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Bullskin resident questions township's policies on ashes and hiring, paying worker in training

| Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, 12:17 a.m.

Bullskin resident Lori Henry wants to know the township's policies for spreading ashes on private property and hiring new workers.

In a letter she read to supervisors at their meeting this week, Henry said she witnessed a truck that had gotten stuck in a private driveway and a little while later noticed the entire driveway was covered in ashes supplied by the township. She also witnessed a township employee and township truck spreading ashes at Smith's Garage and asked why this was done.

Supervisor Scott Keefer said the truck that had gotten stuck was a propane truck taking heating fuel to a family who had no heat during the very cold streak.

“That was an emergency, and we would do that for any of our residents,” Keefer said. “We don't want anyone to be cold, especially when kids are involved.”

As for Smith's Garage, Supervisor Deb Wiltrout said the owner called, said his lot was a sheet of ice and requested some ashes. He added that any resident is allowed to come and get a load of ashes to make their driveway safer if necessary.

Resident Jeff Hann said it was not the ashes that were the issue, but that they were delivered by a township truck by a township employee on the clock.

As for the hiring, Henry questioned why Connie McKlveen, an office employee in training, was being paid.

McKlveen will take over the job of Jeff Wadsworth, who plans to leave once training is complete. McKlveen will receive a salary of $17,160 for the year, and after the first year, benefits will be offered.

Henry said she thought McKlveen was receiving limited benefits, too, and that according to township ordinance 05-5, new hires should be on probation with no benefits for the first year.

Wiltrout said after the meeting that ordinance applies to union workers and not nonunion ones.

Henry also questioned why the position was not advertised, adding that the township might have gotten an individual who had experience and would not take long to train.

“How can a township financially pay $17,000 for a year's training along with Jeff's (Wadsworth) salary?” she asked, adding that it is about $44,000 for the year for a part-time position.

Also after the meeting, Wiltrout said they are not spending more in their budget this year because of the hire, but are actually spending less.

“One of our (street crew) workers retired, and we purposely didn't replace him because we knew we wanted to have extra money for the office trainee, so we're actually spending less than we were,” he said.

In other business, Ron Parfitt, who has a housing development in the township, asked supervisors to take over maintenance of the access road, Meadow Ridge Drive, which comes off Route 119.

Supervisors said there is not enough drainage and the slope of the road is not right, causing water to run off the road and onto Route 119.

“If the township would take over that road as it is, it's a hazardous liability,” Supervisor Bill Geary said.

Parfitt also asked why the supervisors would not meet with him and representatives from state Rep. Tim Mahoney's office and PennDOT to see what could be done to fix the issue.

Geary said Parfitt should meet with the officials to find out what needs to be done and then fix the issue, adding that the township does not need to be involved.

Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.

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