West Deer voters to decide if supervisors should be paid
West Deer voters will decide next month if they want the township supervisors to be paid a $50 monthly stipend for their duties or remain unpaid.
The question will appear as one of four referendum questions on the Nov. 6 ballot. The questions were suggested by the township’s charter review board. The board is made up of four residents, three supervisors, the township manager, the township solicitor and a representative from the governor’s office that met over the past two years and reviewed the charter for possible updates.
Township Manager Daniel Mator said West Deer is one of the few townships that doesn’t compensate its elected officials in some way. He said the $50 allowance would be more of a reimbursement for things like gas and printer ink.
“These (supervisors) do a lot of driving on behalf of the township,” Mator said. “There’s a cost to being a supervisor they shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket.”
Mator said officials kept the proposed stipend at $50 even though other municipalities pay upward of $100 a month.
“They didn’t want to anger the residents and make them think these people are trying to get rich,” he said.
If residents vote in favor of paying the supervisors, the current board wouldn’t make any money. The payments would begin in 2020 after the board is reduced from seven to five supervisors--a change voters approved in May.
Supervisor Gerry Vaerewyck isn’t in favor of supervisors getting paid because he fears residents will run just to make extra money.
“If you’re not paying them anything then (it’s) more likely you’re getting people who are doing it just for the community,” he said.
Vaerewyck said he doesn’t spend much of his personal money for his supervisor duties. He also worries that if the township starts the payment at $50, future boards will have the authority to raise it higher.
“Voters have no say in the payment once that starts,” he said.
Supervisor Arlind Karpuzi also voted against putting the item on the ballot because he believes the supervisors should be volunteers, but he said he looks forward to what the residents decide.
Supervisor Shawn Maudhuit said he doesn’t see any negatives to paying the supervisors. He said he spends a lot of time driving around the township to check out citizens’ concerns. He said the money would likely go to help with gas and vehicle expenses.
Maudhuit said whatever the voters decide is fine with him. He just wanted to give them the option to decide.
“It’s very little compensation,” he said. “I don’t mind the time that I put into it.”
Other referendum questions
Residents will also get a chance to vote on three other questions:To change the gender-specific, time-based and grammatical errors in the home rule charter. This means changing language from “he” to “they” to make it more gender neutral and changing specific times and date for meetings so supervisors have more flexibility to schedule them.Change the part of the home rule charter that says a supervisor can be removed by the board if they miss three or more meetings. This rule was determined to be unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.Change what decisions require an ordinance before they are voted on. The current charter says the township’s wages, hours and benefits have to be established through an ordinance, but Mator said that’s impossible because the salaries are set through the budget and the budge is set through a resolution, not an ordinance.
Mator said if any residents have any questions on the referendum questions they can reach out to the township at 724-265-3680.