Bucks County Herald

In Springfield, hours worked under fire

Township supervisors respond to questions from residents


The newest members of the board, Anthony Matzura, left, and James Nilsen, are sworn in Jan. 2. Nilsen told the meeting that “a lot of great things can happen when a community works together.”

Springfield is eyeing ways to better monitor township employee work hours, but the move is already encountering resistance.

“Never accuse me and my men of coming in late,” said Roadmaster Rich Pursell testily at the first meeting of the year. “We have an issue with some not putting in their time,” replied township Manager Mike Brown.

“No one here,” said Pursell. “And no one leaves early without having comp time,” he said, adding later that he keeps a daily log of what his employees do.

Supervisor Chairman Dave Long reassured Pursell that no one was questioning the running of his department, but the township simply was responding to comments from residents questioning the whereabouts of some employees “because we’re using their tax money.”

Supervisor Karen Bedics told the meeting she took the initiative on the matter after being unable to provide the public with adequate responses. She went to police Chief Michael McDonald, who agreed to keep track of what officers were doing under the following categories: patrolling the township, training, assisting other agencies, doing paperwork and court time.

Bedics defended her actions, saying she didn’t think it put an undue burden on officers and gave residents “a rough idea of how they (police) were spending their time.”

In a statement, Brown said, “The board of supervisors is confident the township employees are working diligently. However, there are more streamlined ways to account for time and report payroll by the use of technology.”

Those streamlined ways could require them to use swipe cards or log in and out on a computer.
The township currently has 11 full-time and six seasonal employees.

In other business, supervisors endorsed a resolution opposing a House bill that would strip their ability to regulate digital antenna systems. Another resolution encouraging the Delaware River Basin Commission to ban fracking also passed easily, but the board declined to commit matching funds for a solar energy grant. “This is a want, not a need,” Long told assembled Environmental Advisory Council members, adding that money had already been pulled from the reserve fund to balance the recent budget.

As for the remainder of the year, Long indicated that he would like to revisit the historic resource ordinance and develop intergovernmental relationships with neighboring townships regarding fire and emergency services. Bedics added she wanted a serious debate about the township’s septic pumping policy. “Let’s see if we can fix it so it’s not a burden on small households.” The current ordinance requires residents to have their tanks pumped every three years regardless of household size.



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