North Franklin appoints consultant for DCED program

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North Franklin supervisors on Wednesday voted to appoint a consultant to coordinate township efforts to utilize a state financial program.


Board Chairman Jim Huff said supervisors and officials met with representatives of the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development and felt comfortable moving forward with hiring the consulting firm Delta Development. Delta was chosen from three businesses that submitted bids to the township.


The firm will help North Franklin implement the DCED’s Early Intervention Program, which helps financially troubled municipalities develop and implement a multiyear financial management program. The board’s motion was contingent upon the state paying 75 percent of the consultant’s fees, while the township would pick up 25 percent of the bill. North Franklin would be responsible for $13,220 of the total $52,875 fee.


The township applied for the Early Intervention Program in November, shortly after learning the 2013 preliminary budget would run a deficit of roughly $40,000. However, according to township manager Bill Boucher, North Franklin ultimately passed a balanced final budget and the township was $120,000 in the black two months into the year.


After confirming Delta Development, the board went into an executive session for nearly an hour before returning to pass a number of motions that sought to oversee the actions of township employees. Motions were passed directing all employees working in the township office to punch in and out using the time clock, requiring them to request time off five calendar days in advance and terminating all township credit cards. The board also voted to define the township manager’s hours as 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.


All of the motions were passed unanimously.


The actions seemed to be directed toward Boucher, who has been the focus of supervisor action in the past. During a March meeting, supervisors voted to reinforce an ordinance stating only township supervisors could hire personnel after it appeared Boucher had paid a vendor to clean carpets in the township office.


After the meeting, Boucher said the moves basically came down to a personal disagreement between him and the board’s chairman.


“Jim Huff has a personal vendetta against me and is willing to take things out of context and present things as fact,” Boucher said. “It’s just a smokescreen. It’s politics in its purest sense.”


Boucher said the time card issue stemmed from his receiving early morning phone calls from supervisors before his shift began, and that he was instructed by Supervisor Dennis Dydiw to keep track of those instances. Boucher said he and Huff have been at odds since a disagreement over a state audit in October that ultimately led to township workers receiving roughly $34,000 in back pay due to a cost-of-living oversight.


Huff did not return a telephone call seeking comment Thursday.


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