Both candidates for Brookfield trustee say they want to be accountable and transparent.
“The more open and honest and the more we show, the more they might trust us,” said Shannon Devitz, who is seeking to retain the seat she was appointed to in January. “Trust is big. I want to humanize the term (trustee). The word ‘trustee’ in Brookfield Township does not always, necessarily, have a positive connotation to it.”
But, candidate Tim Gladis said the township easily could do much more to be open and transparent, such as posting meeting minutes “immediately” on the township website – as of the Aug. 21 interview with Gladis, the most recent meeting minutes posted were March 2022; more recent minutes now are available – as well as the township budget, and posting township expenses on Ohiocheckbook.com
“Nobody knows, and what that does is it starts people who already have a jaundiced eye toward government, it starts them thinking, ‘They’re not doing anything,’” Gladis said.
Gladis also wants to livestream township meetings, something Devitz said she has talked to the other trustees about, and “do more” with social media.
“Everybody’s got their face in a phone,” Gladis said of social media. “You can use that to great advantage. You can reach a lot of people.”
Devitz said she has been comfortable letting Trustee Dan Suttles handle the township’s social media.
“Technology is a big thing,” she said. “It’s gonna be a big push going forward. That’s not my lane. If he ever reaches out, then we can work on things together.”
What follows is the candidates making closing arguments as to why voters should vote for them:
Shannon Devitz, 41, of 7302 Wildwood Drive. Registered Democrat.
“I am human. My heart’s in the right place. I’m trying my best.”
“Personally, I’m not here to gain anything. I’m not here for the insurance. I’m not here for the paycheck. I’m here to help make it a better community to raise our kids in and retire in and live happily ever after.”
“I want to lead with respect. Treat others the way they want to be treated – I think that’s huge – and follow through with promises.”
“I feel like I’m here for the right reasons. I’ve shown the community I care. I’m going to continue to do that. I’m not gonna change. If I do not get this, I will go back to the roles that I played. Your kids will see me in the lunch room. I’ll be out on the green. I’m here to invest my time and energy in it because we’ve (she and husband Tony) chosen to raise our child here. I want everybody to have a positive experience in Brookfield Township.”
Tim Gladis, 68, of 813 Valley View Drive, Registered Democrat.
“I’ve been in the public sector for over 40 years. I’ve worked in the local, the state, the county and even the federal government. I did some work for the United States Army. Out of those experiences, you learn that this is how government works and this is what you do and these are the work-arounds to all the roadblocks. Government sometimes gets in its own way. I think it’s important to have the experience and the knowledge skills and abilities and the training to learn your way through that minefield, how to get around those roadblocks, how to manage those things to where you can set a goal and get it done.”
“The second strength, and I don’t think you’re gonna find a candidate, frankly, right now that will equal the level of knowledge, skills, experience and training that I have. The other thing of this is, you try to get people to buy into your strategy and you do that through building trust. How do you build trust? You build trust by accountability. Accountability is, in my mind, impossible without transparency. If you are not telling people what you’re doing and being honest about what the shortfalls are and what the problems and the challenges are, and you’re not telling them the good things as well, then there’s very little transparency and you start looking at the accountability and how you measure it. I believe you have to have metrics, milestones and things that show that you are doing what you said you are gonna do. How do we measure it? ‘We’re gonna do this, and we’re gonna spend this money. Here’s why, here’s how, here’s what it got us, here’s our decision-making process.’ You make that transparent.”
In 2024, trustee pay will be $15,104, based on 200 days of work and a rate of $75.52 a day; those rates are set by state law and take into account the size of the township budget. Trustees also can join the township’s employee healthcare plan.