Thursday, December 30, 2021

Rush is named as Sumpter deputy supervisor

Tim Rush
Sumpter Township Trustee Tim Rush has been appointed as interim deputy township supervisor by a 5-1 vote of the board members.

Casting the only no vote on the proposal by Supervisor Tim Bowman was Trustee Peggy Morgan. Rush abstained from the vote approving the new position which will pay $8,804 annually. His appointment will continue only until April 30, 2022. In response to the proposal by Bowman during the workshop preceding the Dec. 14 electronic meeting, Morgan burst out in raucous laughter and briefly left the meeting to compose herself. 

Upon her return, Rush criticized her behavior noting, “The man (Bowman) is asking for help. This is temporary. For you to disgrace the board the way you just did is despicable,” he said.

“I can't help it. I found it funny,” Morgan responded prompting Bowman to comment, “I find you funny a lot of times, Peggy, but I try to respect you.” 

Township attorney Rob Young explained that in a township or municipality of fewer than 40,000 residents, appointing a trustee to another position was within the board members' authority according to the law. He did suggest that if Rush were to be assigned other duties, such as the oversight of the water and building departments, the board members should articulate that authority in the motion naming him to the petition to prevent any question arising at a later date.

Morgan repeatedly asked how much Rush would be paid and was informed of the $8,804 amount but continued to voice objections to the request. She said that staff members in the supervisor's office could handle the business and that like other employees in the township they have “stepped up” in the absence of a deputy supervisor and financial director.

Trustee Don LaPorte attempted to explain that Bowman needed help in the office. “He needs help. Budget and tax season is nearly here. When somebody asks for help, you give it,” he said.

Morgan refuted LaPorte's comments and said that there are “firms out there who can help and asserted that a staff member “takes care of all the documents.” She then questioned Bowman's capabilities as supervisor. 

“I don't know where the supervisor is in all this. Do you have any duties?” she asked. “If we give Tim Rush more duties and more pay, what do you handle then?”

Trustee Matt Oddy reminded Morgan that she was very supportive when Ken Bednark was named deputy supervisor by Bowman. “You had no problem when Bednark was named. You even wanted him to be a full-time deputy supervisor,” he said.

Rush made no comment during the discussion but in a later interview, following the vote, he said that the township employees and officials should be commended for their willingness to help while a full-time deputy supervisor or township manager was hired. 

“People have stepped up,” he said. “It is phenomenal.” He said that he spent time at township hall during the week getting informed about the needs of the staff and getting organized. “I think I have hit the ground running,” he said. “I'm going to do whatever the staff needs me to do. I know how to organize.” 

Rush, who has lived in the township for 32 years, has been a professional security consultant for 35 years. He is in his third term on the board of trustees and said that he wants only the best for the community. “I plan to retire here. I'm not going anywhere,” he said.

“The clerk's office, Police Chief Luke, all of the township employees have really stepped up to help,” he said. “I'm just trying to do the same.”