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Centre County administrator Gray to retire May 2022

BELLEFONTE — The Centre County Board of Commissioners announced the retirement of Margaret Gray as County Administrator effective in May 2022. Six years ago, the Board of Commissioners began a nationwide search to find an individual who would serve in the crucial role of County Administrator. In 2016, Margaret Gray was unanimously appointed County Administrator by the Commissioners bringing to Centre County Government her 30 years of public administration leadership, robust experience in organizational and systems development, communications and public relations, human services operations, fiscal management and budgeting, government relations, and human resource management.

“It has been a privilege to serve Centre County and I am indebted to the Board of Commissioners for their support and confidence during my tenure,” said Gray. “Certainly, the last several years have been ones of unprecedented challenges and yet much has been accomplished working together on behalf of Centre County and its citizens. Centre County is fortunate to have elected officials, department heads, and employees who are dedicated to the provision of high-quality services for our community. I look forward to working toward a smooth transition in the months ahead.”

During her five years as County Administrator, Margaret was instrumental in identifying millions of dollars of savings through a variety of initiatives, including transitioning Centre County Government’s health care plan to a self-insured model administered by the Pennsylvania Counties Health Insurance Purchasing Cooperative (PCHIPC), leading the County through a guaranteed energy savings project across all County Government-owned building, and refinancing bonds through a strategic partnership with Public Financial Management (PFM).

“Margaret has been an incredible County Administrator,” said Board of Commissioners Chairman Michael Pipe. “It’s been an honor to serve alongside her during these past five years. She has provided invaluable service to the residents of Centre County in countless ways. The Board’s accomplishments were only possible due in large part to Margaret’s guidance, implementation, focus, and dedication. Centre County is indebted to her because of her time, talents, and tenacity. On behalf of the Board of Commissioners, I humbly thank Margaret for her service.”

In addition, Margaret led major construction and renovation projects, including significant access, expansion, and safety upgrades to the historical Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte and the new first responder training building at the Centre County Public Safety Training Center in Spring Township. Additional notable and impactful accomplishments include:

— Overseeing five budgets without property tax increases while maintaining and enhancing services;

— Recommending the creation and overseeing the integration of a Chief Information Officer position which has vastly increased the cybersecurity and IT awareness of County Government;

— Establishing internal systems to better address communications, policy, procurement, contracting, administrative, and safety related procedures across County operations.

During the last two years of Margaret’s tenure as County Administrator, the COVID-19 pandemic caused tremendous disruption to County Government. Margaret worked with the Commissioners, other elected officials, and department heads to ensure services never stopped. Centre County Government was able to pivot and respond to unprecedented challenges faced by our workforce. Margaret’s financial acumen was key to allocating and disbursing $14,700,000 in federal CARES Act funds in less than six months during 2020 and also planning for the expenditures from a $15M allocation from the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021.

Other programs that Margaret has been instrumental in shepherding through to implementation and execution that are currently progressing and will improve County Government in the years and decades to come include: renovations to the former Centre Crest building, a compensation and classification study for all County Government employees, a broadband accessibility plan, an affordable and sustainable housing study, and a health department study.

Margaret joined Centre County Government with an extensive background in public administration at the local and state levels. Prior to serving as County Administrator, Margaret served as Penn State University’s Director of Local Government and Community Relations. Before relocating to Centre County, she served as an Area Director for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Department of Developmental Services and held state budgeting positions with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Superior Court and the New Jersey State Governor’s Office of the Budget.

A search process for her replacement will begin in the next few days.

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