Source: Sherman Publications

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Letter to the Editor
An explanation for township board

December 21, 2011

Dear Editor,

The analysis of the supposed costs to the township of doing the supervisor's job misses the mark by asking the wrong question ("$135,000 to fill in for supervisor," Dec. 14).

The implication is that the Township Board has done something wrong. The board faced a difficult situation in not having a supervisor who first was up to the job and then simply gone.

An HR director was needed because the current supervisor had cost the township hundreds of thousands of dollars for mishandling basic personnel functions. Similarly, a budget analyst was necessary to improve the prior process involving the finance director who had other duties and then because the current supervisor was gone. A superintendent was necessary because the current supervisor had been gone so long that just "getting by" in township operations was no longer acceptable.

As a board we had a responsibility to make certain basic government functions were being handled. Each of these personnel moves has proved by results to be the right decision and actually has saved us money and that trend will continue. Looking at the costs is too narrow and is not balanced by looking at the significant benefits to the community.

Could all these tasks be handled more efficiently with fewer personnel? Perhaps, but the current supervisor's conduct and misfortune did not give the board the time to develop that solution. But now we have the time and are moving in the direction of handling these duties in an even more efficient manner.

As a community we have the opportunity for an experiment of sorts to see the important benefits of having professionals providing assistance to elected officials while all are responsive to the public we serve. It is my belief this will demonstrate another way township government can provide more value to the community.

Neil Wallace

Independence Township