AFSCME’s tour visits Harrisburg to promote public service jobs

Addressing the need to fill open public service positions throughout Pennsylvania, AFSCME Secretary-Treasurer Elissa McBride and members of AFSCME Council 13 joined House Speaker Joanna McClinton at a press conference Tuesday in Harrisburg. 

A commonwealth-sponsored hiring hall will take place Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the AFSCME Council 13 Conference Center in Harrisburg. Job seekers can meet with recruiters from several agencies – including the Departments of Corrections, Human Services, Environmental Protection, Transportation, General Services, Revenue, and Banking – and will have the opportunity to apply for open positions on the spot. 

“Never before have we been able to see so many vacancies, all at the same time, through different departments here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” McClinton said at the press conference. “But the best thing is – right here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania – we have people of all backgrounds, all ages, who have the qualifications and skills to fill these vacancies. And we look forward to them coming to the hiring fair (Wednesday), learning about the opportunities, and spreading them across their networks so we can fill these jobs.” 

Short staffing exists among nurses, PennDOT workers, corrections officers, and others. AFSCME launched the “Staff the Front Lines” initiative this year, to partner with elected officials on recruiting and retaining the essential workers who keep communities running. The Staff the Front Lines bus is holding recruitment events in more than 20 major cities across the U.S. this summer. 

“We are doing this because our communities simply cannot function without the everyday heroes who keep our streets clean, take our kids to school and ensure our water is safe to drink, and we need a lot more people filling these vital roles,” AFSCME Council 13 Executive Director David Henderson said. “On top of making our communities better, these are often union jobs with good pay, great benefits, retirement plans and job security.” 

AFSCME Council 13 Member and Pennsylvania Department of Human Services worker Susan Bosco said it doesn’t matter how old or young an applicant is or where they’re from. 

“If you have a passion to serve your community, you can do this work,” said Bosco. “That is why public service often reflects the diversity of the communities we serve. … Take it from me, as someone who has lived through it: In the private sector, you are often seen as just a number. In public service, you are an essential part of your community.” 

McBride said the population of Allentown, Erie, Pittsburgh, Reading, and Scranton combined (970,000) is also the number of public sector job vacancies in the U.S. 

“And that’s why we started the national Staff the Front Lines bus tour,” said McBride. “At every stop on the tour, we’re talking about the importance of recruiting and retaining the next generation of public service and health care workers. We’re lifting up the fact that these union jobs come with strong rights and protections. We’re shining a light on the opportunity to be part of something bigger.”

It’s still a sellers’ market as home sales keep dropping

Through July, home sales in the region continued to be well behind the frenetic pace set last year, while prices kept rising in many areas.

Lancaster County

In Lancaster County, closed sales last month totaled 431, down 12.2% from a year ago and 15.7% from June 2023.

The median sold price of $320,000 was up 6.5% year over year; month over month, it dropped 1.8%.

Average days on market in July was 15, and the average sold to original list price ratio was 103.6%.

“In July, we watched the downward trend in metrics escalate as conditions continue to get tighter and tighter,” 2023 Lancaster County Association of Realtors President H. Joseph Younger said in a statement. “With an average ‘sold to OLP’ still above 100%, sellers are still in control of this market.”

Even with the slight dip in median sold price from June, Younger said, “the lack of inventory and strong buyer demand is pushing the envelope on home values. We simply do not have enough inventory to satisfy buyer demand. In my almost 30-year career in real estate, I have never seen a market quite like this one. In my opinion, there has never been a better opportunity for sellers to take advantage of the growing equity in their homes by entering the market and making a move.”

Harrisburg area

In the three counties covered by the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors, closed sales were down across the board in July, falling to 431 in Cumberland County, 245 in Dauphin County and 30 in Perry County.

Year over year and month over month, they decreased 22.1% and 19.7%, respectively, in Cumberland; 25.8% and 26.2% in Dauphin; and 21.1% and 14.3% in Perry.

The median sold price of $292,000 in Cumberland was up 0.7% in July from the year prior; it was down 7.3% from June 2023.

Average days on market was 11, and the average sold to OLP ratio was 101.8%, or above asking price.

Dauphin County’s median sold price last month was $235,000, a decline of 2% year over year and 3.1% month over month.

Average days on market was 23; average sold to OLP ratio was 100.1%.

In Perry County, the July median sold price of $267,500 is 22.3% more than in July 2022 and 7.3% more than in June 2023.

Sixteen was average days on market, and the average sold to OLP ratio was also 100.1%.

