Butler Township Trustee Joe Flanagan has said numerous times that fellow Trustee Mike Lang and former Administrator Kim Lapensee “spent money like drunken sailors.” However, Flanagan may need to look in the mirror along with Trustee Nick Brusky when considering their two major actions – forcing Lapensee to resign and prompting former Police Chief John Cresie to retire – have cost the township over $100,000 in the first 50 days of 2016.
The details of Butler Township’s contract with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office for the professional services of Chief Deputy Rob Streck had no surprises.
Streck is serving as the Acting Chief of Police following the retirement of former Chief John Cresie in January.
The document is straight forward and addresses one very important issue – that of chain of command – in a way that most township residents should support. While serving in the township, Streck will answer directly to the Acting Township Administrator (or Administrator if one is named) and under the supervision and direction of the Board of Trustees.
That’s as it should be.
The contract does raise one question however. That question is how do the Township Trustees square the very expensive contract with the Sheriff’s Office – and the very expensive resignation Lapensee – with their supposed budget problems.
Since his election campaign, Trustee Joe Flanagan has raised serious concerns over what he sees as the township’s budget woes. He has raised the issue several times since assuming office in January, and has even proposed a Budget Commission to receive recommendations from citizens.
Forcing Lapensee to resign cost the taxpayers over $100,000 in severance and paid her for nine months of salary and benefits with absolutely no benefit to the township.
The contract for Streck’s services is costing the township over $1,500 a week, but the township is only receiving 20 hours per week of services. I’m no math genius, but that equates to an annual salary and benefits of over $78,000 for a half-time employee.
In fairness, the contract with the Sheriff is set to expire on May 31. And my question has nothing to do with Chief Deputy Streck. His reputation seems to be impeccable from my conversations with other law enforcement officials, and I have personally met him and found him to be professional, courteous, and forthright.
While Streck is certainly qualified to lead the department in the interim, there was an in-house candidate that would have saved the taxpayers thousands of dollars while the trustees decide their next move.
From where I sit, Flanagan and fellow Trustee Nick Brusky should be answering questions about their decision making which has, in my view, wasted over $110,000 – and counting – in the first 51 days of their regime.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.