say the past several years have been challenging for counties is only the tip of the iceberg,” Hartwick said. “Decreases in state funding for core human services programs, coupled with increased mandates and growing caseloads as well as being forced to pick up the pieces during the FY 2015-2016 state budget impasse – all of these have pushed counties to the breaking point and produced highly destructive financial effects on counties at the expense of county taxpayers. Counties repeatedly have had to step up and provide crucial services on behalf of the state, without proper funding and support by the state.” 
       
      Hartwick continued, “At the county level, we have statutory – and moral – obligations to meet those service needs, whether it is children, seniors, those with disabilities, or those with addictions. Those are commitments we intend to honor,” Hartwick said. “If the commonwealth should attempt to balance its budget by lessening or abandoning its commitment to fund these programs, they need to understand they have not held the line on taxes – instead they have endorsed, if not required, property tax increases at the local level. Every legislator, every taxpayer, every family in need should send the message that such a strategy is wrong.”
       
      Another county priority also recognizes the importance of sufficient resources: preventing substance abuse and drug overdose, particularly as the commonwealth works to combat the opioid epidemic.
       
      “As providers of drug and alcohol prevention and treatment programs, counties are seeing firsthand the impact of the ever-increasing opioid epidemic, which touches all of our communities, regardless of age and background,” said Hartwick. “While we have taken many positive steps to address this issue in recent years, more can and must be done.”
       
      Also important to ensure counties are able to provide services is a need to diversify the county tax base, said Cumberland County Commissioner and CCAP Assessment and Taxation Committee Chair Jim Hertzler.
       
      “Counties are only authorized to impose one tax – the property tax – effectively tying our hands when it comes to our ability to determine for ourselves fairer revenue alternatives to finance critical county services and to reduce, on a dollar for dollar basis, the often onerous and inequitable property tax,” stated Hertzler. “In fact, about one third of total county expenditures are now covered by property tax revenues – and that proportion has been steadily growing as counties watch service demands increase and state and federal funding decrease.” Counties are asking the state to provide other revenue-neutral taxing options, such as a sales, earned income or personal income tax, that would enable them to match the relative strengths of different taxes to local factors and thus reduce their reliance on the property tax.
       
      Even though 40-plus years of property tax reform discussions in Harrisburg might lead us to believe otherwise, schools are not the only local governments relying on the antiquated property tax system for local funding,” Hertzler concluded. “Counties must have a seat at the table for property tax reform to truly be a reality and provide meaningful results for Pennsylvania taxpayers.”
       
      Finally, counties’ 2017 priorities include maintaining the shale gas impact fee. According to Erick Coolidge, a Tioga County commissioner who serves as chair of CCAP’s Agriculture Committee and Natural Gas Task Force, the impact fees generated by Act 13 of 2012 have allowed the counties with shale gas wells the flexibility to address their unique local impacts. In addition, the impact fees have brought improvements in environment and infrastructure in all 67 counties.
       
      “Should any proposals to place a severance tax on the natural gas industry be considered in the future,” Coolidge said, “counties’ priority is to preserve the current impact fee and its distribution structure to local governments so counties continue to have the flexibility to address critical infrastructure, safety, training, and economic development needs.”
       
      ###
       
      Click here to see remarks from speakers at the news conference, fact sheets for each priority, and a copy of CCAP's printed version of the 2017 priorities brochure.
       
       
      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors.
       
      County governments are responsible for a wide variety of critical issues, including provision of human services (i.e., mental health, intellectual disabilities, juvenile justice, children and youth, long-term care, drug and alcohol services, housing) to people in need in our communities. In addition, counties are responsible for emergency management and 911 services, administration of the courts and corrections system, elections, maintenance of county bridges, and the county property assessment rolls, and are also involved in environmental and land use planning, protection of open space and community and economic development.
       
      CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties. For more information about Pennsylvania counties and CCAP, log on to www.pacounties.org and visit CCAP’s Twitter page @PACountiesGR.


  • 2017/01/19-County Leaders to Announce 2017 Legislative Priorities
    • County Leaders to Announce 2017 Legislative Priorities
      Thursday, January 19, 2017
      County Leaders to Announce 2017 Legislative Priorities

      County Leaders to Announce 2017 Legislative Priorities
       
      Who:               President, officers and staff members of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP)
       
      What:              Discussion of the county government agenda for 2017 and unveiling of the 2017 county government legislative priorities
       
      When:             Wednesday, January 25, 2017, noon
       
      Where:            Main rotunda, Capitol building, Harrisburg
       
      Details:           County leaders from around the state will announce the CCAP 2017 legislative priorities, which will be unveiled for the first time during this media event.
       
      2017 priorities to be discussed:
      ·       Human service funding and system reform
      ·       Maintaining the shale gas impact fee
      ·       Diversifying the county tax base
      ·       Preventing substance abuse and drug overdose
       
      County officials who will be on hand to discuss the priorities include:
      ·       Harlan Shober, CCAP president and Washington County commissioner
      ·       Erick Coolidge, CCAP Agriculture Committee and the Natural Gas Task Force chair, Tioga County commissioner
      ·       George Hartwick III, CCAP Human Services Committee chair, Dauphin County commissioner
      ·       Jim Hertzler, CCAP Assessment and Taxation Committee chair, Cumberland County commissioner
       
      All speakers and the CCAP leadership will be available for one-on-one interviews.
       
       
      ###
       
      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors.
       
      CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.
       
      For more information about Pennsylvania’s counties and CCAP, log on to www.pacounties.org and visit CCAP’s Twitter page @PACountiesGR.


  • 2016/11/22-Counties Concerned About State Finance’s Effects on Residents
    • Counties Concerned About State Finance’s Effects on Residents
      Tuesday, November 22, 2016
      Counties Concerned About State Finance’s Effects on Residents

      As county leaders gathered in Hershey for the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania’s (CCAP) fall conference this week, they shared their grave concern about recent reports on state finances, and what they may mean for counties’ ability to provide critical services to residents should another state budget impasse occur.

       
      Pennsylvania’s Independent Fiscal Office, during its annual economic and budget outlook in mid-November, projected that, absent any statutory changes, the state could face a budget imbalance of more than $500 million in the current fiscal year. That deficit could climb up to $1.75 billion in FY 2017-2018, leaving counties to wonder what that may mean for state funds they rely on to assure their residents continue to have access to crucial services dealing with mental health, child abuse, substance abuse, long-term care and intellectual disabilities.
       
      The difficult decisions facing the General Assembly and the governor to mitigate that deficit also have many county leaders anxious about the potential for mid-year funding cuts or another budget impasse, even as counties continue to deal with the consequences of the FY 2015-2016 impasse. 
       
      According to CCAP President and Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas, “Our local property tax payers, providers, community foundations, and those we serve cannot and should not have to shoulder the costs of another impasse, as they did last year. Counties, which provide many of our essential services, are still struggling with significant financial and operational issues from the last impasse.”
       
      Craig Lehman, CCAP board chair and Lancaster County commissioner added, "Counties are developing their budgets for 2017 while facing an unpredictable and potentially perilous state fiscal situation. Counties protect the most vulnerable in our communities including children, senior citizens, and individuals with mental health and substance abuse problems. If there is another state budget impasse and necessary funding is cut, our communities will suffer or counties could be forced to replace that revenue locally as the state shifts that burden to property taxpayers."
       
      A recent CCAP study found that the six-month delay in state funding in FY 2015-2016 forced counties to come up with an average of $12 million – the equivalent of 20 percent of county operating budgets – from reserves and borrowing to cover expenditures and maintain a consistent level of services for their residents.
       
      Nearly three-quarters of the counties used their reserves to cover the gap, a few draining them completely. Almost one third borrowed an average of $5.7 million, paying tens of thousands in borrowing fees and interest payments. Even with those measures, nearly half of the counties interviewed were forced to delay payments to providers and modify programs by creating waitlists, limiting hours and services, curtailing services to new recipients, and in a few cases, closing programs. These additional and unplanned costs had to be absorbed by county budgets, and ultimately paid for by county property tax dollars.
       
      Harlan Shober, CCAP president-elect and Washington County commissioner noted, “Another impasse could cause critical services to simply cease, and the trickle-down effect to families, those in need, and every resident could significantly impact lives.” Shober continued, “Counties take very seriously their commitment to providing essential services, many of which are literally life and death. An impasse must never again occur and, to the contrary, funding must be restored for services that have been the targets of recent budget cuts. We are committed to working with the Governor, the Budget Office, and the General Assembly to assure we strengthen our fiscal and service partnership.”
       
      For more information about CCAP and counties in Pennsylvania, log on to www.pacounties.org and visit CCAP’s Twitter page @PACountiesGR.
       
      ###
       
      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors.
       
      CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.
       
      For more information about Pennsylvania counties and CCAP, log on to www.pacounties.org and visit CCAP’s Twitter page @PACountiesGR.


  • 2016/11/14-Pennsylvania County Leaders to Gather for Fall Conference
    • Pennsylvania County Leaders to Gather for Fall Conference
      Monday, November 14, 2016
      Pennsylvania County Leaders to Gather for Fall Conference

      Pennsylvania’s County Leaders to Gather for Fall Conference
       
      Leaders from counties in Pennsylvania will meet on Monday, November 21 and Tuesday, November 22 at the Hotel Hershey to discuss issues of concern to counties during the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) Fall Conference.
       
      On Monday, November 21, 9 a.m. (in the Garden Terrace Ballroom) CCAP will kick off the Opening General Session with CCAP President and Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas presiding over the session.
       
