By Adam Andrzejewski
Chairman, For The Good of Illinois PAC
SUBJECT: What’s the Matter With Milton Township?
QUESTION: What’s wrong with a cash rich unit of local government where 10 employees combine to cost taxpayers $1 million, and the supervisor doesn’t require accountability?
ANSWER: Everything. It illustrates why Illinois is going broke.
Cash Rich Unit of Government- Continues to Hike the Property Taxes
Milton Township is a cash cow funded by your property tax dollars. Over the last couple of years, Milton Township’s fund balances were as high as $2.387 million with $31.11 million in accumulated net assets. (Source: Annual Financial Report 2011)
How was this pile of government wealth accrued? Your property taxes, that’s how. In fiscal year 2011, while home values decreased, Milton Township’s property tax receipts increased nearly $100,000. Sitting on millions in the bank, Milton Township property tax receipts rose, and property taxes comprise 89.9% of Milton Township revenue.
To determine total compensation, multiply the base salary times 140%. This ratio was determined from township documents. Employees receive up to 13 “buckets” of taxpayer funded benefits: salary, disability insurance, medical insurance, dental insurance, pension payment, fica/social security/medicare, unemployment and workers comp payments, and most also receive health savings accounts, vacation days, and personal/sick days.
No Requirementof Employee Accountability in Supervisors Office?
The Township CEO, Treasurer, & Chairman of the Board is the elected Supervisor, Chris Heidorn. If we examine how Heidorn “manages” one of his employees, we can discern a “laissez faire” style that could encourage “phantom of the office” employees. You be the judge.
But, Ralph Hinkle is a man without;
- A job description
- Time card reports
- An employee contract
- Supervisor job activity reports.
Source: Milton Township Bond-Dickson FOIA Response
How does a part-time employee develop into an undocumented, unaccountable property tax vacuum– costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars since 2004?
According to his own memos, Milton Township CEO Chris Heidorn expressly designed it this way.
On April 7, 2004, Heidorn hired Ralph Hinkle with the following memo: “As you know, the duties of this position will be in flux for some time as we work together to ramp up this new program. For that reason I do not have a formal job description or list of specific duties which I can provide you. As time goes on I’m sure we can refine and define your position… Welcome aboard.”
If Chris Heidorn ever gave Hinkle a job description, clarified duty memo, time cards, or required routine activity reports, there is no evidence of it. We asked for the documents to be released (FOIA Request, points 3, 4 & 5), and received nothing.
However, nearly six years after hiring Hinkle, in a January 15th, 2010 memo, Chris Heidorn formally declared Ralph Hinkle’s job status as full-time. Conferring even more financial benefits, Heidorn expressly rejected accountability.
From the memo: “Since your employment has morphed over time from a modified part time into a full time affair, I felt it appropriate to compensate you for your unused vacation for 2009 as we have not specifically addressed the question until now.” Additionally: “I am not about to follow you around with an attendance sheet.” And: “I neither need nor want to know the details of your daily ins & outs.”
Hired part-time in 2004, Hinkle started receiving “full-time” benefits immediately: i.e. taxpayer funded pension (2004), personal-paid time (2004), vacation days (2006), health savings account (2006) and health insurance (2007). See Milton Township docs here & here.
How did this happen? How did a part-timer “go full-time” without formal paperwork and township board notice?
Heaping financial benefits on Hinkle for years, CEO/Supervisor Chris Heidorn didn’t even know the whereabouts of the personnel file for Ralph Hinkle! Read Chris Heidorn’s March 2012 email.
Is this legal? If it is, it shouldn’t be.
If a supervisor doesn’t keep employment contracts, job descriptions, time cards, job activity reports, and can’t locate a personnel file- he should resign. This is an embarrassment.
Just remember, a Township Supervisor can’t be fired because it’s an elected position.
So, how is the job performance of that “unaccountable”, “morphing”, “undocumented” employee- Ralph Hinkle?
We’ll tell you in our next installment of “What’s the Matter with Milton Township?”
PS. The salaries and pensions of virtually every public official at every level of Illinois government is posted online at openthebooks.com. Look up your local official today.