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.