Scio Township picks an interim township administrator

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Scio Township has an interim township administrator in place while it looks for a full-time person.

During the May 10 township board meeting’s discussion of the resignation of township administrator David Rowley and the next steps, township supervisor Will Hathaway put forth a motion to bring on a former township employee as interim township administrator.

The township board approved bringing on James Merte by a vote of 5 to 1 with board trustee Kathleen Knol voting no while township clerk Jessica Flintoft was absent from the meeting.

One issue Knol had with the motion is that she said it was a short notice decision and the first time she was hearing of it and was feeling rushed. Knol said Merte is highly respected, but she believes the board should have more discussion before making this decision and should also work with the township consultant about next steps for finding a township administrator.

The Sun Times News (STN) reached out to Hathaway in follow up to the decision.

Hathaway said:

“Up until his retirement in August 2021, James Merte served multiple, key roles in Scio Township government for over 40 years. Jim began as Scio Township's chief assessor in 1980. In 1985 he began overseeing the Township's information systems and served as the go-to person for technology related projects. Jim also played a support role for the township's treasurer, helping to set the tax rolls.”

“When the current township administrator resigned abruptly on April 12, the Township faced the possibility of indeterminate vacancy in this crucial position. We were lucky that Jim was available and willing to help on an interim basis while we conduct a search for a long term person.”

“Jim is familiar with Scio Township government and he knows the community. He has a wealth of skills and institutional knowledge. The staff at Township Hall are happy to have him return as a colleague. We are all lucky to have Jim Merte back in a leadership role in Scio Township government.”

STN also reached out to Flintoft to get her response about the decision.

Flintoft said:

“Jim Merte served the Township faithfully as Assessor for 40 years prior to retiring last summer. However, Merte lacks the qualifications to serve as Administrator—it’s simply not his area of skills, knowledge, or abilities. I was shocked to hear his name.”

“Likely, Merte has unwittingly gotten swept up by Hathaway in another one of his dishonest schemes. Jim Merte is a good and honest person. As he gets some on the job experience, I trust that Merte will stand up against any efforts to corrupt or erode the Township. Like outgoing Administrator David Rowley, Jim Merte is an honorable public servant who knows he works for the people of Scio Township.”

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