“Inventory is still historically low,” Wendell Hoover, 2023 president of the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors, wrote in an email. “However, we have seen a slight increase in the inventory recently and a slight increase of days (on) market. We believe that prices will continue to increase as the sellers’ market continues.”


Through the first seven months of this year, 3,040 houses sold in York County, 21% fewer than 2022 at this time. In Adams County, the 608 settlements through July are a 16% decrease.

The median sales price in Adams year to date is $279,900, identical to a year ago. In York County, the median sales price through July was $260,000, an 8% increase from 12 months ago.

In July alone, 109 homes were sold in Adams County, which is 2% more than this time last year. In York County, 453 homes sold last month, a 23% decrease from a year ago.

Meanwhile, the median sales price was $290,000 in Adams, a 2% decrease since last year; in York County, the median was $266,900, a 7% increase from July 2022.

The ongoing inventory shortage and robust buyer demand “persistently exert influence on sales prices, resulting in numerous sellers frequently receiving multiple offers shortly after listing their properties,” Reid Weinbrom, 2023 president of the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties, said in a release.

“Individuals contemplating selling their homes, who have yet to take action, might unintentionally overlook a unique chance to capitalize on historically unprecedented levels of home equity.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Harrisburg-area developer charged in Jan. 6 Capitol breach

Camp Hill-based developer Lowell Gates was arrested Monday in Harrisburg and charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors, including assaulting law enforcement with a deadly or dangerous weapon, related to his conduct during the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Gates, 63, of Mechanicsburg, will appear in court before the Middle District of Pennsylvania, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.

His actions and the actions of others disrupted a joint session of the U.S. Congress convened to ascertain and count the electoral votes related to the 2020 presidential election, in which Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump. In the 31 months since Jan. 6, 2021, the release said, more than 1,106 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the Capitol riots, including more than 350 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement.

In a criminal complaint filed in D.C., Gates, who is president and CEO of Linlo Properties, is charged with the felony offenses of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers using a dangerous weapon and obstruction of law enforcement during civil disorder. He is also charged with misdemeanors, including entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds, disorderly conduct in a Capitol building or grounds, and violent conduct in a Capitol building or grounds.

According to court documents, Gates traveled to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, with a group of friends and attended a rally at the Ellipse. He then walked toward the Capitol building and approached the restricted grounds of the West Plaza. Video footage taken from that shows Gates appearing to use a cellphone to photograph and or video the riot while standing near the scaffolding on the side of the West Plaza.

“Court documents say that at approximately 2:29 p.m., Gates can be seen on body-worn camera footage throwing an object at a group of law enforcement officers before assaulting them with a flagpole. Video footage shows Gates using the flagpole in a spear-like motion to lunge at the officers, striking at them at least three times,” the release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Department of Justice National Security Division’s Counterterrorism Section. Valuable assistance was provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Gates did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

He started Linlo Properties wife his wife, Linda, more than 25 years ago, according to its website. The company now has over 40 employees and its own full-time construction crew.

The business leases and manages commercial office space in the Greater Harrisburg area, including Camp Hill, Lemoyne, Mechanicsburg, Harrisburg, Lower Paxton Township, Lower Allen Township, Upper Allen Township, Silver Spring Township and Susquehanna Township, as well as in Lebanon County, the website said.

A recent project is Shepherdstown Crossing in Upper Allen Township, a mixed-use development that will have 54 apartments; restaurants; convenience stores; and other retail.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Verizon upgrades Harrisburg network

Verizon has made major upgrades to the network serving customers in the Harrisburg area, part of a multi-year redesign of its network architecture to stay ahead of exponential data usage increases and upgrade the network’s technology.

Network upgrades include deploying new cell sites to extend coverage and capacity in local communities; adding more capacity on fiber optic cables to move more data through the network; and adding bandwidth to the cellular network to accommodate new services like wireless internet service for homes and businesses.

Engineers have deployed 5G Ultra Wideband service using Millimeter Wave, its premium, high-band spectrum that allows for extremely fast speeds and massive capacity as well as C-band spectrum designed for fast speeds, high capacity and wide coverage. In the Harrisburg market, 87% of the population now has access to 5G service from Verizon.

The addition of 5G service and additional wireless solutions allow far more data to travel on the wireless network in Harrisburg. That requires upgraded fiber optic cable links. Verizon has increased the capacity on the fiber connections in many cell sites in the Harrisburg area so they can carry 10 times the amount of data.

“Our network engineers work tirelessly to ensure we can provide the most reliable connections across Harrisburg,” Kevin Smith, vice president of network engineering and operations for Verizon, said in a release. “We will continue to unlock the power of 5G for our customers with better connectivity for their phones, homes and businesses, as part of our ongoing commitment to this community.”

Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband service has also recently been deployed in Camp Hill, Big Pine, Frogtown, the majority of eastern Cumberland County, central and southern Dauphin County, central and northern York County, Lebanon County and western Lancaster.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Citing business experiences, several Pa. legislators suspend their pay during budget impasse

As a private business owner, Jamie Flick said he was forced to make difficult decisions 10 years ago when the state budget was not completed for nine months after the fiscal year began.

Because his company works primarily with county governments and agencies, Flick could not take a paycheck from his own company and had to consider cutting hours for other employees.

“This is not how our state should operate,” said Flick, who as a current member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, is one of 12 state representatives who have asked that their pay be withheld for the month of July as the state budget impasse continues. There are 203 members of the state House.

Negotiations on a budget plan fell through between majority parties in the House and Senate, as well as Gov. Josh Shapiro, and neither chamber is scheduled to return to Harrisburg until September. Leaders can call members back early if a plan is negotiated.

Reps. Flick (R-Lycoming/Union) and Jill Cooper (R-Westmoreland) have committed to having their pay withheld for August as well should the budget impasse continue. Flick said he is withholding his pay for July, August, and beyond if necessary as he believes one of the most important jobs of the General Assembly is adopting the annual state budget.

“In recent years there have been numerous occurrences of the annual budget not being adopted before the start of the new fiscal year on July 1 as required by law,” Flick said in a statement. “When the budget is not enacted in a timely manner, many payments to counties, school districts, service providers and nonprofits, to name a few, are not timely made and many important programs may be interrupted, and/or positions may be cut, forcing people to lose their jobs.”

Flick said in addition to withholding his pay, he is co-sponsoring legislation that will require the compensation of the governor, lieutenant governor, and members of the General Assembly to be suspended during a budget impasse.

“This will put legislators on similar footing with others who depend upon the annual appropriation process,” said Flick.

Cooper is preparing to introduce legislation that would result in suspended pay for legislators and the governor until the budget is passed.

“Responsible budgeting is Government 101,” Cooper said. “Harrisburg has its core services and functions and when we don’t have a budget in place to begin a fiscal year, those services, such as programs for special needs populations, education and food banks, are at risk of being disrupted.”

Cooper said Pennsylvanians deserve better than a process that hurts the state’s most vulnerable populations, while legislators continue to be fully compensated.

“My motivation is simple; right now, we have a missed deadline, and worse yet, there seems to be a lack of urgency to complete the job as soon as possible,” said Cooper. “Workers across the state, whose taxes actually pay our salaries, would have been fired for the same behaviors.”

LGBT Center has new home in Harrisburg

The LGBT Center of Central PA’s 18-month search for a new home has ended. 

The center announced Tuesday the purchase of 1323 N. Front Street in Harrisburg as its new and permanent home. 

The 3,000 square foot building is in Midtown near Front and Verbeke, and accessible by bike, bus, car, or foot. The site is expected to host programs and events and serve as a hub for LGBTQ+ communities across Central Pennsylvania. 

Building renovations are scheduled to be completed this summer. Renovations include making the space fully ADA accessible, expanding the lobby and community room, and installing a full kitchen. The building contains a board room, two gender-inclusive restrooms, and staff offices. 

“This is especially meaningful for us because it is a home of our own, a building that we own, and a permanent space for our center,” LGBT Center Executive Director Amanda Arbour said in a statement. “Past experience showed us the importance of having control over our own space. Ownership will also support the long-term financial health of the center, as we build equity and plan for the future.” 

The center’s board leadership said its work at the LGBT Center of Central PA is as important as ever in the face of increasing anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and discrimination. 

“With the establishment of a home of our own, we extend heartfelt gratitude to all who support our efforts in fostering the health and wellbeing of our community,” said Wallace McKelvey, board co-chair. 

Board Co-Chair TaWanda Stallworth said the new site will help meet the needs of the LGBT community. 

The purchase of the center’s new home is supported by a capital campaign, which received pledges for 61% of the total $350,000 fundraising goal. The center continues to fundraise through its campaign and encourages donations at all levels to support the center’s new home. 

The capital campaign’s committee is chaired by Ted Martin, and its members include Donald Bucher, Benjamin Dunlap, Sandie Geary, Brad Gebhart, Marlene Kanuck, Stuart Landon, Barry Loveland, Dan Miller, Jennifer Ross, and Michelle Simmons. 

Martin, one of the founders of the center, said that now that the LGBT community is assured of having a home, “it’s on all of us to keep the doors open forever.” 

