Vince Witherup had never served in an elected position when he made the decision to submit a letter of interest for an open seat for Venango County Commissioner nine years ago. After working at Conair for 42 years and then consulting, he had accumulated an abundance of business knowledge and was willing to put that to use in the community.
Beyond that one-year appointment, he successfully won the seat for two four-year terms. Susan Williams sat down with him this past week to talk about what he had learned in his years of service.
Susan: What surprised you the most about County government and do you wish others knew about the role of County Commissioners?
Vince: There is a tremendous difference between how business and government work. In business, you can identify a problem and often execute a solution quickly. Getting things done in government is a process and is much slower. Many of the issues the community is dealing with are beyond the control of County government, fiscally and authoritatively.
Susan: What was the biggest challenge the County faced in recent years?
Vince: The economic impact of larger companies leaving our area in the last couple of decades has created real challenges for our communities. The lack of population and tax base have resulted in financial loss.
Susan: What accomplishments of the commissioner’s office are you most proud of?
Vince: I have worked with great teams here and together we have been successful at placing the County in a fiscally healthy position, with a fully funded pension program and no long-term debt.
Susan: As we seek to attract and develop new leaders, what qualities do you think are most important?
Vince: Great leaders should be able to work with teams, must be approachable, and should have common sense.
Susan: What are you looking forward to the most, as you leave your position as County Commissioner?
Vince: I am always looking forward to my next adventure, whatever it may be.
This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s December 2019 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.