Lost in Trustee Jennifer Teising's claimed coups and real-life consequences in a Wabash Township power struggle, playing soon in a court near - or far - from you
This is the most Parks and Rec thing to happen here since the J&C appeared on NBC.
Well written and informative. This whole story has left me scratching my head.
One thing that caught my eye, "beat out Byers (a County Commissioner's wife for the position". Does it seem ethical to have a Commisioner's wife as a Township Trustee? Sounds like the local politics are as fraught w/cronyism as Trump's White House.
Very well written Dave. I believe (even being waist-deep in this mess) that the “Tippecanoe Way” is alive and well. The outpouring of support for our department from elected officials on both sides of the isle has proven that to us. It’s truly what’s kept us all moving forward when we’ve all wanted to move-on.
Too much drama associated with this Trustee.
Damn shame too...it was nice to see a Democrat in a County-ish post.
BTW, thanks for scribbling on this matter.
I appreciate your visiting this story about the problems in Wabash Township. Let me offer an alternative explanation along with several questions I would like to have answered.
1. In 1974 the Democrats won control of Wabash Township Trustee and Advisory Board. Virginia Becker was Trustee and the Advisory Board consisted of Pete Harrington, Joe Krause, and Amy Truelove. In that time Virginia Becker tried to give a more human face and treatment to those who applied for poor relief. And we were the Trustee and Board which helped secure a second site for the Wabash Township Fire Department. That second fire station still serves the Township, though there is no acknowledgement of the Trustee or Board in part responsible for that addition.
2. Obviously the Township population and private properties (housing development, apartment complexes, shopping strips and major Big Box stores) has increased very substantially from our time (1975-1979) to 2021 (a period of 42 years.) Certainly the Wabash Township Fire Department must have needed to be increased in fire-fighting personnel, equipment, and underlying financial support. Could someone find out just how much that increase in population, assessed property value, and size of the volunteer as well as full-time firefighting staff was?
3. I do not know Jennifer Tiesing, but being a Democrat I know my wife and I contributed to her campaign in 2018. Because of much higher voter participation in 2018, the Democrats won control of the Trustee ship and Township Advisory Board. (I do not recall the margin of victory, but I do recall that the former Trustee is the wife of a current County Commissioner)
4. I believe, but cannot be sure, that the previous township administration (Mrs. Byers, et al.) had increased the full-time firefighters and secured a temporary emergency loan in order to finance their salaries, retirement and other required benefits. I understand that a temporary emergency loan can only be applied for a certain specified number of times. It cannot be part of a sustainable plan to finance full-time firefighters. (But Mrs. Byers et al. were defeated in 2018 leaving the situation to the incoming Democratic Trustee Jennifer Teising.)
5. Jennifer Teising, facing the problem of providing for the full-time firefighters, thought that a permanent funding solution was needed such as trying to establish a fire-fighting district in conjunction with nearby governing bodies. Thus Teising attempted to get the Advisory Board, the fire-fighters, and the general tax-paying residents to take the necessary steps of gathering enough signatures to petition the County Council and Commissioners (?) to have the right to levy an increased amount in a new line item of the budget. But Teising was unable to get enough people from any of the above-mentioned groups to embark upon a successful petition drive. How could one person be able to secure a permanent sustainable source of revenue without the cooperation of any, some, most, or all of the ones most likely to benefit from more guaranteed fire protection service?
5. My guess, and it is only a guess, is that Jennifer Teising became increasingly frustrated with the lack of support of the members of the Township Advisory board who bailed out on her and her frustration continued to increase with various fire-fighting personnel who contended that they believed there was plenty of money to take care of the full-time firefighters. (At least until the end of the year 2021). The Journal and Courier began to cover this story and it increasingly looked like Jennifer Teising was being unreasonable, was in and out of legal residence in Wabash Township, and was involved in several cancelled meetings, a failed petition drive, and now indictments for theft of her salary by reason of non-residence in Wabash Township.
6. Social media also came into play with various outraged residents mostly being anti-Jennifer Teising without most of the addressing the questions of the need for a permanent sustainable method for acquiring the apparently needed larger full time firefighting staff along with appropriate salary and benefits. (Most pictures in the Journal and Courier were not particularly flattering to Jennifer Teising, if that makes any difference in how the public views her actions and motives. )
7. Meanwhile, as I recall, my perusal of the posted legal notices in the Journal and Courier showed several surrounding townships announcing that they were petitioning to have an increase in their firefighting funds. (I do recall searching for any publication by Wabash Township but I never saw one.) I do not know exactly which line item in the budgets referred to each aspect of fire protection, so I am unsure of how I should interpret the fact that most other townships were posting legal notices for an increase in taxes and Wabash Township was not. So, the fact that Wabash Township was not among those--Is that a sign of the failure of the Trustee and the Advisory Board to come up with the requirement for posting for an increase in taxes for a particular line-item in the Township Budget referring to salaries and benefits for full time staff?
8. I can understand why Jennifer Teising would want to have a change of venue in any subsequent trial given the largely negative coverage in the Journal and Courier and the various postings I have seen in social media.
9. I believe Jennifer Teising is owed a more objective look at just what she was trying to do, who were helping her, and who, for various reasons, were frustrating her. So I ask you--David Bangert-to use your skills and sense of fairness, to help do the research necessary to bring out the "rest of the story" Joe Krause