      Opening session speakers include Senator Pat Vance discussing human services, and Bryan Desloge, president of the National Association of Counties, sharing thoughts on the changing Washington landscape and advocacy of issues important to counties and their constituents. William Burrell, corrections management consultant, will discuss evidence based practices in adult probation, as well as strategies and successes in juvenile probation. Emlyn Struthers of the PEW Charitable Trusts will discuss the Results First Clearinghouse Database related to criminal justice challenges.
       
      On Tuesday, November 22, 10 a.m. (in the Garden Terrace Ballroom) CCAP will conclude its 2016 Fall Conference with the Closing General Session featuring Cindy Adams Dunn, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) sharing details on key programs provided through DCNR as well as areas for partnership between the state and counties. Matt Baker, majority chairman of the House Health Committee will discuss the drug crisis in Pennsylvania. Lisa Schaefer, CCAP Director of Government Relations will discuss CCAP’s legislative activities. CCAP members also will vote on the Association’s 2017 action plan and legislative priorities.
       
      For a full conference program including workshop sessions, times and presenters visit the CCAP website at http://www.pacounties.org/ME/Pages/FallConference.aspx. For more information about Pennsylvania’s counties and CCAP, visit CCAP’s Twitter page @PACountiesGR.
      ###
       
      IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES:
      Please contact Ken Kroski, CCAP Director of Media and Public Relations, (717) 576-5372, if you plan to attend the conference. Ken may reached on-site at the conference using the same number.
       
      For media attending these sessions, please note the question and answer portion of any presentation is for CCAP conference attendees only. Speakers may, at their discretion, make themselves available to the media following the session for questions and interviews, which should be arranged independently with their scheduling offices. CCAP suggests that you make pre-arrangements for any special audiovisual/ technology needs directly with the Hotel Hershey prior to the sessions.


  • 2016/09/16-Counties Applaud DHS ChildLine Announcement - Cite Needed Attention to County Responders to Close the Loop
    • Counties Applaud DHS ChildLine Announcement - Cite Needed Attention to County Responders to Close the Loop
      Friday, September 16, 2016
      Counties Applaud DHS ChildLine Announcement - Cite Needed Attention to County Responders to Close the Loop

      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) commends the Department of Human Services (DHS) and ChildLine for their diligence and dedication to improve the timeliness of clearances and, in particular, the reduction in the number of deflected or abandoned child abuse calls in the ChildLine system as announced yesterday by DHS.

       
      Brian Bornman, Esq., executive director of the PA Children and Youth Administrators Association (PCYA), responded by commenting, “This is wonderful news for the children of Pennsylvania. It is imperative that every link in the chain that provides safety for abused and neglected children be strong. However, contacting ChildLine is the equivalent of calling 911, but for child abuse. The primary responder is the county children and youth system caseworker. None of the ChildLine staff actually investigates allegations of child abuse, they simply take the information and forward the reports on to county child welfare agencies who actually investigate them.”
       
      Bornman continued, noting the impacts of improved reporting systems, “Tremendous increases in the volume of calls received by ChildLine are equally indicative of the dramatic increases in investigation workload for the caseworkers at the counties. It is imperative that the same level of attention be paid to the turnover and adequate staffing at the county level as there is for ChildLine.” Referring to his 911 analogy, Bornman noted, “It is great when 911 answers the phone, but if there are not enough law enforcement, firemen, or emergency services staff to respond effectively, the response is insufficient.”
       
      CCAP and PCYA continue to work closely with DHS and the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts to look at caseworker turnover, increasing caseloads, and improvements to data systems with the objective of stabilizing the county case management workforce.
       
      According to CCAP President and Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas, “Caseworker turnover at the counties has been a considerable struggle and the increases in investigations following the law changes in 2015 have greatly exacerbated this. The core of child welfare in Pennsylvania always has been the county child welfare caseworker who is the one knocking on the door to see if a child is safe. Some counties have seen more than a 100 percent increase in the number of investigations their worker have received between 2014 and 2015 when the new laws went into effect. For most counties, these increases never returned to 2014 and prior levels.”
       
      CCAP noted that adequate staffing throughout the system is the critical need to close the loop and protect children in Pennsylvania. CCAP Executive Director Doug Hill stated, “ChildLine must be fully functional in order to receive and forward the abuse reports on to the counties, but counties are where the primary response occurs. Counties must have the resources and staff available to handle this critical workload. Overloading caseworkers with more than they can legitimately handle only increases the risk to those children who most need protection, but adequate resources can assure the highest quality service.”
       
      For more information about CCAP and counties in Pennsylvania, log on to www.pacounties.org and visit CCAP’s Twitter page @PACountiesGR.
       
      ###
       
       
      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors.
       
      CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.
       
      For more information about Pennsylvania counties and CCAP, log on to www.pacounties.org and visit CCAP’s Twitter page @PACountiesGR.


  • 2016/08/26-Pennsylvania County Leaders Announce Findings of Task Force Examining Inmates with Mental Illness and Addictions
    • Pennsylvania County Leaders Announce Findings of Task Force Examining Inmates with Mental Illness and Addictions
      Friday, August 26, 2016
      Pennsylvania County Leaders Announce Findings of Task Force Examining Inmates with Mental Illness and Addictions

      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) today announced findings and recommendations from a Comprehensive Behavioral Task Force Report detailing the critical issue of alternatives to incarcerating mentally ill and substance abusing offenders.

      Statistics suggest that as many as 65 percent of Pennsylvania’s county jail inmates have a substance abuse disorder, 10 to 30 percent suffer from mental illness, and up to 14 percent have serious mental illness. The average cost of incarceration in a county jail is approximately $40,000 annually, compared to many community based alternatives that are estimated to cost less than half of that amount.
       
      Franklin County Commissioner and CCAP President Bob Thomas stated, “For counties, one of the greatest challenges facing corrections systems is the fast-growing population of inmates with mental illness and untreated or undertreated substance abuse issues. Funding for state and federal human services programs has been on the decline for well over a decade while mandates have increased, with counties expected to assume larger roles without an increase in resources or support.”
       
      According to Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick III, chair of CCAP’s Human Services Committee, “The bottom line is that prisons are not the place to care for individuals with mental illness. Currently, county prisons are the largest mental health facilities in our country, serving more than 2.3 million people with serious mental illness. Safely providing treatment and support to those with mental health and substance abuse issues to improve lives and build safer communities is a more effective use of our limited resources. This report provides a comprehensive review, from pre-entry to re-entry, about the types of treatment and diversion that will make a difference in reducing the prevalence of those with mental health diagnoses in our prison system.”
       
      Building on several years' priority work, CCAP members created a Comprehensive Behavioral Health Task Force to study causes, consider best practices, provide education for counties, identify barriers and ultimately develop a plan and recommendations.
       
      Berks County Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt, chair of CCAP’s Courts and Corrections Committee, stated, “Counties understand that this is complex and involves serious issues. We have reached a level of frustration over the inability to address illness in jails due to resource limits at the state level. And, the opioid and prescription drug abuse crisis is further exacerbating the options for providing services to those in jail. This report creates a road map for counties and the required commitment from leaders at all levels and in all walks of life.”
       
      As part of its charge, the Task Force considered several specific areas, including Medicaid and other coverage, as well as creation of the necessary structures for inmate qualification for health insurance. The Task Force also examined capacity for services, such as availability of diversion programs, community behavioral health treatment services, availability of medications on release and potential for regionalization of critical service beds. Risk management, assessment tools and use of data to drive placement decisions were considered, as were the role of crisis intervention and improving staff training. The group also identified needs and concerns of special populations and unique circumstances (e.g., gender and juveniles), with a particular focus on the needs of veterans.
       
      Six main goals are identified in the report, each delineating objectives outlining local efforts, policy change, stakeholder engagement, best practices and further research. Among those goals is to encourage counties to employ successful strategies to control the need for incarceration, such as investments in community-based options. Another goal explores effective supports and services to reduce entry into the criminal justice system and improve outcomes for re-entry. Still another goal seeks to expand training, education and awareness efforts to improve public perception and understanding.
       
      Overarching all of the goals and objectives outlined in the report, the Task Force found a significant need to engage multiple communities, including lawmakers, local staff, citizens, judges and other local partners; work which will be forthcoming by the Task Force.
       
      ###
       
      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors.
       
      CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.
       
      For more information about Pennsylvania counties and CCAP, log on to www.pacounties.org and visit CCAP’s Twitter page @PACountiesGR.


  • 2016/08/22-CCAP Announces Findings of Task Force Examining Inmates with Mental Illness and Addictions
    • CCAP Announces Findings of Task Force Examining Inmates with Mental Illness and Addictions
      Monday, August 22, 2016
      CCAP Announces Findings of Task Force Examining Inmates with Mental Illness and Addictions

      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) and leaders from several counties will hold a news conference, Friday, August 26, 3 p.m., to discuss findings and recommendations from their Comprehensive Behavioral Task Force Report.

       
      The report examines the critical issue of alternatives to incarcerating mentally ill and substance abusing offenders to increase the likelihood of improved lives, better use of resources, safer communities and enhanced family structures. Statistics suggest that as many as 65 percent of Pennsylvania’s county jail inmates have a substance abuse disorder, 10 to 30 percent suffer from mental illness, and as many as 14 percent have serious mental illness. Topics in the report include diversion programs, interaction with the judicial system, law enforcement training, public awareness of issues, risk management practices, corrections staff training, support and services to reduce reentry, Medicaid benefits, veteran’s needs, and juvenile and disabled population issues. A tour of the Dauphin County Judicial Center will follow the conference.
       
