About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, December 07, 2015

After 30 Years, Walbert Taking a Bow in Hanover Township

Glenn Walbert and his wife, Karen, just celebrated
their 50th wedding anniversary
If you want to know what got Glenn Walbert interested in local government, all you need do is look out his back window. There you will see a wooded mound running along his and other Kenwood Ave properties, separating his quiet residential neighborhood from an industrial park. It's there because of him. A little over 30 years ago, the quiet and pensive Walbert led the battle to force a corporate developer to be a better neighbor to nearby residential communities. In 1986, before voting machines made it easy, Walbert waged a successful write-in campaign for a seat on Hanover Township's Board of Supervisors. For the past ten years, he's been Vice Chair. Now, three decades after he first ran for public office, Walbert has decided it's time to end a public career that has also included appointments to the Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority and the Colonial Regional Police Commission.

Walbert and his wife Karen just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a tour of the Baltic states, and he was much more at ease discussing the countries they visited than in talking about himself. "I can't say I had a personal accomplishment," was his answer when pressed on his biggest achievement in Hanover Township. "We worked together."

Hanover Township is a refreshing oasis in a desert of pay-to-play and government behind closed doors. Describing his relationship with fellow board members, Walbert explains that "[w]e always respect each other. We move on. We don't hold grudges. I couldn't survive if it was a hostile environment like I read about in other communities."

In a political world in which government shutdowns and budget impasses are the norm, this collegiality is a rare accomplishment. Working together, Walbert managed to convert Hanover, once known as Chickentown, into a diverse community with a healthy mix of commercial, industrial and residential communities that have kept taxes low. He is especially proud of the community center and regional police department.

A registered Democrat, Walbert believes partisan politics has no place in local or county government.

Asked about the biggest challenge he faced, Walbert said it was the Allentown NIZ, a special tax zone. As originally drafted, it captured the EIT of Hanover Township residents who worked inside the NIZ. Hanover Township unanimously voted to sue, and was quickly joined by about a dozen other municipalities. This challenge forced a legislative fix.

"We were never against the NIZ," explained Walbert. "Our sole goal was to preserve our EIT." He added that there was concern that the EIT tax grab would open townships up to "further exploitation."

Walbert spent 40 years in the private sector as an operations manager at Agere. He and his wife Karen are the parents of two sons, one daughter and two grandchildren. His son Todd works in Chicago in a pharmaceutical benefits firm. His son Bryan is emplyed locally atDunn and Bradstreet. His daughter Lori is a school counselor and busy mother in San Marcus.

He will be replaced on Hanover Township's Board by Michael Prendeville, who is employed at Dun and Bradstreet.

Though no longer on the Board, Walbert will still be involved in Hanover Township. He was elected auditor the same way he was first elected as Supervisor - by write-in vote.


Anonymous said...

Glenn is a good man.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your retirement, and thank you for all the years of service to this community

Rich Thulin said...

Glenn was an outstanding Supervisor and a real gentleman. He will be missed.

Anonymous said...

a good man and a fine community. Perhaps bedlum could learn something from it's neighbor

Anonymous said...

Not so sure I would call Hanover Township "diverse".

Anonymous said...

"A registered Democrat, Walbert believes partisan politics has no place in local or county government".

Go figure , a very successful township, financially speaking, does not get involved in the scum bag world of party politics.

Guys like this and local govts like this are hard to find.

Hey surrounding communities. Take notes ...

Appreciate you service to the community. Job well done !