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Keiser's Role A column by Trevor Keiser

Cue the violins

October 20, 2010 - Since May, Independence Township Trustee Dave Lohmeier has asked for the 2009 audit deficiencies to be fixed.

Lohmeier was basically told by Clerk Shelagh VanderVeen at the Oct. 5 meeting that his request would just have to wait because the Finance Director Susan Hendricks was going to be out "for the next couple weeks" due to surgery.

Now, why didn't the clerk let the board know ahead of time, so they could get someone to cover for Hendricks while she's gone? VanderVeen says demands one her office have become "untenable."

As she was speaking, I was expecting a conductor to come to the front to cue the violins and lead the choir in VanderVeen's number one hit single "Woe Is My Department."

Her reasons things are "untenable" is because of the upcoming election, they are not done balancing taxes and have day-to- day operations to do like paying bills. Well, I don't know about you, but I usually don't start writing checks until I balance my checkbook and know how much money I have.

I don't blame Hendricks for not having these things done because apparently, she gets called on more than she should. VanderVeen " relies on Susan for other things too," like helping with balancing the ballots during the election.

Last time I checked, elections had nothing to do with finances other than how much money it cost for the election. Therefore, the finance director shouldn't be involved. Oh and not to mention the clerk hires around 100 polls workers, the day of the election and an extra full-time and part-time worker to help out in the "election department" weeks before the election.

Unfortunately, the Supervisor is out on medical leave as well. Who is covering his position and duties while he is out? Anyone?

Now, I am not particularly fond of hiring a bunch of extras to do the jobs of those elected, because I think the township does that too much already (Human Resource Director, and bringing in John Lamerato from Troy to help with the budget.)

However, if a worker is out sick and you know it's going to be more than a couple days, then don't be afraid to ask if someone can be brought in to cover the position and keep things moving forward until such person returns. Stop making excuses why things aren't done.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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