Election day is getting close and it's time to get serious about the future of Upper Macungie Township. With this post I'll begin to present my ideas to the residents of the township on why they should vote for me on November 8th. I will always welcome a thoughtful discussion on this blog and I look forward to a respectful debate of ideas!
First and foremost on my list is the need for UMT to hire a Township Manager to handle the day to day operation of the township. We spend an average of $1.6M per month and there isn't a single person in charge of that money. There are department managers and the three township supervisors, but there isn't that one person who has his or her hands on the wheel, seeing the big picture and how everything works together. That concerns me, and it concerns a lot of the people I've talked to in the days leading up to this election. My observation is that our current township structure utilizes department heads which report to the the township supervisor in charge of that department. (I've requested a township organizational chart but I've been told that there isn't one. I did receive a sheet showing which departments each of the Supervisors oversee.) By all accounts there are a lot of very good and talented people heading up these departments. My concern is that there isn't anyone overseeing the interactions of the individual departments and any opportunities for savings or increased efficiencies. Under my plan the department heads will report directly to the township manager who will report to the Board of Supervisors.
Now let's talk about how we pay for our new Township Manager. The Supervisors are currently interviewing to fill the position of retiring Community Development Director Bruce Wlazelek. There was a spirited discussion at a Supervisors meeting earlier this year about the need to fill this position given the current economic climate. The Supervisors have not yet formally approved filling this position, but they are interviewing candidates for the job. The current annual pay for the CDD is about $77,000 according to a Freedom of Information request I filed with the township. In addition to a Community Development Director the township also employs an Assistant Community Development Director at an annual salary of about $70,000. If these positions were combined (and if we're not sure we need a Community Development Director then we probably don't need an Assistant Community Development Director) we could use the savings to fill the position we really need.
It's time for Upper Macungie Township to hire a smart, capable and talented person to handle day to day oversight of our operations and services. We can do it in a budget neutral manner and I promise to make it my priority when elected to the Board of Supervisors.