Thursday, October 14, 2004

OT for Bush rally covered

West Chester to pay over $31,000 from contingency in its budget

By John Kiesewetter
Enquirer staff writer

WEST CHESTER TWP. - More than $31,000 in overtime expenses for the President Bush rally Sept. 27 won't put the township budget in a hole.

"We build these contingencies into our budget," said David Gully, township administrator.

Overtime by the police, fire, administration and services departments for the Republican Party rally accounted for 96 percent of the $32,926 expenses incurred by the township, said Judi Carter, assistant township administrator.

More than 50,000 greeted Bush at Voice of America Park, according to police estimates.

Catherine Stoker, the only Democrat among the three trustees, was satisfied with Carter's report. "The cost was within reason, for the effort that went into it," Stoker said.

Cleveland officials have talked about billing the Bush and Kerry campaigns for about $300,000 in extra costs to the city from their campaign stops.

The Bush-Cheney campaign contracted directly with Rumpke for portable toilets and trash pick-up, Carter said.

Gully said the township provided only for the health and safety of participants. Police and fire overtime will be paid from police and fire levies, not the general fund, he said.

"We have various events throughout the year that require overtime. We spent about $40,000 on police overtime for the Union Centre Bash," Gully said of the annual summer festival.

The township held down expenses by using county jail inmates to set up for the rally and clean up after it, Stoker said. The Republican Party provided about 250 volunteers to direct people into the park, Gully said.

Carter's report did not account for overtime by the 25 other police and fire departments that also worked at the rally.


Legal help for Gully

West Chester Township trustees have hired attorneys from Millikin & Fitton law firm at $200 an hour to represent Township Administrator David Gully on an assault charge made after the Bush rally. Susan Kelch, 48, of Liberty Township, said she was struck in the back by a rubber traffic cone thrown by Gully as she was walking out of Voice of America Park. Township police have not completed their investigation, said Trustee George Lang. Outside counsel was retained because township attorney Donald Crain may have to represent the township in the matter, Lang said.

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