Monday, May 29, 2023
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Farkas Ready to Take Over as Patton Township Manager

Patton Township will soon have a new manager, but it’s a familiar face.

Amy Farkas, currently Harris Township manager, is making the move to Patton Township.

“I reached a point in Harris Township where I feel like I’ve accomplished so many wonderful things, but I’m ready for some new challenges,” Farkas explained. “Patton appealed to me because it’s a larger community and it will give me the room to spread my wings a little bit. Patton is also well run and has a great board and staff.”

Farkas has been the manager of Harris Township for 17 years. Making the decision, she said, was not an easy one.

“It’s very bittersweet to leave Harris, as I’ve been very fortunate to have a supportive board of supervisors, a wonderful staff and great residents to work with,” Farkas said.

As she reflected on her time in Harris Township, she said she was pleased with the work she’s done for nearly two decades.

“I’m proud of the things that we accomplished together — from building our new maintenance facility to adopting fund balance and structurally balanced budget policies and adopting the Small Area Plan,” Farkas said.

She will replace the current Patton Township manager, Doug Erickson. He is retiring after 25 years with the township. His retirement plans were announced in September 2022.

According to Farkas, she knows she has big shoes to fill.

“I have tremendous respect for current township Manager Doug Erickson and for his predecessor, Tom Kurtz. I am excited to get to know my board and my staff, to dig in and get to work,” Farkas said.

While it’s a new role for Farkas, the territory is familiar ground. She said there are plenty of similarities between the two townships.

“Harris and Patton are both well-run communities with active and engaged citizens. We both provide high-quality services to our residents and are members of the Centre Region COG. Patton has 10,000 more residents than Harris and has a much larger commercial area,” Farkas said.

Farkas will start her position with Patton Township on May 8. Although the start date is more than a month away, she’s already done her homework. She knows the township faces several big issues.

“Patton, like Harris, is dealing with growth, attainable housing and how to provide cost-effective services. I’m looking forward to finding ways to engage residents and learn more about the community,” she said.

Farkas’ role in Patton Township will be a big one. She will oversee day-to-day operations of the township staff. She will also implement the policies of the board of supervisors. Patton Township has 50 employees in departments including police, public works operations, administration, finance, engineering, planning and zoning.

The township operates with a budget of $12 million annually.

According to Farkas, her new position comes with goals. Her short-term goals are straightforward.

“I intend to spend the first six months of my tenure getting to know the board, the staff and our volunteers. I want to learn how Patton operates and what their priorities are for the future. I also want to get out and start meeting residents and business owners and becoming part of the community,” Farkas said.

And as far as long-term goals are concerned?

“Long-term, I want to look at increasing citizen engagement. One of the things we did really well in Harris Township was citizen engagement. I want to see how I can translate that to a larger community and find new ways to engage the residents there. I want residents to be invested in their community and to feel like they are part of the solution,” Farkas said.

Farkas leaves behind 17 years of hard work and memories. Those will be cherished, she said. However, the work isn’t what she will miss the most.

“I will miss the people — from my board to my staff to the residents. My office windows look out on Main Street. During the pandemic, residents would stop and knock on my window to say hello. It became the highlight of my day,” Farkas said. “I’m so fortunate that I was able to work here for 17 years and be a small part of making this community a great place to live.”