November 14, 2012 - "I'm anxious to start!" said Supervisor-elect Pat Kittle who won 13,588 votes on Election Day even though he was running unopposed. Since the primary election in August, Kittle's been brushing up on municipal management and finding out firsthand what it takes to keep a township running.
"I've been visiting with the DPW and going into sewer lift stations," he said. Kittle observed a building inspection and saw a water tap being installed at a new residence. "I like to understand what they do so that when they come to me with issues, I have a working knowledge of what they're up against," Kittle said.
Now that he's had time to dig a little deeper into township departments and functions, Kittle has a better sense of his goals as supervisor. In particular, he's interested in starting with fiscal responsibility, communicating effectively with the public, and strengthening the township's operations.
While Kittle said he plans to take "a real, good hard look at the [budget] numbers again," he also feels "encouraged that even with the reduction in revenues, [the board] was able to budget and anticipate a $100,000 operating surplus. I think the current board should be commended for establishing a very rigorous budget process."
Kittle hopes to initiate further fiscal responsibility by "taking a look at all the vendors, suppliers, and contracts that we currently have and just start calling them in and putting things out to bid," he said.
When it comes to improving aspects of the township as an organization, Kittle wants to develop "updated job descriptions and a measurement policy that will go hand in hand with that." He'd like to see policy books, clear evaluation processes, and a review of the township's ordinances so that they are current and enforceable, he said.
In addition to the township's day-to-day operations and financial management, Kittle plans to use available technology to strengthen communication with the public. Among his goals are developing a more robust website and updating citizens via newsletters and town hall meetings.
Kittle also wants to implement "some utilization enhancements to make [Independence Television] more citizen-oriented." He believes citizens would get more out of board meetings if existing technology could be used to put together a "fifteen minute newsreel of board summary highlights," he said. Kittle sees these as examples of "things that are technically possible that wouldn't cost us a dime."
Although Kittle has a variety of short and long-term goals relating to economic growth, developing community, and strengthening the township's infrastructure for his four-year term as supervisor, he recognizes that he'll be working with the clerk, treasurer, and trustees on the board.
"We need to work as a team," Kittle said. "When we are up on the board in front of the community, we are speaking as one on behalf of the community."
Kittle notes the last board saw "pretty contentious issues that have been covered over the last couple of years," and commends the board overall for their efforts.
He hopes to work with members of the new board to have analysis and recommendations ready to present at board meetings to help keep them moving forward and avoid the gridlock citizens have found frustrating.
Even though Kittle will collaborate closely with the board, he said he is most looking forward to "working with the people." Kittle is hoping to seek solutions and develop ideas with citizens in the community.
"I'm proud people put their faith in me," he said. "This is a huge task. I'm fortunate to have a great team, and I'm going to try my hardest to be sure we live up to everything we've been promising."
Kittle will be sworn in as supervisor on November 19 at 7 p.m. in the Township Hall. Judge Kelly Kostin will administer the oath of office.
Clarkston News reporter