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  • Kevin Elliott

Board delays township superintendent proposal

An effort to supersede the current Bloomfield Township supervisor's position in the township's government organization was postponed on Monday, October 28, when trustee Dave Buckley requested the item be removed from the evening's agenda.

Buckley, who first pitched the idea in July of bringing on a township superintendent position to run the day-to-day operations of the township, had asked for the resolution to establish the position be removed from the agenda. Bloomfield Township Supervisor Leo Savoie was absent from Monday's meeting.

"In reviewing the last meeting, I have had a lot of time to digest the comments and considerations from the departments, and I received assurances from the supervisor that we would consider the superintendent position in the compensation study," Buckley said in requesting the item be removed from consideration until a later date. "There's no need right now."

Bloomfield Township Treasurer Brian Kepes opposed the request to remove the items, preferring to address the matter sooner, rather than later.

"This has been brought up two meetings ago... governance and budget aren't really tied to each other," Kepes said, referencing previous discussions about the proposed superintendent position, including at a special study session of the board, where it hadn't been considered due to a lack of support to bring matter up for a vote. "I think it's worth a discussion. We have had time to think about it, but I don't see any reason not to talk about it this evening and deal with it."

The board voted 4-2 to remove the item from the agenda at Buckley's request, with Kepes and trustee Neal Barnett voting to reject the request.

Buckley in July requested the resolution be considered. Then, at the board's August 12 meeting, it was determined that trustees would discuss the proposed position at a special study session. Under the proposed resolution, a superintendent position would be created to oversee the township's budget, personnel and other duties that are currently under the authority of the township supervisor. In return, the supervisor position would be regulated to a ceremonial title that oversees board meetings.

Buckley proposed the position in the wake of the township's August 6 election in which voters rejected a 2.3-mill special assessment district for police and fire that would have been used to pay for unfunded liabilities related to police and fire retiree benefits. Buckley has since claimed that the township is in the midst of a financial crisis, as administration works with department heads to identify cuts to fund liabilities, as required under state law.

Yet, the board in August was reluctant to entertain the proposal of a superintendent, with only Buckley and trustee Dani Walsh appearing to be in favor of the new position. At the study session, Buckley failed to garner support from any trustee to bring the resolution forward for consideration.

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