White Twp Sign.jpg

Stock photos of signs. White Township Municipal Building

Personnel matters were a topic Wednesday for the White Township Board of Supervisors.

The board filled one vacancy and prepared to fill two others.

Township Manager Milt Lady said a co-worker of retiring White Township Recreation Complex caretaker Terry Riley reached out to apply for Riley’s job.

Lady said new caretaker Phil Broskin is a longtime township employee.

“Phil was my son’s coach,” Board Chairman George Lenz recalled. “He was literally the first employee hired when we took over” what now is known as S&T Bank Arena in the recreation complex.

Supervisor Gene Gemmell moved and Supervisor Gail McCauley seconded the motion to approve Broskin’s new job, which includes rent-free access to a house on the complex grounds in return for his maintaining all responsibilities there.

“Phil will move in this weekend,” Lady said.

The township still is looking for a new public relations coordinator and sewage department laborer. Lady said there were five candidates to be interviewed for each position.

The search for a public relations staffer prompted questions from a consultant working with Friends of White’s Woods — which apparently turned out to be the wrong questions.

FWW Vice President David Dahlheimer said he was not able to find an agenda for the special meeting conducted April 30, where “it appears township business was discussed.”

Secretary Donna Hill said she did not do an agenda for that meeting, a special session involving Indiana County planning and state legislative officials, discussing ways to provide funding for the township.

Legal notices left open the possibility for the board to take actions, but for much of what turned out to be a 90-minute-plus session the focus was on ways to generate more funding opportunities for White Township and other municipalities across Indiana County.

Dahlheimer himself was in attendance, saying the township could get funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for a long-term management plan for specific natural areas.

He made a presentation to the supervisors toward the end of the public portion of that special meeting, prior to what would be a one-hour executive session.

According to a statement Dahlheimer read Wednesday, “in executive session the creation of a public relations position was likely discussed.” He also handed out material from a guide to the state’s Sunshine Act as provided by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, stating that “the act does not authorize an agency to hold a private discussion about creating new jobs.”

However, according to minutes found on the township website, the discussion of hiring someone who could do grant writing as well as public relations happened before that executive session.

“(Supervisor) Rich Gallo made a motion authorizing Milt Lady to create a full-time position for Community Development,” the minutes read. “(Supervisor) Sandi Gillette seconded. The motion carried.”

After a brief recess, according to the minutes, Dahlheimer made his presentation about grants available through DCNR.

In a discussion after Wednesday’s meeting, Dahlheimer conceded, “I could be mistaken on this.”

Dahlheimer said he was citing “a consultant that (the Friends) use.”

Lady told the FWW vice president, “you could come and ask about” a meeting.

Other matters also were raised Wednesday, including the possibility that new carpets may be purchased to replace those that have been in the municipal building since 2000.

Gemmell moved and Gillette seconded a motion to have the staff look into prices and quotes.

The township manager told the board that UPMC Health Care will not renew its current plan for township employees based on current conditions. While he still is working to obtain details, Lady said he expected a higher deductible.

“There could be changes to our health care plan at the next meeting or two,” Lady said.

Future 1 p.m. supervisor board meetings again could include having two township employees on hand, chosen at random, Lenz said, once COVID-19 pandemic-related conditions allow.

Originally, employees were brought in for the monthly 1 p.m. meetings, held on the second Wednesday of the month while the meetings on the fourth Wednesday take place at 7:30 p.m.

Also Wednesday, Gillette congratulated Lenz on his being named by Gov. Tom Wolf to the Pennsylvania Council on Aging. Wolf named Lenz, whose appointment was sponsored by state Sen. Joe Pittman, R-Indiana.

Lady said members of the Kiwanis Action Club, including Planning Commissioner Nancy Smith, planted flowers below the sign at Getty Heights Park.

The township manager also reported that he, Recreation Director Ryan Shaffer, Barb Hauge and Ellen Yerger went to Murrysville to discuss deer management and invasive plant removal in several municipal parks.

Lady handed out reports about those discussions to the board, which could act on recommendations at the next supervisors’ meeting on June 23.

Wednesday’s meeting was adjourned at 1:57 p.m., after which there was a brief recess and then the supervisors viewed a “Forest Management and Timber Harvesting” webinar that was presented last month by the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Officials.

“I found it very vindicating on our position on White’s Woods,” McCauley said.

It was presented in association with the Pennsylvania Hardwoods Development Council. It tackled such topics as the removal of dead and decaying trees and bringing sunshine to the forest floor.

Its point was the need to continue to maintain forests in a sustainable manner. McCauley said it made points she had heard 14 years ago, during an earlier discussion of White’s Woods.