Source: Sherman Publications

Board split on Belcher

by Mary Keck

September 12, 2012

David Belcher retained his position as the head of the Building Department after a contentious township board meeting on Sept. 4. However, he must continue to report to Superintendent Bart Clark.

Three motions, one to keep Belcher as building inspector with oversight and additional staff, another to immediately terminate Belcher, and a motion to reclassify Belcher as building inspector, failed because the board was split each time.

Trustee Mark Petterson, who hadn’t attended a regular board meeting since April 3, tied every vote.

During the meeting, Trustee Neil Wallace drew attention to Petterson’s absence, to which Petterson responded, saying he attended because “I heard the garbage that you’re pulling here tonight.”

The only successful motion in regard to the building department was to hire a new full-time building inspector, which passed 4:2 with Curt Carson and David Lohmeier voting against it.

After the votes had been tallied, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union made it clear that Belcher could no longer perform building inspections.

AFSCME agreed to allow Belcher to carry out inspections until Dec. 31, 2011, because of the building department’s stretched staff. They currently have only three employees.

Even though the agreement with AFSCME had expired in December, Belcher was still conducting building inspections.

As Wallace put it, “we are in violation of the union contract and have been for months, and that’s just simply wrong to other employees of the township.”

AFSCME gave Belcher 72 hours to complete any other inspections.

Belcher who chose to have his performance evaluation done in an open session, did not return repeated calls and emails for comment.

The board’s next meeting will take place on Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at Township Hall.