One member of Harrisburg’s financial oversight committee — created under state law to help the city resolve its financial problems — resigned Thursday, saying she’s disappointed that the authority and city officials can’t come to an agreement on a strong financial plan.
“All committee members came to the Authority without a political agenda and with a strong desire to help and want the best for our beloved City of Harrisburg,” wrote outgoing board member Tina Nixon in her resignation letter. “However, we have not been able to move the needle in any direction as it relates to forging an agreement with the City.”
Act 47, a program established to help struggling Pennsylvania cities improve their economic outlook, requires an oversight committee. Members of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority, also known as the ICA, are appointed by a member of the state legislature as well as the governor.
Nixon was a founding member. Members are tasked with advising the city, the General Assembly, and the governor “concerning solutions to fiscal problems the city may face,” according to the ICA’s website.
Mayor Eric Papenfuse, who regularly attends the ICA’s meetings, said he’s glad that Nixon resigned.
“Her talents, of which there are many, were wasted on that dysfunctional board,” he said. “I hope the others follow suit.”
Papenfuse declined further comment.
The other four members are Audry Carter, who runs AQuire LLC, a consulting firm specializing in helping organizations enhance their operations and maximize fundraising potential; Ralph Vartan, chief executive officer of Vartan Group, Inc., a multi-disciplinary real estate investment company; Kathy Speaker MacNett, an Attorney and Managing Partner at the law firm Skarlatos & Zonarich with offices in Harrisburg; and Douglas E. Hill, retired executive director of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania.
Carter, the chairperson, said Thursday that Nixon’s departure isn’t a surprise.
“Tina’s limited appetite for tackling the City’s dysfunction is not surprising,” she wrote in an email. “We are all balancing this volunteer commitment within our real work obligations – and Tina with Pinnacle – is at the frontlines. Compound that with the uncertainty surrounding the Director of Finance and you can imagine our worry at where the City is headed.”
Carter continued: “The current board members, including Tina’s yet-to-be-named replacement, are fully committed to the city of Harrisburg and its financial recovery and perhaps renaissance coming out of the pandemic. That, however, will take all of us working in unison on behalf of our citizens.”
Nixon is the Vice President of Mission Effectiveness and Chief Diversity Officer for UPMC/Pinnacle Health in Harrisburg. She had spent 15 years with the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg, including serving as the CEO of the organization.
Leaving the authority wasn’t easy, she said.
“In all the volunteer work that I continue to do and have done in this community, I have always made a commitment to help influence change in a positive manner. Please know that this decision was very difficult,” she said. “However, I will use my time and talent in other areas to continue to work to make the city of Harrisburg a welcoming place for all to live, work, and play.”
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