Finance

Former information writer appointed to supervise Harrisburg’s funds. – The Burg Information

A Harrisburg resident and former media executive has secured the final seat on Harrisburg’s new financial oversight board, a state spokesperson confirmed today.

David Schankweiler, former publisher of the Central Penn Business Journal, was appointed to the five-member Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (ICA) by state Senate Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati on Jan. 17.

Scarnati’s office confirmed the appointment to TheBurg this afternoon.

Schankweiler will join UPMC executive Tina Nixon, nonprofit professional Audry Carter, attorney Kathy Speaker-MacNett, and property developer Ralph Vartan on the newly created ICA, which will oversee Harrisburg’s finances for five years.

Until 2016, Schankweiler was the CEO and owner of Journal Multimedia, which published the Central Penn Business Journal, NJBIZ, Lehigh Valley Business, Central Penn Parent and other industry publications.

Schankweiler sold Journal Multimedia in 2016 to New Media Inc. for $18 million, according to a report in the Central Penn Business Journal.

Since his retirement from the publishing industry, Schankweiler has served on numerous nonprofit boards, according to a biography on the Harrisburg University website. He also served for 10 years as the university’s founding board chair.

“(Schankweiler) has dedicated much of his life to bettering the Harrisburg community through involvement with nonprofit groups,” Scarnati said in a statement today. “I am confident that he will bring good perspective and strong leadership to the ICA.”

Scarnati’s spokesperson said Schankweiler came recommended by Harrisburg’s state senator, John DiSanto.

Now that the ICA is fully populated, its members can start the search for an executive director, who will draft an Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement with the city. They have a $100,000 budget to pay the director’s salary.

Once that agreement is in place, city officials can petition the state to release it from Act 47, the state oversight program for financially distressed municipalities.

From there, the ICA will work with local officials to adopt a five-year financial plan for the city. ICA will also review annual budgets and quarterly financial reports for the city through 2023.

The creation of the ICA was one of the terms of legislation signed this October by Gov. Tom Wolf, which allows Harrisburg to exit the Act 47 state oversight program while retaining its current taxing authority for five years.

The ICA will dissolve when Harrisburg’s taxing authority expires at the end of 2023.

Appointing power to the ICA lies with five members of state government: the governor, president pro tempore of the Senate, minority leader of the Senate, speaker of the House and minority leader of the House.

The appointees serve five-year terms, but can be replaced if there’s electoral turnover among the appointing authorities, Harrisburg city solicitor Neil Grover told TheBurg this fall.

The state secretary of the budget and Harrisburg’s finance director will also sit on the board as non-voting members.

Appointees must live or own a business in the city and must have financial management experience. They cannot work for the state or local government.

This story was edited to add that Schankweiler was recommended to Scarnati by Sen. John DiSanto.

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