Government Neighbors

County COO Retiring In February

Bucks County COO Brian Hessenthaler at the 2019 Grange Fair. Credit: Tom Sofield/

The top non-elected official in Bucks County government is retiring.

Chief Operating Officer Brian Hessenthaler, a Langhorne resident, announced to the Bucks County Commissioners and his leadership team last week that he will retire in February. A countywide email went out earlier this week alerting all employees that Hessenthaler would retire as of Friday, February 14.

Hessenthaler became the county’s COO in 2010 after serving since 2004 as the director of finance. He previously worked in the private sector before joining county government.

The county plans to start the search for a new COO right away. The position falls under the Bucks County Commissioners and oversees 1,600 employees out of the county’s 2,400 workers.

Bucks County Community and Economic Development Director Margaret McKevitt, a county employee since 1984, will serve as the interim COO.

Hessenthaler told that his term at the top of county government was successful due to the teamwork of employees.

“I think I leave it in good shape. Better than when I got it,” he said.

Some of the major projects overseen by Hessenthaler, who was raised in Bristol Township, have been the opening of the new Justice Center, conversion of the old Courthouse to the Administration Building, and consolidation of the organization’s footprint across the county. Once completed, the plan is expected to save around $1 million a year in operational cost. Hessenthaler also oversaw the expansion of services offered through the Bucks County Housing and Human Services Department.

Hessenthaler said he was also proud the county obtained a AAA bond rating in recent years.

Looking forward, Hessenthaler said the demand for services increasing without much growth in state and federal funding are challenges for budgeting.

Hessenthaler said his retirement has nothing to do with the change in power in the county but comes at a time in his life where he prepared to leave the post.

Speaking from his office in Doylestown Borough, Hessenthaler said there is no typical day in his office and his job is “always interesting.”

“I really enjoyed my time here and there is a great staff. They’re really wonder people,” he said. “That’s what I’m going to miss the most.”

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for five years for both newspaper and online publications. In 2012, Tom was honored at the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Foundation's Keystone Press Awards for his coverage of President Obama's visit to Falls Township in 2011. When he's not covering news in the area, Tom enjoys checking out the newest restaurants and bars, exploring forgotten places of industry in the area, going to local parks and spending time with his friends and family. If there's one thing you should know about Tom, he is a local news junkie through and through. Email: Phone: 215-431-1001