News: Letavic Wins Statewide Leadership Award
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2014
Contact: Ginni Linn
Director of Communications
Dauphin County Township Manager Wins Association’s Leadership Award
Steve Letavic, manager of Londonderry Township in Dauphin County, was presented with the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors’ 25th Annual President’s Leadership Award at the association’s 92nd Annual Educational Conference and Trade Show in Hershey in April. The conference attracted attendees from every county in Pennsylvania except Philadelphia, which has no townships.
Each year, the association presents the award, established in 1990, to a township supervisor and a township administrator, such as a secretary or manager, whose outstanding projects or programs have benefited their communities.
Letavic received the honor on the final day of the conference in recognition of his proactive efforts to make Londonderry Township a better place to live and work. Public service, the manager told the crowd, is one of his passions, and he’s glad to use his skills to give something back to the community. “I believe we’re all here to make a positive impact on our townships,” Letavic said. “It’s easy to find fault; the key is to find solutions.”
Letavic has been the township’s manager for eight and a half years, and in that relatively short amount of time, has made quite an impact on the community, says Anna Dale, chair of the township’s board of supervisors.
“Steve has selflessly applied his significant leadership skills to gain improvements for township residents,” Dale says, noting that the manager has surrounded himself with a dedicated team that tests the “limits of innovation” to improve local services and programs.
For instance, after Tropical Storm Lee damaged several homes along the Swatara Creek, Letavic turned what could have been a negative situation into a positive one. Soon after the flood waters receded, he organized volunteers to help affected residents with the cleanup. The manager also secured several grants to buy the properties, help the homeowners relocate, and create a buffer of vegetation on the now-vacant land to diminish future flooding in the area.
Before the flood-damaged homes were demolished, however, Letavic invited local first responders to conduct drills at the vacant properties. “Rarely do first responders get the opportunity to train on real-life structures where they can practice forced entry, demolition, and search and recovery operations,” Dale says.
Letavic has also been at the forefront of transportation improvements, which are benefitting not only residents but also everyone else who passes through the municipality. The manager recently evaluated the township’s bridges and prioritized their replacement and repairs.
By systematically documenting the township’s infrastructure trouble spots, Letavic has been able to apply for grants and low-interest loans that have helped the community replace two problematic bridges and make plans to address three more.
In addition, Letavic has helped to restore community spirit with the introduction of the annual Stars and Stripes Salute. Held each Fourth of July at a local park, the event raises money for the Lebanon VA Medical Center. Attendance at the salute, funded in part by a county grant, grows each year as people come from all over to listen to musical performances and watch the fireworks display.
“In the last six years, the township has donated more than $28,000 to our medical center to assist America’s guardians,” says Douglas Etter, the center’s public affairs officer. “All of this is thanks to Steve’s vision, skill, and contagious enthusiasm.”
Beyond his work with the township, Letavic is also active in several other community organizations, including the Dauphin County Earned Income Tax Committee and the Londonderry Township Volunteer Fire Company.
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The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors represents Pennsylvania’s 1,454 townships of the second class and is committed to preserving and strengthening township government and securing greater visibility and involvement for townships in the state and federal political arenas. Townships of the second class cover 95 percent of Pennsylvania’s land mass and represent more residents — 5.5 million — than any other type of political subdivision in the commonwealth.