In a light-hearted, but bittersweet atmosphere at the final Pike County Commissioners meeting for 2016, friends, wife, son, and long-time colleagues gathered to say goodbye to retiring Commissioner Karl Wagner, Jr.
Making Pike County a Better Place to Live
In attendance, Coroner Kevin Stroyan, who is also retiring this year, praised Wagner for his many years of public service, and presented Wagner with a handmade plaque that read, “Always offering wise friendly council [sic], making Pike County a better place to live.”
Senator Lisa Baker and Representative Mike Peifer took a break from the budget impasse in Harrisburg to present Wagner with special citations from both the Pennsylvania State Senate and the House of Representatives. After photos, both left to return to the capitol to continue work on the budget.
Moments of Humor and Sadness
Commissioner Rich Caridi, who not only has worked beside Wagner as a commissioner but also for him when Caridi was jail warden, read a county resolution recognizing Wagner, but then added a few personal words of his own. He expressed sadness at Wagner’s parting, but also gratitude for the decades of service that Wagner has given to the county. Acknowledging that being the minority commissioner is hard, he said of their relationship, “There was never any politics between us.”
When Wagner rose to accept a copy of the resolution, he lightened the mood by pointing to the three pictures of the Commissioners on the wall, noting that when the others weren’t looking, he had promoted himself from the bottom to the middle position.
Commissioner Matt Osterberg joined in the light moment when he said that his job in the last four years had been to drive Wagner to various functions out of town. He then donned a driver’s cap and pulled out a Pennsylvania road map that marked part of the 6,000 miles that he says he has driven Wagner, also noting that they always managed to end the trip with a stop at their favorite hotdog stand. Osterberg said that for him, Wagner had been a “great teacher and mentor.”
Spending Time with His Grandchildren
Wagner responded to the testimonials of the officials and from friends and family in the audience, some of whom had known him his entire life as a Pike County resident. He said that he was pleased to be moving into retirement, particularly since he now has three grandchildren that he would like to spend time with.
Other Commissioner Business
Bimbo Bakeries was awarded the fresh bread and baked goods bid for the Correctional Facility in the amount of $70,320.13.
Father Paul Mullen of St. Vincent’s DePaul Church, Pastor Neil Neilsen of Holy Trinity Lutheran, Mike Sullivan of the Pike County Economic Development Authority, and Cynthia DeFabo of the Pike County Workforce Development Agency stopped by to announce that they are spearheading a grass roots community effort to bring more and better job opportunities to the county’s working poor. Their efforts will include a Spring Job Fair, which will be held at Hunts Landing on April 15, 2016. More details will follow.
County residents are also reminded that ReadyNotifyPike is up and operational, and will provide rapid text notifications and up-to-date information on emergency situations that may arise from weather, road closures or other occurrences. However, residents must sign up voluntarily, and may do so at the website.
The 2016 reorganization meeting for Pike County will take place on Monday, January 4, at 11:00 a.m. The next regular meeting of the Commissioners will be held on Wednesday, January 6 at the usual time and place.