Without concerned and knowledgeable citizens monitoring government activities, the fragile democracy from which we all benefit would quickly disappear.
Therefore NewsLanc passed over obvious and otherwise deserving local luminaries such as LCCCA former chair Art Morris and Intelligencer New Era columnist Jeff Hawkes to select Randolph Carney as “Lancaster Person of the Year 2009.”
Over the past five years, the 55 year old Carney has attended every City Council and LCCCA board and committee meeting that he could. He explained: “I started attending regularly after the developer of the then-proposed hotel at Penn Square demanded that their ‘private’ venture receive substantial relief from real estate taxes, which violates one of the basic promises of the project.
He continued “As I learned more and more about local government, I came to appreciate how much decisions made by our mayor and City Council directly affects our everyday lives. Now that I have seen for myself what really goes on in our local government, I cannot in good conscience avoid these meetings.”
Beyond work and family obligations, Carney says “My primary interest has been trying to understand what our local government officials are really trying to do, and working to pass that information on to others. Computers have been my personal hobby since 1980.”
Carney has become so versed in Convention Center Project and Lancaster City affairs that his knowledge rivals (and we suspect often exceeds) many board members. A prolific but usually anonymous contributor to local web sites and a source of comments frequently posted under a pen name on www.LancasterOnLine.com , Carney is an ongoing source of accurate information, keen observations and constructive criticisms.
According to Carney “I have always taken an interest in Lancaster City firefighters since I grew up just over one block from Station #3 and delivered newspapers there as a teenager. The first government meeting where I ever spoke out was at a City Council Finance Committee budget hearing in December of 2004, to defend the firefighters against a mayor who was determined to undermine them in any way possible. I was appointed to be a member of the Civil Service Board of the Lancaster City Bureau of Fire in August of 2007.”
Deferential and modest in his demeanor, the self described “Born Again Christian” Carney revealed to the interviewer: “I hate politics; however I really want to make some kind of difference in Lancaster City, even if it is a tiny one. I have already influenced the outcome of several situations and, after observing City Council for the past five years, I believe I have something to contribute. I’m working to overcome my fear.”
Carney has lived in the City of Lancaster all of his life, apart from three years in the near suburbs. He is a graduate of McCaskey high school class of 1972.
A repairman and troubleshooter since he was nineteen years old, he has been employed as a field service engineer by an international corporation for over 16 years.
Carney resides with wife Pam and has two children and six grandchildren from an earlier marriage.
While fame and fortune are the allure of many, there is a scarcity of concerned citizens prepared to devote the time, do the homework, to write learnedly on subjects, and stick their necks out at public meetings come what may. These selfless individuals are the guardians of our democracy. NewsLanc is proud and honored to name Randy Carney its “Lancaster Person of the Year.”