St. Clair Township Highway Commissioner Skip Kernan is sticking up the taxpayers — oops, sorry — is sticking up for the taxpayers.
Too bad he couldn’t get a St. Clair County judge, or the township trustees, to get sticky with him.
The legal bills are still rolling in, so we don’t yet know the cost of Kernan’s effort to sue his own township. He wanted a judge to order trustees to let him spend $345,200 for five road workers this year rather than the $250,000 budgeted for 3.5 employees.
It likely was a pricey excursion that ended with the judge essentially reading him state law: Trustees are elected to set budgets; highway commissioners live within their budget; no, you aren’t allowed to spend whatever you want just because you want.
“The losers in this whole thing are the taxpayers. The winners were the lawyers,” Township Supervisor Dave Barnes said. “Crazy as that sounds, that’s the world we live in.”
Kernan was far from abashed at his waste of tax dollars, time and attention. He put on his stovepipe hat and gripped his lapel.
“Four years ago the voters elected me to represent them and to provide them with the services they were accustomed to for 50 years before this current board took over. The money is in the budget!” Kernan said. “This decision is a slap in the face to laborers and the taxpayers who will suffer and have their safety put in jeopardy.”
Notice he put laborers first.
Barnes said the road budget should be adequate to get through the rest of this mild winter until the next fiscal year begins on April Fools’ Day.
Kernan is up for re-election on April 4. He said that ballot will be “the appeals process.”
“I’m just getting started sticking up for the people of the township!”
That is, unless he loses his incredible appeal.