2017-08-12 / Front Page

Heimel named Pennsylvania Outstanding Commissioner


CCAP President and Washington County Commissioner Harlan Shober (right) presents the Outstanding Pennsylvania Commissioner of the Year Award to Potter County’s Paul Heimel during the annual awards ceremony in Erie. CCAP President and Washington County Commissioner Harlan Shober (right) presents the Outstanding Pennsylvania Commissioner of the Year Award to Potter County’s Paul Heimel during the annual awards ceremony in Erie. Potter County Commissioner Paul Heimel received the top honor during the County Commissioners Assn. of Pa. (CCAP) annual conference in Erie.

In accepting the 2017 Outstanding County Commissioner of the Year Award, he deflected the attention to his colleagues and an influential figure from his past.

“This award recognizes the effective functioning of a three-member team,” Heimel remarked. “Doug Morley, Susan Kefover and I were brought together by the voters of Potter County a decade ago and we soon came to recognize each other’s strengths. We each gravitated toward the areas where our experience and skills could best serve the county, and what evolved from that was the proverbial whole that’s bigger than the sum of its parts.”

Heimel also paid tribute to Ferdy Gunzburger, a man he credited with inspiring him to enter public service. Gunzburger served as chief clerk for the Potter County Commissioners from 1928 until his retirement in 1993 and was widely respected by CCAP.

“Ferdy took me under his wing as a personal friend and advisor during my early adulthood,” Heimel said. “He lived, slept and breathed county government.”

CCAP chose Heimel for its most prestigious award – a first for Potter County – in recognition of his record as a staunch advocate and supporter for military veterans and criminal justice reforms, as well as his involvement in state and federal initiatives, and public education about county government issues.

His leadership and persistence were recognized as a major factor in the state legislature’s approval of higher payments-in-lieu of taxes for state forest and park lands. Those allotments to school districts, local and county governments will increase by 67 percent beginning this year, reducing the real estate tax burden on private property owners.

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