      WHEN:  Friday, August 26, 2016, 3 p.m.
      WHERE:  Dauphin County Judicial Center, 451 Mall Road, Harrisburg, PA 17111
      SPEAKERS:
      ·       Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas, CCAP president
      ·       Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick III, chair of CCAP’s Human Services Committee
      ·       Berks County Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt, chair of CCAP’s Courts and Corrections Committee


  • 2016/08/11-CCAP Honors Outstanding County Leaders
    • CCAP Honors Outstanding County Leaders
      Thursday, August 11, 2016
      CCAP Honors Outstanding County Leaders

       

      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) has bestowed some of its highest honors upon several Pennsylvania county leaders and others who have done much to enhance and improve the well-being of counties and the residents they serve. CCAP presented awards for Outstanding Affiliate Member, Outstanding Chief Clerk, Outstanding County Solicitor, Outstanding County Commissioner, Friend of County Government, President’s Awards and Excellence in Website Design awards during its 2016 Annual Conference in Carbon County.
       
      The 2016 Outstanding Affiliate of the Year Award was given to William D’Amico, Nursing Home Administrator of Fair Acres Nursing Facility in Delaware County and President-Elect of the Pennsylvania Coalition of Affiliated Healthcare and Living Communities (PACAH), for his work on advancing HB 1062 in order to eliminate a requirement that county nursing homes are responsible for 10 percent of their non-federal Medicaid costs. D’Amico also has been instrumental in the past in getting supplemental pay for performance payments and successful implementation of the Intergovernmental Transfer Guidelines, as well as extraordinary commitment to PACAH and counties.
       
      The 2016 Outstanding Chief Clerk Award was presented to Mark Rupsis, Chester County. Rupsis, recognized as champion of county government and the people it serves, has brought 38 years of service to his county, having started as a program analyst. Chester County has earned many awards under his leadership, and he also has earned the J. Larry Boling Innovation and Excellence in Government award.
       
      The 2016 Outstanding Solicitor of the Year Award was presented to Tioga County’s Raymond E. “Terry” Ginn, Jr. for rendering thoughtful counsel and consistent legal guidance. In 2012, he was selected for inclusion in Pennsylvania Super lawyers, which recognizes the top five percent of lawyers in Pennsylvania.
       
      Co-winners of the 2016 Outstanding County Commissioner of the Year Award were Jeff Haste, Dauphin County commissioner, and Wayne Nothstein, Carbon County commissioner. Haste was acknowledged for his outside-the-box thinking, ability to bring people together and incredible determination, which have led to positive changes in Dauphin County. Prior to being commissioner, he was the county’s Administrator/Chief Clerk/Personnel Director and a full time state legislator. Haste also served as CCAP president and has advocated priorities from 911 funding to human services funding to budget impasse impacts.
       
      Nothstein, in his 9th year as Carbon County’s chairman of the board, received the award for being a consummate professional and extraordinary leader. He serves on the county’s Interagency and Family Collaborative Board, the Chamber and Economic Development Corporation, and has diligently worked to bring municipalities of the county together to form a Council of Government.
       
      The 2016 Friend of County Government Award was presented to Sam Worley. The award is the highest honor CCAP bestows on a non-member. Worley served four terms on the Chambersburg Borough council, as well as mayor of Chambersburg and chairman of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. He also was a Board member and past president of the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs and helped found the Pennsylvania Local Government Investment Trust.
       
      The 2016 Excellence in Website Design Award was presented to two winners, Adams County and Allegheny County. The Excellence in Website Design Award is designed to honor outstanding work by the counties in the area of websites. The winning websites displayed progressive communication skills, enabling the two counties to enhance ways they conduct county business.
       
      A Special Presidential Award was presented to Dauphin County Commissioner George Hartwick, III. The award is given by the CCAP president to honor outstanding contributions and commitment to CCAP as recognized through service to the Association.
       
      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors. CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties. For more information about CCAP, visit www.pacounties.org and @PACountiesGR.
      ###


  • 2016/08/10-CCAP Announces 2017 Officer Elections
    • CCAP Announces 2017 Officer Elections
      Wednesday, August 10, 2016
      CCAP Announces 2017 Officer Elections

      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) elected Harlan Shober Washington County commissioner, as the 2017 president of the Association during its 130th Annual Conference in Carbon County, Pennsylvania.  

      Other county officials elected to be leaders of the Association include Dennis Stuckey, Lancaster County commissioner, first vice president; Kathi Cozzone, Chester County commissioner, second vice president; and Michelle Kichline, Chester County commissioner, treasurer.
       
      Elected as district representatives to the CCAP Board were: District 1 Representative Basil Huffman, Forest County commissioner; District 2 Representative Dan Vogler, Lawrence County commissioner; District 3 Representative Randy Phiel, Adams County commissioner; District 4 Representative Preston Boop, Union County commissioner; District 5 Representative, Terence Farrell, Chester County commissioner; District 6 Representative Peg Ferraro, Northampton County council member; and District 7 Representative Daryl Miller, Bradford County commissioner.
      Those elected will begin their terms on January 1, 2017.
       
      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors. CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.
       
      For more information about Pennsylvania’s counties and CCAP, log on to www.pacounties.org and visit CCAP’s Twitter page @PACountiesGR.
       
      ###


  • 2016/08/01-Pennsylvania County Leaders Gather for 130th Annual Conference
    • Pennsylvania County Leaders Gather for 130th Annual Conference
      Monday, August 01, 2016
      Pennsylvania County Leaders Gather for 130th Annual Conference

      Leaders from counties in Pennsylvania will meet in Carbon County, August 7 through August 10, at the Split Rock Resort, to discuss issues of concern to counties during the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) Annual Conference, the association’s premiere event.

      On Monday, August 8, 8:30 a.m. (in the Keystone Ballroom) CCAP will kick off the Opening General Session with CCAP President and Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas presiding over the session.
       
      Opening session speakers include Patrick Armstrong and Carl Reynolds of the Council of State Governments discussing “The Justice Reinvestment Project.” Author Christine Cashen, recently inducted into the National Speakers Association CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame, is the conference’s keynote speaker.
       
      On Tuesday, August 9, 8:30 a.m. (in the Keystone Ballroom) CCAP will hold its Annual Business Meeting. Harlan Shober, CCAP First Vice President and Washington County commissioner, will preside over the session’s presentations which will include the President’s Report, the Comprehensive Behavioral Health Task Force Report, an update on CCAP’s new branding initiatives and CCAP/PCN courthouse videos and committee reports. Bob Thomas will preside over consideration of resolutions and election of officers, and CCAP Board Chair and Lancaster County Commissioner Craig Lehman will conduct the membership’s vote to select the 2021 CCAP Annual Conference location.
       
      On Tuesday, August 9, 7:30 p.m. (in Keystone Ballroom) CCAP will hold its Annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony. Bob Thomas will preside over the presentation of CCAP’s annual awards: President’s, Excellence in Websites, Friend of County Government, Affiliate of the Year, Solicitor, Chief Clerk/County Administrator, and County Commissioner/Council Member.
       
      On Wednesday, August 10, 10 a.m. (in the Keystone Ballroom) CCAP will conclude its 2016 Annual Conference with the Closing General Session. The session will feature presentations by Erick Coolidge, Tioga County commissioner and Chair of CCAP’s Health Alliance Board of Directors on “The CCAP Health Alliance;” and Dave Harman, Deputy Director, CCAP’s Insurance Member Services on “The Guardian Program.” Also addressing CCAP members will be The Honorable Justice Debra McCloskey Todd, Pennsylvania Supreme Court on “Initiatives of the Court in Support of Pennsylvania’s Veterans;” and The Honorable Teresa Osborne, Secretary, Pennsylvania Department of Aging on “Provision of Services to the Aging in Pennsylvania.”
       
      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors.
       
      CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.
       
      For more information about Pennsylvania’s counties and CCAP, log on to www.pacounties.org and visit CCAP’s Twitter page @PACountiesGR. For a full conference program including workshop sessions, times and presenters, visit the CCAP website, and click on the “Education” link.
       
      ###
       
      IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES:
      Please contact Ken Kroski, CCAP Director of Media and Public Relations, (717) 576-5372, if you plan to attend the conference. Ken may reached on-site at the conference using the same number.
       
      For media attending these sessions, please note the question and answer portion of any presentation is for CCAP conference attendees only. Speakers may, at their discretion, make themselves available to the media following the session for questions and interviews, which should be arranged independently with their scheduling offices. CCAP suggests that you make pre-arrangements for any special audiovisual/ technology needs directly with the Split Rock Resort prior to the sessions.


  • 2016/06/24-CCAP Supports Legislation to Suspend Medicaid Benefits for Inmates
    • CCAP Supports Legislation to Suspend Medicaid Benefits for Inmates
      Friday, June 24, 2016
      CCAP Supports Legislation to Suspend Medicaid Benefits for Inmates

      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) applauds Senator Pat Vance, the Department of Human Services and the Department of Corrections for their support today of legislation that will suspend Medicaid benefits for inmates, rather than terminating them. This policy change has been a part of CCAP’s priority on addressing the challenges counties are facing due to an ever-growing population of inmates with mental health and substance abuse issues.

