Benton Township superintendent to resign at end of September

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

BENTON TOWNSHIP — Elden Piontek will resign as Benton Township superintendent Sept. 30.

Piontek had submitted a letter of resignation to the township Aug. 23, but waited to release the news until after he had spoken to each trustee.

“I wanted to meet with all the trustees and tell them my plans in person. I didn’t want them to hear from somebody else,” Piontek said in a Wednesday phone interview. “I’ve been contemplating it for quite a while. I came back as more of a temporary situation and we had been cutting my hours.”

Piontek said he chose to wait until after the primary election was finished before making his announcement. In addition to his age, Piontek said he is leaving because the township is “maintaining financial stability.”

“I think the township is in a good position to move on without me,” Piontek said. “I’m going to be 67. Things have calmed down and I think it’s a good time to move on.”

Piontek’s role within the township was reduced in January.

His work hours were lowered to an average of one day per week with a reduction in annual salary from $57,000 to $28,000. The new contract that was approved by the township’s Board of Trustees had Piontek attached to the township through December 2018.

Piontek had been working five days a week prior to the adjustment.

Piontek started working for the township as a controller in 1975. After he retired in 2010, Piontek came back as a superintendent in 2013 when its controller took a year off.

Treasurer Debbie Boothby has worked with Piontek for 12 years and said she was thankful for his work.

Boothby said Piontek was instrumental in getting several projects off the ground and played a big part in negotiating numerous employee contracts.

“Elden has always made himself available, from his appointment to supervisor to coming back out of retirement, to assist when needed,” Boothby said. “Everyone who has worked with Elden has learned his unique style of doing things, but knowing full well that whatever project Mr. Piontek put forward it was irrefutably in the best interest of Benton Charter Township.”

It is unknown if the township plans to hire another superintendent or eliminate the position.

Kelli Nelson serves as controller and has already taken over many of Piontek’s responsibilities. Nelson’s increase of work days from three to four were made to assume additional duties in January.

Nelson’s contract was extended six years, which runs from November 2015 through November 2021.

She was first hired to serve as the township’s controller in December 2009 and worked through December 2012. Then she took one year off and came back in the beginning of 2014.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Sept. 1, 2016)
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