Thursday, July 22, 2021

Organization assessment is considered by trustees

Julie Brown, Special Writer

Recommendations of a recent study of Canton Township government which included focus groups and employee interviews, were presented to the members of the township board of trustees last week.

Details of the study prompted officials to request another meeting this week for more discussion of the organizational assessment. 

The study results were presented by Michelle Ferguson and Mark Olson of the Novak Consulting Group during a regular meeting of the trustees on July 13.  The $47,125 study was funded through the general fund of the township budget.

“I would like to see more of how we explore some of those recommendations,” said Trustee Sommer Foster of the 27 listed in the lengthy report, including how to best proceed when Canton becomes more “built out”.

Trustee Steven Sneideman mentioned “peer communities” for comparisons, and cited township employees “as the people who know our community the best.” He asked about details on the budgeting process as well as water rate studies.

“We've got amazing human capital here,” said Township Clerk Michael Siegrist. During the Zoom meeting, Supervisor Anne Marie Graham-Hudak noted that there were a number of township employees present, although none spoke during public comments.

The organizational assessment excluded the police and fire departments, although those directors were interviewed during the process.  The focus groups included 28 staffers, and 25 in-person employee interviews were conducted, as well as interviews with each of the seven elected officials.

One recommendation from the analysis was the formation of a separate IT department with a dedicated director. The study also recommended adding a deputy township supervisor to work with Graham-Hudak.  Olson also cited an employee evaluation program that could include union workers, as well as succession planning.

“People want to know what they're doing, how well they're doing,” said Olson, also citing the need to assess sourcing of township legal services. That can be a big ticket item, he noted

Trustee Kate Borninski asked how the board of trustees will proceed and set priorities from the assessment, which is set for discussion at the meeting this week.

In other business, trustees unanimously OK'd a $2.50 an hour raise effective July 25 for some Leisure Services workers, excluding not interns.

Graham-Hudak and Siegrist noted the current labor shortages, and Director of Leisure Services Greg Hohenberger added many part-time staffers will return to school soon. The Summit facility is now closed on Sundays, he said.

“We've been getting some pushback on that,” said Graham-Hudak of the Sunday closure.

There's also a $100 employee referral incentive, provided that worker works 250 hours in the first six months. Siegrist noted many people not only seek good pay but also rewarding work, and aren't willing to trade their time for certain jobs with limited rewards.