Non-Profit Internet Source for News, Events, History, & Culture of Northern Frederick & Carroll County Md./Southern Adams County Pa.


From the Desk of County Commissioners Randy Phiel & Jim Martin

(5/1) Four years ago it was an extremely tumultuous and frustrating time for many Adams County residents due to an unpopular reassessment, exasperated by lack of effective communication between the Board, residents and staff. After being elected, the current Board of Commissioners rolled up their sleeves, and put personal and political agendas aside to meet and establish common goals on behalf of the residents of Adams County. These strategic meetings between Jim, Marty and myself began even prior to walking in the door of the Adams County Courthouse. They began immediately after the 2011 November election.

Since our election in 2011, this Board has demonstrated that government should be about leadership, common sense, commitment, civility and vision. I know this is what the vast majority of folks in Adams County want, understand and respect. I constantly hear our residents do not want us to be like Washington D.C. - despite some claims by opponents there should be more divisiveness and that 3-0 votes are evil. Let me assure you that all three current commissioners have different personalities and minds of their own; but it just so happens - thank goodness - the chemistry works! I know that most of our residents support their elected officials working together for a common goal.

I am proud this chemistry has resulted in quite a level of accomplishment. We now have fiscal stability and a long-term positive fiscal outlook. Adams County now has a balanced budget, no tax increase last year, a reasonable contingency reserve, bond rating improvement and lower interest rates. It is no coincidence that an excellent relationship with Congressman Perry, Senator Alloway, Representative Moul and Representative Tallman has produced great results for Adams County. These results include $3.25M for the 911 emergency radio project, $1M for commerce park improvements, $500,000 for getting the Gettysburg Station project site ready and $450,000 for 150TH Anniversary community infrastructure. These grants simply would not have happened without positive and proactive relationships.

This current fiscal stability is especially notable and significant after walking in the door and pulling the trigger on a $27M critical and languishing 911 emergency radio system that will be completed this fall, completely upgrading outdated and antiquated hardware and software for our very important IT Department; and upgrading an old and costly vehicle fleet that was hauling prisoners around the state in a 180,000 mile van. In summary, these issues could not be kicked down the road any longer! We also analyzed operations and re-organized or consolidated five departments for increased service and effectiveness. The County and Courts are now in the process of exploring how to vacate long-term rents and leases for both fiscal and operational improvements. This is a result of an excellent working relationship between these two governmental bodies - which sometimes can be difficult to achieve. I am proud to reflect that this Board had/has the commitment and vision to address these and future issues.

I fully understand and support our need to balance and preserve our agrarian and historic heritage in concert with our critical need for economic development. I grew up on a family fruit farm in Cashtown and spent a thirty year career in federal law enforcement, in part, protecting these historic resources. I also fully understand that agriculture is an important engine for economic development; but believe it needs to be supplemented with other types of development as well.

We understood before taking office that communication with residents and staff needed to be improved. Besides twenty-six public Workshops with public comment and discussion, twenty-six Commissioners public meetings with public comment, public Prison Board meetings, public Security Board meetings, twelve public Commissioners Community Forums offering different topics around the county, a twice-monthly TGIF Newsletter from me to all staff and community leaders, and openness with the media, this Board is engaged seven days a week, day and night, with the public. I am proud of our consistent initiatives to communicate and interact with our residents. This is a full-time Board whose energy and commitment has not waned since taking office.

As we recognize the need to regionalize and consolidate our emergency services, I am also proud to play a role in that initiative having chaired the Adams County ALS/BLS Steering Committee last year and am now on the Board of Directors of the newly formed Adams Regional EMS.

For the past two years, it has been an honor to be voted by my peers as the Board of Directors representative for the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) for ten counties. As a member of the CCAP Board of Directors and Adams County Commissioner Chairman, I pledge to continue utilizing my experience and resources to facilitate our quality of life in Adams County.

The primary election is only two weeks away on May 19. Unfortunately, many times the primary turnout is disappointing. Whatever your political persuasion, exercise your freedom and right to vote. As a life-long resident of Adams County, it is a sincere honor and privilege to serve you and my community as Adams County Commissioner. You may contact me at or 717-334-7097.

As always, I conclude by urging you to get out there and experience all the historical, agricultural, recreational, natural and cultural opportunities that beautiful Adams County has to offer!

Read other articles about Adams County