The Caseyville Township Board of Trustees voted to slash the township supervisor’s salary by nearly $20,000, a move Supervisor Bruce Canty called “political.”
“That’s political,” Canty said in an interview. “They’re just trying to cut my salary.”
The board took the action during its Nov. 19 meeting.
Canty currently makes $54,000 a year. The new supervisor salary of $35,200 won’t take effect until 2017 because state law prohibits public bodies from changing officials’ salaries in the middle of their terms.
That’s political. They’re just trying to cut my salary
Caseyville Township Supervisor Bruce Canty
Canty said the vote to cut the supervisor’s pay — which he said hasn’t changed since 1999 — was personal. “Oh, yeah. Absolutely,” he said. “They (the trustees) will say it’s not.”
Trustee Richard Donovan said the move to lower the supervisor’s salary wasn’t personal but was aimed at bringing it more in line with the salaries of other area township supervisors.
“Based on my observation, it’s pretty apparent that Supervisor Canty is nothing but a rubber stamp,” Donovan said. “I think $35,000 is more compensation than he deserves.”
Based on my observation, it’s pretty apparent that Supervisor Canty is nothing but a rubber stamp
Caseyville Township Trustee Richard Donovan
Who’s in charge?
The salary cut is just one point of contention between Canty and three of the board’s trustees.
Trustees Donovan, Don Chrismore and James Lemansky also have blasted Canty for his refusal to ratify a board-approved measure to hire a computer engineer to conduct an audit of the township’s computer systems.
The initial agreement between the board and the engineer, Jack Hickman, stated that Hickman would search for ways to streamline the township’s computer operations. Hickman would be paid $25 an hour and also would be paid half of any savings he identified in his audit.
But Canty refused to sign the board-approved ordinance hiring Hickman, objecting to giving him township money saved as a result of the audit and over concerns that the township already has vendors who service their computers. Donovan said Hickman had tried to enter the township office six times between the Nov. 5 meeting when the initial agreement was passed and the Nov. 19 meeting when an amended agreement was passed. He was turned away each time.
“I’m the supervisor of the office. I run the day-to-day operations,” Canty told board members Nov. 5, citing a part of Illinois’ township code that states supervisors act as the CEO of the township and have control over office operations.
Based on you, then, we don’t need any trustees. What good is my vote?
Caseyville Township Trustee Don Chrismore
But that same statute states the only employees who supervisors have control over are the full-time office employees. Donovan reminded Canty that Hickman was hired as an outside contractor by a vote of the trustees. “The decision of the board is final,” he said.
Canty replied: “The decision of the board is not final.”
“Based on you, then, we don’t need any trustees. What good is my vote?” Chrismore asked. Lemansky was frustrated, too, asking, “Why do we sit here?”
On Nov. 19, the board approved a compromise agreement that doubled Hickman’s pay rate but eliminated the provision that would have paid him half of any savings he could find for the township.
“You can’t give away township money without earning it,” Canty said.
The discovery last month of five computer hard drives in a box of holiday decorations also has rankled trustees.
According to a statement Donovan provided Fairview Heights Police on Nov. 13, two township employees on Oct. 19 found the hard drives inside a black-and-gold circular cake tin in the bottom of a box of Halloween decorations. When one of the employees expressed surprise at what he said “look like computer parts,” Canty emerged from his office and snatched the tin, Donovan wrote in the statement to police.
After two Caseyville Township employees found five computer hard drives in a cake tin buried at the bottom of a box of Halloween decorations, trustees on the board sealed the drives and placed them in the township vault. They then filed a police report with Fairview Heights police claiming Supervisor Bruce Canty concealed the drives.
The next day, Donovan went to look for the hard drives.
“(Canty) told me not to worry about them and that it was none of my business,” he wrote. On Oct. 21, Donovan returned with Township Clerk David Jacknewitz and, after searching for 30 minutes, found the tin containing the hard drives in a cabinet in the township building’s storage room. They photographed the drives, labeled and sealed them and placed them in the township vault.
“They (the hard drives) are the clerk’s responsibility. He should know where they are at all times. You having someone remove those hard drives constitutes concealment,” Donovan said during the Nov. 5 meeting.
“I wasn’t concealing them,” Canty said. “They were never taken out of the building.”
Canty said he authorized a custodian to remove the drives because the computers were being replaced. He said he ordered him to place the drives in the tin to protect them in case the basement storage room should ever flood.
The board then voted 3-1-1 to have the hard drives examined to see what records they contain. Donovan, Chrismore and Lemansky voted in favor. Trustee Dorothy Moody voted against and Canty abstained.
The results from the examination of the hard drives were not yet available.