In local government, internal and external perceptions vary from job to job. For Bernie Burkholder, her job as Executive Assistant is often portrayed as sitting at a desk all day and only answering phone calls or emails. However it is so much more. Everyday is filled with scheduling appointments for the Mayor and Chief of Staff, coordinating appointments between the many departments, researching issues, and speaking with the residents of Lancaster City on their various and interesting concerns. In addition to these daily activities, Bernie also works with her phenomenal team to prepare for and organize employee events through the ERC Committee.
The four Lancaster core values guide Ms. Burkholder in the fulfillment of these job duties. She believes that teamwork, quality, respect, and integrity should all be balanced equally. Daily, she finds herself working with the different departments in the city so teamwork is essential. Along with teamwork, respecting these members on your team is another top priority. To Ms. Burkholder, quality of work is also essential to insure that correct information is going out to the ones that need her help. Lastly, integrity is embedded in the confidentiality of her job.
When communicating with residents, Ms. Burkholder tries to resolve each problem personally. If she cannot answer their question, she knows just the right department to direct them to for help. This is one of Ms. Burkholder’s favorite aspects and moments of her profession. “Being able to solve a problem for residents …” she says, “… is a bright spot in my day.”
Another example of one of her favorite moments from working in local government involves a handful of elderly residents of Lancaster City. These residents will call her sometimes to talk, to catch up, or to even ask for a phone number because the print books are too small for their eyesight. She loves talking to these elderly citizens and they are sure to return the gratitude and helpfulness Ms. Burkholder has shown them.
For myself, moments like these are why the “City Administration in the Spotlight” features are important to me. Seeing how residents and members of local government interact, instills a part of community in Lancaster City that simply cannot be taught.