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

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.

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