Thursday, September 2, 2021

Canton OKs first-ever deputy supervisor contract

Joseph Hawver
Change is coming to Canton Township.

For the first time in the 187-year history of the township, members of the board of trustees have hired a deputy supervisor to oversee day-to-day municipal operations. Trustees last week, by unanimous vote, approved a contract with Joseph Hawver, currently an administrator in the Kalamazoo County Prosecuting Attorney's office to take on the newly-created position.

Hawver joins the township at a time of nearly unprecedented growth. Last month, reports from the 2020 Census showed a 9-percent population increase in the township, ranking Canton as the ninth largest municipality in the state, surpassing neighboring Livonia and Westland. 

In addition to Hawver as the new deputy supervisor, trustees also approved the addition of an Information Technology (IT) department director and a deputy director for the Municipal Services department. The reorganization and staff additions were in response to an organization assessment study by consulting group Novak Raftelis which recommended the changes. The board members approved a starting salary of $130,604 for Hawver, less than the $178,000 to $224,000 recommended by the consultants. His contract also includes a benefit package estimated at $39,000.

Officials said that the new position will not result in any additional tax burden for residents. Township Supervisor Anne Marie Graham-Hudak said that the township will receive an additional $750,000 in state shared revenue this year and that some township expenses have been eliminated allowing for investments in staffing.

Hawver will be chief of staff in Canton Township, responsible for overseeing operations of the township leadership team and interfacing with elected officials, the business and nonprofit community, and community groups. He will lead administrative, legal and human resource functions as well, according to a statement from the township.

Hawver is a graduate of Wayne State University Law School and teaches in the Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University and is expected to begin in Canton this month.

His legal expertise was a quality that Graham-Hudak said she was looking for in a deputy in an effort to reduce outside legal expenses in the township. During a study session Aug. 17, she said that key qualifications for the position included skill in contract negotiations and labor resolution experience.

His contract will expire at the end of Graham-Hudak's term in 2024 and can be renewed or cancelled at the discretion of the elected supervisor. 

The contract also allows a termination option based on performance.

“We're thrilled to welcome Joseph to Canton,” said Graham-Hudak. “His leadership experience as a prosecutor will provide great expertise in public safety, legal management and government operations to everyone in the township.”

Hawver said he's looking forward to serving Canton residents.

“Canton is a wonderful community to live, work and raise a family,” said Hawver in a prepared statement. “Safe neighborhoods, strong families, beautiful parks and natural spaces, and rich with diversity - that's what makes Canton special. I'm looking forward to working with Supervisor Graham-Hudak and the Board of Trustees to keep Canton bright and beautiful.”

No salary or potential candidates for the recommended Information Technology (IT) department director and  deputy director for the Municipal Services were discussed by the board of trustees although they indicated those positions would also be filled.