The majority of the Shields Township Board deserves praise for approving substantial reductions in salaries for elected officials and following through on their campaign promises of four years ago.
In their campaign four years ago, the independent candidates of the Shields Township Active Reform Team group promised to reduce salaries of elected officials. Fortunately, their trustee candidates, as well as the highway commissioner and clerk candidates, prevailed in that election.
A majority of the board reduced the supervisor's compensation of $70,000 plus health insurance and pension to $30,000 with no benefits based on their philosophy that the position should be part-time and to discourage the supervisor from seeking to expand township government into activities not mandated by state law.
The highway commissioner's salary was reduced to $30,000 from $52,000 based on the part-time nature of the position and the fact that there are only 9 miles of roads in the unincorporated areas of the township.
The assessor's salary was reduced from $83,000 plus health insurance and pension to $50,000 with no benefits. The clerk's salary was reduced from $14,000 to $6,000, and the trustee's compensation of $2,700 was eliminated.
These reductions in salaries and benefits total approximately $150,000 and should enable the board to reduce the township's property tax levy beyond the 30 percent they have already approved during their term of office.
It is refreshing to see a group of elected officials - the majority of the Shields Township trustees, Lynn Baehr, Laura Carney, and Scott Anderson - follow through on the START reform candidates' promises of their 2009 campaign.
They deserve special recognition and praise for doing so.