Members of the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees approved the posting of a clerical job in the clerk's office by a 5-1 vote during the Feb. 8 meeting.
The approval came after extensive discussion of the exact duties of the proposed employee and the hours of work necessary to provide the relief needed in Township Clerk Esther Hurst's office. Hurst told the board members that she felt she was being “held hostage” in the current situation with one full-time employee off on long-term disability leave and upcoming election duties responsibilities.
“My staff is overworked,” she said, explaining that she did not want to put the hiring of help in her department off any longer. The issue was tabled at the last meeting of the board when Hurst was excused. Trustees said at that meeting they wanted her input on the duties of the requested employee.
Board members differed in their assessment and opinions regarding the assignment of both payroll and payables along with election experience and assistance to the clerk as part of the position.
During the extensive discussion of the situation, Deputy Clerk Anthony Burdick explained the current staffing situation noting that there is an election looming and that there are matters that must be attended to in a timely manner. Burdick also explained the increased need for staffing as the contract with ADP to handle township payroll has taken more in-house employee time rather than the fewer hours anticipated.
Trustee Matt Oddy acknowledged the staffing situation in Hurst's department and during the last meeting urged board members to hire a temporary employee to provide some help. He added, however, that there was not an election every year and that in the past, the clerk had utilized employees from other departments during elections.
“I do whatever it takes to make it happen,” Hurst responded. “I don't want to put this off.” She suggested that the issue of the return of the full-time employee to work could be dealt with when and if it happened but that her office needed immediate relief from the workload.
The trustees approved the posting that Hurst requested for an employee to handle “responsibilities of payroll/accounts payable clerk/election specialist and clerk's office assistant reporting to the clerk's office.”
Trustee Peggy Morgan cast the lone dissenting vote. Supervisor Tim Bowman was excused from the meeting.