       
      Currently, individuals receiving medical assistance lose their benefits immediately upon incarceration, and restoration of benefits following release can take weeks or months. Senator Vance’s legislation, Senate Bill 1279, will allow Medicaid benefits to be restored at the time an inmate is released, ensuring better continuity of treatment, access to medications and therapy services, and increased potential for avoiding future incarceration. States that suspend rather than terminate benefits have experienced reduced re-incarcerations for inmates with behavioral health challenges. Numerous studies have shown that treating the reasons behind criminal behavior is the most effective way to reduce admissions and readmissions to prison, and continuity of treatment is a critical element of this – benefiting not only our counties but our communities as well.
       
      For more information on CCAP’s comprehensive behavioral health task force priority, visit www.pacounties.org and select Priorities under Government Relations.
       
      ###
       
      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors. CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.


  • 2016/06/17-CCAP Announces Leadership Program Graduates
    • CCAP Announces Leadership Program Graduates
      Friday, June 17, 2016
      CCAP Announces Leadership Program Graduates

      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) Center for Excellence in County Leadership (CEL), a premier professional development program for county officials, today graduated 10 county officials from its intensive training program.
       
      The 2016 graduates include: Albert Abramovic, Venango County commissioner; Michael A. Baker, Indiana County commissioner; Edward Bustin, Bradford County commissioner; Kimberly Geyer, Butler County commissioner; Dee L. Robinson, Union County chief clerk/county administrator; Mark Rupsis, Chester County chief operating officer; Christine M. Sadler, Esquire, Berks County solicitor; Dennis Stuckey, Lancaster County commissioner; H. William White, III, Esquire, Clarion County solicitor; and Chris Young, Columbia County commissioner.
       
       
      CEL training focuses on fostering individual growth through interactive and high level classroom training aimed at enhancing communication, management and leadership skills. CEL includes intense classes in styles of leadership, managerial versatility, interpersonal dynamics, crisis communication, media management, daily communication problem solving, decision making, and other areas.
       
        Participation is available to one eligible person per county each year, with a maximum of
       
      16 participants annually. An application is required for admittance to the program, with final selection being made by a standing CCAP Committee. The program is open to county commissioners or council members, chief clerks, county administrators and solicitors of all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. The 2016 CEL program was produced by The Professional Edge, Inc. (www.theprofessionaledgeinc.com).
       
        For more information about CCAP, log on to www.pacounties.org.
       
      ###
       
      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors. CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.


  • 2016/06/09-EDITORIAL: Survey of Counties Cites Critical Budget Needs
    • EDITORIAL: Survey of Counties Cites Critical Budget Needs
      Thursday, June 09, 2016
      EDITORIAL: Survey of Counties Cites Critical Budget Needs

      Survey of Counties Cites Critical Budget Needs
      Compounding effects of another impasse could devastate budgets and impact critical services
       
      Douglas Hill
      Executive Director
      County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania
      (The Voice of Pennsylvania Counties Since 1886)
       
       
      Just three weeks remain in the state’s fiscal year, and with the memory of the FY 2015-2016 state budget impasse still fresh in everyone’s minds, counties are anxiously keeping an eye on Harrisburg. A timely budget, and one that begins to restore funding for key county human services programs, must be a priority for FY 2016-2017.
       
      It’s easy to see why. In just one example, Dauphin County Commissioner Jeff Haste told the House Human Services Committee this week how his county, while it awaited state funding, had to divert almost $30 million in local property taxpayer dollars to its human services to keep care going without interruption or degradation in service. But this situation is not unique to Dauphin County. A survey of counties undertaken by the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) shows that the six-month delay in state funding caused counties to come up with an average of $12 million – the equivalent of 20 percent of county operating budgets – to assure their residents continued to have access to services such as mental health programs, child abuse investigations, substance abuse services, long-term care, or intellectual disabilities services.
       
      Nearly three-quarters of the counties used their reserves to cover the gap, a few draining them completely. Almost one third borrowed an average of $5.7 million, paying tens of thousands in borrowing fees and interest payments. Even with those measures, nearly half of the counties interviewed were forced to delay payments to providers, beginning as early as July 1, 2015, and one in five modified programs by creating waitlists, limiting hours and services, curtailing services to new recipients, and in a few cases, closing programs. These are additional and unplanned costs that must be absorbed by county budgets, and ultimately paid for by county property tax dollars.
       
      Many county officials have already expressed concerns about what a future impasse would mean to their constituents, knowing that it would have a compounding effect – borrowing larger amounts, and much sooner, incurring more fees and higher interest payments, reducing services and staff, delaying payments. Ultimately, all of these measures negatively impact the delivery of needed services.
       
      A timely budget cannot be the only goal, however. Counties are also calling for a budget that addresses the historic pattern of underfunding across human services line items that counties provide on behalf of the state. In particular, as a priority for 2016, counties ask for restoration of the ten percent cut to seven key line items that affect core human services programs in all 67 counties, as well as adequate funding for all of the line items impacting services they provide on the state’s behalf. Many of these programs have barely seen a cost of living increase in state funding in more than a decade. And with the expansion of county child protective services caseloads triggered by the statutes adopted in the wake of the Sandusky matter – in most counties between 20 to 35 percent – there is a critical need to address state funding adequacy. Without appropriate funding from the state and federal government, counties are faced with the difficult choice to either curtail vital services for those in need or increase local property taxes, something no one wants to happen.
       
      If the unknowns of the state budget are causing counties anxiety, think just how much more anxiety they are causing our most vulnerable citizens, wondering whether they will still have access to those programs they need. Pennsylvania counties have been, and will continue to be, committed to the mission of providing critical human services to their residents. But the General Assembly and the Administration must also join us in partnership to assure the necessary state support is provided by beginning to restore these key human services funding lines and doing so in a timely fashion.
       
      To see CCAP’s full report on the impacts to counties of the FY 2015-2016 budget impasse, and for more information about counties’ 2016 budget priorities, please visit www.pacounties.org, and click on Government Relations. Information also is available @PACountiesGR.
       
      #  #  #
       
      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors. CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.
       


  • 2016/05/24-Counties React to Auditor General’s Report on ChildLine System
    • Counties React to Auditor General’s Report on ChildLine System
      Tuesday, May 24, 2016
      Counties React to Auditor General’s Report on ChildLine System

      Pennsylvania counties are reiterating their call for increased staffing and funding for county children and youth agencies, following today’s release by Auditor General Eugene DePasquale of an interim report on operational issues with the ChildLine system.

      The Auditor General’s report made evident that there has been a dramatic increase in calls to ChildLine, which takes the reports and forward them on to county children and youth agencies. Counties, which carry primary responsibility for services for abused and neglected children, then conduct the actual child abuse investigation based on those reports.

      “While we applaud the Department of Human Services (DHS) for regularly increasing staffing to ChildLine, we would be remiss if we did not note that the continuing stagnation in state funding has prevented counties from doing the same,” said Brian Bornman, executive director of Pennsylvania Children and Youth Agencies, an affiliate of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania.

      Although DHS received supplemental appropriations to increase their staff at ChildLine as a result of nearly 30 new child welfare statutes enacted in 2014, counties were not permitted to reopen their child welfare budgets to add needed staff, even though most counties have seen a 35 to 50 percent increase in the number of investigations they must complete. Some counties saw sustained increases in 2015 of more than 100 percent compared to 2014 investigations. As a priority for 2016, counties are seeking an increase in the financial match for child welfare staff and adequate funding for human services.

      “Too often, child welfare mandates are placed on the counties without any means to pay for them,” Bornman said. “It is imperative that that changes to the laws affecting child welfare be accompanied with supplemental appropriations for all who must deal with the impacts, at the time the mandates go into effect. The timing for implementing mandates must also be more mindful of the child welfare budgeting cycle so the counties who actually do the work can assure adequate staffing to protect the children of the Commonwealth.”

      To read more about counties’ priorities on child welfare and human services funding, go to www.pacounties.org and click 2016 Legislative Priorities.

      ###

      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government, a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. CCAP membership includes county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors. CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1866, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.


  • 2016/05/18-Joshua M. Eisner Joins County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania
    • Joshua M. Eisner Joins County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania
      Wednesday, May 18, 2016
      Joshua M. Eisner Joins County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania

      Joshua M. (Josh) Eisner has been named government relations associate for the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP).

      Mr. Eisner will be responsible for research and analysis of legislation and regulations in support of CCAP lobbying efforts on behalf of all 67 counties in Pennsylvania, and will advocate CCAP positions on issues to members of the General Assembly and state administrative agencies. Mr. Eisner also will serve as liaison to CCAP’s Community and Economic Development policy committee and CCAP’s Agriculture policy committee.

      Mr. Eisner has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Penn State University, with a minor in economics, and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society. He comes to CCAP after working as an associate with Greenlee Partners for three years where he engaged in lobbying and policy activities for a wide variety of clients. He also has a background in county government, having completed an internship with Dauphin County during his undergraduate years.

      ###

      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all 67 counties in Pennsylvania. CCAP members include county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors. CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.



  • 2016/05/10-County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania survey shows sizable impacts to counties from state budget impasse
    • County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania survey shows sizable impacts to counties from state budget impasse
      Tuesday, May 10, 2016
      County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania survey shows sizable impacts to counties from state budget impasse

      Millions of local dollars used by counties to maintain critical services
       
      As the General Assembly and Administration begin to advance a budget vehicle for FY 2016-2017, Pennsylvania counties are eyeing the calendar anxiously, recognizing that the start of the new commonwealth fiscal year is now less than two months away. Their worries are well-founded; a recent survey by the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) showed counties put up an average of $12 million in local funds to weather the FY 2015-2016 impasse.
       
