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Valley News Dispatch

West Deer voters say 'no' to paid supervisors

Emily Balser
| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, 6:15 p.m.
West Deer Township municipal offices.
West Deer Township municipal offices.

The West Deer voters have spoken and they don’t want their supervisors to be paid.

The question appeared as one of four referendum questions on Tuesday’s ballot. The results showed 63 percent of voters were against paying supervisors with nearly 37 percent in favor of it.

The move would have implemented a $50 monthly stipend for supervisors starting in 2020 that would cover their expenses such as gas and printer ink.

Township Manager Daniel Mator said turnout at the polls was “tremendous,” but he worried residents might have been confused about the specifics of the referendum questions and received false information on social media.

“I just don’t think people understood them,” Mator said. “I don’t think they took the time to contact us to receive clarification.”

Supervisor Gerry Vaerewyck said he was happy so many residents came out to voice their opinion. He was against the supervisors being paid because he worried residents would run just for the extra compensation.

“That was not something that people, in general, wanted,” he said. “Just because everyone else does it doesn’t mean that that’s a good future for government.”

Officials have said that West Deer is one of the only townships that doesn’t compensate its supervisors.

Supervisor Shawn Maudhuit was in favor of supervisors getting paid, but said he respects the voters’ decision.

“I’m completely fine with it — I didn’t run for supervisor to get paid,” he said. “Whatever the citizens want, it doesn’t change my agenda to want to help the best I (can).”

Other referendum questions

Residents voted in favor of three other questions on the ballot:

  • To change the gender-specific, time-based and grammatical errors in the home rule charter. This means changing language from “he” to “they” to make it more gender neutral and changing specific times and date for meetings so supervisors have more flexibility to schedule them.
  • Change the part of the home rule charter that says a supervisor can be removed by the board if they miss three or more meetings. This rule was determined to be unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.
  • Change what decisions require an ordinance before they are voted on. The current charter says the township’s wages, hours and benefits have to be established through an ordinance, but Mator said that’s impossible because the salaries are set through the budget and the budge is set through a resolution, not an ordinance.

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Emily at 724-226-4680, emilybalser@tribweb.com or via Twitter @emilybalser.

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