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By James Roxbury
Wednesday March 26, 2014 at 2:04 pm

As released by Dauphin County:

Dauphin County Commissioners Appoint New Leaders to Oversee Operations and Coordinate County’s Role in the “Harrisburg Strong Plan”

HARRISBURG, PA (March 26, 2014) – In an effort to oversee the coordination of Dauphin County’s role in the “Harrisburg Strong” recovery plan, the commissioners today announced that chief clerk/chief of staff Laura Cullison, Esq. is assuming a new role in the solicitor’s office for the county, in a move that is expected to both save money and ensure the progress of the city’s economic resurgence.

At the same time, the commissioners are appointing Chad Saylor, former communications director and chief of staff for Lt. Gov. Jim Cawley, as chief clerk. Saylor previously served as the county’s top administrator.

“The county is fortunate to have two highly qualified people on board to help represent the interest of our residents,’’ said commission Chairman Jeff Haste. “Laura is a skilled attorney with experience in financial and bond issues, which makes her the perfect candidate to help safeguard that the Harrisburg Strong Plan moves forward as planned.’’

Cullison will assume her new role in the county solicitor’s office on March 31, which is when Saylor will return to the county.

“As we talked about the right person to fill the chief clerk position, we said that Chad would be perfect and it turned out he was interested,’’ Haste said. “After serving seven years in the position before going to the Lieutenant Governor’s office at the end of 2011, Chad knows the job and knows the county and can hit the ground running.’’

Haste said the moves will also save the county money by eliminating the need to hire outside legal counsel, which it was forced to do during the Harrisburg Strong Plan negotiations.

“When we started looking at attorneys we could hire to help us with the Harrisburg Strong Plan, they were all making more than we were looking to pay and continuing to hire outside legal counsel would be expensive,’’ Haste said.

Haste said Cullison’s new duties regarding the Harrisburg Strong Plan will include working with the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority, which purchased the Harrisburg incinerator; managing the county’s responsibilities under the plan; and providing financial guidance with regard to the recovery plan and other matters. She will also work with the city’s parking advisory committee and the two nonprofit agencies being formed to repair the city’s crumbling infrastructure and encourage job growth and investment.

“This move uses both of their strengths well,’’ Haste said. “Chad is a big picture guy whose approach is to see what we need to do and empower people to move forward. Laura is detail oriented and has the financial background to stay on top of the Harrisburg Strong Plan and keep us informed so there are no surprises.’’

Commissioner Mike Pries said Cullison is the perfect choice to help make sure Harrisburg continues on the right path.

“We’ve just come out of the single greatest financial crisis in the history of our region and we need someone like Laura who has the right set of skills to represent the county,’’ Pries said. “She has the unique combination of bond, legal and financial experience we need for the role; that level of experience is absolutely critical.’’

Pries said this is a win for all involved.

“Laura is someone we can trust to monitor the Harrisburg Strong Plan going forward and Chad is someone who knows the county and what goes in to the job of chief clerk,’’ Pries said. “I’m excited to welcome Chad back to the county and think he’ll do a fine job.’’

Commissioner George P. Hartwick, III agreed.

“I think Chad has demonstrated his ability to work across party lines to the benefit of all our residents and his reentry to county government will only enhance the progressive efforts we have already made,’’ Hartwick said. Hartwick said he had already talked to Cullison about additional opportunities city residents and businesses can have in the formal recovery process. “This is a move that will not only save the county money,’’ Hartwick said, “but allow us to be well represented on matters related to the Harrisburg Strong Plan in a way that will help us navigate the legal interests and human interests as we continue to support the city throughout the recovery process.’’

Photo/Natalie Cake

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