2008-04-05 / Editorials & Letters

Bowling Green 'watchdog' trying to sniff out writer

Editor:

So far, I have not been able to findany trace in township meeting notes or voter registration lists of our recent letter writer, Jean Hensler. So who is this mystery writer anyway?

Once again our monthly Bowling Green Township meeting was the usual "theater of the absurd." It was the longest meeting I have ever attended at over three hours. Much of the time was spent trying to bash my letters and telling how much the GOBs had done for our township. It was a continuous "toot their own horn" effort without addressing any of the pressing questions put to them to date.

The meeting started with our board president asking if anyone had a problem with the video camera. Most of their folks thought it should not be there and that I was trying to intimidate them by video taping. So I guess audio taping is OK, but these folks are camera shy and do not want anyone to see who they are. One even noted he would leave, if the camera was not removed. So we spent the next 15 minutes rearranging the room so the board was situated at a table at one end and I moved the camera to another spot. The setup was almost exactly what I had proposed in writing to the president, who had refused to read it out loud.

Township webmaster and Trustee Jeff Chorpenning should have my letter and sketch for alternate seating arrangements on the township website by the time you read this. No disruptions would have been necessary had anyone had just used common sense. The layout could have been done before the meeting, but they probably wanted this major production to stir up the crowd.

Our oldest trustee stated I was lying about the health insurance issue. So let me further clarify the statement I made, as of March 2007, we (township funds) were paying out $532.60 for him personally and $1032.16 for his wife, for a total of $1564.76 a month. I have the invoice should anyone care to see it. These amounts were just for the basic health insurance plan. In addition, he is getting a separate check of $93.50 for his monthly medicare reimbursement. Now add this up for a year, is this a perk you could handle or what?

Those amounts DO NOT include the basic trustee salary, PERS (retirement) or dental/vision/life insurance costs. So when I say this guy gets some a pretty good compensation package for what he does for us, you may start to see my point. It's a part-time job with less than 24 miles of roads and you set your own workhours plus you have a part-time workforce to call out whenever you choose. Plus you have all sorts of power over what happens in the township and when. Maybe now you can see why someone wants to hold onto this position. Most of us, myself included, thought that the trustees were basically doing this as a public service for a very minimal salary. Once I saw the real numbers, I realized that this "perception" is quite different from reality.

Now you would think we would get quite a bit done in three hours. So what about the issue of Ohio Revised Code 5571.02 CONTROL AND MAINTENANCE OF TOWNSHIP ROADS? What about "taking positions seriously" and about "duty & responsibility to follow proper regulations?"

Well, Trustee Chorpenning tried to get our oldest trustee to tell us when this was last done and now all of a sudden we hear that this problem may even go back further than 2000. Still no answer, nor is a formal resolution adopted to meet the requirements of the statute. But we do hear some drivel about not needing more rules and regulations or killing more trees. So basically it seems the GOB's aren't concerned about complying with ORC requirements.

So what about Ohio Revised Code 505.04 ANNUAL INVENTORY brought up last time? Nothing again; it is tabled till next meeting.

But we did get to talk some about "liability" again. Why? Well, I helped Trustee Chorpenning and township worker Harold Wiseman cut down a few trees blocking Open Woods Road. Someone thought I was exposing the township to a law suit and was a huge liability risk. Interesting indeed, since these folks believe "neighbor helping neighbor" is the motto of our township. Plus we "do what it takes to get the job done" is always be mentioned. Mind you this was basically a one time emergency type issue; it was done for FREE, using my own equipment. Mind you the township saw, the only one in running condition at the time, couldn't cut anything due to a junk chain.

Nobody was asking for a $26/hr paycheck, so that may have played into this as well. In fact this sort of thing has been going on for many years. In my 12 years here, neighbors have taken care of many a limb and tree in the public roadway.

A year or so, there was a similar problem on Midland Oil Road, which is a county road. The county was called, but "us neighbors" had cut up the tree & moved it off the road by the time someone came out. These folks included our neighbors Richard Wright & his brother, Scott, who are both lawyers by trade.

My question about potential "liability risk" is why did the township board agree and the fiscal officermake up a volunteer park committee sign up sheet last year? I was one of the volunteers. We used township equipment to take care of the park. Volunteers also painted the township building and community center, including use of scaffolding/ ladders. So what if anyone got hurt in any of these "planned" volunteer projects? To me, this represents more liability than a simple "good Samaritan act" of helping clear a blocked public roadway.

I can only conclude that this is issue NOW due my involvement and Trustee Chorpenning's. That may explain why Trustee VanBuren let us to do the clean up task in the rain, even though he showed up on the scene to see the mess. By the way, the resident raising this issue lives behind the community building/park and saw many of us working there last year. Where was the "liability" concern then?

To fixthe tree clean-up liability, I wrote a letter to the board and volunteered to become part of the officialpart-time township work crew. At least then I could get paid to do it! There was no comment, so you can probably tell where that will end up.

That's enough for now, but don't forget to look at www.bowlinggreentownship. com for more complete details on this and more. Will Kern Bowling Green Township

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