The Char-West Council of Governments gets a leadership change this summer with the retirement of longtime executive director George Scarborough, who will step down in July.
Mr. Scarborough, 65, of Moon, has headed the 18-member organization that includes communities in the western sector of Allegheny County since its inception in 1981 from two preceeding councils -- the Chartiers Valley COG and the West Hills and Valleys COG.
He will be replaced by Janet Snak, 52, his office manager, who has been an employee for 26 years.
"There were plenty of candidates, but the board decided to go with someone from within," said president Jim Morosetti of North Fayette, who added that the promotion was approved May 16.
Mr. Scarborough indicated the official changeover would take place "whenever we feel comfortable with the transition."
Carnegie Council president and COG representative Rick D'Loss, praised Ms. Snak's promotion.
"It's a big success story. She came here and worked her way up through the ranks," he said.
Collier manager Sal Sirabella had words of thanks for Mr. Scarborough.
"George has dedicated his career to make local governments work right," he said.
Councils of Governments are groups of communities that join together to handle issues of mutual concern. Activities include community revitalization projects, infrastructure improvements and joint purchasing for volume pricing. Such collaborations often yield better financial deals, particularly on demolition and construction.
Much of the money COGs uses to fund improvement projects comes from other government entities such as Allegheny County, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the state Department of Community and Economic Development. Member communities delegate representatives to attend the organization's monthly meetings.
There are eight COGs throughout Allegheny County, which has 130 municipalities.
Mr. Scarborough didn't want to discuss his post-retirement plans or the Char-West COG's success stories.
"George will not blow his own horn," Mr. Morosetti said.
However, a quick check of recent successful efforts include a number of streetscape projects, some of which are still underway; the 2012 demolition of abandoned residential structures in Coraopolis and seven other communities, and the preparation of a multi-municipal comprehensive plan for McKees Rocks Borough, Neville and Stowe townships to stimulate new development.
For the latter, the Char-West COG was awarded the 2012 Governor's Award for Local Excellence and the 2012 Daniel Burnham Award for both the plan and the involvement of residents and businesses. The plan was prepared by Environmental Planning and Design.
Also, in January 2012, the COG funded the active shooter initiative at Chartiers Valley High School that enabled 19 police departments to train for an unexpected armed visitor to a public school.
One proposed project that the organization worked on for several years -- but has never come to pass because of funding issues -- was a plan for a joint public/private recycling facility.
The Char-West COG includes Bridgeville, Carnegie, Collier, Coraopolis, Crafton, Crescent, Green Tree, Ingram, Kennedy, McKees Rocks, Neville, North Fayette, Oakdale, Robinson, Rosslyn Farms, South Fayette, Stowe and Thornburg.
Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer: email@example.com