A Perkins Township trustee candidate contends current officeholders treat the job as a part-time position.
But they really should consider the $20,500-a-year position as a full-time gig, township resident Jim Lang said.
“The trustees who are in there right now make it a part-time position,” Lang said. “I feel as though the township is large enough and Perkins has the population that you need someone in there who can devote more time to the job. I have that time.”
Lang was referencing the supposed lackadaisical work ethics displayed by trustees Tim Coleman and Mike Printy during the past four years.
“I’m not going to micromanage, but I think the trustees really need to know what’s going on,” Lang said. “You just really need someone who can be there and keep a close eye on their spending.”
Both Coleman’s and Printy’s terms end Dec. 31.
So far, Lang’s the only known challenger seeking to oust an incumbent trustee on November’s ballot.
The top two vote getters among Lang, Coleman and Printy will be elected to four-year terms beginning in 2014.
Lang said the current trustees were wrong to spend taxpayer money building a Township Hall. At a cost of $3.3 million, it is the most expensive project ever overseen by trustees.
The building — a debt-free facility entirely funded with one-time windfalls without any money taken from the operating budget — serves as township headquarters for administrative, building, highway, police and zoning operations. The facility debuted in March.
But the hall’s development came with controversy.
Trustees pursued the project without addressing a $1 million shortfall in the township’s $9.5 million annual budget entering 2013. Cuts in the state budget coupled with plunging property values across Perkins resulted in the $1 million loss.
It was unanimous, with Coleman, Printy and the third trustee Jeff Ferrell voting for the new building, while the budget shortfall forced layoffs of six township employees from the highway and police departments in January. Two police department employees have since been brought back from unemployment. “The new building they have is nice, but it wasn’t the right time to build it,” Lang said. “I’m not going to say they didn’t need it, but they just remodeled (the old hall on Milan Road across from Applebee’s) and put $600,000 or $700,000 in it. It was adequate. It was untimely and they had to lay people off because of it.”
Township trustees Tim Coleman and Mike Printy intend to run for another four-year term, and they don’t agree with Lang’s assessment.
“There are times when there is more work than other times. Sometimes we are working 20, 30, 40 hours a week,” Coleman said. “We have hired leadership into positions where they can make decisions based on the criteria we give them. It’s not always wise to micromanage people.”
Printy said Lang was flat-out wrong about the hours he puts in.
“Im not treating it as a part-time position. I’m working full-time at the job.”
He’s wrong also about Township Hall, they said.
“We purchased and funded that facility and land with one-time monies. If we wanted to fund personnel (and not spend money on constructing Township Hall) we would still end up with a problem,” Coleman said.