STAFFORD – After criticism at several meetings regarding his prolonged absence, Councilman Steven Jeffries will be waiving his salary and attempting to attend meetings via telephone.
Jeffries works as a consultant for the ethanol industry in South Dakota. He has said in a past interview that the position was offered after he became involved in the town’s politics. However, it was only supposed to be a short-term position.
“We’ve had discussions with Mr. Jeffries,” Mayor John Spodofora said. “He is waiving his salary. He is still stuck at his job. He will try to attend meetings by phone.”
Residents have complained about his absence before, with council members saying it was excused because it was work-related.
The township made it official at the April 11 meeting, passing a resolution that excused his absences. The resolution stated that he joined the council in January, 2016, and that his absences began October 25, 2016.
According to township records, Jeffries is paid $7,600 a year for being a councilman. He does not receive benefits.
Although no one from the public commented about the situation at the April 11 Township Council meeting, a few residents spoke about it at the March 28 meeting.
Resident Joseph Mazzola said “I do more in one day (for the town) and I’m not getting paid.”
Another resident, Richard Gilchrest, had argued that Jeffries should not take the money if he’s not going to take the job. He urged the governing body to withhold his pay.
Township Attorney Christopher Connors replied that the compensation can be set by the governing body, but they can not make the decision to remove it. It is still an excused absence.