Saying good-bye

Potter County Commissioners Douglas Morley and Susan Kefover, as well as Chief Clerk, Kathleen Majot, at a retirement party held for them in December 2019.

Potter County Commissioners Douglas Morley and Susan Kefove, as well as Chief Clerk, Kathleen Majot, are each retiring at the end of 2019. Morley started his position in 2008. “It looked like a good time to move into another phase of my personal life,” Morely said. “I won’t be dormant, though. I’ll still be involved.” Kefover has served, off and on, for 20 years. “I have some wonderful opportunities ahead,” Kefover said, adding she is planning to pursue more ministry “to the Lord.” Majot has worked for the county for 19 years, nine as chief clerk. “I’m going to relax and enjoy life,” Majot said. The three retirees were honored with a party following the Dec. 5 commissioners’ meeting.

COUDERSPORT — With a combined tenure of 42.5 years, former Potter County commissioners Susan Kefover and Doug Morley, and Chief Clerk Kathy Majot have a lot on which they can reflect and for which they each feel they can be proud.

“My perspective as an elected official was that I served the people and hopefully took us to the greatest potential together, by the grace of God,” Kefover said.

Kefover served a total of five terms as Potter County commissioner; from 1979 to 1987 and then again from 2008 to 2020. During her first two terms, Kefover made a significant difference in the county, such as bringing the Sweden Valley Manor to the area, establishing housing rehab projects and consolidating the human service delivery system’s IT and fiscal responsibilities. Kefover said the consolidation was the first of its kind in the state.

“It was unique in that they began to work together,” Kefover said.

Kefover said she is most proud that they never raised taxes during those first two terms.

During her second three terms, Kefover implemented the Downtown Committee, in an effort to fill the empty storefront spaces in downtown Coudersport.

“The committee was absolutely phenomenal,” Kefover said; taking inventory of every available space in town, then making a brochure to describe them, staging the empty store fronts to inspire business ideas, establishing a facade program and offering the “four for four” program, by which a company could rent a space for four months to see if their business would work in that space.

“From this, look how many new businesses showed up,” Kefover said, naming places like Cream ’n Sugar and Sew Much More.

Also during the last three terms, Kefover spearheaded the circuit rider project. A part-time staff member, the circuit rider raised $68,000 in grants for projects such as the Ulysses Senior Center parking lot.

“It gave an umph to creative thinking for committees who were stuck,” Kefover said.

Overall, Kefover said she was really proud of the initiatives and collaboration with the board of commissioners all five terms and for fostering collaboration and new ideas.

“I’m most proud of helping to create an atmosphere where ideas from our various departments could be taken seriously,” Kefover said.

In her retirement, Kefover said she plans to work with economic development, with which she has many years of prior experience, as well as participate in ministry outreach, both locally and in Mississippi. She also hopes to visit with family and travel across the country and revisit Italy, France and Ireland.

Morley served with Kefover from 2008 to 2020, after working in banking for 25 years. He said one accomplishment he is proud of during his tenure was building up the various facets of the county government.

“We moved a lot of departments forward with technology and skills they will need in the future,” Morley said.

Morley said he was also proud of the courthouse facade upgrades and praised the county maintenance department for their efforts.

“The’ve done a lot of work for the county that saved the county money for a lot of years,” Morley said.

A self-proclaimed, risk management-minded man, Morley said he was always looking toward the future, as his goal when he took office was to reach a point where he could retire and be confident that the next board could take over with a smooth transition. Morley said he was proud that he and the other commissioners were conscience of taxpayer dollars and is pleased that the county has often had the ability to pay out of their reserves, rather than borrow funds.

“Fiscally, we had a positive impact on the county,” Morley said, adding that the new board “can fiscally and operationally handle whatever comes.”

Though finally retired, Morley said he will continue to be involved in the Potter County Education Council and serve on the Northern Pennsylvania Regional College board.

“I’m a believer that education is a critical piece for us to move forward,” Morley said.

When he’s not working in the community, Morley said he plans to enjoy family life.

“I’m going to get organized and look at life from that perspective,” Morley said.

Majot worked for the county for 18.5 years, the last nine as chief clerk.

“Chief clerk is involved in everything,” Majot said. “Anything the commissioners were involved in, I was involved in.”

Majot said her duties involved working closely with the commissioners on a daily basis and helping every county department as they needed, offering information about county government procedures, dealing with personnel issues, keeping the commissioners apprised of the financial condition of the county and maintaining the budget, among others.

“Basically, you’re the person (everyone) calls if they don’t know where else to turn,” Majot said.

Majot said her biggest challenge as chief clerk was “trying to pull together the budget every year,” balancing needs with rising costs. What was most rewarding was her relationship with the commissioners, “who truly appreciated everything I did.”

Majot said she is most proud of how the finances were maintained during her tenure and that a substantial amount was left in the reserves when she retired.

“Money was spent the way it should have been spent,” Majot said, adding that she was always “careful with taxpayer dollars.”

After retiring in December, Majot said she plans to spend more time with family and friends and maybe travel, some, out of state.

“I’ll be busy, enjoying every day to its fullest,” Majot said.