VALPARAISO | When the Center Township Board holds its organizational meeting Jan. 8, for the first time in 18 years, Charles Hazlett will not be a member.
Hazlett sent the board a letter announcing he plans to retire at the end of the year. At the board's final meeting of the year last week, the other members and Trustee Chuck Conover paid tribute to Hazlett with a plaque, and he was presented a card from the township staff.
"It seems like we were just going forward and doing the best we could," Hazlett said of his years on the board. "It's been great working with these folks. When you have people to work with like that, it is great. I'm pleased with all of it. I leave reluctantly, but there is a time for all things."
The Center Township Republican precinct committeemen will meet to choose a replacement for the remaining two years of his term.
The board's final order of business for the year was to adopt a resolution complying with the new state laws governing nepotism. Approved by the state Legislature earlier this year, any government employee hired after July 1 of this year can't be under the direct supervision of a relative. Those employed before that date are exempt.
Township Attorney David Hollenbeck said the small township staff doesn't have anyone in violation of the law, but the township had to adopt the language of the state law in order for the state Department of Local Government Finance to approve future township budgets. The resolution has to be submitted to the state Board of Accounts by Dec. 31.
Conover reported the requests for township assistance dropped from 2011. Through the first 50 weeks of 2012, the township had 1,357 interviews for assistance, down 12 percent from a year ago, and had paid out a total of $239,700, a 17 percent decrease from 2011. An improving economy and milder weather were believed to be contributing factors.