On Abstention, Abortion and Small Government

West Chester Town Hall

I had a question on Facebook regarding two of my votes last year. Here is the response I posted. One of the two votes was on our Health Care Plan in 2018.  The second was a staffing issue.

Issue One – West Chester Township 2018 Health Care Plan

I am Pro Life and do not believe that tax payers should be paying for abortions. When I was elected, I found out that West Chester did pay for abortions in the health care provided to employees and elected officials.

This was very disappointing to me, and I began asking questions to figure out how to remove abortion coverage from the heath care plan given to our West Chester Township employees and elected officials.

I talked to our administrator.  He told me the best way to get that done was to pass the health care plan and negotiate the abortion out of the health care plan with the unions. The staff was preparing to negotiate other issues in the health care plan at that time.

In order for the health care plan to go to negotiations, it had to pass the Trustee Board.

I didn’t feel comfortable voting for a plan that included abortion but knew it needed to pass to get the abortion coverage removed – so I abstained from the vote. Thus parlimentarily moving the health care plan forward for negotiations with our unions in order to remove the abortion coverage.

During the preparations for negotiations, our Law Director discovered that West Chester had been in violation of Ohio Revised Code ORC 9.04(B) and 5101.56(B) which prohibits abortion coverage by local governments.  We had been in violation of these laws for several years and didn’t know it.

Due to my questioning, the tax payers of West Chester no longer pay for abortion coverage and are in compliance with Ohio Revised Code.

Pertinent Sections of Ohio Revised Code -  ORC 9.04(B), "funds of the state or any political subdivision thereof shall not be expended directly or indirectly to pay the costs, premiums, or charges associated with a policy, contract, or plan if the policy, contract, or plan provides coverage, benefits, or services related to a nontherapeutic abortion." A "non-therapeutic abortion" is an abortion performed for any reason other than the life and health of the mother, rape, or incest - R.C. 9.04(A)(1).

And, under R.C. 5101.56(B), unless required by the United States Constitution or federal law, state and local funds cannot be used for payment or reimbursement for abortion services unless it is required for the life and health of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest. Prior to the expenditure of state or local funds for an abortion, a physician must certify to the existence of one of the above-referenced exceptions.

Issue Two: Staffing

I believe in small government. Government should be as small as it can be and still operate at high efficiency.

We have a Township Administrator. He has an Assistant Administrator, a second in command.

Our Administrator also has seven Department Heads  and an HR Manager that have their own staff underneath them, that handle the day to day work of the Township; Community Service (Roads, Plowing, Parks), Community Development (zoning, economic development), Information Technology, Public Information Officer, Police Chief, Fire Chief, Finance Director – and a Human Resource Manager (not technically a department head under our ORG chart).

Besides those nine very competent people, our Administrator also has three office assistants.

I don’t know any CEO in the Township that has three assistants.  I didn’t think our Administrator needed that much help in the front office.

When I was elected, one of the assistant positions was not filled. But our Administrator pressed for that position to be filled.

The first vote on this issue was to update the job description of this assistant.

I voted no. I believed we did not need this employee. During the Trustee meeting, we went around and around on this issue.

I lost that vote 2 to 1.  The job description was updated.

The next vote on this issue was to hire the employee.  I again made my case that this position was not necessary.

I lost that vote 2 to 1. The employee was hired.

A few months later, the employee resigned.  And the Administrator put on our agenda to hire this position again. This time it was a transfer from another department, a person that I had worked with before and respected.

I can count to two…  I knew how the vote was going to turn out.  So instead of giving her a black mark at the start of her new job by voting no (this is something the staff of the Township take very seriously), I decided to abstain.

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