The Suburbanite
  • Jackson trustee candidates focus on finances, parks

  • Four people — two incumbents and two challengers — are vying for two available seats on the three-person board of trustees

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  • For the candidates hoping to gain or retain positions as leaders of Jackson Township government, finances, parks and ethics are on the brain.
    Four people — two incumbents and two challengers — are vying for two available seats on the three-person board of trustees.
    Carrie Connor May, a first-time trustee candidate, said she’s passionate about parks — particularly North Park, which she said is becoming run down. Now that the township has passed a parks levy, she wants to show residents the money is getting put to good use.
    May said because she works as a stay-at-home mom, she spends her days in Jackson Township visiting the library and the parks, unlike trustees who work full-time in other capacities. She said she hopes to be the voice of women and mothers on the board.
    “That’s an area that’s not being represented right now, but we’re a huge part of the community,” she said.
    Glenda Zink, who was a finalist for the open trustee position in April 2012, said she would bring diversity to the board as a business woman and as an educator.
    One issue important to her is that township employees be held “to the utmost ethical standards.” Zink wants to see employees who are suspected of violating ethical codes be put on unpaid leave and to see legal action taken more quickly.
    She referenced the months-long state criminal investigation of the township’s police chief, who had been placed on paid leave, and said her frustration was not directed at retiring Chief David Zink, to whom she is not related, but at the process.
    For those candidates already in office, money is a primary concern.
    Todd Hawke, an incumbent, said the biggest challenge he sees facing the current and future trustees is finding a way to efficiently fund the township in the face of state budget cuts.
    During his term on the board, which began when he was appointed in April 2012, Hawke has worked to form economic development agreements with other local governments to lure businesses to the township and bring in income tax. He said he’s involved in projects — some of which aren’t public knowledge yet — that probably won’t be wrapped up before his term finishes.
    John Pizzino, who was first elected trustee in 2001, said he understands “the difference between enough spending and spending enough.” He said the township has been fortunate because former trustees planned for the state cuts and set money aside in reserve accounts that have kept trustees from asking voters for property tax raises. Like Hawke, he said collaboration among local governments will keep costs down.
    Pizzino said his business experience has benefited him while in office, as has his ability to dedicate hours to the job. He works out of Township Hall as a full-time trustee.

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