      Throughout the FY 2015-2016 impasse, counties continued to provide critical services for residents, such as mental health, intellectual disabilities and children and youth services, despite not receiving money owed to them from the state until well over six months into the fiscal year. According to CCAP President and Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas, “The cost of the commonwealth’s unprecedented delay fell squarely on the shoulders of our local property tax payers. The administrative burden fell directly on our counties, our providers, our community foundations, and those we serve.”
       
      The CCAP survey showed that the impacts of the impasse were significant and far-reaching. On average, each county had to find about $12 million to keep services available for residents during the FY 2015-2016 impasse – some 20 percent of their operating budgets. Nearly three-quarters of counties drew down on their reserves – a few completely – and almost one third had to borrow funds, incurring bank fees and interest payments. Even with those measures, half of the counties also had to delay payments to providers and other vendors, and delay other expenditures and capital projects.
       
      “The difficult circumstances of the prolonged state budget impasse in FY 2015-2016 brought counties to a crisis point. Another impasse, or lack of sufficient funding, could create a more dire situation,” said Craig Lehman, CCAP board chair and Lancaster County commissioner. “It could trigger a compounding effect – counties with depleted reserves will have to borrow sooner, and most likely borrow larger amounts, incurring more fees and higher interest payments and at the same time negatively impacting the delivery of needed services.”
       
      CCAP First Vice President and Washington County Commissioner Harlan Shober stated, “Other contingency plans such as reducing services and staff, delaying or completely stopping provider payments, or in extreme cases, shutting down some county operations to the bare necessities, become more and more likely the longer an impasse goes on. Clearly our residents are the ones paying the ultimate price of delays in state funding for these much-needed services.”
       
      As their top priority for 2016, counties are asking the General Assembly to approve an appropriately funded FY 2016-2017 state budget, on a timely basis, that recognizes the critical importance of the services counties provide, so that counties and those they serve are not forced to bear the costs and
      burden of another impasse or of underfunded services.
       
      “The commonwealth must restore funding for vital human services programs to levels that are appropriate to meet local need,” stated Thomas.
      “We owe a debt of gratitude to the many county employees, providers and residents who helped us weather the severe effects of the state budget impasse,” stated Doug Hill, executive director of CCAP. “But, equally important is addressing the historic pattern of underfunding across human services line items that counties provide on behalf of the state. Without appropriate funding from the state and federal government, counties will be faced with the difficult choice to either curtail vital services for the commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens or increase local property taxes, something no one wants to happen.”
       
      Counties take the lead in delivering some of the most vital services expected by residents, including children and youth, mental health, intellectual disabilities, drug and alcohol and other human services, as well as those surrounding environmental issues, courts, prisons, elections, tax assessments, community and economic development and emergency management.
      Visit the CCAP website at www.pacounties.org.
       
      ###
       
      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government; a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. CCAP membership includes county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors. CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government.  Founded in 1866, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.


  • 2016/03/29-County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania honors outstanding county criminal and juvenile justice efforts
    • County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania honors outstanding county criminal and juvenile justice efforts
      Tuesday, March 29, 2016
      County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania honors outstanding county criminal and juvenile justice efforts

      Awards honor and recognize county jail, juvenile detention center, alternative programs, and criminal justice advisory committee best practices offering exceptional programming

      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) recently bestowed honors upon a Pennsylvania county jail, a juvenile detention center, and an alternative program, along with leaders from each who oversee their operations. The awards are presented to county criminal and juvenile justice entities who have implemented best practices and exemplary programming. CCAP also presented its Partner Award.

      Carbon County received a Criminal Justice System for the 21st Century Jail Best Practices Award for 2016 in the small county category for its Carbon County Jail Community Treatment program. The county was experiencing increasing volume of inmates with substance abuse problems. Due to addictions, many of these inmates continue to commit crimes to fund addictions. The county placed a master’s level therapist at the jail on a full time basis, to provide assessments and extensive treatment. The approach is to provide uninterrupted drug and alcohol treatment services between the jail and the community upon release. This continuity has resulted in a reduction in return to jail for many of the same inmates.

      CCAP also awarded the Juvenile Alternative Program Best Practices Award to Lancaster County Youth Intervention Center for their P.U.L.S.E. program, Providing Uplifting Learning Skills to Excel. Prior to the development of the P.U.L.S.E. Weekend Program, there were no other programs that were designed to address the youth’s criminogenic needs with evidence based practices on a weekend basis. The mission of the P.U.L.S.E Weekend Program is to provide short-term, research/evidence-based treatment heavily reliant on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing to male youth in Lancaster County.

      P.U.L.S.E. Weekend Program participants receive treatment on a weekend-long basis for five consecutive weekends to foster repairing harm to victims, restore the health and welfare of communities, and enable juveniles to become productive and law-abiding members of their communities, consistent with the Balanced and Restorative Justice principles already in existence.

      In the Juvenile Detention Best Practices category, CCAP selected Central Counties Youth Center as the winner for its Summer Language Arts Program. The Central Counties staff have found that lack of reading skills is a problem faced by many of the youth placed in their care. Further, placement in detention interrupts the education process, and begs the need for year-round programming for youth in care. The Summer Reading Arts Program continues a 10 week program through late August to maintain the continuity of education, and offers more intense focus while school is not in session, resulting in enhanced skills achievement.

      CCAP also presented its 21st Century Committee Criminal Justice Partners Award to Michael Boughton, program manager of the Lycoming County Reentry Services Center. Since its inception in September 2014, the program has shown steady growth in both numbers of participants served in the traditional program and in providing electronic monitoring services. In a short time, major progress is shown in addressing GED preparation, job readiness, anger management, parenting, pretreatment, life skills, moral reconation therapy, cognitive behavioral interventions for substance-abuse and an after care component. With overcrowding issues facing the county prison, these efforts have provided effective diversion of medium level-medium risk offenders from the county prison and provided them the opportunity to gain necessary skills and programming.

      CCAP also presented the award for County Criminal Justice Advisory Boards (CJAB) Best Practices to McKean County CJAB for consistent operational standards for effective local criminal justice planning. Centre County was selected for an honorable mention for it efforts.

      A formal awards presentation is planned for June 20 in State College.

      Each entrant was required to describe how its county project maintains best practices for keeping populations down, assuring better recidivism rates, improving collaboration with the community and assisting inmates with their re-entry to society. Juvenile detention and alternative program awards are designed to showcase the efforts of the men and women working each day to change the life of a child.

      According to Jeff Snyder, Clinton County commissioner and chair of the CCAP Committee on County Criminal Justice System Best Practices for the 21st Century who administers the awards for CCAP, “These awards play a valuable role in promoting best practices of county jails and juvenile detention centers and in helping the counties to find alternatives to the costly solutions of building new jails. We salute the efforts of these counties in being innovative pioneers in meeting the challenges facing all county jails and juvenile justice providers as costs increase. We hope other counties will follow these examples and bring these solutions or others to their counties.”

      Snyder said CCAP undertook a Pennsylvania Prison Overcrowding Project in 2001 in response to concerns raised by its Courts and Corrections Committee about jail crowding and construction costs. CCAP reconvened its Prison Overcrowding Task Force and charged it to devise a strategy to assist in the alleviation of crowding problems and the costs associated with jail construction.

      CCAP contracted with Dr. Alan Harland, professor in the Criminal Justice department of Temple University, to design and conduct a statewide survey of all county-operated prison facilities to document the extent and magnitude of the problem. In 2004, CCAP was awarded a grant from the National Institute of Justice to defray the cost of the work on the overcrowding project. Then U.S. Senator Arlen Specter made the grant available by virtue of a Congressionally Directed Award placed in the 2003 federal budget.

      Visit the CCAP website at www.pacounities.org.

      ###

      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government, a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. CCAP membership includes county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors. CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government.  Founded in 1866, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.



  • 2016/03/08-Pennsylvania’s county leaders to gather for Spring Conference
    • Pennsylvania’s county leaders to gather for Spring Conference
      Tuesday, March 08, 2016
      Pennsylvania’s county leaders to gather for Spring Conference

      State budget, human services funding and other issues are topics of discussion

      Leaders from Pennsylvania’s counties will convene at the Hilton Harrisburg March 13 through March 15 to discuss the commonwealth budget, human services funding, revenue opportunities, comprehensive behavioral health reform and other priorities during the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania’s (CCAP) Spring Conference.

      On Monday, March 14, 9 a.m. (in the Carlisle Room) opening session speakers include: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas, and Pennsylvania Office of Budget Secretary Randy Albright. At noon that day, Douglas Hill, CCAP executive director and Brinda Carroll Penyak, CCAP deputy director, will provide an overview and update of the counties’ key 2016 priorities.

      On Tuesday, March 15, 10 a.m. (in the Pennsylvania Ballroom) CCAP will feature a special panel presentation, moderated by CCAP President and Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas and CCAP Board Chair and Lancaster County Commissioner Craig Lehman. The panel will include Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa, House Majority Leader Dave Reed, and House Democratic Leader Frank Dermody. Dennis Davin, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, also will address county commissioners.

      Clinton County Commissioner Jeff Snyder will announce CCAP’s County Jail Best Practices Awards and CCAP Juvenile Detention and Alternative Program Awards, and CCAP will hold a business meeting and voting session.

      For a full conference program including workshop sessions, times and presenters, and for more information on CCAP legislative priorities, visit the CCAP website, www.pacounties.org.

