RICE TWP. – Township auditors Janeann Lokken and Felicia Bierzynski spoke out against Supervisor George Venesky on Tuesday in response to a letter he wrote criticizing conduct during the auditors' annual reorganization meeting.
In the letter addressed to Bierzynski, he confronted, among other things, absence of the Pledge of Allegiance before the meeting, no agenda copies for the public, ignorance of the Sunshine Act, which sets standards for public involvement in government business, and ignorance of the auditors' responsibilities to Rice Township.
He also said Bierzynski has never attended the state's auditor training courses.
At the end of the letter, he recommended that Bierzynski resign from the board.
Lokken, now the auditors' chairperson who took over the position from Bierzynski, said she had been feeling ill and, before the meeting, agreed with the other auditors to keep their proceedings brief.
She said her husband is a proud veteran and forgetting the Pledge of Allegiance was an oversight, but unintentional.
She said she would gladly attend a training class if the supervisors would ask them to perform an audit.
As is the practice of many townships, an accounting firm is hired to perform the annual state-mandated audit while elected auditors approve compensation for elected supervisors who are also township employees, in this case, Chairman Miller Stella's salary of $200, as he is also the township roadmaster.
Bierzynski said she felt Venesky's letter was antagonistic.
This is nothing but someone looking for trouble, Bierzynski said. We're not looking for trouble. We took this job to do an audit.
At the end of the meeting, Venesky defended his letter and again expressed his displeasure that the Pledge of Allegiance was forgotten.
I stand by my letter, Venesky said. Next year, you could do a better job.
In other business, in his report to township supervisors, Fire Chief Paul Eyerman said the volunteer fire company is short on members qualified to drive the township's fire trucks.
He said he is working to remedy the deficiency, but, until there is a resolution, Wright Township Volunteer Fire Company will respond to Rice Township emergency calls when drivers are not available.