Update: Sharp Disagreements among Ross Commissioners over Township Manager's Departure
For the second time in less than five years, Ross Commissioners are searching for a new township manager. The issue is the subject of a special meeting tonight.
Ross Township commissioners will meet at 6 tonight to formalize the departure of township Manager Wayne Jones, who cleared out his office earlier this week, and to begin the search for his successor.
“The search for a new manager will be quick, comprehensive and effective,” said Commissioner Chris Eyster.
Eyster was among the majority of commissioners who decided Monday that they believe a change is needed at the top of the Ross Township administration.
“I hate to use a cliché, but the inmates were running the asylum,” said Eyster. “A majority of the board felt the administration was not being responsive to the needs of the board and the township.”
Eyster said Jones was given the option of resigning or face termination.
“Each option has certain benefits in regards to severance, unemployment compensation, that kind of thing,” said Eyster. “This was done for Wayne’s benefit.We want to mitigate any consequences to him by this action.”
Eyster said the decision is the result of several issues and incidents.
“There was a lack of accountability. Things were slipping through the cracks,” said 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.”
Eyster said he would be proposing several initiatives for the new township manager to implement.
“We want a fair application of the rules,” he said.
“This isn’t all Wayne’s fault. There’s a culture in the township that needs to change. There are some people who are more concerned about protecting their selfish interests in the township than doing their job,” Eyster said.
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."
O'Brien also questioned how in touch some of the commissioners really were with the day-to-day operations of the township.
"Most of the time, they don't show up there unitl after 5 p.m.," he said. "How would they know what is going on? The real problem is that certain commissioners treat the township like a hobby that they can run by remote control from their homes."
Asked why the board did not vote in public session on the issue of Jones’ employment, Eyster said commissioners wanted to give Jones time to decide what he wanted to do.
“Our solicitor said we can wait for his decision, then vote on whether to terminate or accept his resignation,” Eyster said. “That will be the subject of tonight's meeting.”
Jones has been unavailable for comment. He served as township manager since September 2008. He succeeded Tom Lavorini, who was fired.
|Do you agree with the Commissioners' actions? Tell us how you think the township is being run in the comments box below.|
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