With John “Skip” Kernan involved, it is hard to tell whether you are viewing democracy in action or political theater.
There were 200 people — an impressive turnout compared to the usual apathy most government gatherings evoke. They were assembled Monday for a special St. Clair Township meeting called as the result of a petition drive. One of Highway Commissioner Kernan’s highway workers previously had delivered that petition to township trustees, most of whom skipped the special meeting.
Residents voted that there should be adequate money for road district staffing — not specifically that there should be five workers.
What one suspects is that residents were saying they didn’t want a repeat of Kernan’s March antics, when road funds ran out because he overspent his budget. He insisted on five workers although he only had money for four, and his game of chicken with township trustees led to a March during which folks held their breath hoping there would be no snow because there was no money to pay plow drivers.
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Totally irresponsible, and that responsibility was Kernan’s.
So now the 200 folks gathered and said they want the road services for which they pay. They want ditches cleaned, and snow plowed and weeds cut and potholes filled.
Kernan should not interpret their votes as being awarded five minions. He should listen to resident Ted Farmer.
“What we ought to be doing is establishing how many people we need in the dead of winter, and that’s the base for full-time employees, and then as needed, add supplemental part-time employees,” Farmer said. “It would be a lot cheaper, you’re spreading the work around and the work would be the same quality.”
Resident Steve Duff said no evidence about overtime or a list of backlog projects or work was provided to justify five employees.
“The question has been asked several times. The response has always been, ‘that’s how it’s always been,’” Duff said. “You hire employees based on your workload.”
Yup. And you don’t spend taxes as if you are entitled to them.