      ###

      IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR MEDIA: Participation in the question and answer portions of any presentation is for CCAP conference attendees only. Speakers may, at their discretion, make themselves available to the media following the session for questions and interviews, which should be arranged independently with their scheduling offices. CCAP suggests that you make pre-arrangements for any special audiovisual/ technology needs directly with the Hilton Harrisburg prior to sessions. Media may reach CCAP on site at the conference by calling (717) 576-5372.

      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government, a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. CCAP membership includes county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors.

      CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1866, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.



  • 2016/01/25-Pennsylvania counties unveil 2016 priorities
    • Pennsylvania counties unveil 2016 priorities
      Monday, January 25, 2016
      Pennsylvania counties unveil 2016 priorities

      Legislative agenda highlights critical county role in providing essential services to communities

      (Harrisburg, PA)--County leaders from throughout Pennsylvania today unveiled a list of five key county government legislative priorities for 2016, led by a call to state officials to enact comprehensive reforms to the commonwealth budget and human services funding.

      Members of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) noted that the priorities reflect a consensus of Pennsylvania’s county governments on issues of highest significance and greatest potential impact to counties and their taxpayers. In addition to the commonwealth budget and human services funding, other priorities cover a range of issues that acknowledge counties’ commitment to improving county governance, including diversifying the county tax base and reforming the assessment system, addressing challenges facing the county child welfare system, comprehensive behavioral health services reform, and maintenance of the shale gas impact fee.

      “Addressing these issues is essential in order for counties to continue to successfully provide critical services to Pennsylvania residents,” said Bob Thomas, Franklin County commissioner and 2016 CCAP president. “We seek to continue the partnership we are building with the Administration and with the General Assembly to advance these priorities and to move forward with meaningful reforms.

      “Counties are at the forefront for delivery of crucial human services for our most vulnerable citizens, yet we face increasing challenges. Mandates continue to multiply while funding fails to keep pace, or is even cut,” Thomas continued. “In the past six months, counties also have weathered delays in state payments during the budget impasse, finding strategies to fill the gaps in their budgets – where state funds account for some 40 to 60 percent of their overall funding.”

      George Hartwick III, Dauphin County commissioner and chair of CCAP’s Human Services Committee stated, “We cannot emphasize this enough: Counties must never again be forced to resort to mechanisms that burden residents and potentially affect essential services because of a state budget impasse.”

      Aside from the impasse, many programs have suffered decreases in funding over the past decade. This includes a drastic 10 percent aggregate cut to the seven line items in the Human Services Block Grant in the FY 2012-2013 commonwealth budget. This cut has been maintained for four budget cycles. Other human services lines have been essentially flat funded during the same time period.

      Hartwick continued, “Counties urge the Governor and the General Assembly to restore the 10 percent reductions to seven critical line items in the Human Services Block Grant. We also ask for expansion of the Human Services Block Grant to all counties who want the opportunity to take advantage of the flexibility and efficiencies it offers. Only 30 counties are now able to be a part of the Block Grant, all of whom have reported positive experiences.”

      Making it even more difficult for counties are changes in how child welfare funding is appropriated in the enacted FY 2015-2016 budget, an initiative known as “rebalancing.” Hartwick stated, “Counties oppose ‘rebalancing,’ which is not a simple accounting change as some have argued. Instead, rebalancing shifts a full quarter of child welfare funding to the following fiscal year – with no guarantee that those funds will ever be appropriated in the future. This comes at the same time when nearly 30 new child protective services laws have dramatically increased county children and youth caseloads – even doubling them in some counties.”

      CCAP also noted that revenue opportunities and tax fairness remain an important part of the balance needed to ensure future services. According to Jim Hertzler, Cumberland County commissioner and chair of CCAP’s Assessment and Taxation Committee, “Counties provide important services that each and every one of us rely upon in our daily lives, but we do so with only one source of locally generated tax revenue – the property tax.”

      County officials believe that local taxes should be equitable and that no one should have to pay more than their fair share. It is important for local governments to be able to use a balanced portfolio of local taxes, matching the relative strengths of different taxes to spread the tax burden fairly across taxpayers. Hertzler continued, “Property tax reform will never be truly complete unless counties are included in the discussions, and the comprehensive property tax system – from assessment to taxation – is considered.”

      More information is available at www.pacounties.org by clicking on “2016 Legislative Priorities.”

      ###

      Please note: Additional comments by Kevin Barnhardt, Berks County, chair of the CCAP Courts and Corrections Committee, and Erick Coolidge, Tioga County, chair of the CCAP Agriculture Committee and the CCAP Natural Gas Task Force are available at www.pacounties.org by clicking on 2016 Priorities. You can also obtain copies by contacting the CCAP government relations staff at PaCountiesGR@pacounties.org.

      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) is the voice of county government, a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. CCAP membership includes county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors. CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1866, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.



  • 2015/11/23-Pennsylvania Counties Seek Action to End State Budget Impasse And Prevent Future Harm
    • Pennsylvania Counties Seek Action to End State Budget Impasse And Prevent Future Harm
      Monday, November 23, 2015
      Pennsylvania Counties Seek Action to End State Budget Impasse And Prevent Future Harm

      (Harrisburg, November 23, 2015)  Pennsylvania counties, today, authorized counsel to explore options to end the current six month state budget impasse and to prevent future threats to key human services programs provided at the county level.

      County commissioners from across the state adopted a motion by County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania’s (CCAP) Board Chair Jeff Haste of Dauphin County to have legal counsel research potential litigation against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, specifically, requiring the release of commonwealth and federal funds for essential services.

      Counties also authorized CCAP counsel to investigate the legal ramifications to counties and county officials of ceasing to remit funds, collected at the county level on the state’s behalf, during an impasse and allowing those funds to be used for essential local services.

      According to Haste, “This budget stalemate has lasted long enough.  Counties have, to the best of their abilities, kept critical services available for children, seniors and many of the most vulnerable in our communities. The Governor and Legislature do not fully understand the scope and nature of the harm their inaction causes, and do not seem to share our view of the crisis in services, which affects the everyday lives of our residents.”

      CCAP President Craig Lehman of Lancaster County stated, “Counties have tapped reserves, been forced to borrow, delayed hirings, limited some services, and reduced or stopped paying vendors in order to continue providing for the well-being of our residents. It is unconscionable that the commonwealth’s continued impasse is negatively affecting those in critical need.”

      Bob Thomas of Franklin County, CCAP’s first vice president, said, “Without a guarantee for the commonwealth’s funding due to counties, county taxpayers may be forced to assume those costs; an intolerable situation. Pennsylvania counties continue to be committed to the mission of providing critical services to our residents.”

      More information about the impacts of the budget impasse on counties, as well as CCAP’s complete catalog of county impasse strategies, is available at www.pacounties.org by clicking on “Budget News and Updates,” then “FY 2015-2016 Budget Impasse.”

      CCAP is the voice of county government, a statewide nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.  CCAP membership includes county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors.

      CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties.  CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government.  Founded in 1866, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.



  • 2015/10/09-Pennsylvania’s counties begin work on 2016 budgets amid uncertainty
    • Pennsylvania’s counties begin work on 2016 budgets amid uncertainty
      Friday, October 09, 2015
      Pennsylvania’s counties begin work on 2016 budgets amid uncertainty

      Harrisburg – Today, the state’s budget impasse officially stretches beyond the historic 101 day mark reached in 2009, leaving counties struggling to manage the impacts of delayed payments and to prepare their own budgets for 2016.

      County officials reiterated their dedication to the Commonwealth’s residents and their families to assure they continue to receive critical services, including core human services such as mental health and intellectual disability services, children and youth services, and drug and alcohol programs, as they await word on progress that will lead to a final, responsible FY 2015-2016 state budget.

      “The budget impasse is having significant impacts on counties, with those impacts varying based on an individual county’s financial situation and the strategies used to sustain programs,” Craig Lehman, Lancaster County Commissioner and 2015 County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) President, said. “Regardless, counties will continue to look for ways to provide services to abused or neglected children and to families struggling to handle the impacts of addiction or mental illness, and we will continue to support residents with intellectual disabilities.”

      Compounding the impacts of the budget impasse is the county budget cycle, since county fiscal years operate from January 1 to December 31 (Philadelphia, merged city and county, operates July 1 to June 30). Counties are required to begin preparing their budgets for the next county fiscal year at least 90 days prior to adoption, and with an adoption deadline of December 31, counties began preparation of their budgets in September.

      “Normally at this time of year, counties would receive allocation letters and submit state funding requests for next year. Instead, counties continue to wait for passage of a state budget. In its absence, counties lack important information on how to budget for many of their most important responsibilities,” Lehman noted.

      State and federal funds account for an average of 40 to 60 percent of overall county general fund revenues. According to Bob Thomas, Franklin County Commissioner and 2015 CCAP First Vice President, “Counties have already deployed a variety of strategies to mitigate the impacts of the budget impasse, but as each week passes without a resolution the solutions become increasingly difficult.”

      For instance, counties are:

      • Using county property tax revenues to support programs typically funded with state dollars
      • Stopping payments to providers until state funds are available for FY 2015-2016
      • Planning for cuts or decreases in programs to help sustain cash flow
      • Considering adjustments such as reductions in staff pay, furloughs or layoffs
      • Freezing hiring, travel and non-critical purchases
      • Opening lines of credit or using tax and revenue anticipation notes to create a means of cash flow

      “Counties will continue to serve as a capable and competent partner for the Commonwealth in delivery of services to all Pennsylvanians,” Lehman said. “But each of these strategies comes with a cost and at some point, county taxpayers may be forced to shoulder that burden in the absence of a plan to address longer term impacts.”

