Taylor Township Supervisor Offers Criticism of Office Expenses; Other Two Supervisors Respond
April 30, 2020
Editor’s Note: The Herald received the following letter from Bill Replogle, who is a Taylor Township supervisor. This letter contains criticisms of township personnel and personnel policies. Because this is an important matter brought to the public’s attention by an elected official, the Herald is publishing Supervisor Replogle’s letter as he sent it to the Herald.
However, because it criticizes the other two township supervisors, the Herald believes that it is also important for those supervisors to have the chance to respond.
The Herald provided a list of specific criticisms to the other two supervisors, Joe Dilling and Paul Closson, and requested a response. This response was provided and will be published along with Supervisor Replogle’s letter.
This letter is published here exactly as sent to the Herald by Supervisor Replogle, with only very minor changes for clarity. The response is published exactly as provided by supervisors Dilling and Closson.
– OPINION –
During the recent coronavirus epidemic Taylor Township closed its office. The secretary was advised that the guidelines advised non-essential employees to stay home to protect the public. The secretary insisted she be allowed to work and get paid. The senior Taylor Township supervisor, who always covers for the secretary, allowed her to work reading emails.
At the beginning of the year the senior supervisor and the junior supervisor formed an alliance to lead the township. Together they pushed through a 10 percent pay increase for the secretary. With the raise the secretary’s rate is $19.18 per hour in addition to over $750 per month for health insurance.
Taylor Township pays [for] as many office hours or more than adjacent townships. Some have police departments and some have water and sewer departments. One adjacent township similar to Taylor Township with no police department pay [for] about one-fourth the number of office hours as Taylor Township.
Taylor Township could save a minimum [of] $16,000 a year by changing to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday office schedule instead of a Monday through Thursday office schedule. the change could provide as good or better service to the public and save $16,000 a year for the taxpayers. Some customers favor Friday service. The junior and senior supervisors oppose a change because the secretary needs all the hours to read emails and forward the important ones so they know what to do. It is easy to see the secretary’s pay is more important than public safety and taxpayer savings.
The Taylor Township taxpayers should weigh in and voice their opinion on paying $19.18 per hour to read emails and should the township change to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday office schedule to save $16,000 per year.
The Taylor Township supervisors meet the first Monday of the month at 6 p.m. Come voice your opinion.
– Supervisor Replogle
– RESPONSE –
Yes, The senior and junior supervisors requested that the secretary/treasurer remain at work during the epidemic since she performs essential government functions. The Pennsylvania Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS) was contacted and they agreed to keep the township open with limited access. The junior supervisor verified with our township solicitor and he felt that we need to stay open and let the local people know that we are there to serve them. We also elected to have the Road Foreman work from our facility with locked doors but available to meet with people if necessary.
The junior and senior supervisors approached the secretary/treasurer and requested that she work from the township office. We wanted the people of our township to know that we were there to serve them. I know of no township unavailable for service.
Reading electronic messages and distributing information to township employees and supervisors is part of the secretary/treasurer responsibilities, in addition to many more jobs.
No alliance was formed to push through pay increase for 2020 for the secretary/treasurer. Two of the three supervisors agreed to the 2020 pay increase for the secretary/treasurer. The basis of this increase was to bring this position’s wages (18 years of service) up to the mid-point on the Pa. State Association of Township Supervisors wage data from 210 respondent townships in Pennsylvania. Before this increase this position pay rate was not even up to the 25 percent range of employees in Pennsylvania.
The pay is $19.18 but not quite to the mid-range which is $20.98.
Yes, the township pays for the health insurance for our full-time employees per our Personnel Policy and Procedures.
The office hours have been unchanged for the past seven years and the secretary/treasury paperwork seems to increase due to required documentation and data distribution. Taylor Township does not have a police force, water, or sewer.
The township office is open 24 hours a week and we are unaware of an area township office (with police force) that operates on one-fourth the hours.
Any reduction in township secretary/treasurer hours will save dollars. The senior and junior supervisors believe that the present office hours are necessary to meet the township residents needs properly.
The office has been open four days a week for as long as the senior supervisor can remember.
Opening Friday would close Tuesday or Thursday and we have not heard from anyone that is not able to work the Monday-Thursday schedule.
The senior and junior supervisors believe that the present office hours are necessary for the secretary/treasurer to perform the duties of the secretary/treasurer as per the job description and [to] best serve Taylor Township residents. It is important to have someone available to service the needs of the public and no public safety or taxpayer savings issue are at risk.
The senior and junior supervisors believe that public safety and operating an economically efficient township are critical to the township. We want to continue to offer a competitive pay package so that we can have the best possible employees for our community. We are blessed to have three extremely competent employees and hope that they stay with us until retirement and are glad that you are confident in their work.
Note: Residents can contact Taylor Township supervisor Joe Dilling at (717) 676-1256 with questions or comments.