Thursday, March 17, 2011

A brief overview of Ross Township or a quick local government lesson....

I'm going to try to provide a brief overview of Ross Township.  The Township was founded in 1809 after James Ross, who was a prominent Pittsburgh attorney at the time.  For a thorough history of Ross Township, please check out the History section of the Ross Township web site for a very detailed article
The Administration of the Township is comprised of 9 Commissioners, each one serving a 4 year term.  Each Commissioner represents a Ward, or section, of Ross Township.  There are 9 Wards in the Township.  West View Borough is not included in this as they are a separate entity in their own. 

Here is the list of current Commissioners:

CommissionerWardTerm Expires
Daniel P. Kinross, President3rd Ward2012
Grant Montgomery, Vice President9th Ward2012
Daniel L. DeMarco1st Ward2012
Chris Rand Eyster2nd Ward2014
Lana Mazur4th Ward2014
Grace Stanko5th Ward2012
David J. Mikec6th Ward2014
Gerald R O'Brien7th Ward2012
Peter A. Ferraro8th Ward2014

Reporting to the Commissioners is the Township Manager, which is currently Mr. Wayne Jones.  The Township Manager then oversees the Chief of Police, the Recreation Director, the Director of Finance, the Fire Marshall, the Building Inspector, and the Supervisor of Public Works.  In addition, the Solicitor and the Township Engineer answer to the Township Manager. 
The Commissioners oversee several committees and boards as well.  The Civil Service Commission, Zoning Hearing Board, Planning Commission, EMS Board, Fire Appeals, Vacancy Board, Girty’s Run Joint Sewer Authority, Lowrie’s Run Joint Owned Sewer, Newcom (which no longer exists as it has been replaced by County 911 Operations) and the Library Board fall under the supervisors.  The Treasurer and Elected Constables also answer to the Board of Commissioners.
Supposedly the Township Residents are at the top of the Organizational Chart.  The chart is pretty old and could probably use a good updating, considering that Newcom hasn’t existed for several years.
The Board of Commissioners meets twice a month on Monday evenings.  At 6:30 they have their committee meetings, which are supposed to last an hour.  The voting meetings are supposed to start at 7:30 and these are open to the public.  Residents are able to attend and voice their opinion, complaints, or concerns to the board as well as question any actions the board has taken.  The agenda for each meeting is published ahead of time and the minutes detailing the happenings of each meeting are published on the Township web site.
If you would care to read through the Township Ordinances that are supposed to govern Ross Township, you can follow this link:  Ross Township Ordinances.  I warn you, it is a lot of confusing legalese and very VERY long winded.  There is a search function if you are looking for something specific.  Otherwise, make sure your eyes are well rested and your head is clear.
You can also read through the 2011 budget at this link: 2011 Budget

Credit and thanks to the Ross Township Web Site for providing a lot of the information and all of the links!
Hopefully, this will have clarified the intricacies that are Ross Township for some.  For others, perhaps you learned something like I did.  I never knew that it was unlawful to keep a Hyena in the Township of Ross……

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