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The Job Itself
In my part of the world, a township trustee is elected to look out for the needs of local people in trouble-- financial, medical, household trouble. The trustee is assigned to makes small grants for things like: providing transportation to doctor's appointment, covering an occasional load of groceries for a family when someone has lost a job, or to keep the utilities on during the frigid winter months. The trustee's role is to a small measure of discretionary intervention on the local level. The idea is to help people pick themselves up during low times.
As a journalist and as a college professor, my job has always been to connect with people I did not know, and to help them tell their story. That's large measure of what the trustee must do. They must be active in this work. I'm running because I'd like to see this government model better used in my area, where there are people who may truly need the help but don't know who to ask. I think I can connect with all citizens, using the advice of local leadership (including the township advisory board, local clergy, law enforcement, the residential board of Heritage Lake, the VA and the local mental health association). Let me state: I'm not interested in asking for more money, raising taxes or generating support for my favorite social causes. I want to use the trustee financing to do the job it's there for: in service to those in need. I believe I possess the experience and energy necessary to do so.
The Local Situation
In my area, most people don't know who their trustee is, or what she does. The current Floyd Township trustee (Marsha Carrington) takes an annual stipend of almost $10,000 (second highest of any trustee in the county). She also pays the federal and state taxes on that amount using trustee funds. Additionally, she pays her own healthcare premiums, in full, from the trustee funds (a cost approaching $5,600). She pays herself rent monthly on her office (in her home), fees for holding meetings ($500 per meeting) also held in her home and travel expenses associated with the job (which doesn't seem to require that she leave her home). Her compensation for the job totals more than $17,000 per year. I can find no record of any trustee in the region (on a search of 50 nearby townships) who pays any part of their insurance private premium from trustee funds.
At the same time, Ms. Carrington assigned a mere $3,000 in grants to local citizens to pay heating bills last year. That's fine, but that total also represents the full extent of the Floyd Township trustee support grants given out last year. But there were no grants given for household support. And no grants given for healthcare support. None. This record extends back five years as well.
There are over 1000 townships in Indiana. Floyd township ranks second-from-the-bottom in per capita expenditure at $6.21 per citizen. I would also note that currently roughly $5 of that is being spent in compensating Ms Carrington and the township advisory board. I guess I should point out the obvious: the current trustee is using the funds to cover her own healthcare premiums while providing no healthcare assistance grants to the citizens of our township.
I'm vowing right here to eliminate the cost of private health insurance and to cut the trustee's salary and compensation by a minimum of 50%. This will save the township $10,000 in the first year alone. I will furthermore be publicly accessible to citizens in need of help. I'll devote the savings from the existing funds to provide a more ample level of support and care for those who need it most.
I'm at the end of this campaign, and I need funding to create one last mailing, more yard signs, and perhaps a prominent local print ad detailing the case I made above.
I am a freelance writer and retired college professor. I write for Popular Mechanics, Chicago, Indianapolis Monthly, Runner's World and Golf. For nearly 2 decades, I interviewed celebrities, politicians and athletes for Esquire Magazine. I was chair of the English Department at DePauw for five years. I helped finance and maintain local partnership to develop property on the square in Greencastle for more than 15 years. In total, I lived and worked in Greencastle for 28 years, before moving north to Bainbridge four years ago. My wife and I live with our granddaughter on Big Walnut Creek, near a covered bridge.