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Bath trustees narrow field to three for administrator job

10/4/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Pam Lifke

Three candidates — all with direct ties to Bath Township — are left in the search for a township administrator.

Township trustees, at the Oct. 1 meeting, announced they have narrowed the field from six candidates to three. Still in the running are Interim Administrator William Snow, Fiscal Officer Sharon Troike and Police Officer and local attorney Vito Sinopoli. Trustees said Douglas Burchard, manager of Sebring Village, who was among the field of six candidates, asked to be withdrawn from consideration.

Trustees launched their search for an administrator when Snow announced his retirement earlier this year. Snow has said he decided to retire earlier than expected because of potential changes to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS). He has more than 31 years of employment in the public sector, he said. Snow also has offered to take the job at 75 percent of his current annual salary if he is rehired.

Trustees appointed Snow interim administrator for a seven-month period while they worked their way through the field of 33 applicants for the position. The field was narrowed to six candidates in late August.

Those six candidates completed a written assignment and a computer skills test, as well as personal interviews. Trustees said Sinopoli scored highest of all candidates on the written assignment and computer skills test.

Trustees have scheduled special meetings this week to further evaluate the candidates. They did not say when they expect to complete the selection process.

Trustee Becky Corbett said board members have heard from many community members regarding Snow’s rehiring. Many supported rehiring Snow, but others were very opposed to “double dipping,” she said. Double dipping occurs when an employee draws both a salary and a pension at the same time.

Trustees also had individual statements in response to a request last month from Citizens for Bath Seniors to fund a community senior center.

Each trustee expressed concerns about funding for a senior center when township operating and permanent improvement funding sources have been reduced or have dried up. They cited a $500,000 permanent annual reduction in state funding to the township, the end of inheritance taxes this year and reductions in property tax collections as property values have fallen. Inheritance taxes, which Trustee Elaina Goodrich estimated contributed $675,000 annually to the township budget, have only been used for permanent improvements, trustees said. Anticipating a day when the inheritance tax would be eliminated, trustees said they were careful never to use the windfall money for operating expenses. Inheritance taxes were one source of funds Citizens for Bath Seniors earlier suggested using for the center.

Trustee James Nelson said a survey 10 years ago did not show support for a community recreation center, but it was possible that opinion had shifted. He suggested the group mount a petition campaign.

Nelson also said a senior center would have to be sustainable. He said grants for such ventures are drying up, and dedicating General Fund monies would rob one department in the township to pay for another and necessitate seeking more levy money to fund the police, fire and road departments.

Nelson said the Akron Education Center and Bath Church both have offered space for the seniors group to meet, and the Richfield Recreation Center offers Bath residents a $15 per year membership to use its facilities and programs. Nelson also suggested the group adopt a more formal structure and use the Bath Homeowner’s Association as a model.

Goodrich estimated establishing a senior center to comfortably hold 40 people would require an initial capital outlay of $300,000 to $500,000 and an ongoing operating budget of $84,000 per year, using the Richfield Township program as a model.

Goodrich addressed earlier assertions by the group that the township maintains parks for the benefit of younger residents, but did not address the needs and well-being of its seniors. Goodrich said residents older than 50 account for the majority of calls for emergency medical services. Older residents also benefit from police and fire services and from road maintenance and snow and ice removal on township roads.

Goodrich said she thought the best way to fund a senior center would be through a 0.25-mill five-year levy, which would raise about $100,000 per year and suggested the group collect signatures on a petition to put the issue on an upcoming ballot.

In other business, Bath Police Chief Michael McNeely was presented with a proclamation declaring Oct. 1 as Chief Michael McNeely Day in Summit County. The framed proclamation was presented to McNeely by Summit County Emergency Management Agency Senior Administrator Valerie De Rose on behalf of Summit County Executive Russell Pry. A reception celebrating the honor was held in the Bath Police Department.

Bath residents are invited to recycle “anything with a power cord” at the township’s Oct. 6 Community Electronics Recycle Day. The event is an opportunity for Bath residents and businesses to safely dispose of unwanted electronic devices, such as working or nonworking cell phones, and electronic devices, such as computers, printers, game systems and working small appliances. Appliances containing Freon will not be accepted, he said.

Goodwill Industries will collect the items and may either resell working items or recycle them through a partnership with Dell Reconnect, he added. Snow, at a previous meeting, said there is no charge to residents for the service.

The event will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot of Bath Elementary School, located at the corner of Bath and North Cleveland-Massillon roads, across from the Bath Township Administration Building.

In other action, the board:

• approved requisitions and purchase orders totaling $140,203;

• noted batteries should be changed in smoke detectors when Eastern Standard Time returns in November and senior citizens who need help with the task may call the Bath Fire Department for assistance;

• approved hiring Lauren Brogan as part-time communications specialist at a rate of $16.12 per hour;

• approved auctioning two township vehicles;

• acknowledged a donation of $1,500 to the Bath Township Community Development Corp. Inc. from Charles Jones, FirstEnergy and the FirstEnergy Foundation. The funds will be used for the “Fall Into Nature” event [see related News & Notes item on Page 3 for details on that]; and

• accepted tax rates and amounts as determined by the Summit County Budget Commission.

Calendar items include:

√ Oct. 6: Bath electronics recycling day at Bath Elementary School, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.;

√ Oct. 13: Fall Into Nature fall festival at the Bath Nature Preserve, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and

√ Oct. 28: Trick or Treat, 5 p.m.

The board’s next meeting will take place Oct. 15 at 4 p.m. in the trustees’ meeting room on the lower level of the Bath Administration Building, 3864 W. Bath Road.

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