Perkins Township’s trustee-elect contends his government can best serve area residents simply by working.
Jim Lang, who won in dominating fashion at the polls Tuesday, set two priorities for his four-year term beginning in January.
He first wants to replenish staffing levels for the township’s highway and police departments.
An ongoing budget crunch forced trustees to eliminate four full-time positions in both departments earlier this year.
Lang criticized board members, including lame-duck Mike Printy, for spending $3.3 million in public funds on a new administration complex rather than staff salaries — amid a fiscal crisis.
The former Sandusky police chief also vowed to make himself more available to residents.
Lang, during his campaign, blasted trustees for their lack of visibility in and around the community.
Lang further expanded on his goals and concerns in an interview the Register:
Q: What are your top priorities entering office this January?
JL: The first thing I want to do is get all of the workers laid off earlier this year back to work.
That’s priority No. 1. I’m also hoping to be part of the (ongoing) labor negotiations. I want to bring myself up to speed and make sure employees get what they deserve.
Q: A top priority for townships is road maintenance. Perkins officials failed to set aside money to pave roads during the past two years. What’s your plan to make streets smoother?
JL: Roads are very much a priority. There are a few streets in the township that are not in very good shape. They could be much better. We need to see what roads must be taken care of.
Q: Do you have any major concerns entering office?
JL: The budget is the big thing. I want to make sure we will stay well within the budget and try to keep (funding levels for) all the departments where they are at today so they can keep their full staff and do what’s necessary.
Note: Perkins’ annual operating budget hovers around $9.5 million.
Q: You’ll be working with trustees Tim Coleman and Jeff Ferrell, who have both served alongside one another for several years. Are you worried they’ll ignore you or block out your opinions?
JL: No. I feel pretty comfortable going in there with them. I think we will get along just fine.
Q: What’s something you want to improve upon that trustees have failed to do during the past four years?
JL: I’ve talked to several residents about this. When they go to the administration building and want to talk to a trustee, they are never there. I won’t be there a full eight hours, but I plan on being there every day so people can come in and talk to me if they need to. If something happens now, it might take two or three days to talk to a trustee. I feel you need someone there to talk to on a daily basis to take care of those small things right away.
Perkins Township trustee unofficial election results
• Jim Lang: 2,933
• Tim Coleman: 1,982
• Mike Printy: 1,826
Jim Lang’s experience
• Sandusky interim police chief, two years
• Erie MetroParks chief ranger, eight years
• Put-in-Bay police chief, eight years
• Perkins police (various positions), 23 years q Terra Community College law enforcement instructor
• Bay Area Friends of Abused Children board member q Past small business owner of Log Cabin and Lang Property Management