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Divided Dexter Township Board Will Look Internally for Assistant Assessor

The township will ask current employees to apply for the open position vacated by township treasurer Vickie Kooyers.

In one of its first official actions, the newly elected Dexter Township Board of Trustees voted 4-3 to look internally for a website coordinator and assistant assessor at its meeting on Tuesday.

The decision was approved following a lengthy, and often tense, discussion by board members on how best to fill the positions.

Prior to the Nov. 6 election, both positions were held by Township Treasurer Vickie Kooyers, however Kooyers chose not to seek re-election, and as of Nov. 20, vacated her position and all additional responsibilities.

Township Supervisor Pat Kelly recommended that the board retain Kooyers as an hourly employee at a rate of $15.03 per hour to serve as both assistant assessor and website coordinator.

"Vickie's service in these two capacities has been exemplary and it is impossible for me to imagine finding another person who could bring the same level of knowledge, skill, commitment and conscientiousness to the positions," Kelly said in a written statement.

Prior to the vote, Township Clerk Harley Rider said the opening should be filled by current employees in order to save money.

"It would make sense to allow existing staff to absorb the current duties in lieu of bringing in a new person," he said. "My recommendation is nothing personal against Vickie. We work well together, but I think we have the current staff on payroll who should be interviewed by our assessor, and if they are qualified, they should get first shot at the position."

Rider said he doesn't believe spending $1,800 of taypayer dollars for a website coordinator is fiscally responsible.

Township Trustee Michael Howard agreed, stating "If we can keep those services in house, then let's keep them in house."

Kelly said not hiring Kooyers is insulting.

"We all wear a lot of hats in this office. I have no idea why we would want to fire Vickie and hire someone else to do her job," Kelly said. "It makes no sense. What you are suggesting is equivalent to kicking Vickie to the curb."

A motion by Trustee Jason Maciejewski to hire Kooyers until the township could conduct interviews to fill the position was defeated 4-3.

"We need to go through a process and do this the right way instead of just throwing names out," Maciejewski said. "If its a true vacant position, lets write up a job description and set the process for hiring someone."

A second motion by Rider to accept applications from internal candidates to allow Assessor Chris Renius to interview candidates passed 4-3. If no internal candidate meets the job qualifications, the township will open the job to external candidates.

Office Manager DeNette Bolyard petitioned the board to fill the vacancy, citing training with the website software and experience with the Board of Review and Township Assessor's Office.

Bolyard said she feels confident she can take on the extra duties in addition to her regular office manager responsibilities without increased hourly pay.

"I propose that I work the hours needed to complete the assignments (in the assessor's office) and not work additional hours if it is not needed," she said.

Laura Jones November 24, 2012 at 03:01 AM
I'm a little confused by the article. We're we paying someone already specifically for these duties or was someone doing them as part of their regular duties. Will hiring someone be a new expense for the township?
Roger McDonough November 25, 2012 at 06:22 PM
Some of the statements made above by Mr. Rider seem contradictory. He states that "the opening should be filled by current employees in order to save money". This means one of two things: either the pay rate suggested for Ms. Kooyers is higher than the rate for current employees, or the current employees will absorb the work within their current allocated hours. Mr. Rider then goes on to say "It would make sense to allow existing staff to absorb the current duties in lieu of bringing in a new person...I think we have the current staff on payroll who should be interviewed by our assessor, and if they are qualified, they should get first shot at the position". Why would anyone on the staff interview for, or want, a position that resulted in an increased workload with no additional pay? (more in next post...)
Roger McDonough November 25, 2012 at 06:24 PM
(continued from previous post...) Apparently Ms. Bolyard would, since she "feels confident she can take on the extra duties in addition to her regular office manager responsibilities without increased hourly pay". Let's dissect this statement. At $15 per hour, and "$1,800 of taxpayer dollars" at stake, this equals 120 hours of work. Assuming 50 working weeks is a year, this equals 2.4 hours per week. Assuming that Ms. Bolyard works 3 full days each week, this means she has nothing to do for 10% of her current work-week. If she is that under-worked, then I agree that the tasks should be functionally transferred to her. Oh, by the way, the 2.5 hours only includes the website coordinator tasks. It does not include the assistant assessor tasks that "she can take on...without increased hourly pay". The board members that voted in favor of this plan did not think it through. No money will be saved. If money is saved, how does the township board intend to demonstrate that to the public?
Pat Kelly November 25, 2012 at 08:48 PM
Dear Ms. Jones, Thank you for your interest and questions. The answer to your first question is, yes, the township was already paying someone (Ms. Kooyers) to perform the duties of Assistant to the Assessor and Website Coordinator. The answer to your second question is more complicated as it depends on the pay rate of the individual assigned the duties as well as the number of hours required to complete the duties. I invite you to read additional background on this issue at: http://twp-dexter.org/boards/township_board/township_board_agenda/2012/12_11_20_township_board_packet.pdf. (Scroll to pages 146-148 of the board agenda and packet to find the relevant information.) Note that the letter from Ms. Bolyard referenced in the article is not included in the online packet. Most board members received this letter via email (I and another Trustee did not) and all board members except me received the letter via US mail. Since I prepare the packets and I did not have a copy of Ms. Bolyard’s letter, it was not included. (I did receive a copy of the letter prior to the meeting but after board packets were distributed.) I encourage you to post additional comments and questions after you read the referenced material and I will be happy to respond.
Harley B. Rider November 27, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Mr. McDonough, I appreciate your interest in this matter. I wish more Dexter Township residents would take such an interest in their government. I also appreciate your dissection of the statement in your response. However, as in all matters that are only written back and forth, much is lost in the translation and even more is lost in what ISN'T discussed. I invite you to call me, or meet with me, at your convenience to discuss this and any other concerns you may have with Dexter Township. I can make all Township records available for review on this or any matter so you can have a complete understanding of how your government works. I can be available evenings and weekends, if weekdays are not convenient for you. My home phone is listed on the Township's website and I answer calls that show a local number, but I don't answer "Unavailable" or "Blocked" calls. If you don't want your number to show on my caller ID, I can understand, so please call the Township to reach me and we can set a time to talk. Harley B. Rider, Dexter Township Clerk
Albion February 28, 2013 at 09:54 PM
Roger, This is a matter of Pat Kelly wanting to give Vickie Kooyers a job. Period! Kellys comment about it being insulting to Vickie or kicking her to the street has nothing to do with saving Dexter Township money. Vickie was NOT fired, she chose not to run. This is just a matter of Supervisor Kelly RANTING and RAVING so she gets her WANTS met. It would be nice if Pat Kelly could control her emotions. Just look at the picture above. DRAMATICS AT ITS BEST!! Making things PERSONAL because her friend needed a job and Pat Kelly wanted to make sure Vickie Kooyers got that job. An assessing assistant was NOT in the contract. The assessor said an assistant is NOT needed for the size of Dexter Township & he does NOT have an assistant for other townships of this size. This should not have taken the board this long to find out these facts. This matter should have been caught sooner. The townships employees would put in the FEW hours that MAY be needed OR a FEW hours needed for board of review. But of course that was not mentioned in the article. Can this be bias on the part of Danial Lai? As I see it, Vickie Kooyers had a great thing going for quite a while, with Pat Kellys help. Also, as I see it, Pat Kelly does not have the best interest of the township in mind.The Tension Pat Kelley causes is very troublesome to me. I have seen this a lot on ZBA issues.

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