Meeting Documents

Trustee Statement

“Tonight I am responding to the Wabash township board’s recent request for my resignation. Since we have two members of the board who only joined earlier this year, I’d like to start by reviewing where the township was two years ago when I became trustee and the progress we have made since then.

 

At the beginning of my term on January 1st, 2019, the fire department was an all volunteer department except for two full-time firefighters who did not receive health insurance and retirement benefits. Fire department spending outpaced revenue, and under the previous trustee and board, the rainy-day fund had been depleted.  Therefore, without additional funding, the township was in crisis and we were going to have to cut the services to our rapidly growing population.

 

In addition, township assistance had decreased annually since 2008 and local social service agencies had lost faith in our ability to help our residents and no longer recommended people in need to contact our township for assistance.

 

Since then, I am happy to say we have forged a path to improve our services to the township residents.  We secured funding to hire additional firefighters and to provide them full benefits for the first time in township history. We hired 2 more firefighters this fall. We are now working to further expand services to our residents as our township moves from a volunteer to a combination department by potentially transitioning to a state defined fire district.  Additionally, in 2019 we almost doubled township assistance from 2018 levels and local social service agencies began sending people in need to our township, confident that we would do our best to provide them with assistance.

 

Therefore, I was both surprised and disappointed to read the boards’ memo requesting my resignation, especially when the board had not talked to me before going public with their concerns. 

As I have discussed previously with the board, this year we have been able to use money from the state and federal government to cover the increased township needs of the community due to the COVID pandemic. We have not declined any township requests. COVID relief money is being distributed by Area 4 and the state with a rental assistance program. The township, as well as local social service agencies, are sending people in need there. The township did not receive any of this money directly. It is also my understanding from other local social service organizations, the ending of the eviction moratorium is their primary concern and I have tried to prepare for that to the best of our ability with the assistance funds that we have.  We expect dramatic increases in assistance requests when the moratorium ends and will use that money accordingly.

As far as my personal residence, I would like to unequivocally state that I am a permanent resident of Wabash township.  I have always traveled but my home is West Lafayette and that has not changed. Going from a property owner to a renter, does not change my status.

 

 

As you might have read in the Journal & Courier, an employee of Wabash township has been electronically tracking my location without my consent, nor my knowledge.  My personal safety has been violated and I now feel at risk and therefore, I am not willing to further discuss this topic in public. If you still have concerns about my residency, there is a legal process that can be followed.

I’d also like to remind the board that Indiana law gives the trustee, and the trustee alone, the responsibility for appointing the chief of the fire department. Because this a personnel matter, at the advice of legal counsel I won’t be answering any further questions about this topic at this time.

 

In summary, I strongly disagree with the assertions in your memo. I was elected by the voters of Wabash township and I plan to continue my term serving them. I am proud of the efforts we have made to expand the fire department, provide benefits including health insurance to hard-working first responders, increase aid to our residents in need, and identify options for a sustainable and long-term funding plan that will meet the increasing demands of our growing township. 

 

I am left to ask you if there wasn’t a better way you could have raised your concerns? I think the township would have been better served if we had spent our time and energy working together to find solutions rather than contacting the media and asserting ill-informed accusations.

 

 

I hope we can find a way to heal this wound and move forward. I suggest that in the interest of the people we serve, we put aside our disagreements and work together to continue improving the services to Wabash Township.”

Zoom Chat

00:26:46 Brendan Betz: wabashtwpboard@wabashtrustee.com

00:26:46 Angel Valentin: wabashtwpboard@wabashtrustee.com

00:28:24 Jennifer Teising: “Tonight I am responding to the Wabash township board’s recent request for my resignation. Since we have two members of the board who only joined earlier this year, I’d like to start by reviewing where the township was two years ago when I became trustee and the progress we have made since then.

 

At the beginning of my term on January 1st, 2019, the fire department was an all volunteer department except for two full-time firefighters who did not receive health insurance and retirement benefits. Fire department spending outpaced revenue, and under the previous trustee and board, the rainy-day fund had been depleted.  Therefore, without additional funding, the township was in crisis and we were going to have to cut the services to our rapidly growing population.

 

In addition, township assistance had decreased annually since 2008 and local social service agencies had lost faith in our ability to help our residents and no longer recommended people in need to contact our township for assistance.

