BUTLER TOWNSHIP — Butler Township Trustee Nick Brusky defended the $106,000 severance package for outgoing Administrator Kim Lapensee on Monday saying it was “worth it.” The comments came after Monday’s regular meeting of the Butler Township Trustees.
“We have hit a time when we need to move on,” said Brusky. “This wasn’t the best way for things to end, but sometimes things have to end.”
Lapensee’s resignation comes after incoming Trustee Joe Flanagan sent her a letter demanding she resign or be fired. The move was in coordination with Brusky who also wanted Lapensee to go.
Brusky said that there may be savings found that equal Lapensee’s buyout.
“We are going to have to look at the staffing situation as well in the office and we are going to have to take a good hard look at things. We need to evaluate how our administration works, how the administrative office itself and look at inefficiencies and how we can improve that. I don’t have any specifics right now. We will see in the next year.”
Trustee Mike Lang, who supported Lapensee and did not want her to resign, disagreed.
“That (Lapensee’s buyout) really puts us behind the eight ball – we didn’t plan to spend that money when we did our budget not four weeks ago,” he said. “We should be having to spend that money on something we shouldn’t be doing, but we are stuck doing anyway.”
Lang said the Trustees agreed to the severance package due to liability concerns.
“You just can’t let someone go because they are an at-will employee in this day and age,” he said. “We had to hedge ourselves against liability. There was going to be an unknown cost of litigation that I guarantee we were going to have. Everyone I know wanted her to stay around and fight, but she had to make the best decision for her and her family.”
Beth Cooper, a township resident, echoed that sentiment.
“I wish you would have stayed, and wish you would have fought, but I wish you the best of luck and a peaceful, drama free agency wherever you land,” said Cooper.
She then addressed Brusky, who she called the “most powerful person in the township” due to his likely standing as the decisive vote between Trustees Lang and Flanagan.
“Our township is struggling and has been cast into a local spotlight that I, frankly, find embarrassing,” she said. “You are the pivotal vote on the board. It’s always going to come down to you.”
Flanagan will be sworn in on January 11. He was not in attendance at Monday’s meeting.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.