After weeks of discussion, members of the Union Township Board of Trustees drafted a policy to better regulate which board members are eligible for extra pay.
Extra meetings which trustees attend, and are paid for in addition to their salaries, were defined at Wednesdays meeting at Union Township Hall. The budget for extra meetings is capped at $26,000.
“How can any of us go to any of the taxpayers and say that we have a $26,000-a-year budget just to go to meetings,” Hauck said. “Just think if we took that $26,000 and put it toward roads.”
The new policy was voted on and approved at the last meeting. It was drafted at an April 2 workshop, and went into effect on April 9.
All meetings attended prior to April 9, will be subject to the past policy.
Under the new policy, extra pay meetings include the economic development authority, planning commission, sustainability committee and the zoning board of appeals. Currently, Supervisor Russ Alwood is the liaison for the EDA, Trustee Phil Mikus is the liaison for the sustainability committee and Trustee Bryan Mielke is the liaison for the planning commission.
The planning commission, EDA, sustainability committee and the intergovernmental liaison team will have an assigned representative to attend each meeting. Only the assigned liaisons will be paid to go to the meetings.
No one will be assigned to the ZBA due to conflicts of interest. The ZBA decides zoning issues for the Union Township board of trustees and consists of volunteer residents.
The goal of the new resolution is to give trustees a standard policy to show taxpayers a justifiable reason for going to meetings and receiving payment.
“It would prohibit board members on a salary that have daytime working hours from getting paid for attending meetings,” Mikus said.
Supervisor, clerk and treasurer will not be paid extra for meetings if it falls within the set hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. They can be reimbursed for travel expenses during those hours.
Benefits and compensation for the board’s duties include mileage reimbursement, extra meeting pay, health insurance, and seminar training fees along with lodging and retirement funding.
Those who choose not to take the health insurance are written a check for $1,500 in compensation for saving the township money. The money for health insurance is not included in income taxes.
Hauck said he regretted using the township money for his health insurance. The plan he put his family on is valued at $22,319, which he’ll switch to his employer’s insurance within the next year.
“The health insurance that the board offered was better insurance than what I had at the time,” Hauck said. “After this budgeting year, I will be taken off of the health insurance and put on the one at a job I will be taking soon.”
Trustee Tim Lannen refused to give a reason for taking the same amount for health insurance because of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996.
When the term is over, Mielke suggested to re-evaluate compensation for future boards.
“It is good to do an evaluation at the end of our terms here for the next board to make sure that this board is being compensated properly,” Mielke said.