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Rick Worringer resigns; Bassing elected chair of Town Board

Jodi Summit
Posted 7/13/16

GREENWOOD TWP- Greenwood Supervisor Rick Worringer tendered his letter of immediate resignation from the town board on Wednesday, coming just a day after the board had accepted his earlier …

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Rick Worringer resigns; Bassing elected chair of Town Board

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GREENWOOD TWP- Greenwood Supervisor Rick Worringer tendered his letter of immediate resignation from the town board on Wednesday, coming just a day after the board had accepted his earlier resignation as board chair. Worringer is also resigning as a First Responder for the township, although he will continue as a firefighter for now.

The text of the letter, which detailed reasons for his decision, was not available in full at press time.

The letter follows a contentious board meeting on Tuesday, July 12, during which the board also accepted, on a 2-1 vote, his wife Mary Worringer’s resignation from the fire department. The board meeting opened as Vice-Chair Gene Baland nominated John Bassing to be the new board chair and Carmen DeLuca to be vice-chair. Baland said he was not interested in serving as chair.

“We have gone through some troubling times in the township this year,” he said. “I know that John and Carmen are very motivated to serve as chair and vice-chair.”

“Hopefully this will end the bickering,” he said. “My hope is the new recreation area and pavilion will help us become one community in the future, even knowing that we will not agree on everything.”

Supervisor John Milbridge was absent from the meeting. The votes to appoint Bassing and DeLuca were both unanimous.

The Mary Worringer resignation proved a bit more complicated and contentious.

Bassing introduced a strongly-worded letter fire department member Mary Worringer sent to the township on June 29 that stated, “I regret to advise you that I am resigning from the Greenwood Fire Department effective July 1, with no chance of changing my mind.”

Mary Worringer listed several issues, including fear of personal liability while acting as an EMR, conflict regarding the fire department, and lack of support from board members and others in the community.

“I am unwilling to put my financial security at risk,” she wrote, “I do not want to respond to an EMS call only to have that patient be one of the naysayers and sue me for improper care. That is a bridge too far for me.”

She noted that it had been “an honor and pleasure to work under Chief Fazio.”

Worringer followed up this letter, with an email on July 7, inquiring when payment for her paid-on call would be made to her.

But it appeared that Mary Worringer had, in fact, changed her mind.

Fire Department Safety Officer Ed Borchardt said he had seen a letter from Mary asking to rescind her resignation and he asked the board not to act on her resignation.

Bassing noted that such a letter had not been sent to the board members, as was the original letter dated June 29.

Baland stated he would not vote to accept the resignation, since she was a valuable member of the department and well-trained.

“I would like to suggest we give Mary the chance to rethink her frustration and anger,” Baland said.

Attorney Eric Hedtke, who attended the meeting to discuss insurance matters with the board (see related story on page 1), noted the township had invested in this person’s training, and should consider accepting the offer to rescind her resignation.

Several others noted that Mary Worringer has a history of resignations from official positions in the township in recent years, including resigning from a seat on the town board, from zoning committees, and from the Tower Ambulance Service, where she had just recently been hired as an EMT.

Baland suggested the board not take action on the resignation, and table it until next month.

Borchardt agreed.

“She has acknowledged she made a mistake,” Borchardt said. “We need every good person that we have. She is a true volunteer.”

Borchardt noted that Mary had responded to at least two EMS calls since sending in her letter.

A motion to accept the resignation was approved 2-1, with Bassing and DeLuca voting in favor, and Baland against. Rick Worringer abstained from both the vote and the entire discussion, as was proper since it was a conflict of interest involving his wife.

Other business

In other business the town board:

fi Will hire temporary workers to fill in for maintenance supervisor Pat Trancheff, who is out on medical leave. Fire department members are taking over maintenance duties on their equipment, work that is normally done by Trancheff.

‰ Approved a new claim payment procedure to follow guidelines from the state auditor, which had reviewed the township’s procedures and found problems. In the future, every claim must be itemized and in writing, and reviewed and approved by the board before paid. This includes payroll and fixed monthly bills. The township will be reviewing its payroll policy to comply with the new guidelines.

‰ Were told they can still approve their comprehensive plan even if they no longer have local zoning control. Heard that the board is meeting with county planning officials on July 13 to discuss the logistics of the zoning change.

fi Again requested information from Fire Chief Dave Fazio on run reports, run summaries, and service credits for both 2014. Fire Department Administrative Assistant Ellen Trancheff said the information had been submitted, but township officials said the spreadsheet that was submitted was not in readable form. Bassing noted that the department knew what information was needed because they had submitted it properly for 2015.

‰ Received new paid-on call guidelines from the fire department, but will wait until the next meeting for discussion and approval.

‰ Will review options for either approving new bylaws, or another set of guidelines that are not officially bylaws, to govern the fire department. The fire department did create an updated set of bylaws, but township attorneys are recommending the township use a different set of governing guidelines for the fire department, since it is part of the township government and not an independent group.

fi Gave the fire chief permission to appoint a temporary administrative assistant to fill in starting in August when Ellen Trancheff is retiring. The temporary position will not include 911-coordinator duties.

fi Received a donations from the Greenwood Trailblazers for the township’s trail fund.

‰ Accepted the low bid for propane from Edwards Oil and Propane for 79.4 cents per gallon. The Township owns its own tank.

‰ Discussed problems with the county recycling canisters including garbage and broken glass being left at the site, and safely concerns when the canisters are being switched out. The board thanks the local residents who have been cleaning the site, especially over the Fourth of July weekend.

‡ Heard the fire department is receiving a $250 donation from the Tower Ambulance Service, who had received a $500 donation for a call to Dog Island that Greenwood assisted on.

Comments

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Fritz The Frugal One

When will the fire department members learn that they are "employees" and not the "employer"? How much more will the township have to put out in legal fees to straighten out this mess? And where is the fire chief during the township board meetings? Sure seems to be "missing in action" a lot, especially when there are controversial issues concerning the fire department.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016
sadie

when the discussion on mary worringers resignation was being discussed it should noted that ellen transef and julia maki stormed out of the meeting leaving their reports to be read by the clerk. they should be disciplined for their actions.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Concerned citizen

After leaving the meeting I saw people picking up and sweeping glass off the pavement in front of the second big garage on the west side. Wonder where that came from?? It was not there when I got to the meeting ... Very strange....

Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Amused in Illinois

I have to say that reading the Greedwood Township articles regarding the downfall of the Worringer, Maki, Trancheff empire is very entertaining !! None of them deserve to be in public office as they are only interested in whats in it for them. For example, very interesting how the Worringers got an immediate approval on their variance for their new garage while their BFF Maki is still around, sounds like there were a lot of questions regarding the variance that were ignored, sooooo typical, of course the rules don't apply to the select few do they? In addition, a huge thank you to John Bassing who has what it takes to turn this Township around ! Keep up the great work !!!

Thursday, July 14, 2016
Shaking my head

The saga continues. Taking their ball and going home. Change is hard, some seem to want to continue operating like the Wild West with no rules. Time will calm things down, but in the meantime, thank God for Carmen Deluca and John Bassing. Keep up the good work!

Friday, July 15, 2016