Scio Township begins to think about life without its current township administrator

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Scio Township is looking to its next steps as the last day for Township Administrator David Rowley quickly approaches on May 15.

The Sun Times News (STN) followed up with township supervisor Will Hathaway through email about what happens now with the township administrator stepping down from his role.

Hathaway said the township will look for an interim township administrator to fill the vacancy. He said this will allow the township to continue the progress they were making with Mr. Rowley while they conduct a search for the person who will fill the position in the long term.

STN asked Hathaway what he thinks the community should know about this and he said:

“The Township managed to operate successfully for over two years without a township manager or township administrator. We can do it again, although we will be better off with a township administrator back in place.”

“There have been some recent, heated statements about the Township's financial situation. There is no emergency. The Township has a very healthy general fund balance of $7.5 million, enough to cover about a year and half of general fund expenses.”

“Board members sometimes disagree and there are issues where people have differing views, but this is normal for any group of elected representatives. Unfortunately, the recent conflicts in Scio Township have resulted in some unusual, extreme tactics. This is a waste of time and resources that could be better spent on serving the needs of Scio residents. I hope that all of us in Scio Township can set aside the personal agendas and refocus our efforts on serving the public.”

Whether watching the township board meetings at home over Zoom or in person at  township hall, it’s clear the Scio Township Board is mired in dysfunction. So moving forward in the search for a new administrator will be telling as to what direction the board wants to go in.

Rowley is stepping down after being on the job since December.

His resignation statement said in part, “I am sorry both personally and professionally that this action is necessary. My original intention though was to remain in Scio until my final retirement. However, there is no incentive to remain here. Ongoing township events have clearly demonstrated that there will never be agreement between myself, and Scio Township elected officials as to the principals of good governance regarding local government fiscal management and certified oversight. As a professional local government manager, administrator, and educator with now over thirty (30) years of day-to-day actual experience, I am in a greater position to opine on what is needed for local government and I am greatly saddened by Scio’s political approach to millions of dollars of taxpayer’s money. My reputation in local government, as well as my integrity and professionalism are well known across the state and respected by my colleagues. As a state and national education award winner in government education excellence, I choose to no longer be a part of the Scio Township model of local government. I do call on the Board of Trustees to fill the vacant Finance Director position with an experienced individual who holds a Master of Business Administration degree or who is a Certified Public Accountant and to conduct a three (3) to five (5) year internal audit to fully understand the status of township finances.”

During the April 26 township board meeting's discussion of the next steps, board trustee Kathleen Knol said in light of what’s happening with the township board it will be difficult to recruit another highly qualified administrator. She said seeking an interim candidate is probably the most viable option at this time for the township.

Knol said there are major issues before the township and she asked the board to look at their own behavior and do some soul searching as to why do they think Rowley is stepping down and if they may have played a part in it. She said if they don’t do that and still embark on an administrator search they could very well make the same mistakes again.

During the discussion about the next steps at the April 26 meeting, township clerk Jessica Flintoft did make a motion to begin addressing what she describes as an emergency inside township hall. Flintoft put forth a proposal to direct the township administrator, in his last weeks on the job, to post and begin recruiting for a qualified finance director.

The board approved this proposal by a 3 to 2 vote with Hathaway and board trustee Patrick McLaughlin casting the no votes with trustees Alec Jerome and Jacqueline Courteau absent from the meeting.

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