DUPONT – Borough Manager Barbara Fairchild may be new to Dupont, but she’s no stranger to running municipalities.
Currently, the Freeland Borough resident is working without a contract in Dupont as the motion to provide her with a full-time contract was tabled at both the August and September council meetings.
Dupont Council President Stanely Knick Jr. said the council is still working on the details of Fairchild’s contract. He would not comment further, stating only it is a personnel matter.
Fairchild’s history of working in public positions dates back to 1996 when she was employed by Foster Township before being hired as the district manager for Berkheimer Associates in 1997 where she handled municipal and school taxes.
She held on to that position for over 10 years before applying for the borough manager position in Laflin Borough in 2008.
After five years in Laflin, she was recruited to apply for the same position in Forty Fort Borough.
“Forty Fort got a hold of me that they were looking for someone,” Fairchild said. “They were without a borough manager and only had a part-time secretary.”
Fairchild was hired by Forty Fort Borough in June 2012 and played a role in acquiring several grants for the borough, including one for a $3½ million sewer project. She reduced the price of that project to $2 million through what she said were careful budgeting strategies and secured another grant for a $1.2 million paving project grant for streets.
“I try to look out for all opportunities to defray costs,” she said.
While working as full-time manager in Forty Fort, Fairchild served as secretary of the West Side Council of Government (COG) and was persuaded by Plymouth Borough officials to apply for the position of borough manager in that borough.
Plymouth Borough Council president Gary Kochinski said Fairchild’s history of acquiring grants played a big role in her being hired.
“We went through her interview process and she was the most qualified out of the applicants,” he said. “She had a history in writing grants with her background. We were awarded a $242,000 LSA Grant which she applied for for us.”
Fairchild resigned from Forty Fort and was hired as a part-time borough manager in Plymouth in September 2015.
She was paid $45,000 per year for working part-time in Plymouth as opposed to the $42,000 annual salary she received for working full-time in Forty Fort Borough.
Her stint in Plymouth was brief as she was released from that position in May of this year.
According to a previous Times Leader article, Plymouth Borough Council members eliminated the position in January and then reestablished it in April at a special meeting, but suspended Fairchild.
During the special meeting, Kochinski said the suspension was “due to the fact that the borough recently discovered that she (Fairchild) disclosed to a public works employee confidential information regarding contract negotiations.”
The motion alleged that Fairchild forwarded an email, dated Feb. 26 and directed to five members of the borough council, to a public works employee.
“In addition,” the motion read, “the borough manager emailed, on another date, to the same public works employee negative comments concerning the job performance of a Borough employee, said comments being in the nature of confidential information regarding job performance.”
Neither Kochinski nor Fairchild would not comment on the matter.
During her time in Plymouth however, Fairchild did acquire grants to spruce up the borough creeks.
“Those creeks weren’t updated in over 13 years,” she said. “But, we got that done.”
Fairchild was then hired as a financial supervisor in June by the Harveys Lake Borough Council members, a role in which the council president Bill Hilburt said she’s thriving, despite working full-time for Dupont Borough.
“She’s been doing great,” he said.
Fairchild applied for the Dupont Borough manager position after seeing an advertisement in the paper.
“I put my resume in and was brought in for an interview,” she said. “I was interviewed on a Thursday and started the following Monday (July 25).”
Despite being without a contract, Fairchild is working at the Dupont Borough Building from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
She continues her work for Harveys Lake Borough through email or by picking up documents she needs at the borough’s municipal office.
Although she is new to Dupont, Fairchild hopes to bring experience to the job to help the borough.
She said she enjoys working with the people and loves the tightness of the community.
“It’s great that we have volunteers to help the community,” she said. “You see wonderful volunteers that help with veterans, the VFW, the American Legion and help with memorials and banners. It’s wonderful that we have a close-knit community.”