It is not my custom to respond to bloggers, but a recent ‘article’ by Adam Andrzewski entitled, "What’s the Matter with Milton Township", was forwarded to me by friends. It is so rife with inaccuracies, misinformation or perhaps misrepresentations that they have asked me to comment on it.
First of all, at the end of fiscal year 2011, Milton Township’s combined fund balance was $1.739 million, not $2.387 million. That amount represents 36% of the previous year’s expenditures. Standard accounting practices dictate that local governments maintain reserves equal to the expenditures of between one and two fiscal quarters. At 36% Milton is exactly where it should be in its reserves. One reason for the maintenance of these reserves lies in the fact that our fiscal year begins April 1, but our real estate tax receipts do not begin to come in until mid June.
Second, ever since the Government Accounting Standards Board issued GASB Statement 34, local governments have been required to report their infrastructure on their annual financial reports. What Mr. Andrzewski cites as $31.11 million in accumulated net assets is in fact the properly reported value of the Township’s Offices, the Highway Department’s shop and sheds and the value of 170 lineal miles of road, right of way, culverts, curb & gutter, sidewalks, traffic controls, street lights and so on. In point of fact, those roads and their accessory items were not purchased with tax dollars, but were in fact dedicated by the various developers who through the years have built the homes and businesses in Milton Township.
So where is the “pile of government wealth”, where is the “cash cow” that Mr. Andrzewski complains about. Better take another look at the books, Mr. A. We run a tight ship here for the taxpayers and your spin and innuendos will not change that fact.
Insofar as top compensation packages are concerned, you are invited to go our website, www.miltontownship.net and take a look for yourself. On the Town Clerk’s page click on PA 97-609 Disclosure for a listing of all individuals with compensation packages totaling $75,000 or more. Pursuant to Illinois statute, that information has been posted since our budgets were passed in March. I suggest Mr. Andrzewski go to the source and not extrapolate his own numbers.
Now we move on to the much maligned Ralph Hinkle. Since Ralph started for me he has reported to me on a daily basis, in person, about his daily activities. We discussed daily goals and accomplishments and set agendas for the coming day, days or weeks. I have never required time cards or activity reports of any of my salaried, full time employees. All five (5) of my employees work under my direct supervision.
Furthermore, all Township employees are employees “at will.” That means we do not have employment contracts with any of our employees. They can be terminated at any time and there are no golden parachutes so common in other areas of business and government. Insofar as a job description is concerned, that is a valid point. Since the issue was brought up by a Board member I have prepared Ralph’s job description. It is fully four (4) pages long and available for FOIA should Mr. Andrzewski care to do that.
Mr. Hinkle’s compensation is another point that has been misconstrued. Mr Hinkle has only been entitled to the usual employee benefits since becoming full time in early 2007. Since that time, his salary has increased with his responsibilities. His total increase since 2007 has been 17.04%; in that time frame the C.P.I. has increased 11.229%. Adjusting for that inflationary factor, I have “heaped financial benefits” on Hinkle to the tune of a 5.81% increase. Is this extravagant? Lets see.
Mr. Andrzewski does not recognize that through Ralph’s initiative and dogged determination Milton has received $148,388.69 in FEMA grants for our Citizen Corps program and has another $15,000 in the pipeline for the coming year. He has saved thousands of dollars for CERT training by obtaining free training facilities with groups such as Morton Arboretum, CDH/Cadence Hospital, C.O.D., Wheaton Fire Department, Winfield Fire Protection District, and many others.
Through his personal efforts, he saved the Township between $50,000 and $62,500 in rent during our recent office renovations by working out an intergovernmental agreement with DuPage County for our ten month stay in Naperville. Again, he saved the Township approximately $54,672 in moving expenses (required by prevailing wage law) by arranging for and supervising the Sheriff’s SWAP Team to perform that function. Not to mention the tens of thousands of dollars saved in his oversight of the construction. In sum, besides performing his regular duties admirably, his actions have enriched the Township coffers by over $268,060.
Mr. Andrzewski, in his article, links to what he refers to as “Milton Township docs here & here.” Those linked document are not actually Township documents. Those brief spreadsheets are not records ordinarily or regularly used in the Township’s business but were requested by and provided only to James Flickinger. While copies are resident on the bookkeeper’s computer, those are Flickinger documents, not Milton Township’s. Perhaps Mr. Andrzewski should consider his sources and their motivations and agendas.
Finally, Mr. Andrzewski displays a certain ignorance of Township government when he makes reference to Mr. Hinkle’s personnel file. The Town Clerk, not the Supervisor, is the custodian of Township records. If I need access to personnel or any other files, I must ask the Clerk for them.
If Mr. Andrzewski is really interested in Milton Township, he should come and see me and I can show him what we do and why it works so well and so cost efficiently. I would enjoy the visit and Mr. Andrzewski would learn a good deal. I am at his disposal for such a fact finding visit if he would like to contact me. So, in answer to the question “What’s the matter with Milton Township?” Not much.
H/T: Dave Diersen