One of the longest chief members of the Thompson Administration, Ernie Hoch, Director of Public Works submitted his resignation this morning.
Originally hired in the summer of 2010, Hoch has continually been applauded as one of Harrisburg’s hardest working and most steadfast servants. As director of a facet of City operations that includes trash collection, sinkholes, street sweeping, snow removal, street lights, water and sewer, and maintenance of the vehicle fleet, he juggled multiple duties under grave circumstances, not the least of which was incredible fiscal constraints on an aging infrastructure. Over the past year, Harrisburg has been plagued by a variety of problems from burnt out street lamps to massive sinkholes, and as Hoch pointed out, ”The sewer and water systems haven’t been maintained in 30 years.”
But in the end, it wasn’t the perpetual workload or the daunting list of things to address that made him quit.
It was his boss. Mayor Linda Thompson.
In a letter to the citizens of Harrisburg, Hoch explains his departure, “I can no longer help bring about positive change under the current administration. I will not just sit by idly if I cannot make a difference.” With that, the City loses its head of Public Works
the Mayor’s inability to establish a work environment that fosters competency and success
Unfortunately today, the City takes one step backwards, especially considering the signficance of a smoothly functioning Public Works Department. As the saying goes, if it’s not Public Safety, it’s Public Works. The range of issues under Hoch’s jurisdiction was vast. With his leaving, City residents are thrown into yet another state of flux. When there was a problem, they knew who to call and depended on the attention they were growing to rely on. A new leader will have a tall order to fill.
Once again, the City suffers because of the Mayor’s inability to establish a healthy work environment that fosters competency and success. Once again, the City has lost a valuable employee because the Mayor of Harrisburg is just too difficult to work for and with.
His parting words to us, “Don’t give up on Harrisburg. Her best days are ahead!”
We can only hope so.
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