Perkins agrees to part-time clerk after eliminating seven jobs

A newly minted, part-time position in Perkins Township was the source of massive controversy Tuesday evening, dividing township trustees and aggravating employees.
Andy Ouriel
Feb 15, 2013

 

Fiscal officer Jane Gildenmeister and trustee Jeff Ferrell clashed for almost 30 minutes at a public meeting, after Gildenmeister asked for $15,000 to hire a part-time worker for her office.

“I’m getting behind in my work,” Gildenmeister said. “I don’t feel I’m doing the best job I can do for our staff, our residents or for our board.”

Ferrell refused to provide her a single penny — he said the township shouldn’t hire anyone, given that less than one month ago trustees axed seven positions in the police and highway departments. Six people were laid off as a result. One of the eliminated position was already vacated.

All this came after trustees saw a $1 million cut to their $9.5 million budget, largely resulting from decreasing property values and shrinking state revenue.

“I feel at this point in time — with the cuts we have made, and I foresee future cuts we must make — I don’t think it’s a good move for the township,” Ferrell said at Tuesday’s meeting.

In the end, however, the other two trustees trumped him. Mike Printy and Tim Coleman reluctantly supported Gildenmeister’s plea for help, delivering a 2-1 vote in favor of hiring an assistant fiscal officer to help file paperwork, complete grant work and update meeting notes for public viewing.

“Something is going to fall through the cracks,” Gildenmeister said. “I wouldn’t ask for it if I didn’t think it was in the best interest of the township.”

After trustees reached their decision, one township employee scolded them for what he called a careless move.

“It was irresponsible for you guys to hire in front of me,” Perkins Township highway employee Brian Kuns said.

Trustees have laid off three of Kuns’ colleagues, slashing the highway department’s full-time staffing in half.

“It was a slap in the face,” said Kuns, also the department’s union representative. “That was totally irresponsible considering the devastation to our department.”

Trustees, meanwhile, still need residents to approve a May levy for new money to fund police operations. If the police department can secure funding through its own levy, it would free up more dollars in the general fund to pay for road projects, snow plow patrols and other services.

Perkins officials estimate the levy’s failure would translate into another $1 million loss, putting the grand total at $2 million. This would mean further reductions to the township’s administration, building, highway, police and zoning departments.

“With the loss of $1 million this year and the potential loss of another $1 million next year, this levy will fill the gap and fill the service needs for this community,” Coleman said.

By the numbers: Perkins Township’s financial woes
- $1 million: Deficit Perkins faces in 2013.
- $9.5 million: Township budget this year.
- 7: Positions cut in police and highway departments in January.
- 50: Percent decrease to highway department’s full-time workforce, dropping from six workers to three.
- 20: Percent decrease to police department’s full-time workforce, dropping from 20 officers to 16.
 

Comments

local man

It is disappointing that the township eliminates services and adds administration. I view this direction of thought as a betrayal to the previous employees laid off. The city has held their employees to increase their job responsibilities while we succomb to adminstration pressure. I will not support increased levys for costs while we only have 1 township trustees that gets it, Jeff do not give up the fight of doing the right thing.

Ithink

Can't believe Jeff is actually fighting for something that is right, given his propensity for doing so much that is wrong.

EdO's

The job of the fiscal officer encompasses many duties and responsibilities. One person can not do it alone. The trustees that voted yes obviously understand their fiduciary duty to handle the funding properly.

The highway worker who was laid off and the taxpayers of Perkins Township need to realize there are not funds to pay for that highway job to be done. Fiscal balance and proper management is critical to the proper operation of the township's finances. This is a critical time requiring mature and informed decisions.

Kudos the the fiscal officer for recognizing this need and bringing it to the attention of the trustees and kudos to the trustees who are acting in the best interest of the township.

WhatTheHeck

I wonder if this new employee will hang out at the doughnut shop on 250 like some of the laid off employees did. I'd see at least 3 of them there everyday and no, it wasn't lunch time.

Speakezy

Hopefully this person can operate a backhoe to dig this township out if its fiscal grave. Elected "officials" just don't get it!!! Term limits, term limits, term limits!

goodtime1212

Anyone can run aganst her when her term IS up. She is in way over her head, has not cought on how to do things. Not sure what the answer is, I know the township isnt BSing about bugets but this is not a good thing to do at this time. Cant beleve she even had the nereve to ask. She has to face these guys everyday.

mikel

were any of the laid off employees given the opportunity to fill this position?

