Absent Stafford Township Councilman Returns

STAFFORD – After a few months of absence, Councilman Steven Jeffries returned to the governing body at the Aug. 15 Township Council meeting.

Jeffries said he was glad to be back, and had no plans on leaving any time soon.

He had said in a previous interview that the job was more demanding of his time than he had expected. After he had won the primary election, he was offered consulting work for the ethanol industry in South Dakota. It was a lucrative contract and he could not turn it down. It was supposed to be for a few weeks, but turned into several months.

In the months he was gone, a few residents who attend council meetings regularly questioned his absence. Mayor John Spodofora had said that the law allows him to have excused absences for work purposes.

According to township records, Jeffries is paid $7,600 a year for being a councilman. He does not receive benefits.

There had been talks about Jeffries donating his salary either back to the town or to a local charity. That proved difficult to do legally, so the solution was that he was just not paid, he said. The rest of the council voted on him having a leave of absence and he did not take any payment during that time. He has not yet asked to be reinstated, because he wants his weeks off from being paid to match his weeks off from the council.

The Township Council passed a resolution on April 11 that excused his absences. The resolution stated that he joined the council in January, 2016, and that his absences began October 25, 2016.

Jeffries said he still has his consulting business, but has no plans to leave the state again.