      Lehman said counties are calling for a viable Commonwealth budget that recognizes the critical importance of the services provided to residents. According to Lehman, “We are seeking a prompt resolution, but it also must be adequate to meet program needs.”

      In particular, counties emphasize that any initiatives that would complicate child welfare funding must be removed from consideration, as they would seriously endanger the ability of county child welfare agencies to meet their mandate for child safety. Lehman said, “Given the increased case load impact of recently enacted changes in county obligations to protect children, funds in these lines should be off the table.” At the same time, counties are calling for a three-year restoration of human services lines that saw an aggregate 10 percent cut in FY 2012-2013.

      Counties say that the General Assembly and the Governor must take into account the local fiscal and administrative impacts of a protracted budget fight, the impacts of initiatives that further stress already limited resources, and the impacts of any further reductions in critical state resources.

      “The 2016 county budget planning process is being hamstrung by lack of a predictable level of state funding for programs and services,” Lehman said. “But we recognize that adopting an annual county budget on time is our responsibility, and we are anxious for the legislature to quickly resolve the uncertainty posed by this ongoing impasse so that we may do so with reasonable and sound judgment.”

      More information about the impacts of the budget impasse on counties, as well as CCAP’s complete catalog of county impasse strategies, is available at www.pacounties.org by clicking on “Budget News and Updates,” then “FY 2015-2016 Budget Impasse,” or by calling (717) 526-1010.

      CCAP is the voice of county government, a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan Association representing all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. CCAP membership includes the county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors.

      CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and to improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government.

      Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties

      For more information about Pennsylvania’s counties and CCAP, log on to www.pacounties.org.

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  • 2015/08/27-Pennsylvania to Launch Online Voter Registration
    • Pennsylvania to Launch Online Voter Registration
      Thursday, August 27, 2015
      Pennsylvania to Launch Online Voter Registration

      Harrisburg, PA - Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Pedro Cortés today announced that Pennsylvania is the latest state to launch the convenient option of registering online to vote.

      The online registration application, hosted by the Department of State, is now available for use by eligible citizens at register.votesPA.com.

      “Online Voter Registration is about making the voting experience more convenient and more accessible,” Governor Wolf said. “It is about giving citizens an easier way to exercise their right to vote and establishing a clearer connection between the political system and the citizens. Online voter registration is secure, it improves accuracy and will reduce costs for counties by cutting down on time-consuming data entry.”

      Online voter registration (OVR) is currently available in 22 states, with the measure approved but not yet implemented in another five states plus the District of Columbia.

      “As elsewhere, Pennsylvanians have grown accustomed to doing business online, whether it is shopping, banking or filing their tax returns,” Sec. Cortés said. “As a natural extension, they want the convenience of registering to vote using their own computer or mobile device. Online voter registration makes the process more accessible and accurate.”

      The new site, available in English or Spanish, also allows currently registered voters to more easily make updates to their voter record, such as a change of name, address or party affiliation. Additionally, registered voters may use the new site to request assistance at the polling place.

      “OVR has support from county election officials because it will improve accuracy, increase the integrity of the voting rolls, reduce time-consuming data entry and yield considerable cost savings,” Sec. Cortés said.

      A May 2015 report by the Pew Charitable Trusts said states using online voter registration had seen per-application savings ranging from $0.50 to $2.34. In Arizona, which in 2002 became the first state to implement online voter registration, election officials report their cost is 3 cents for each online application versus 83 cents for a traditional paper form.

      “Pennsylvania’s counties have the primary responsibility for managing voter registration and conducting our elections, and we strongly support measures such as this that facilitate and improve our citizens’ access to the polls,” said Lancaster County Commissioner Craig Lehman, President of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania.

      When an applicant completes the online form, the information is forwarded directly to the appropriate county voter registration office for processing. There, election staff will find that electronic application eliminates the problem of trying to decipher often illegible handwriting. Additionally, county election staff will not have to follow up on missing information on the electronic applications, because the online form cannot be submitted if any required data fields have not been completed.

      Counties will receive the applications through the same system which currently forwards Motor Voter applications from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, so there was minimal training needed for county election workers.

      The online system is more secure for applicants because the form will be transmitted directly to the proper county voter registration office for processing. In contrast, a traditional paper application containing personal information might pass through several hands before the registration is complete.

      The latest protocols in data security have been built into the system and will be constantly monitored and updated. The Pew study reported that there have been no security breaches in any of the states already using an online system.

      Because the online voter registration site is directly linked to PennDOT’s Motor Voter system, if an applicant has a driver’s license or PennDOT ID card, the signature already on file with PennDOT can immediately be linked to the voter record.

      Applicants who do not have a driver’s license or PennDOT ID card will be able to print, sign and mail the completed online application to their county voter registration office. If they are not able to print the application, they may request that the Department of State mail them a signature card to complete and return to their county office.

      To learn more about online voter registration, check the frequently asked questions at www.votesPA.com.

      MEDIA CONTACT: Wanda Murren - (717) 783-1621

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  • 2015/08/05-County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania honors outstanding county leaders
    • County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania honors outstanding county leaders
      Wednesday, August 05, 2015
      County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania honors outstanding county leaders

      (Pittsburgh, PA, August 5) -- The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) last evening bestowed some of its highest honors upon several Pennsylvania county leaders and others who have done much to enhance and improve the well-being of counties and the residents they serve. CCAP presented awards for Outstanding Affiliate Member, Outstanding Chief Clerk, Outstanding County Solicitor, Outstanding County Commissioner, Friend of County Government, President’s Awards, Excellence in Website Design and Outstanding County Newsletter awards during its 2015 Annual Conference in Allegheny county.

      The 2015 Outstanding Affiliate of the Year Award was given to Mike Krafick of the Armstrong-Indiana-Clarion county Drug and Alcohol Program for his tireless advocacy for individuals and families who are dealing with addiction and overdose. He has been in the forefront in educating legislators about naloxone, and his personal testimony changed attitudes and saved lives.

      The 2015 Outstanding Chief Clerk Award was presented to Andrea McCue of Lancaster county. McCue is steadfast as she works to keep the county’s operations functioning. She is the go-to resource for questions, comments and planning of the county’s public access, and has repeatedly exceeded what would typically be expected of a chief clerk.

      Through the years she assumed responsibilities when duties were reorganized or positions were eliminated, and she never wavered. Her innovation and leadership has extended to many county projects. There are few peers with her experience, knowledge and dedication.

      The 2015 Outstanding Solicitor of the Year Award was presented to Alan Miller of Berks county. Miller started in the county solicitor’s office in 1996 and became the Berks county solicitor in 1999. He maintains an excellent working relationship with all county departments as he helps his colleagues with day-to-day operations and functions. Miller is a true asset to Berks county by maintaining the ethics and integrity of county government.

      Co-winners of the 2015 Outstanding County Commissioner of the Year Award were June Sorg, Elk county and Pamela Tokar-Ickes, Somerset county. The award recognizes a commissioner who, through Association participation, has contributed to the advancement of county government. The CCAP Awards Committee chose to honor both Commissioner Sorg and Commissioner Tokar-Ickes for their many years of service to their constituents and to the Association.

      Sorg’s nomination noted her 24 years (six terms) of leadership on human services, workforce investment, prison board, courthouse and prison renovations, recycling, women’s, and environmental issues in her county. She has held seats on several CCAP committees and insurance boards and is a graduate of the CCAP Academy for Excellence in County Government. Her nominators praised Commissioner Sorg for her professionalism and compassion, stating she exemplifies all that is good about governmental leadership.

      Tokar-Ickes has served four terms as a Somerset county commissioner. She has also been a part of numerous other county and local organizations, boards, universities, projects and committees, serving such causes as education, libraries, community action partnerships, family services, planning and development, boys and girls clubs and the Flight 93 Federal Advisory Commission. Tokar-Ickes has served CCAP on various committees and boards, serving as chair of the CCAP Human Services Committee, and is the current chair of the CCAP Academy for Excellence in County Government Committee. She is a previous graduate of the Academy and recently graduated from the initial class of the Association’s newest program, the Center for Excellence in County Leadership, which she helped launch.

      The 2015 Friend of County Government Award was presented to Dan Vilello, DEP North-Central Region Local Government Liaison. The award is presented to an individual or organization who has demonstrated a continued commitment to the improvement of county government by assisting CCAP and its members while maintaining the highest ethical and moral standards. The award is the highest honor CCAP bestows on a non-member. CCAP presented the award to Vilello for being an invaluable resource and participant, working with counties and CCAP on special environmental issues and projects.

      The 2015 County Newsletter of Excellence Award was presented to Adams county. This award honors county communications that represent exceptional efforts to convey information to community stakeholders and other audiences. Adams county’s TGIF Newsletter has both an internal and external focus, promoting community and highlighting all the historical, recreational, agricultural, natural and cultural opportunities the county has to offer.

      The 2015 County Newsletter of Excellence Honorable Mention Award was presented to Berks county for their Berks Bits employee newsletter. This newsletter is a collaborative team effort from various people and teams, and is intended to inform and actively engage co-workers in county events and news from other departments.

      The 2015 Excellence in Website Design Award was presented to two winners, Franklin county and Cumberland county. The Excellence in Website Design Award is designed to honor outstanding work by the counties in the area of websites. The winning websites displayed progressive communication skills, enabling the two counties to enhance ways they conduct county business.

