Pope announces IRC departure

After losing its executive director a few weeks ago, the organization responsible for recycling programs in central Blair County learned Tuesday it will also be losing its second in command.

Intermunicipal Relations Committee Executive Director John Frederick left to take a post with Antis Township, and now education and enforcement coordinator Katrina Pope is leaving for a job with Hollidaysburg Borough.

Pope has accepted the borough’s offer to become director of community relations and events, even though the IRC offered her the opportunity to become its interim executive director.

“Despite the initial offer of $50,000, with a potential increase after a (break-in) period and an evaluation, I declined,” Pope said after the meeting. “I’m eager to expand my experience and take on the (Hollidaysburg) position.”

The IRC board’s offer would have provided “a significant bump (compared) to what she makes now,” said Chairman Erik Cagle, adding that the interim position would not necessarily have been a “trial,” but would have entailed seeing “how things went, then as a board discussing how to move forward.”

Pope will be earning $38,000 at Hollidaysburg.

She was “torn” between the two offers, she said.

“I still passionately believe in the mission of the IRC, and I’m dedicated to supporting the (organization) and furthering it wherever possible,” she said.

Despite challenges in obtaining cooperation from some non-member municipalities, the IRC is “on the verge of great things,” with its new food waste program, its new round-the-clock drop off site in Duncansville and its ongoing periodic electronics collections, Pope said.

“You’ve been an outstanding employee,” Cagle said, before the board accepted her “unfortunate” news.

“Katrina has been a shining star,” said board member Joe Metzgar.

Her resignation will be effective May 18.

The board is advertising for a new executive director.

The salary of the successful candidate will be “based on experience and qualifications,” an ad on the IRC website stated, “with a starting range of $52,000-$67,000 (and) with a generous benefit package.”

Frederick was earning $66,000 this year, according to the organization’s budget.

Pope plans to continue her leadership of Keep Blair Beautiful, an initiative of the IRC, working after she leaves as a representative of Hollidaysburg, which is an IRC member, or perhaps as a volunteer.

In her role in Hollidaysburg, Pope will help guide existing programs, develop new ones and help build relationships between the borough and its residents and businesses, she said.

Working at the IRC was rewarding, she said.

She “loved” working with Frederick, the other staffers, the public works departments of the member municipalities and the residents, and her educational work, she said.

Yet the job was challenging, especially enforcement, which was necessary when education and incentives failed to get haulers, businesses and residents doing what was required, she said.

The enforcement part was not rewarding, she said.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.