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Wed, Jul 23, 2014 07:59 AM
Issue of July 16, 2014
Reader Feedback
print email Source: Editorial: Spencer Township residents seek transparency
Not Vendetta
February 04, 2014 | 02:30 PM

As one of the more than 200 citizens that make up the referenced FB group, "Save the Community Center in Spencer Township", I feel I must respond to the allegation of "personal vendetta".
Let me begin by stating that, yes we are upset at losing the use of our beloved Community Center. It was an extremely successful program that benefited many in the community. After the announcement of the decision, our initial response was that we would simply meet with Spencer Township Trustee, Donald Satterfield, and work out a solution that would allow the program to continue.
At the very first encounter our group was treated with hostility and indifference. Our questions were ignored and our monetary offers to help support the continuation of the program were either ignored or flatly declined.
Mr. Satterfield could have avoided this entire situation had he and his board simply treated us as valued citizens with real concerns. Prior to this decision, we were happy in our ignorance of how much money the Township Trustees receive and are "trusted" to use for the benefit of their townships. In thirty- nine years, we had never questioned the process. Term after term, we reelected Mr. Satterfield with confidence that he was doing a great job.
Out of frustration, due to the brick wall we met in trying to work with the Trustee to solve the issue of canceling the senior lunch program, we turned to studying the budget to try to find funding that might be used to keep the program going. What we found there was surprising and a little alarming, not the least being the salaries paid to the Trustee and his Clerk. We checked other townships in Harrison County and found that Spencer Township Trustee and Clerk were being paid several times what other Trustees and Clerks were being paid.
We attended many meetings involving different public offices, to seek answers, and again were stonewalled. We were told that the budget did include funds to continue the lunch program at the Frenchtown Community Center. We were also told that even if the funds were approved for this activity it was up to each Township Trustee to spend the funds as they saw fit. As far as salaries, we were told that the Trustees set salaries and determine raises in pay. When the question was asked why the Spencer Township Trustee's compensation package was so much higher than the others in Harrison County, we were told it was because Mr. Satterfield "used to" have more responsibilities. Most of these prior duties have long been stripped from the township Trustee's responsibility, but the salary had not decreased even though actual job requirements have been became minimal. We questioned that if indeed the budget was "running in the red" as stated by the Trustee and his Board that maybe salary adjustments might be in order. Naturally, this suggestion was ignored.
Mr. Satterfield started this situation by his decision to end the contract with LifeSpan and conclude the lunch program at the Frenchtown Community Center without providing proof of the need to do so. Any legal fees that are being incurred could have been avoided had Mr. Satterfield simply treated us as friends and neighbors and not as hostile invaders without rights to question his authority. The issue would have been resolved quietly had he simply worked with us to find a solution. His office opened this "Can of Worms" and holds full responsibility for what has transpired.


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Corydon Democrat, 301 N. Capitol Ave., Corydon, IN 47112 1-812-738-2211 email