Township government travails

February 12, 2008
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Center Township Trustee Carl Drummer may be a nice guy, but he sure knows how to squirrel away taxpayer dollars, IBJ reporter Peter Schnitzler showed us in this weekendâ??s IBJ.

Drummer has racked up a $7.1 million surplus â?? in an office that pays out only about $2 million a year in poor relief.

Drummer and his predecessor, the late U.S. Rep. Julia Carson, built the surplus after financial problems caused by an earlier trustee nearly forced the state to bail out the office. Drummer, who himself grew up poor, insists deep reserves are necessary in case hard times befall the office.

Another eye-opener: Salaries and other overhead are so high that only about 28 percent of Center Township spending went directly to those in need.

With track records like these, can township government be reformed? Or, like former Gov. Joe Kernan and Chief Justice Randall Shepard recommended in their blue ribbon commission last fall, should it be eliminated?

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