Niles Township eyes hiring full-time manager

Published 8:19 pm Tuesday, November 4, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- An increase in business activity and several projects is making it difficult for Niles Township's township board members to stay on top of township business.
That's why Marge Durm-Hiatt, Niles Township clerk, at Monday's meeting suggested the township look into hiring a township manager.
She said Niles Township, with its 35 employees, has become a multi-million business.
But Hiatt said she isn't pointing the fingers at any of the board members.
Township trustee Kevin Tonkin thinks hiring a township manager is a good idea.
But, he also knows there are people who won't agree with him.
However, compared to other townships and municipalities, Tonkin said he thinks Niles Township lags behind some areas.
Tonkin said a manager could help the township board by bringing forward new ideas and investigating business opportunities elected board members don't have the time to do.
Tonkin also said there are a number of grants available for the township, but there is no one to search for and apply for those grants.
Richard Cooper, also a trustee, agreed with Tonkin.
He thinks a township manager would also make the township board more efficient
Cooper isn't worried about the cost of hiring a manager.
Trustee Bob Jones said he would like input from the public before the township goes further with hiring of a manager.
And, Bill Myers, township supervisor, asked where the money for a township manager would come from.
Myers, who keeps regular office hours at the township, serves as its manager at present. He is elected to the position by Niles Township voters.
Township Treasurer James Ringler said the township would be able to raise the money for a township manager without having to raise taxes.
He said the township's tax base, its 1 mill and revenue sharing would create enough funds.
After hearing Ringler go through the numbers, Myers said he would like the board to find a job description for a township manager and find out what a township manager would cost.
But he also said the board needs to carefully look into all aspects of hiring a manager before doing so.
The board voted to further investigate hiring a manager at Monday's meeting.
In other township business:
The board agreed to look into several different evaluation programs, some of them through The Michigan Township Association.