The center worked with Nick Sallack from Landmark Commercial Realty to secure the site and will preview the space at their “A Home of Our Own” soft launch event on August 18 from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. at 1323 N Front Street during 3rd in the Burg.

JPMorgan Chase opens first Central Pa. branches

JPMorgan Chase has officially expanded its footprint into Central Pennsylvania.

The bank opened full-service branches July 6 at 10 S. Second St., Harrisburg, and 4700 Jonestown Road, Lower Paxton Township.

JPMorgan will cut the ribbon at the downtown Harrisburg branch July 25, which will be proclaimed “Chase Bank Day” in Dauphin County.

A press release announcing the ribbon cutting said the Second Street branch combines “a modern design, layout and state-of-the-art banking technology, reflecting how customers engage with Chase today. Employees welcome customers in casual meeting spaces, emphasizing a more consultative approach with personal banking, credit cards, mortgages, auto financing, investment advice, small business loans and payment processing.”

Self-service transaction areas are available, too, including a digital access bar, indoor ATM, outdoor 24-hour ATM, drive-thru ATM and night depository. The branch also features Chase teller services and free Wi-Fi.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Philadelphia Business Journal reported last year that the Central Pennsylvania locations would be a loose bridge to JPMorgan’s Philadelphia and Pittsburgh markets, where dozens of branches have opened. Michele Lawrence, divisional director of network expansion, said in a statement at the time:

“We credit our real estate team for continually identifying opportunities in the marketplace, that enable us to have bank branches as well as ATMs. We are excited to have a presence in the state’s capital serving the community through banking needs as well as Financial Health Workshops. We are looking forward to working with community leaders and key stakeholders on building a stronger economy.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

New hires, promotions include Brown Schultz Sheridan & Fritz, F&M Trust

East Pennsboro Township-based Brown Schultz Sheridan & Fritz named Matt D. Hood a staff accountant specializing in accounting and auditing services. Madisyn F. Deller and Erin E. Morrison were named staff accountants specializing in tax services. They both work in the Lancaster office.

Architecture and engineering
East Hempfield Township-based David Miller/Associates Inc. named Zachary D. Beyler a professional licensed surveyor.

Chambersburg Ballet named Brian Grant artistic director of the Chambersburg Ballet Theatre School and its affiliated dance company, effective Aug. 1. Grant will expand the ballet’s offerings to include boys ballet classes, mommy/daddy and me classes and contemporary dance classes.

York-based Appell Center for the Performing Arts named Mary Beth Ching a board member. Ching is a philanthropist and chief of staff of York-based The Investment Real Estate Group of Companies.

Rotary Club of York named Aaron Jacobs president. Jacobs is president of Scorecard Sales and a second-generation Rotarian.

Banking and finance
Guilford Township-based F&M Trust named Scott Mayberry a mortgage loan officer for the Greater Capital Region in the Camp Hill office. Mayberry will develop and manage a mortgage portfolio and new mortgage opportunities from customers, home builders and real estate agents. Shon Baldwin and Brandi Gardner were named data operations specialists. They will assist customers with telephone and internet banking inquiries, debit card transactions, online bill payments, remote deposits and disputed ATM transactions. Samuel Clement was named a Salesforce developer. Clement will design, develop, and maintain the Salesforce customer relationship management platform. Casey Helm was named marketing coordinator. Helm will support the bank’s advertising, branding and sales approach, execute strategic marketing initiatives and coordinate the bank’s involvement in community events. Michelle Messner was named a loan servicing specialist. Messner will process new, existing and paid loans; reconcile and disburse payments to vendors; mail statements and notices; and assist customers, loan officers, and bank personnel with loan questions. Brian Rupp was named a technology services analyst. Rupp will help evaluate and implement bank technology, administer bank applications and provide computer support to bank employees. Andrew Sterling was named assistant community office manager for the Newville Community Office. Michelle MacKellar was named project analyst. Shamar Pates was named commercial services portfolio manager. Brian Reidell was named data and performance analytics manager. Maria Seabra was named credit department manager.

Lancaster-based Advoz, which provides conflict mediation, restorative justice dialogue and conflict skills training, named Tasha Stoltzfus Nankerville a board member. Nankerville is an attorney with Lancaster-based Barley Snyder.

