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West Deer may alter supervisor election

| Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018, 1:26 a.m.

West Deer voters will have the opportunity in the May 15 primary to reduce the number of township supervisors from seven to five, and to choose whether they should be elected by district or at large.

The township's charter commission recommended that initiative, and West Deer supervisors voted 5-2 on Tuesday to put it on the May ballot. Gerry Vaerewyck and Joyce Romig voted no.

It's actually a two-part ballot question:

• Part one would ask voters whether the board should be reduced from seven to five members, and whether four geographical districts should be created where voters would elect representatives. The fifth supervisor would be elected at large.

• Part two would ask whether the board should be cut to five supervisors, with all five being elected at-large.

The changes would take effect with the 2019 election, for terms to start in 2020.

Supervisors also approved another ballot question, on whether to modernize gender references, grammar and other language in the township's charter home rule charter.

The charter was established in the mid-1970s when West Deer approved a home rule style of municipal government.

Failing to get enough votes to appear on the ballot was a move to restrict an individual supervisor's authority regarding the township's day-to-day operations, and to pay supervisors a $50 stipend per meeting.

That measure was voted down by a 4-3 margin. Voting to put that revision on the ballot were Shirley Hollibaugh, Richard DiSanti and Beverly Jordan.

Voting against placing the revision on the ballot were Vaerewyck, Romig, Shawn Maudhuit and Arlind Karpuzi.

DiSanti said West Deer is one of only three townships in the state where supervisors don't receive compensation.

In another change, supervisors' meetings in 2018 will return to a 7 p.m. start on the third Wednesday of each month, starting Jan. 17.

West Deer had started meetings at 6:30 p.m. for the last several years.

Hollibaugh, Jordan, Romig and Vaerewyck voted for the later start time. DiSanti, Maudhuit and Karpuzi voted to keep the 6:30 start.

George Guido is a freelance writer.

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