      Special Presidential Awards were presented to June Sorg, Elk county commissioner and Pamela Tokar-Ickes, Somerset county commissioner, both double award winners this year. The presidential awards are given by the CCAP president and are designed to honor outstanding contributions and commitment to CCAP as recognized through service to the Association.

      CAP is the voice of county government, a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan Association representing all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. CCAP membership includes the county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors.

      CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and to improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.

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  • 2015/08/04-County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania announces officer elections
    • County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania announces officer elections
      Tuesday, August 04, 2015
      County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania announces officer elections

      (PITTSBURGH, PA--August 4)—The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) elected Robert Thomas, Franklin county commissioner, as the 2016 president of the Association during its 129th Annual Conference in Allegheny county, Pennsylvania. Thomas’ term begins January 1, 2016.

      Other county officials elected to be leaders of the Association include Harlan Shober, Washington county commissioner, first vice president; Dennis Stuckey, Lancaster county commissioner, second vice president; and Joseph Kantz, Snyder county commissioner, treasurer.

      Elected as district representatives to the CCAP Board were: District 1 Representative Basil Huffman, Forest county commissioner; District 2 Representative Joe Spanik, Beaver county commissioner; District 3 Representative Randy Phiel, Adams county commissioner; District 4 Representative Preston Boop, Union county commissioner; District 5 Representative, Michelle Kichline, Chester county commissioner; District 6 Representative Peg Ferraro, Northampton county council member; and District 7 Representative Daryl Miller, Bradford county commissioner.

      CAP is the voice of county government, a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan Association representing all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. CCAP membership includes the county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors.

      CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and to improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties. CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government. Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.

      For more information about Pennsylvania’s counties and CCAP, log on to www.pacounties.org.

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  • 2015/07/24-Pennsylvania’s counties call for resolution to budget impasse
    • Pennsylvania’s counties call for resolution to budget impasse
      Friday, July 24, 2015
      Pennsylvania’s counties call for resolution to budget impasse

      State funding delays to have significant impact on core services to commonwealth residents

      As the state enters its fourth week without a state budget for FY 2015-2016, county officials are bracing for the impact of delayed state payments to critical programs, including core human services such as mental health and intellectual disability services, children and youth agencies, and drug and alcohol programs.

      The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) shared today that while counties have not yet borne the full burden of the budget impasse, they expect the delay of state funds will begin to impact county operations when payments due in August do not come.

      “Counties remain committed to the important role they play in the delivery of critical human services and will do all they can to avoid passing the pain along to recipients,” Craig Lehman, Lancaster County commissioner and 2015 CCAP president, said. “Many county services are mandates or are part of the social safety net, and simply cannot be interrupted or cut. Regardless of funding, we must investigate child and elder abuse, care for the mentally ill, and keep our courts and justice systems operating.”

      Bob Thomas, Franklin County commissioner and 2015 CCAP first vice president, emphasized that counties will take the necessary measures to keep the doors open until a state budget is in place, but will do so under difficult circumstances. During the last state budget impasse in 2009, cash flow challenges resulted in slower payments to vendors. Some counties fortunate enough to have reserves accessed those first before looking to other means, but many also had to borrow, use lines of credit or issue revenue anticipation notes. In many cases, counties were also forced to consider staff layoffs, straining a system already struggling with limited resources. If the current impasse continues and counties are obligated to undertake these measures at increased cost, local property taxpayers cannot and should not bear that burden.

      “The more important consideration through the entire budget ordeal is service delivery and providing county residents with what they need,” Lehman said. “But if the budget impasse continues, counties will again be forced to make difficult decisions as they try to meet state obligations and the needs of local residents.”



  • 2015/02/09-Statement by The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania On Governor Wolf's Response to HealthyPA
    • Statement by The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania On Governor Wolf's Response to HealthyPA
      Monday, February 09, 2015
      Statement by The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania On Governor Wolf's Response to HealthyPA

      By Craig Lehman, President and Lancaster County Commissioner

      HARRISBURG, PA--The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) congratulates the Governor for his announcement today, regarding changes to HealthyPa, taking the steps necessary to resolve implementation issues that have resulted in difficult transitions for those seeking care and services from this program. During the transition from traditional Medicaid to HealthyPa, counties encountered issues with enrollment of clients and confusion that could have resulted in vulnerable clients being denied care and services.

      CCAP has not taken a position on either HealthyPA or expansion of traditional Medicaid, and instead the concerns of counties revolve around access to needed services for Pennsylvania residents in need--in particular, those seeking drug and alcohol treatment, mental health services and critical health care. The transition required significant effort and diligence on the part of Department of Human Services’ staff working closely with counties to avoid clients falling through the cracks.

      CCAP is grateful for the ongoing efforts by departmental staff to remain in constant contact with counties to identify and address problems, and appreciates the Governor’s plans for taking the steps needed to assure a complete resolution.



  • 2014/11/24-County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania Announces Fifteen Academy Graduates and Six Advanced Certification Graduates
    • County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania Announces Fifteen Academy Graduates and Six Advanced Certification Graduates
      Monday, November 24, 2014
      County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania Announces Fifteen Academy Graduates and Six Advanced Certification Graduates

      (Hershey, November 24, 2014)—The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) Academy for Excellence in County Government today graduated 15 county officials from its program and six county officials from its advanced certification program during graduation ceremonies at CCAP’s Fall Conference in Hershey.

      The Academy is a certificate training program for county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators and assistant administrators, chief clerks and assistant chief clerks, solicitors and assistant solicitors, and their home rule counterparts. Participants complete required courses in leadership, management and decision-making; county legal issues; innovative approaches to county government; county functions and responsibilities; county financial management; risk management; personnel and labor relations; and personal development; and numerous other elective courses covering a wide range of topics. Candidates for Advanced Certification must complete additional classes beyond the basic course offerings.

      “The Academy is an excellent tool in helping to prepare public officials for the important jobs they do by giving them the tools to provide exceptional service to the constituents they serve,” said Jeff Haste, Dauphin County commissioner and president of CCAP.

      “The program provides Pennsylvania communities with better-quality leaders who are needed to deal with the challenges of today’s county government.”

      The Academy is a voluntary program that began in 1996. More than 120 county officials have graduated from the program and received the certificate since its inception.

      The 2014 graduates include: James Eckstein, Commissioner, Butler County; Carrie Gray, Assistant County Administrator, Franklin County; George Halcovage, Commissioner, Schuylkill County; Gary Hess, Commissioner, Schuylkill County; Heather Ilgenfritz, Acting Deputy Chief Clerk (2014), Cumberland County; Janis Kemmer, Commissioner, Elk County; Darlene Laughlin, Chief Clerk, Schuylkill County; John Mathias, Commissioner, Union County; Kirt Morris, Commissioner, Bedford County; Tony Mussare, Commissioner, Lycoming County; Albert Penksa, Jr., County Manager, Adams County; A. Dale Pinkerton, Commissioner, Butler County; Robert Snyder, Jr., Commissioner, Forest County; Paul Straka, Assistant County Administrator (2013), Schuylkill County; and, Jean Zore, Chief Clerk, Elk County.

      Advanced certification graduates include: Kathi Cozzone, Commissioner, Chester County; James Eckstein, Commissioner, Butler County; James Gagliano, Jr., County Administrator, Lawrence County; Janis Kemmer, Commissioner, Elk County; Christian Leinbach, Commissioner, Berks County; and, Jean Zore, Chief Clerk, Elk County.

      CCAP is a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan Association representing the commissioners, chief clerks, administrators, their equivalents in home rule counties and solicitors of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. The Association strengthens the Pennsylvania counties’ ability to govern their own affairs and improve the well-being and quality of life of their constituents.

      For more information about CCAP, log on to www.pacounties.org.



  • 2014/08/06-County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania announces officer elections
    • County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania announces officer elections
      Wednesday, August 06, 2014
      County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania announces officer elections

      (HARRISBURG, PA--August 6)—The County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) elected Craig Lehman, a Lancaster county commissioner, as the 2015 president of the Association during its 128th Annual Conference, which concludes today in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Lehman’s term begins January 1, 2015.
       
      Other county officials elected to be leaders of the Association include Robert Thomas, Franklin County commissioner, first vice president; Harlan Shober, Washington County commissioner, second vice president and Joseph Kantz, Snyder County commissioner, treasurer.
       
      Elected as district representatives to the CCAP Board were: District 1 Representative Basil Huffman, Forest County commissioner; District 2 Representative Joe Spanik, Beaver County commissioner; District 3 Representative Randy Phiel, Adams County commissioner; District 4 Representative Preston Boop, Union County commissioner; District 5 Representative, Terence Farrell, Chester County commissioner; District 6 Representative, Scott Martin, Lancaster County commissioner and District 7 Representative Daryl Miller, Bradford County commissioner.
       
      CCAP is the voice of county government, a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan Association representing all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties. CCAP membership includes the county commissioners, council members, county executives, administrators, chief clerks and solicitors. CCAP strengthens the counties’ abilities to govern their own affairs and to improve the well-being and quality of life for every Pennsylvania resident. It advocates for favorable state and federal legislation, programs and policies on behalf of counties.
      CCAP is committed to service excellence through education, information, insurance, technology and other programs that support effective county government.
       
      Founded in 1886, CCAP is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties.
       
      For more information about Pennsylvania’s counties and CCAP, log on to www.pacounties.org.