BUTLER TOWNSHIP – The Butler Township Trustees reversed course on whether they will pay for the services of it’s Acting Police Chief on Monday evening.
The Trustees voted 2-1, with Trustee Mike Lang voting against, to authorize Acting Administrator Erika Vogel to negotiate a contract with the Sheriff’s Office that will include a fee for the services of Montgomery County Sheriff Chief Deputy Rob Streck.
Trustee Nick Brusky, who arranged the original deal to have Streck appointed, said that when the Trustees and Sheriff started looking at contract language, it was discovered that the Township must pay for Streck’s services under Ohio Law.
“When I met with him (Sheriff Plummer) I expected there to be a fee but he said no, that they would provide the service to the Township,” said Brusky. “Our legal teams discovered a provision in the Ohio Revised Code that says they must be paid.”
Trustee Joe Flanagan took issue with that and said that, in his experience, the arrangement has always included payment.
“I’ve had arrangements like this with the Sheriff three times in my professional career, and they have always been paid,” said Flanagan.
Flanagan did not bring the payment issue up at the Jan. 11 meeting where Streck was appointed.
At the January meeting Sheriff Plummer said twice that Streck would be given to the Township at no cost and even suggested where the Township should spend the savings.
“If it’s a long extended period then we will talk about a fee, but I think it’s going to be short term,” said Plummer. “I’d offer that they could take the Chief’s salary that they are saving and let’s reinvest it into the officers for equipment and training.
Final details of the contract and fee have not been ironed out but should be available by the Feb. 8 meeting.
During a report to the Trustees, Streck said that he had met with the department and had gone over goals with the department. One such goal was the elimination of the preferred arrest policy for shoplifters on Miller Lane.
Under former Chief John Cresie, it was the department’s policy to transport shoplifters to jail rather than issue a summons. Cresie believed that having the policy deterred some from coming to Miller Lane to commit crime.
Streck said that if a suspect is cooperative and has no other warrants or charges that, at the arresting officer’s discretion, they will issue a summons in lieu of arrest. He cited the amount of time it takes to transport a prisoner to the jail and his desire to put officers on patrol on township roads besides Miller Lane and Dixie Dr.
“That’s a good move,” said Flanagan.
The General Manager of the Red Roof Inn saw it otherwise.
“Taking people to jail was a big part of the package to say you can’t do this here,” she said.
In other action, the Trustees voted unanimously to participate in the Ohio Treasurer’s OhioCheckbook.com project. The project will place the Township’s financial records online in a searchable check book fashion.
The Ohio Checkbook is part of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel’s Transparency Project which, according to its website, is “designed to make government more open and accountable to taxpayers by allowing Ohioans to follow their tax dollars and see how public money is being spent.”
Lauren Bowen, a representative of Mandel’s office, made a brief presentation and answered questions of Trustees. Bowen said that putting the township’s financial records online would cost nothing and would work relatively simply with the township’s current accounting software.
“I think this is something every township and municipality should look at,” said Brusky. “This brings a higher level of transparency.”
The Trustees also:
- Approved a contract with Ferno Washington, Inc. for powered cots for three township medic units at a cost of $109,800. The cots were funded with a 95% grant from the Assistance for Firefighters Grant Award and a 5% local match.
- Amended the township’s personnel policy manual to designate the Township Administrator as the sole appointing authority for all funded employment positions except for department heads and their corresponding deputies. The wording reverted back to what it was prior to 2012.
Some residents voiced concern over the profanity used by Flanagan as well as others at the January 11 meeting. Flanagan’s outburst toward Lang was caught by television cameras and broadcast widely.
Brusky said he was offended by the profanity and said he would introduce a measure to censure a fellow trustee if it happened again. He declined to bring up a censure measure on Monday, however, citing “peace.”
“I think we had a peaceful meeting tonight,” said Brusky. “We stuck to the issues, we stayed out of personalities, and we kept emotion out of the meeting.”
“I believe if we quit playing this out in the media we can all work together,” he said.
Reach Darrell Wacker at 937-684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.