KNOX – For the 98th year, area township officials gathered together at the Knox Fire Hall last week for the Clarion County Association of Township Officials (CCATO) Convention.
The annual day-long convention has always served as a way for township officials to exchange ideas and receive up-to-date information on how to best serve the communities, but for the past 28 years CCATO has recognized an outstanding county individual and township during an afternoon awards ceremony.
Nominated by fellow elected or appointed township officials or CCATO officers, recipients of both the individual and township awards are selected for efforts put forth in achieving “outstanding accomplishments” to benefit their community and to protect and improve the quality of life and safety for their residents in the past year.
This year’s recipient of the Outstanding Individual Award was Virginia “Ginny” McKisson, secretary/treasurer of Millcreek Township.
“I’m beyond thankful that the [township] supervisors nominated me to receive this award,” McKisson said following the awards ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 27. She also extended her appreciation to the local elected officials for all their hard work in the township as well. “I’m looking forward to continuing my work with the township and improving how things are.”
McKisson, a Redbank Valley High School graduate, has worked for Millcreek Township since 2015.
“Prior to becoming our secretary/treasurer, Ginny had sufficient knowledge to undertake the difficult task of getting our municipality back on course,” township supervisor Anne Andes wrote of McKisson in her nomination letter to CCATO officials. Andes commended McKisson for her “outstanding bookkeeping and organizational skills,” and credited her for increasing her knowledge by attending workshops and training sessions for the betterment of the township.
“Ginny never hesitates to seek guidance,” Andes continued. “She is not afraid to reach out to neighboring municipalities, county officials or state officials for assistance. Simply put, Ginny does what is necessary to make sure the job is done correctly.”
In just a few short years, Andes explained, McKisson was “instrumental” in getting Millcreek Township back in good financial standing by utilizing various financial institutions to secure the best loan rates for necessary township purchases.
“Although frustrating at times, Ginny persevered by setting her sights on the end goal,” Andes wrote.
Concluding her nomination, Andes said that McKisson has demonstrated “a true concern” for Millcreek Township.
“While working with Ginny, I have personally witnessed the ease with which she understands and communicates with the residents of Millcreek Township,” she said. “Ginny pays attention to detail and uses good judgement while performing her duties. She works well with the road crew, and her pleasant demeanor has created an extremely positive work environment.”
For the first time in several years, CCATO did not present an Outstanding Township Award for 2018.
“No one submitted anything to us,” CCATO secretary/treasurer Steve Allison noted during the awards presentation. He urged the large group of local, county and state elected officials to submit any and all township projects, big or small, that have benefited residents.
Projects don’t necessarily have to be completed by a single township either. For example, Allison cited last year’s township award winners, Clarion and Millcreek townships, for their collaborative Ashbury Bridge improvement project.
“I’d really like to see townships recognized for what they do, either individually or collaboratively,” Allison said, encouraging township officials to resubmit past projects for future award consideration. “Submit any project you do, whether it’s big or small.”
According to the organization’s website, CCATO was formed in 1920 to fill the need for a centralized organization to support Clarion County’s 22 townships and to amplify each municipality’s individual voice at the county and state levels.
“Our association was formed for the purpose of discussing ideas that will help improve township governments,” the website states. “We look for and put into practice constructive methods concerning the assessment of property, the collection of taxes, the construction, improvement and maintenance of roads and the promotion of mutual co-operation among the member townships.”
For more information on CCATO, or to nominate an outstanding individual or township, visit www.clarioncountyato.org.