By Rosemary K. Otzman
Sumpter Township Supervisor Johnny Vawters had a stroke in October and has been on medical leave since then.
At the March 11 of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees, the board divided up Supervisor Vawters’ jobs until he can return.
Township attorney Rob Young said Vawters is under treatment and reaching a level of recuperation. But, him being away so long, has created issues in the supervisor’s office.
Young said the supervisor’s statutory duties are about 5% and the other duties change over time.
The supervisor is supposed to be the assessor and the township has an assessor. He is supposed to present the budget, and Sumpter Township has Jim Glahn to do that.
He also is supposed to sign the Board of Review rolls, which he will be able to do. And, he is to lead the meetings.
“The other duties can be done by others,” Young said, noting these are the non-statutory duties that are being assigned to others.
Trustee Peggy Morgan said that this has been discussed with Supervisor Vawters and is being done with his blessing.
Young said Supervisor Vawters suggested that Treasurer John Morgan has the experience and knowledge to step into his shoes and take over the day-to-day operations of the township and the oversight of the police department.
Trustee Bill Hamm, who is liaison to the Building Department, will take over administration of that department, since it is expected to go into expansion over the next year.
This is all temporary until Vawters returns, Young said.
Young said those who fill in can be paid for it, but Treasurer Morgan said he is at the office anyway and “would do it out of pleasure, with no remuneration.”
Trustee Hamm does not spend a lot of time at township hall, so for his extra work, Trustee Peggy Morgan made a motion to pay him $500 a month for his administration. She said there is an office in the supervisor’s office area that he could use. The motion passed unanimously.
Young said statutorily you don’t get additional money for doing what you were elected to do, but this is an extra responsibility.
Resident Mary Ban asked from the audience if they knew when Vawters would be back.
“No,” said Young. “He’s still doing treatment and is waiting for certain releases from the doctor.”
Young said the police department is working fine, but there is always a need for oversight for other departments. If they are not administered, departments can go off in their own directions, he said.
In other business at the March 11 meeting, the board:
• Held a public hearing on the $105,370.81 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds for 2014 and then approved the uses, which are $10,537.08 for administration costs, $15,805.62 for grass cutting and snow removal for senior citizens, $26,270 for housing rehabilitation, and $52,758.11 for demolitions (about six homes). Because there will be less money than last year’s $52,000 for grass cutting and snow removal this year, some seniors might have to pay for part of the service which would be every other week instead of weekly. Sixty-four seniors were served last year;
• Approved the appointment of Trustee Don Swinson as township representative to the Belleville Area Chamber of Commerce;
• Set a public hearing for 5:30 p.m., March 25 on the proposed 2014-15 township budget;
• Approved, on a roll-call vote, paying warrants of $2,253,524.13;
• Heard Fire Chief Joseph Januszyk report that the evening before the fire department trained seven citizens in CPR and AEDs. He said there was no defibrillator at the senior citizen, even though the police have them in the other part of the building. Chief Januszyk said he would look into the costs of getting one for the seniors. He said his department could do the training on its use;
• Heard resident Mary Ban say that the upgrades to the community center were done with federal CDBG funds and if they tear it up to make a satellite library, will the township have to pay the federal government back? Young said they are looking into this possibility. “This plan has been in the works for nine years because I was here when they came here with that plan,” Ban said of the District Library plan to build a new library on the DNR property north of the Belleville Bridge; and
• Heard Lisa Martin introduce herself as a candidate for 34th District Court judge in November’s election. She is running for the position held by David Parrott.
By Rosemary K. Otzman