For the next few months, the day-to-day operations of Ross Township will be in the hands of Deborah J. Grass, a consultant with Delta Development Group, Inc. of Wexford.
Ross commissioners voted 5-3 Friday to hire Grass, after they voted to terminate the employment of former manager Wayne Jones.
Commissioners Peter Ferraro, Gerald R. O' Brien, and John Sponcer voted against the hiring of Grass' firm, just as they voted against the termination of Jones, who also served as the township's financial director.
The 5 remaining commissioners voted in the affirmative, commissioner David Mikec was absent for both votes.
"We're gonna provide those management and financial services, because they need both. And I have a team that I work with," said Grass. "I'll be in the office a certain number of hours a week, we'll have some financial budget analysts working with them on their budget issues. And we'll go from there. We'll meet with the departments, make sure that everybody has the resources they need to their job."
Delta Development will also be involved in the search for Jones' successor.
"We also have been hired to help with the managers search," said Grass. "We'll be coordinating that with the commissioners, putting forth a schedule and a process and we'll work with them to do that."
The commissioners were divided in the decision to let Jones go.
“There was a lack of accountability. Things were slipping through the cracks,” said commissioner Chris Eyster. “Morale has declined among township employees because of the arbitrary and capricious application of rules. I felt compelled to do something. It’s not something I like to do, but sometimes it comes to that.”
Commissioner Gerald O'Brien said he supported Jones and questioned the wisdom of letting him go.
"Morale in my opinion was at an all-time high with Jones in charge," he said. "For instance, for the first time in years, there was harmony among the commissioners, the township manager and the police union. The problem now is that certain commissioners want to micromanage everything."
No timetable was given for hiring a new township manager, or if a second person, a finance director, would also be hired.
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