York Habitat for Humanity named Natasha Kukorlo executive director.
United Way of Lancaster County elected Beth Riley chair of its board of directors. Steve Nieli was elected immediate past board chair; Brooke Smith vice chair, collective impact; Willonda McCloud vice chair, equity; Monika Chap vice chair, finance; Victor Ramos vice chair, marketing and communications; Michael Frey vice chair, resource development; and Ben Eison secretary. Smith is community relations manager at UGI Utilities, and Chap is vice president commercial banking at Fulton Bank. Claire Mooney, Krista Wismer, Deb Brandt, Tina Citro, Bob Gantz, Alisa Jones, Dr. Sharee Livingston and Rakesh Popli were elected board members. Mooney is senior vice president and chief operating officer of Penn State Health Lancaster Medical Center. Wismer is accounting manager for Horst Insurance. Brandt is with Fig Industries. Citro is president of WellSpan Ephrata Community Hospital. Gantz is a partner with RKL LLP. Jones is president and CEO of Union Community Care. Livingston is an obstetrician/gynecologist with UPMC, Lititz. Popli retired as director and senior manager of open innovation with The Hershey Co.

Real estate
East Pennsboro Township-based Landmark Commercial Realty Inc. named Darren Smith senior adviser. Smith will provide strategic guidance and support for clients’ commercial real estate needs.

Chambersburg-based Global Data Consultants LLC named Dan Logan CEO. Logan will oversee sales and service delivery leadership reporting, guide efforts to promote and deliver products and services and expand the customer base. Mike Coons was named chief financial officer and executive vice president of mergers and acquisitions. Coons will oversee shared services and infrastructure leadership reporting  and select and assess companies that best fit within the company’s services. Greg Courtney will remain as founding partner.

Compiled by Amy DiNunzio

Median sold price sets record in Lancaster County

The median housing price reached a record $326,000 last month in Lancaster County as it remains a seller’s market in Central Pennsylvania amid acute inventory shortages.


The median sold price in June was up 7.8% year over year and 5.2% month over month in Lancaster County.

Closed sales were down 9.6% from June 2022 (565) to this year (511). From May to June 2023 they jumped 24.9%, from 409 to 511.

Average days on market was 16, and average sold to original list price ratio was 104.7%, well above asking price.

2023 Lancaster County Association of Realtors President Joseph Younger said in a statement:

“Our inventory shortage and strong buyer demand continue to put pressure on sales prices with many sellers still experiencing multiple offers within days of listing on the open market.

“With numbers down across the board on all major metrics this year over last year, one must begin to wonder if this is the new normal and how long it will take for our inventory shortage to break loose again. Potential sellers who have considered listing, but haven’t done so yet, could be missing a once in a lifetime opportunity to cash in on historically high amounts of equity in their homes.”

The state also set a monthly median sales price record of $229,004 in June, according to a report prepared for the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors.


Through June, closed sales are down 17% in Adams County (497) and 20% in York County (2,573) over last year.

The median sales price in Adams County through the first two quarters was $275,000, a slight – 1% – increase from 2022. In York County, the median sales price was $260,000, a number 8% above last year’s pace.

“Halfway through the year the housing market continues to experience steady increases in median home sale prices with declines in the number of home sales compared to the first six months of 2022,” Reid Weinbrom, 2023 president of the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties, said in a release. “The demand for homes continues to be strong. With limited inventory of available homes for sale, this has led to our continued increased sales prices.”

In June alone, 113 homes were sold in Adams County, a 15% decrease from this time last year. In York County, the number was 518, which is 21% fewer than a year ago.

The median sales price in Adams County in June was $299,500 a 7% increase from June 2022. The York County median sale price was $281,000, a 6% rise from last year.

Harrisburg area

Cumberland County closed sales fell from 374 in June 2022 to 294 in June 2023, a 21.4% decline. That 294 is also 22.5% more than the 240 settlements in May 2023.

The median sold price of $315,000 is the same as a year ago; it’s 5% more than May 2023.

Average days on market was 20, and average sold to OLP ratio was above asking price at 101.8%.

In Dauphin County, closed sales were 332 in June, 4.9% less than the 349 settlements recorded in June 2022 and 28.7% more than the 258 closed sales in May 2023.

The median sold price – $242,500 – was up 5.2% year over year and up 3.5% month over month. Average days on market was 18; average sold to OLP ratio was 100.8%.

In more rural Perry County, with its small sample size, closed sales declined 16.7% from June 2022 to June 2023 and rose 12.9% from May to June.

The median sold price ($249,275) increased 13.3% year over year and 14.4% month over month.

Average sold to OLP ratio was 99%, and average days on market totaled 19.

In an email, Wendell Hoover, 2023 president of the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors, said lack of inventory has continued to hinder sales. “However, we have seen an increase to homes coming on the market over the past 30 days. We are seeing signs of moving toward a more balanced market but it continues to be a strong seller’s market.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer