Kennett Sq. launches expertise marketing campaign to land new borough supervisor | Information

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KENNETT SQUARE — Council launched the search for a new borough manager as the New Year bells rang this January at the dawn of 2021.

Councilman Doug Doerfler is chair of an ad hoc Borough Council committee leading the effort.

In November, former Borough Manager Joe Scalise retired after spending a dedicated career of 26 years working for the local government as a civil servant. Community accolades announced his departure last fall.

Scalise spent the last five years working for Kennett Square as borough manager.

With the holiday season passed, Doerfler expects that an official release of the job description via Borough Council shall be announced to the public by the end of the month.

“The borough manager is the chief administrative officer of the borough and is responsible for executing the policies of the Borough Council and carrying out the daily affairs of the borough,” Doerfler said on Tuesday.

“That is more the technical description, in essence, the manager is accountable for the day-to-day operations of the staff as they work to execute the vision set by council.”

That vision today includes five established priorities of focus in 2021 by the Borough Council.

Doerfler said these goals are:

  1. Housing at price points accessible to all residents that does not isolate but reflects inclusive living;
  2. A mix of housing, offices, services, retail and light industry coexisting in a diverse and well-rounded community;
  3. Active public space, from pedestrian-friendly streetscapes to recreation activities and community amenities;
  4. Measures to further the community’s unique sense of place, such as walkability enhancements, adaptive reuse, and historic resource protection;
  5. Opportunities for in-home and in-community aging through sensitivity to the health and welfare of seniors.

“Whether we’re looking at short-term goals like the hiring of a new Manager and how to support our business community as we adapt to the COVID crisis, or long-term goals — like the development of the former NVF industrial site — these five factors will be driving considerations,” Doerfler said.

Doerfler, who joined council in 2016, said members have retained Strategic Government Resources, a firm based in Texas, to conduct the manager search.

The councilman said the talent agency firm, this week, is meeting with key individuals in the community who represent borough government and staff, businesses, community organizations and institutions, and other constituent groups to develop a position profile that will be used to attract applicants in Kennett Square’s search to land “the best candidate to meet the needs of the borough. We expect applications to start being received in the next few weeks.”

Kennett Square is home to approximately 6,300 residents. The community served as a key hub during the Underground Railroad thanks to families of Quakers, and loyalists of William Penn, who settled in the region from Yorkshire, England, after fleeing Great Britain in the 1600s due to religious persecution from the British crown. 

Today, even despite the ongoing pandemic restrictions on small, locally owned businesses, Kennett Square remains a regional hub in Southern Chester County with visitors from around the world singing its praise as a “gem” — after all, Longwood Gardens, considered one of the greatest botanical gardens on earth, is just a few miles nearby, up Route 1 and just south of the Brandywine River in Delaware County.

“I love the history of this town, from the days of the Revolutionary War to the emergence of the mushroom industry as the No. 1 economic driver in the area,” Doerfler said. “We have so much opportunity in front of us to secure that history in a way that respects the diverse makeup of the community.”

Kennett Square is well-known across America as “the mushroom capital of the world.”

Concurrently, Longwood Gardens typically draws in millions of visitors leading to tourism revenue for nearby communities such as Kennett Square, West Chester, Coatesville and Downingtown.

However, thanks to disaster restrictions still presently in place, public gatherings continue to be restricted as America works to snuff out the COVID-19 pandemic stateside as swiftly as possible.

Just on Jan. 4, local restaurants in Kennett Square were allowed, via the Commonwealth, to again serve patrons indoors — albeit at 50 percent capacity.

Still, with a COVID-19 vaccine, produced now by multiple for-profit pharmaceutical companies, there is hope that the crisis shall end soon. Seniors have been most fatally susceptible to the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China near the close of 2019. One of the pharma giants producing a successful vaccine, thus far, is Pfizer, which has a massive operational compound near Chester County on Route 2020 in New Castle County, just north of Wilmington, Delaware.

Doerfler, as a member of the Kennett Square Borough Council, also serves the community as chairman of the municipality’s borough manager search committee and separate personnel committee.

He works at Genesis in downtown Kennett Square as director of talent and performance management.

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