Municipal manager has been serving Hampton for 33 years

Friday, August 9, 2019 | 7:53 AM

One of Christopher Lochner’s proudest accomplishments in 33 years as Hampton municipal manager has become a challenge.

Lochner, 61, said the township has grown, which places an enormous burden on infrastructure.

“Hampton in the 1990s grew at a rate one normally sees over a generation, (or) 25 years,” Lochner said. “Today, this is giving way to complying with stormwater management regulations that are new.

“Stormwater management will become the new local government buzz words of the next decade. Implementing better management practices in dealing with stormwater management will become a costly endeavor for municipalities to deal with.”

Lochner said over the next 24 months people will hear more about a new implementable Township Comprehensive Plan and the construction of a new township wastewater, or sewer, pollution control plant, as well as program changes in the township Community Services, or recreation, department.

Lochner, a Shaler Area graduate who has undergraduate and graduates degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, joined Hampton in September 1986 after serving 3 1/2 years as Edgewood manager.

He did not expect to last as long as he has at Hampton.

“I was brought in to clean up a financial mess,” said Lochner, who lives in Hampton, is married and has three children. “When you need to do the kind of things that need to be done to clean up this type of problem, you step on people’s toes, especially those who don’t like change.

“That creates political enemies along the way (who) usually catch up with you. I have been very fortunate to have had the understanding of numerous township councils regarding this and other matters. I would be lying, though, if I didn’t say that I survived some difficult times.”

Lochner, who oversees 61 full-time employees and up to 150 part-time, seasonal employees, is proud of the employees he has hired and worked with over the years.

“Hampton has been blessed with many good days, but there have been some very difficult ones as well,” Lochner said. “From flooding situations, sanitary sewer system overflows, severe snowstorm conditions, to hundreds of police, volunteer fire and EMS emergencies, in every case, I have watched our employees give (their) all.”

Changes he has seen include more federal and state regulations, greater uses of technology and greater demands on services.

“However, probably the biggest change that I’ve observed has to do with a lack of knowledge of what local government does,” Lochner said. “We see more and more confusion as to what local government is and isn’t responsible for on a day-to-day basis.”

Council president Michael Peters knew after being elected that Lochner was an asset.

“Once I had the honor of being chosen by my fellow council members as president, I had the opportunity to work closely with Chris and his staff,” Peters said. “This working relationship over the past year-and-a-half has confirmed my initial perception, which was that the township staff is very committed to providing the type of services to our residents that make Hampton one of the most desirable locations in Allegheny County.”

Council vice president Carolynn Johnson said Lochner puts the needs of the township first.

“Even though he can’t possibly know each and every person in this township, it often seems like he does,” Johnson said.

Victor Son worked with Lochner for 22 years as a controller and a council member and said, in terms of qualifications and dedication, there is not a better manager in Allegheny County.

Lochner said he has not thought much about his legacy.

“I guess when I look back on it, I could point to things such as the expansion and growth of the township park, the construction of the police building, or the Hampton Community Center, but frankly, as important (as) those things are, I would rather be (remembered) for something else – that I cared,” Lochner said.