Police/zoning position worth considering

A government employee — or just about any employee, for that matter — needn’t be pigeonholed into a specific title or duty.

The Chocolay Township Board is considering adding a police/zoning employee, with township staff having worked on the 2019 budget for the past several weeks.

Township Manager Jon Kangas noted the police department lacks a “dedicated investigator,” plus the township’s zoning field activities have been limited because of staff availability.

Township Zoning Administrator Dale Throenle has been involved in information technology duties for the township because of a shift in office staff. However, he still has his regular administrative duties to perform.

It’s believed the new position would alleviate some of the burden of zoning enforcement.

Scott Jennings, township police chief, noted the new position would result in reduced police overtime, more police coverage and more department flexibility.

It also should be noted that 40 percent of the $50,000 annual salary would be offset by a reduction in part-time staffing the township now incurs.

Although it can be argued the township already has enough police department staff, Township Supervisor Richard Bohjanen pointed out some issues are better handled by a police officer than a zoning administrator.

Would people be more likely to take care of a junk ordinance violation in the presence of a police officer in uniform? Perhaps.

There’s no guarantee the proposed position will be included in the upcoming budget. However, we believe that spreading out duties, assuming the township can afford it, will make it easier for multiple Chocolay Township departments to perform their roles.

Sometimes employers need to be creative to be good managers.