Scio Township is again thinking about the role of township administrator


Scio Township's interim administrator Jim Merte sits before the township board at the Nov. 15 meeting. image is a screenshot from the township Zoom meeting

Scio Township’s interim Township Administrator Jim Merte is “re-retiring.”

That’s how Merte put it when he announced at the Nov. 15 township board meeting that he would be stepping down from the role he assumed last spring after the resignation of David Rowley.

Sitting before the Scio Township Board, Merte said at the end of his report that he intends on re-retiring with an end date planned for no later than Feb.1, 2023. Merte had come out of retirement to step into the role as township administrator.

Citing that the township consultant had helped find a potential candidate, Merte said there’s a replacement in mind, but he would not say his name just yet. He said he hopes to set up a process and committee of board members to begin looking into filling the vacancy.

In giving some details, Merte said the potential candidate is a retired administrator with 40 years of experience. He said this person would go into the role on the basis it would be interim.

The Sun Times News followed up with township supervisor Will Hathaway.

He said, “The intent was for Jim to help Scio through the transition while we were looking for a long-term township administrator. However, the Township was advised to first fill the vacant finance director position. We are still searching, but it has proven difficult to recruit a qualified candidate for finance director.”

“Jim has been working hard to keep the township moving forward, for example, he immediately prioritized preparation for the annual audit (a process that went into limbo after David Rowley announced his resignation), but Jim is only able to work part-time and the volume work is unrelenting,” Hathaway explained.

After Merte’s announcement, township clerk Jessica Flintoft said this was the first time she had heard about this, including the possibility of a replacement. She said the board hasn’t managed this township role well at all and has had no real discussions about the interim role or a possible full-time administrator.

Flintoft said this topic should be discussed at the upcoming board workshop and she along with board trustee Kathleen Knol said any decisions regarding an administrator needs to be a board decision.

Looking forward, Hathaway said, “We now have another strong candidate to serve as full-time, interim township administrator; this will allow Jim Merte to return to the retirement he began in August 2021, after working for over 40 years as Scio's assessor. We still hope to fill both the finance director position and to find a long term township administrator.”

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