Trustee candidates face slew of issues

An incumbent explained his position on a $5 license plate fee and hiring an administrator.
LIBERTY -- Ten candidates give a variety of reasons why they should be elected to this township's board of trustees.
With incumbent Patricia Metzinger deciding not to seek re-election, two seats are up for grabs. Jack Simon is seeking another term.
Issues swirling around the candidates are low morale among township employees, especially in the police department; the $5 license plate fee imposed by trustees for road improvements; and whether the township administrator's position is needed.
Candidates: Joining Jack Simon on the ballot are Ed Cannistra; Roger DiFrangia, former township fire chief; Gary Litch, former trustee; Michael Marsco, Liberty Board of Education member; Daniel Novello, former trustee; Edward Palumbo; Jeffrey Seidler; David Simon and Joe Swan.
DiFrangia says there's a lack of respect and trust between trustees and employees.
He can't see the need for a township administrator, a position held by Darlene St. George. He said he wouldn't fire St. George, but he wouldn't replace her if she left.
Novello also said the position isn't needed, noting the part-time trustees should put in the time to handle the administrative duties of the township.
Litch was a trustee when the administrator's position was created and still believes a full-time administrator is justified to run the day-to-day operations.
Novello says the license fee shouldn't have been imposed by trustees; it should have been put to a public vote.
If the issue were placed the ballot, he noted, he would vote for it.
DiFrangia agrees, saying, "If the township needs money, ask the people for a tax increase."
Police department issues: Novello blames trustees for not taking control of the police department before a rift erupted between Michael Pilolli, who eventually resigned as chief, and his officers.
In retrospect, Jack Simon, who voted to hire Pilolli, said that was a mistake. He sees the police department as a "para-military" unit that he hoped would have worked out its differences internally.
Marsco says the township has embarrassed itself so much that his top priority is to restore communications, restore trust in leadership and "bring back the sense of pride people once had in the community."
The license fee, coupled with a state rebate of workers' compensation funds and some inheritance tax, has saved the road department, he said.