Ford City Applies for Grant to Fund Borough Manager Position

Ford City Borough Council voted last night to submit a grant application for funding the position of a new borough manager. All five council members agreed. Councilman Tyson Klukan was absent due to vacation.

Ford City Borough has had two borough managers since 2014. Now Council is looking to a state grant program in order to provide funding for the borough manager position.

Council President Carol Fenyes announced at last night’s public meeting that she has prepared a grant application to be submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development as part of the Strategic Management Planning Program.

The first borough manager, Eden Ratliff, began an internship with the borough while in a Master’s degree program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2014. He was offered an interim managerial position while Council conducted a search for a full-time borough manager. At that point, Ratliff applied for the position and was hired on October 13, 2014. Ratliff served until Council terminated him as of April 1, 2016.

Michael Greenlee was hired as the Police Chief in October 2016. The following month (November 2016), Greenlee was promoted to also serve as the Borough Manager  and received an additional salary of $15,000 for the six-month term. In April 2017, Council voted to make him the Borough Manager indefinitely at a salary of $30,000 annually in addition to his police chief salary of $50,000. Both positions were rolled into a 40-hour work week. Greenlee resigned both positions in June 2018.

Fenyes cited economic reasons and budget restraints for not filling the borough manager position.

The first draft of the grant application will be reviewed with Regional Local Government Policy Specialist Michael Foreman, who represents the Southwest Regional Office of the PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) office in Pittsburgh.

“When you apply through DCED, they do the interview process,” Fenyes explained. “They do the search (for applicants), review the resumes, then analyze the qualifications with their recommendations for interviews. I believe trusting DCED with that process is the right way to go.”

Fenyes said the entire amount requested in the grant is $127,500. She said that amount represents funding of the position through the grant at 75% for the first year, 50% for the second year, and 25% for the third and final year. The grant is non-renewable after the three-year term. Fenyes did not have the base salary amount that will be paid to the borough manager at the meeting last night.

Fenyes anticipates grant approval and the hiring process to be done by May 2020.