New manager in Kennett Township

Kennett Township Supervisors officially hired a new township manager on Wednesday.

Eden R. Ratliff, Kennett Township's new manager.

Eden R. Ratliff, currently the manager and chief administrative official of Greencastle Borough in Franklin County, Pa., will start Sept. 23.

“Municipal management to me is personal, because local government impacts your personal life,” Ratliff told the audience at Wednesday’s supervisors’ meeting. “I knew that I wanted to be in a position to make a difference in people’s lives and to try to make them a little bit better. As a municipal manager, that is what I do every day, and I want to do it in a place that I feel like I can call my home — Kennett Township.”

Ratliff, originally from West Chester, has a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s in employment and labor relations from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The former Eagle Scout is also pursuing a master’s in public management from Johns Hopkins University and will graduate in December.

“The board is looking forward to working with Eden,” Supervisors’ Chairman Scudder Stevens said. “We wanted a new township manager with the skills and educational background to effectively and efficiently manage Kennett Township, as well as an individual with the foresight to lead the township forward for many years.”

Ratliff said he and his wife Gabby are looking forward to their move to the township.

“Every time Gabrielle and I spend time here, it becomes more and more apparent what a wonderful place this is to live, work, and raise a family, and that’s exactly what we intend to do here in Kennett Township,” he said, adding that this move would be the first time since he left for college that he would be living near his parents and brothers.

Ratliff has spent the past five years as a municipal manager, the first two as borough manager and chief administrative official of Ford City Borough (northeast of Pittsburgh). It was there, he said, that he learned an important lesson about municipal government.

He was fresh out of college when he took the position with Ford City, and when he began, he met with the seasoned roadmaster.

“He says to me … ‘I understand that you have a lot of education, and that’s very nice, but you don’t know anything about the streets in Ford City,’” Ratliff said, adding that the roadmaster then told him, “Maybe we can work together and teach each other something.

“That’s exactly what happened. It enhanced my understanding of what it means to be responsible for making sure that municipal government works for everyone. That certainly played a massive role in my experiences and … how I approach municipal management today.”

In Greencastle, he worked to continue the accessibility and openness that the borough demanded. Ratliff explained he writes a newspaper column, hosts a radio show, speaks publicly, and more “just to make sure that the government is accessible to the people, and they can participate and feel engaged.”

After he finished addressing the audience, the supervisors voted unanimously to adopt the resolution appointing Ratliff.

Supervisor Whitney Hoffman described Ratliff as a “good fit” and said he has a good communications style. One benefit to his borough managerial experience, according to Hoffman, is that he will have additional insight when it comes to working with the Borough of Kennett Square on cooperative projects.

A full copy of Ratliff’s biography and resume can be found on the Kennett Township website (Kennett.pa.us).

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About Monica Fragale

Monica Thompson Fragale is a freelance reporter who spent her life dreaming of being in the newspaper business. That dream came true after college when she started working at The Kennett Paper and, years later The Reporter newspaper in Lansdale and other dailies. She turned to non-profit work after her first daughter was born and spent the next 13 years in that field. But while you can take the girl out of journalism, you can’t take journalism out of the girl. Offers to freelance sparked the writing bug again started her fingers happily tapping away on the keyboard. Monica lives with her husband and two children in Kennett Square.

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