Let’s talk volunteer appreciation, Key Concepts and a new warden at the jail in Franklin County

February 21 – The Franklin County Commissioners will meet tomorrow at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at 272 North Second Street, Chambersburg. 

The group will discuss a volunteer appreciation event for the Department of Aging volunteers at Antrim Brethren in Christ Church. 

Franklin County Commissioner John Flannery said, “These volunteers, they go out there, they deliver meals to seniors, they volunteer at the centers, they man the centers. They really do a lot for our seniors. We’ve got to take care of our seniors in Franklin County.” 

The date for the appreciation celebration will be part of tomorrow’s meeting. 

There are 11 senior centers around Franklin County and the Waynesboro Senior Center is moving to the old Henicle’s Market on Anthony Highway to give them a larger space. It will include gym equipment, a library and all sorts of other options for citizens. 

Additionally, a new warden has been appointed to the Franklin County Jail, Christopher Schell.

Flannery said, “Great guy from Centre County, was running the jail up there. Good jail. I brag about our jail all the time. We set a precedence for how a jail should operate in the state of Pennsylvania. Chris knows that. He’s going to do a great job and I look forward to working with him.” 

The Franklin County jail passes audits 100 percent every time. 

Flannery said, “I can take you on a tour through it, you walk through it, you can eat off the floor. It is clean. It is run well and those guys keep it high and tight.” 

Currently there are 250 inmates at the jail – that’s down from a population of close to 400 when Flannery first became a commissioner. 

He said, “I credit that to not only the staff, the judicial system here in Franklin County, but the programs that we have to keep people out of jail and to get them in the re-entry programs as quick as possible. I believe in people being a productive part of our community. The quicker we can get them out there as productive parts of our community when they shouldn’t be in there – I’m not talking about major crimes here. I’m talking about getting them back introduced into our society to be productive. That’s the goal.” 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “With the job shortages out there, I’m hearing there’s a lot more flexibility out of business owners and business managers. Now it’s a different story out there.” 

Flannery agreed, “I think right now if you’ve made a mistake and you’re in that situation, now is the best opportunity you’re going to have.” 

If someone feels that someone is being treated unfairly in the prison, there are avenues to pursue. 

Flannery said, “The first thing I say is you’re in jail and with all due respect, it ain’t the Holiday Inn. With that being said, we have to treat people fairly. So what will happen, a family member that feels that their loved one or friend is being treated unfairly, they can call the jail. If they don’t get anywhere with the jail, they call the county. Call the administration offices here in the county. Lastly, if it gets to the point, they can call me. As the chairman of the Prison Board, I’ll investigate every complaint I have. I will sit down with the warden and talk with him one on one. It just happened last week where the warden was kind enough, the new warden, to return a phone call from me from someone who was disgruntled with the way their son was being treated. He did assure me that this gentleman’s son was being treated very fairly, but sometimes that’s not good enough for some people.” 

A new initiative called Key Concepts includes asking employees how the county could save money. 

Flannery said, “I thank you (Pat Ryan) for that suggestion two years ago because it’s turned into something much more than what it was proposed to be.” 

Ryan said, “I’d like to thank you for taking the initial suggestion came to another commissioner, Dave Keller, in 2019. It stalled. I get it. Things stall, but you smelled what I was cooking up.” 

Flannery said, “I think of things through as a process. So when you say that, I have to stew on it a little bit, but with every idea, there’s always three parts to that. The idea is the lightbulb man. That’s where it goes off, but implementation and follow up are two keys to success.” 

The Key Concepts program has gone on to develop a Leadership Program with employees in the staff and some of the ideas will be implemented. 

Flannery said, “They will be put into groups and assigned one of the ideas that came through the Key Concepts process. It’s really cool.” 

Ryan said, “Watching the amount of work that went into this, I can see why Dave Keller might have gone, you know what? This is a lot of darn work. Maybe I walk away from this. The amount of people power and the motion it took to get all the departments to talk to each other on Key Concepts and I also understand that there’s more communication happening there as well that wasn’t there before.” 

“So much more communication,” Flannery agreed. “It opened a line of communication for even someone that may work across town in one of our departments that has a suggestion and it may be something that we’re already doing, they’re just not aware of it yet. So we’re able to clear those lines of communication and establish that as well. It’s been great.”