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Government

Wabash Township Board Hopes Resolution To Fund Fire Department Staff Will Have Trustee’s Support

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Trustee Teising and Board President Angel Valentin (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

The Wabash Township Board passed a resolution at a meeting Tuesday to shift township funds in a bid to keep the fire department's three paid firefighters on staff. 

  

Township Trustee Jennifer Teising notified fire department staff on Monday that she would terminate their employment by the end of the month due to budget constraints.

President of the Firefighters Association Michael Dwyer read a letter to Teising pleading with her not to cut staff. 

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A full room for the Wabash Township Board meeting (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

“Do not terminate these three paid guys,” he said. “There is obviously a disagreement here between the association, the fire department, and the board. Don’t put them at the middle of it. We’re asking you not to go through with your plan.”

The Township Board meeting was at times confrontational, with board president Angel Valentin shouting over Trustee Teising - who called in via Zoom. 

The board ultimately approved moving $500,000 from the township's Cumulative Fire Fund, which is historically used for things like new fire trucks, to be used instead for firefighter salaries and benefits. 

Board member Brendan Betz acknowledged that the transfer was not a long term solution. 

“Know that we are, we as a board, are working to find sufficient and sustainable funding that doesn’t abuse the taxpayer,” he said.

Throughout the meeting trustee Teising faced multiple calls for her resignation, with many attendees accusing her of creating a toxic work environment. 

Teising said she would not step down. 

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Trustee Jennifer Teising (WBAA News/Emilie Syberg)

“There have been a lot of lies told about what is happening in Wabash Township,” she said. “But I am going to serve my term and do the job I’ve signed up to do until the end.”

The trustee was indicted also last month on 20 counts of felony theft for taking her salary while not a resident of the township, a charge she denies. 

The decision on how to use township funds ultimately rests with trustee Teising. Before leaving the call, the trustee said she would consider the board’s resolution to use the funds to keep paid firefighters on staff. 

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The Wabash Township Board (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)