 

Since then, I am happy to say we have forged a path to improve our services to the township residents.  We secured funding to hire additional firefighters and to provide them full benefits for the first time in township history. We hired 2 more firefighters this fall. We are now working to further expand services to our residents as our township moves from a volunteer to a combination department by potentially transitioning to a state defined fire district.  Additionally, in 2019 we almost doubled township assistance from 2018 levels and local social service agencies began sending people in need to our township, confident that we would do our best to provide them with assistance.

 

Therefore, I was both surprised and disappointed to read the boards’ memo requesting my resignation, especially when the board had not talked to me before going public with their concerns.

 

As I have discussed previously with the board, this year we have been able to use money from the state and federal government to cover the increased township needs of the community due to the COVID pandemic. We have not declined any township requests. COVID relief money is being distributed by Area 4 and the state with a rental assistance program. The township, as well as local social service agencies, are sending people in need there. The township did not receive any of this money directly. It is also my understanding from other local social service organizations, the ending of the eviction moratorium is their primary concern and I have tried to prepare for that to the best of our ability with the assistance funds that we have.  We expect dramatic increases in assistance requests when the moratorium ends and will use that money accordingly.

 

As far as my personal residence, I would like to unequivocally state that I am a permanent resident of Wabash township.  I have always traveled but my home is West Lafayette and that has not changed. Going from a property owner to a renter, does not change my status.

 

As you might have read in the Journal & Courier, an employee of Wabash township has been electronically tracking my location without my consent, nor my knowledge.  My personal safety has been violated and I now feel at risk and therefore, I am not willing to further discuss this topic in public. If you still have concerns about my residency, there is a legal process that can be followed.

 

I’d also like to remind the board that Indiana law gives the trustee, and the trustee alone, the responsibility for appointing the chief of the fire department. Because this a personnel matter, at the advice of legal counsel I won’t be answering any further questions about this topic at this time.

 

In summary, I strongly disagree with the assertions in your memo. I was elected by the voters of Wabash township and I plan to continue my term serving them. I am proud of the efforts we have made to expand the fire department, provide benefits including health insurance to hard-working first responders, increase aid to our residents in need, and identify options for a sustainable and long-term funding plan that will meet the increasing demands of our growing township.

 

I am left to ask you if there wasn’t a better way you could have raised your concerns? I think the township would have been better served if we had spent our time and energy working together to find solutions rather than contacting the media and asserting ill-informed accusations.

 

I hope we can find a way to heal this wound and move forward. I suggest that in the interest of the people we serve, we put aside our disagreements and work together to continue improving the services to Wabash Township.”

 

00:30:13 Jamie Roth: The time when people have needed it most!!

00:31:53 Jamie Roth: I cannot fathom how money has been held back from people during a Pandemic. Absolutely unacceptable!

00:33:10 Kathy Parker: Can someone provide a number as to how many people have applied for assistance?

00:33:39 Sana Booker: How many people applied and did not receive funding?  Sana

00:35:09 Jennifer Teising: Hi Kathy and Sana, Our township was the only one in the county that participated in the state rental assistance program. When people came to the township during this program the states application process was used. Therefore they have the data for those applications. The township is happy to make a public records request to the program and provide you with that data.

00:36:03 Kirsten Gibson: I made that request last week and I look forward to a response.

00:37:15 Jennifer Teising: Wabash Township has not denied any applications. The programs during the covid pandemic are Area 4 and the State of Indiana. We will need to get the numbers from those programs. These programs allowed us to prepare for the time when those funds are no longer available.

00:37:21 Victoria Woeste: The trustee’s residence should be a matter of public record. Residence in the township is a legal requirement to hold office.

00:38:40 Sana Booker: I am a voting precinct delegate and I do not understand how this could not be discussed and worked out without this very public session.  Do you talk to each other at all? Sana

00:38:47 Jennifer Teising: Hi Kirsten, I did receive your email and look forward to responding to you tomorrow. As you can see by my earlier response we do not have that data for these covid programs. I can help make those requests! Thanks

00:39:36 Jennifer Teising: Hi Vicki, My residence is on record with the clerks office. Thank you

00:40:58 Sana Booker: Why are we discussing salaries now as this was not a part of the original concerns?  Sana

00:41:54 Jennifer Teising: Angel just asserted that our financial advisors did not have information from me. I have it in writing from this agency that is not the case and they have been working on their report for months and are almost complete. The board met with our financial advisors on 12/8/2020 and have been informed of this.

00:42:03 Brendan Betz: Sana, It is tied to her threat to not do her job without a raise which is in line with a threat from previous budget discussions. 

00:42:58 Jamie Roth: I’m ready to hear all the concerns. 

00:45:03 Jennifer Teising: Also, this isn’t a full time job