Mayor has right to control funds for upgrades

At the Dec. 22 meeting of the Jackson Township Council, a big deal was made by the council president because the mayor was attempting to spend funds that the council had already allocated to sports field construction, on sports field construction. Yes, the mayor wanted to use the money for its intended purpose.

This construction was an attempt to upgrade the girls recreational softball league fields on Bartley Road. Representatives from the league had attended previous council meetings to voice their displeasure over the lack of facilities on that site, including no bathrooms or dugouts.

Those same representatives informed the council that they had filed a petition with the township clerk for a special referendum to get the facilities needed. This referendum would have cost taxpayers anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000 on the vote alone, plus the costs of upgrades.

The council felt it was in the best interest of the township if this scenario was avoided and the mayor offered to broker a compromise. It worked.

At the next meeting, the representatives from softball withdrew their petition and stated that a compromise had been reached. Now Mike Kafton (the council president) feels the need to get in the last word.

Mr. Kafton feels that the mayor does not have the authority to sign a contract of compromise with girls softball and that any such compromise must be approved by the council. Mr. Kafton is wrong.

The mayor has the authority under this form of government to negotiate and enforce a contract with such an organization. Mr. Kafton should know this; he was on the charter study commission that pushed for this form of government.

The money has already been previously allocated specifically for the purpose of field construction and upgrades, by the council, to the appropriate municipal agency (Recreation) and is now under the mayor’s control, not the council’s. He is not asking for a new appropriation, so the council does not get a second bite at the apple.

The council specifically asked that there be an agreement to avoid a costly referendum, which would have cost the taxpayers even more money.

So, the council president either does not understand the form of government he pushed for and now serves in; is so full of himself that he needs to call all of the shots and is willing to disregard the law to do so; or is simply attempting to create an issue out of this situation for his next Quixotic attempt at running for office.

Which is it, Mr. Kafton, ignorance, ego or vanity? Or maybe you don’t want these girls to have nice things.

Todd Porter