Perrone retires as West Chester Borough Director

WEST CHESTER – Thirty-one is the number of working days before West Chester manager Mike Perrone retires – and it’s counting the days.

Perrone was Borough Director for four years and began working for the citizens of the Borough of West Chester over 35 years ago. Deputy City Manager Sean Metrick will take over on January 1.

Perrone has seen many changes and said West Chester is a great place to work, over breakfast at DK Diner on Thursday.

Perrone spoke of the city in 1986 where law offices occupied many downtown storefronts and the four intersections of the High Street and Gay Street storefronts were three-quarters closed.

The director of the borough underlined a change in policy. New businesses in existing buildings were no longer required to provide parking.

“This allowed any existing building to change use without additional parking,” Perrone said. “Whatever the building, the building is.

Parking revenues subsequently increased due to the growth.

“It filled the public parking spaces and created further development,” he said of the change in parking requirement. “This allowed us to build a new garage on Chestnut Street, with double spaces, and created a net increase in income. “

According to Perrone, the borough’s director of commerce, Peggy Dawson Schmidt, was instrumental in the installation of the Iron Hill brewery in the Woolworth’s Building, then empty.

Perrone benefits from the new flourishing business district.

“It’s awesome,” he says. “Everyone has a lot of choice and a variety of places to eat. “

Perrone was director of the construction and housing department and zoning officer before being chosen by council to take on the post of borough director.

He was the first building official in the borough to complete certification training for compliance with building codes.

“We apply the codes fairly but strictly,” Perrone said.

Perrone was involved in the nationwide code development process during the 1990s. He served on the international board of directors, along with building officials and
Code Administrators International, where it took its credentials to the next level.

He has also served nationally as an expert witness, teacher and board member and ultimately president of BOCA.

“Thanks to the development of the code, we didn’t learn exactly what was in the codes, but the ‘why’. “

A few mistakes were made along the way.

“The only mistakes you make are when you hire people,” he said. “People sometimes work differently than they look on paper or in an interview,” he said.

Perrone has worked with countless council members and mayors over the years.

“They are all different and different people have different agendas,” he said. “They all want to make the borough a good place to live.

Perrone nodded longtime Borough Director Ernie McNeely and Administrative Assistant Dana DiDomenico.

“We worked hand in hand,” he said. “There was more professionalism, respect and understanding of local government for the residents. “

When Perrone started out, the Historical Architectural Review Board was not officially a board committee and acted more like a downtown design group.

“HARB saved a lot of buildings,” he said. “When the Warner Theater was demolished, just before I started, it raised awareness of historical resources and we had to find a way to protect them.”

For many years, Perrone attended committee meetings with the aim of learning what his colleagues were doing in different departments, which laid the groundwork for the board’s decision to appoint Perrone since he had a good base of duties. of rounding.

In four years as a manager, Perrone has reduced the operating budget by $ 2 million annually. He focused on efficiency and number of employees, while eliminating positions and waiting for more people.

So what’s the next step after these 31 days of work?

“I will be spending a lot more time on my golf game,” he said. “My wife and I love to travel wherever there are beautiful golf courses.

“As most of my close friends know, I enjoy spending time preparing meals in the oven and over the smoker.”

He will also “spoil a little” his four grandchildren and help his three daughters.

“I’m going to have to do something,” he said. “I can’t sit still all day.

“Maybe I’ll volunteer for the church. “

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