Rippey called out on vacancy vote

Jay Township Supervisor Jeremy Rippey came under fire from a township resident during the supervisors' meeting Thursday evening for voting at a past meeting to approve fellow supervisor Francis Gustafson to a position on the Jay Township Water Authority when a township resident had also submitted a letter of interest in the position. Gustafson had also voted for himself at that time, providing the other necessary vote to allow him to fill the vacancy. Township resident Nadiene Pirazzi remarked that she did not believe it was fair that a current supervisor be appointed to fill a vacancy on another board if a citizen was willing to serve instead. "I feel that if someone else puts their name in to be on the board, and they're a competent person, that we should allow one of the members of the board of supervisors to be put in that vacancy," Pirazzi said. She noted that, in the past, she has suggested that an interview process should be held to review the qualifications of all individuals who submit letters of interest for a vacancy so that the best-qualified individuals are serving the township. Pirazzi also indicated that a petition signed by township residents expressing their disdain for supervisors serving on other boards was circulated in 2005. According to Pirazzi, the 2005 petition stated, "We, the undersigned, all citizens of Jay Township, request the following: any township supervisor currently seated on an authority board resign immediately." Based on this example of township residents' past disapproval for supervisors serving on other boards, Pirazzi asked Rippey why he had voted to appoint Gustafson to the Water Authority. "Frannie goes to all the water meetings, for one, and is involved with it," Rippey said. Though Pirazzi never stated how many residents signed the 2005 petition, for her there was only one name that was important to the current situation. "Jeremy, you signed this petition," Pirazzi said. While Rippey did not deny signing the petition, he downplayed its significance. "It was 2005. It's 2011," Rippey said. Pirazzi suggested that the appointment of Gustafson to the Water Authority sends a negative message to other residents who might be interested in applying for future vacancies. Rippey responded that there had been more than one vacancy on the board earlier in the year and no one had initially applied to fill the openings. Pirazzi said that she wants the supervisors to put something in writing so that a similar situation does not happen in the future. The supervisors agreed to consider placing the matter for discussion under old business at their next meeting.