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Published: Tuesday, 12/18/2001

Disgruntled workers quit positions in Springfield

The two highest-ranking employees in the Springfield Township administration office resigned last night, and one said in her letter she was leaving because of Trustee Sue Meek.

Township Administrator Jon Gochenour and Jean Kelly, the township's office manager, submitted their resignations, effective Dec. 31 - the same day Trustees Robert Floyd and Walt Taube, Jr., leave office.

“This decision has been made because I am not willing to face the prospect of harassment by Sue Meek,” Mrs. Kelly wrote to Mr. Floyd, chairman of the trustees.

“This has evidenced itself throughout my employment by the rude, discourteous, and unprofessional behavior of Sue Meek and has accelerated since the election.”

Mr. Gochenour said in his letter to Mr. Floyd that he is leaving to “pursue new employment opportunities.”

But after the meeting, he said Mrs. Meek has been difficult to work with, and she has wanted the staff to take action that was not approved by the other trustees, with whom she often has been at odds.

“Sue blames the staff for her problems with the other two trustees,” Mr. Gochenour said. “It's not my fault she's failed as a legislator.”

Left in the office after Dec. 31 are a full-time zoning enforcement official and a part-time office worker. But Mr. Gochenour predicted there are “probably more [resignations] to come.”

Mrs. Meek said after the meeting that she was not surprised by the resignations of Mr. Gochenour and Mrs. Kelly.

“Both of their employments went along with the Floyd-Taube administration, and I'm happy to accept” their resignations, she said.

Last night was the last regular meeting for Mr. Floyd and Mr. Taube, who have usually voted together and sided together in long arguments with Mrs. Meek that have become almost standard during meetings.

Neither ran in the last election, and their seats were won by Marylin Yoder, a former trustee who lost her post in 1993, and Bob Bethel.

Only four votes separated Mr. Bethel from Andy Glenn, who Mrs. Meek has said was hand-picked by the other trustees as their chosen successor.

When Mr. Gochenour was asked after last night's meeting if he would have resigned if Mr. Glenn had won a seat on the board, he said he did not know.

But Mr. Gochenour indicated that he plans to take a similar job in Lucas County.

“You'll probably see me in the public eye again soon,” he said.

He has been employed by the trustees for about four years and in his current position about two years. He is paid about $50,000 a year.

Mrs. Kelly said she did not have another job.

“That's why this was such a difficult decision for me,” she said. “I make a good salary and enjoy the people I work with.”

She has held her position for 31/2 years and is paid about $34,000.

Earlier in the meeting, Mr. Floyd suggested giving the township's five management employees an extra two weeks of pay or comp time for extra hours they have worked with no reimbursement during the year. Mr. Taube agreed, but Mrs. Meek did not.

The motion, which will cost the township about $7,000, passed 2-1.

“It wasn't justified in my opinion,” Mrs. Meek said after the meeting. “The two who resigned clearly are not worthy of it, in my opinion.”

She said she was unhappy that there will be no overlap among top administrative staff to the next board of trustees.

Mrs. Meek had wanted a motion to advertise for new administrative employees last night after the resignations, but Mr. Floyd and Mr. Taube said such action should be decided by the next board, which might not want to fill all the positions. “It's pretty sour grapes to leave the township with no transition time,” Mrs. Meek said after the meeting.



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