Janesville72°

Town struggles to fill board vacancies

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GINA R. HEINE
January 13, 2008
— Plymouth Township needed somebody from a different township to fill its town board.

The town’s chairman, clerk and treasurer all resigned in recent months for personal and family reasons, leaving two supervisors to run the town, said Bill Schweder, a supervisor who was appointed as the town’s new chairman Tuesday night.


In fall, the board sent a letter to every town resident asking for volunteers interested in any of the openings.


“We got nothing. Not one single response,” he said.


So former chairman Dan Cawkins, Schweder and supervisor Keith Neal in November combined the clerk and treasurer into one position. But because they couldn’t find a township resident to fill it, they turned to Center Township clerk/treasurer Devona Udulutch to temporarily fill the post.


The town will hold a public hearing at its 7 p.m. meeting Tuesday, Feb. 4, at the town hall, 8219 High St., Hanover, on whether the town should add a referendum to the April ballot asking voters if the clerk/treasurer position should be an appointed father than elected position, Schweder said.


By switching to an appointed position, the town would be able to hire a non-resident.


“We haven’t had anybody run unopposed on our ballot in, I think, 14 years,” Schweder said.


Also on Tuesday night, the board appointed William Orchard, 6931 Highway 11, to fill the open supervisor position. Orchard moved to the town a couple years ago, bringing 18 years of town board experience, Schweder said.


Schweder attributes the lack of interest in positions and turnout at meetings mostly to taxes.


The town’s share of property taxes have stayed pretty consistent, as well as the Parkview School District’s tax rate, he said.


“As long as taxes are low, people don’t show up at the meetings,” he said. “That’s kind of the way it goes.”


Cawkins said it was a pleasure to serve his community, but with four school-aged boys, it’s more important for him to be opening his sons’ backpacks at night than a stack of town mail. He officially completed his service on the board in early December.


“It’s been kind of a long road. We’ve worked pretty diligently to make it known that positions were available,” he said on filling positions. “(It’s) probably the biggest disappointment for me … I’ve been doing town business for 10 or 12 years, and I’ve seen a lot of the same faces every time I’ve been up there.”



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