Supervisor Meeting Minutes – January 21, 2020
The Morris Township Board of Supervisors met at the township office for their regular scheduled meeting. Present at the meeting were Supervisors Rob Sanders, Dave Dietrich & Doug Smith, Attorney William Hook, Bob Ruffalo, Sandy Cowden, Bruce Cowden, Jim Wilson, Michelle Wilson, Glenn Crouse, Bruce Livingood, Todd Patress, Steve Buchanan, Kim Hughes, Joe Bails, Jim Watt, Dusty Stockdale, Pegg Smith, Drake Shultz, Aileen Smith, Duncan Smith, Randy Hamilton, Shelby Bamberger, Rick Sanders, Stan Krenzelak, Bob Silvers, John, Ryan Coffield, Grace Coffield, Dennis Locy, John Lindley, Bill Addleman, Tom Coffield, Janet Coffield, Carl Sanders, Bob Sanders.
Meeting was called to order by Chairman Sanders at 7:35. Minutes of last regular meeting were read and a correction was made by Smith about a comment by Sanders that road crew management wanted to go in a different direction and Jeff was not part of that new direction so he was let go. It was simply a management decision. Minutes were approved with that correction. Minutes of the reorganization meeting were read and approved as read.
It was asked by Smith why Jeff Mooney’s termination was not discussed and decided on at the reorganization meeting. Bill Hook suggested that all employees should be rehired at reorganization meeting and salaries and benefits be set, except for the road masters, who’s salary is set by the auditors.
In Old business: On the Jeff Mooney termination, Smith reiterated his opinion that employee decisions should be made by the Supervisor board as a whole, at a meeting.
Dusty Stockdale questioned if there was anything in the employee handbook about firing employees. Randy Hamilton produced a copy of the handbook and looked for the page with the information. It was determined that he was looking at the discipline procedure, which does not cover terminations. Steve Buchanan and Aileen Smith asked for clarification as to what the change of direction is. Sanders stated that the projects are getting more involved (for example, road slips) and we need someone with heavy equipment experience. There was discussion about at will employment and road master responsibilities. It was asked if his termination was a violation of the sunshine law. A motion was made by Sanders to uphold the termination of Jeff Mooney, second by Dietrich. Smith voted NO. Motion passed.
Randy Hamilton questioned equal amounts of vacation by the supervisors who are employed as Road Masters. He feels that vacation time should be based on years of service. He brought up the November 16, 2020 meeting minutes, where it was voted on to treat employees with the same job title equally. He didn’t feel it was right to change the handbook to benefit one employee. That if there was a change, it should take effect after the voting supervisor’s term. Hook stated it is a policy decision by the board and the auditors. He also stated that he has never seen a township that based vacation on length of service, but on job. Smith requested an updated copy of the handbook. Pam will provide one to each supervisor.
Sanders requested a revision to the handbook update adding an equipment operator job. Job description that was compiled by Bill Hook was read and there was discussion by many attendees and supervisors about job qualifications of employees. There were comments by Joe Bails and that hiring someone who has more qualifications than the roadmaster is sometimes necessary and justifies the cost of hiring them if the jobs can be done less expensively in house without having to hire an outside company to do the job at a much higher cost. Motion was made by Sanders to adopt the new job description as read, second by Dietrich. Smith voted No. Motion passed.
John Lindley asked about hiring contractors to do the work. His concern is being short an employee and why was someone let go after 9 years of service. Smith restated that the two supervisors were taking the road crew in a different direction and wanted someone with more qualifications. John Lindley asked how hiring someone from the outside to do the job is saving the township money. It was clarified that Jim Wilson has been hired by the township as a temporary employee to help with the slips. Sanders showed a chart of costs involved in fixing one of the slips and how it compares to an engineer’s estimate of hiring a firm to do the work. Doing it in house saved the township hundreds of thousands of dollars.
There was discussion about getting an engineer involved in major projects to limit liability to the township.
There was more discussion about a new employee qualifications, salary, etc. Bill Hook summarized, there will be an ad placed in the paper and the board will look over applications, have interviews and a decision will be made at a meeting. Salary will be based on experience and skills.
Dusty Stockdale wondered why Jeff could not have been retrained to be qualified. There was discussion on training the road masters as well.
Bruce Livingood discussed business practices and hiring people with the experience to do the projects that come up.
Randy Hamilton stated that the auditors voted to recommend using a CPA for the 2020 audit. There was discussion about a five day work week for the road crew, as opposed to four, which is what is currently done.
There was discussion on chain of command and who makes decisions for the road·crew.
In new business: Sanders stated that there is no word, as of yet, from the Redevelopment Authority on the Grant for the work on Weir Cole Rd. The slip is finished at the far end of Parcell.
There was a question about the historical society and how they are funded. Smith stated they are self funded but the building is covered by the township insurance.
There was also discussion on an agenda for future meetings. It was decided that an agenda will be prepared.
Joe Bails asked that a “no engine brake” sign that was knocked over be reinstalled on Rt.18, Dietrich will fix it. Smith made a motion to continue to make the $745 donation to the Citizen’s Library. Second by Sanders, all voted yes. Motion passed. Pam brought up that the office computer is running on Windows 7, which is no longer supported by Microsoft. Mike Verner suggested a new computer as opposed to updating the old one. Motion made by Sanders to approve the purchase of a new computer up to $1,000. Second by Smith, all voted yes. Motion passed.
Motion by Sanders to review and pay bills, second by Dietrich, all in favor. Motion passed.
Motion by Sanders to adjourn, second by Smith, all in favor. Meeting adjourned at 9:25.
Pam Bartolotto, Secretary