- August 17, 2022
It is not uncommon for folks to envy government employees because of their security and benefits, but what these people are not aware of is the amount of responsibility that comes from working in government, even at a county level. It is far more than a job — it is a responsibility that impacts thousands
It is not uncommon for folks to envy government employees because of their security and benefits, but what these people are not aware of is the amount of responsibility that comes from working in government, even at a county level. It is far more than a job — it is a responsibility that impacts thousands of lives.
There is one very special county employee who exemplifies the best of public service to the county — the Administrative Manager for the Lycoming County Commissioners, Eileen Ebner.
For several months during the COVID shutdown, she and her supervisor, Matt McDermott, the county’s director of administration and chief clerk, reported to work every day while others, including the commissioners, worked at home. Eileen felt her job was to provide some sense of stability amidst the chaos. When people called, they needed to hear a calm voice. With the Third Street Plaza Building, which houses many of the county’s offices resembling a ghost town, Eileen and Matt held down the fort, keeping the county running like a well-oiled machine. This was not in her job description when Eileen took on the job in October of 2018.
Born and raised in Cogan Station, she graduated from Williamsport Area High School in 1993, married her husband Chris Ebner, who then joined the US Army. His tour of duty took them to Germany, where they lived for a while, then after he separated, they moved back to the area where Eileen worked in the health field for a time. Her commitment to healing eventually led to a partnership with a friend, Kathy Stillings, in establishing Heart Song Connection, a metaphysical shop and holistic wellness center on Washington Blvd. and Almond Street in Williamsport.
Maintaining a small business in the midst of the COVID crisis, along with juggling all her duties with the county commissioners, is challenging, to say the least. Still, it is this perspective that helps Eileen do her job even better. She made a decision that she was not going to let COVID affect her, scare her, or control her. She was going to stay focused on her job — because she knew a lot of people needed her help. Many questions were coming in from county employees, especially with all the directives, and Eileen did her best to be whatever anyone needed her to be. And with her own business adjusting to the trying times, she personally felt the pain that was out there in the populace and small business owners.
The value of Eileen Ebner’s professionalism to the county government is immeasurable. She stands on the front line between the anxious public and the county managers who must somehow keep operations flowing in the uncertain moment. Eileen exemplifies the best practices of her position and amplifies her skill set with an amazing charm and consistency at the same time. It is so easy to take such people for granted. They are the front lines and give more simply out of duty.
One person who understood the value of those behind the scenes was the car guru Lee Iacocca. He launched the Mustang at Ford and saved Chrysler from bankruptcy. He impacted the car industry probably as much as anyone in the past seventy-five years. When he took over Chrysler, which was on the verge of bankruptcy in 1979, he cut his salary to one dollar a year. He cut all the execs’ salaries by ten percent, which had never been done in that industry ever. He cut everyone with one exception. In his book, Iacocca: An Autobiography, he notes, “we left the secretaries alone. They deserved every cent they made.” If Lee Iacocca were alive today, he would say Eileen Ebner deserves every cent and more.