Perkins2060

It's obvious we don't need this levy to pass if we are hiring part time desk jockeys over cops and highway personnel that are currently laid off. I guess we were over staffed afterall. Thank you for making my decision to vote no on the levy.

richrs

I don't ever remember Diane crying that she couldn't do her job and wanting help. Thanks for the help Jeff, now lets get those 3 LEOs back on the streets.

pavedparadise

Perkins Trustees must be drinking the same tainted water Sandusky City officials are to make bumbling mistakes like this.

donutshopguy

Add to bureaucracy and cut the boots on the ground. Sounds pretty normal with government.

Will she have a new desk in the new office complex? Of course.

You got my NO vote.

Speakezy

The gene pool is getting shallow when it comes to elected officials!

9299

Guess we'll see your name on the candidate list this fall.

grandmasgirl

Wonder how many hours this "part-time" position will be, and how much an hour they would be making?

planb

You just sealed a no vote. Until you two trustees learn how to manage money, you will not get more of mine. Your priorities are pathetic. I'll be sure to contact your part time helper when calls for service are backed up. Get it together Perkins!

EdO's

Do you go to monthly meetings? Do you know the finances? When you do, weigh in.

Centauri

Do you go to monthly meetings, EdO's? Why are you chastising other posters? Did they hit a raw nerve?

VB

Can they knock full time people down to part time and cut benefits? They would still have jobs.

gyrocartfluffikins

I agree with the union representative that the road department cuts are ridiculous. They need at least 2 full-time employees to repair and replace mailboxes that the plows take out.

EdO's

And what are they going to pay these workers with?

Centauri

Didn't anybody see this coming? Why did the voters of Perkins Township, Ohio vote out the previous Fiscal Officer? I felt that the biased reporting of the Sandusky Register helped decide that particular election with the help of the powers that be.

http://www.sanduskyregister.com/...
Read my previous comments here as well of those of others.

Perkahontas

At least the remaining officers have those cool Chargers to patrol in.

We could layoff all the officers but one and get him a Maybach!

Hmmm...

Have you actually compared the prices of police cruisers or do you
just not like Chargers? For your info, Impala and Charger are about the same and Taurus is a little more.

bigrmachine

Spring is just around the corner ,and if you cannot wait until then ...Steak-n-Shake is hiring.

Centauri

http://www.fpujournalism.org/cla...
The above is good reading about how the newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio decided elections.

It is a shame that the voters of Perkins Township voted out an honest and very well qualified Fiscal Officer and voted in someone who could not do the job.

Did you know that your previous Fiscal Officer in now on a list of visiting clerks/fiscal officer in Ohio? Check that list. She is about 10 names down on the list.

http://uanlink.auditor.state.oh....

http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/s...
"The Visiting Clerk Program is a great asset; providing a level of support that is critical and truly appreciated by our clients in need. We attempt to have a balance of visiting clerks spread throughout the state to reduce travel time and costs which allows them to quickly aid clients."

God Of Thunder

Wow...Totally speechless.. Congratulations Printy and Coleman.. You just sealed the fate of the levy you are asking the voters for.. That's pretty ballsy of you to do that, especially after the layoffs.. I don't care if it's part time with no benefits being paid, or not.. It's the principle..

I can't even imagine what the laid off employees are feeling right now after being slapped upside the head with this..

Trustees...You just caught up with Gunner and the school board..

OK...I wasn't totally speechless

Centauri

This has been brought to my attention. Public records speak for themselves.

http://www.perkinstownship.com/f...
CONSULTING AGREEMENT FOR VISITING CLERK

"The State Auditor’s office provides a list of authorized Visiting Clerks who serve as independent contractors. In addition to other fiscal offices she now holds, Mrs. Ruth Ann Crabaugh currently serves as Liberty Township Fiscal Officer. Mrs. Gildenmeister presented a Consulting Agreement between Mrs. Crabaugh, at a rate of pay of $20 per hour for telephone and on- site time, on an as needed basis.

Mr. Coleman moved to approve entering into a Consulting Agreement with Ruth Ann Crabaugh for Visiting Clerk Services, effective June 12, 2012. Mr. Printy seconded. Roll call vote: Mr. Ferrell: aye; Mr. Printy: aye; Mr. Coleman, aye. Motion carried."

$20 per hour for telephone and on-site time? Earlier I posted a list of Ohio visiting clerks.

http://uanlink.auditor.state.oh....

Entity ID Visiting Clerk Entity County
0050 Tony Long Geneva Township Ashtabula
0105 Cindi Henry Richland Township Belmont
9023 Susanne Dunkelberger Contract Butler
0169 Melanie Cochran Bethel Township Clark
0185 William Gilpin Ohio Township Clermont
3038 Sandra Arrasmith Wilmington Public Library Clinton
0216 Susan Johnston Perry Township Columbiana
0217 Deborah Dawson St. Clair Township Columbiana
0254 Ruth Ann Crabaugh Liberty Township Crawford
9024 Diane Schaefer Contract Erie

Why would the township trustees hire somebody from Crawford County, Ohio?

Centauri

I took another look at those township minutes and I question if it is ethical for a major land developer in Erie County, Ohio to also serve on the zoning commission.

I also checked the Erie County Auditor's site (public information) and noticed that the major land developer seems to have gotten some deep discounts on property taxes.

http://erie.iviewtaxmaps.com/Res...

What's in your wallet?

EdO's

Do you know what the job entails? Until you do, it might be better for you to refrain from making statements that illustrate ignorance.

PerkinsPride

Fiscal Officer - keeps financial records and records of proceedings (minutes).

Last time I inquired there were already others assisting. One was the Office Manager who also handles HR. From the minutes she also reviews the health insurance, schedules training, and other benefits. The other was the Administrative Assistant. She acts as receptionist, scans records, does most of the work on the accounting computer (enters receipts, pays bills, etc.)

So unless things have changed drastically I don't get it. Is it a matter of time commited to the job? Or is it not understanding the work required?

Either case remember the campaign promises as she walked door-to-door - I will do whatever it takes to get the job done in a timely and efficient manner. And if it is not understanding, then how is she going to train someone else? Not everyone is qualified when it comes to governmental accounting, especially the budget process.

Centauri

"it might be better for you to refrain from making statements that illustrate ignorance." Really? Because I posted some links to public information? You seem very defensive, EdO's. Why is that?

EdO's

Defensive? Heck no. Just know what it takes to do a fiscal officer's job.

Julie R.

Facts are the enemy of the truth.

Centauri

During the campaign for office, there were some Sandusky Register online forums and I was asking both candidates some questions. Diane Schaefer answered all of my questions but Jane Gildenmeister evaded all of my questions. Jane does use her real name here on sanduskyregister.com and thanked everybody who voted for her. Perhaps Jane could explain to the Perkins Township taxpayers why she needs an assistant? How many hours does Jane put into the job each week? Diane has posted many times to explain some of the Sandusky Register news stories about her. If Jane doesn't want to post a comment, perhaps EdO's can post a comment for her.

Many of the past Sandusky Register videos and news stories about the two candidates have been disabled and I cannot bring them up again for the readers. I do recall that Jane mentioned that she was asked by several people to run for the office. Maybe Jane had no intention of running for the fiscal officer position until these people convinced her to run. I feel that when people run for office that they should be given equal time when the public is invited.

http://www.morningjournal.com/ar...
"Toastmasters meeting: Firelands Toastmasters Club 391 will meet Tuesday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at St. Stephen United Church of Christ, 905 E Perkins Ave., Sandusky. Guest speaker is Jane Gildenmeister, candidate Perkins Township Fiscal Officer. Visitors are welcome. For more information, visit www.district10.org or contact Elaine Waterfield at 419-XXX-XXXX."

The information is public information. I did blank out the phone number in my comment but the phone number is listed in the Morning Journal news article.

My question is since the public was invited, why Diane was not given equal time at that toastmasters meeting which was open to the public? Maybe EdO's could explain? Maybe Jane or Elaine could post a comment to explain this oversight.

PerkinsVoter

I vote NO to all levies.

Ford1

The importance of the Perkins Police levy on the may 7th Ballot is important by itself. The Township has a $1,000,000 decrease in revenue in 2013. The passage of the May levy prevents the Township from having a decrease of $2,000,000 in 2014.

The levy is specifically designed to provide direct and basic funding for the Perkins Township Police Department. The Perkins PD cannot exist without this basic funding support from the voters.

Also, the Trustees cannot let the Township’s Fiscal Office fall short of meeting its legal and operational responsibilities. The expenditure for this part-time employee will help keep this from happening.

For those who see the hiring of this part-time employee as a poor decision, so be it, but please, don’t dismiss the very critical importance of the May levy.

PerkinsVoter

I vote NO. My taxes increased and the township already got a larger share. if your taxes went down then you pay. My taxes went up and yours went down and you want me to pay more? I vote NO. Looks to me like I am paying about $200 more to the township than what I paid last year. I vote NO to all damn taxes levies until my taxes drop like every body else. Fair is fair and I refuse to pay more while others get a tax break. I feel like I was robbed and the crooks used no gun. Check your tax bill Ford1 and let me know if your taxes went down like about 90 per cent of the other tax payers in the area. They pay less and I have to pay more.

PerkinsVoter

Let the township put in some dumpsters and have a paper drive and collect aluminum cans. I vote NO.

Ford1

My taxes went up also. Most everyone here works hard to keep things nice. Mostly older people. I guess I want the same thing for the Township. I feel we should contribute and work hard to keep things nice. I know it will cost more. I think we should feel good about what we have here.