Butler Twp. administrator resigns amid controversy

Butler Township meeting (WDTN Photo/Kelley King)

BUTLER TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WDTN) — The Butler Township Board of Trustees has accepted the resignation of Township Administrator Kim Lapensee.

The decision was made Friday night after an emergency meeting was held.

Controversy surfaced after newly elected township trustee Joe Flanagan called for her resignation after what he said was a lack of leadership. His request was met by many upset residents who said they didn’t understand how Flanagan could make those demands when he wasn’t even sworn into office yet.

“It’s totally audacious to be speaking up in any regard even before he’s sworn in,” remarked one community member.

Butler Township residents voice concerns at a public meeting. (WDTN Photo/Kelley King)
Butler Township residents voice concerns at a public meeting. (WDTN Photo/Kelley King)

Residents said they also wanted Flanagan to specify how Lapensee wasn’t performing her duties.

“We don’t know what the problem is,” said one concerned resident.

Butler Township community members packed the meeting hall on Little York Road Friday to hear arguments over the administrator position.

“We have a room full of people. That seldom happens, and that speaks volumes to what’s going on,” said Mike Lang, Butler Township Trustee President.

Flanagan was fired as former township administrator. Lapensee replaced him. Flanagan told 2 NEWS he offered to give Lapensee 90 days right before the meeting started Friday, but she hadn’t accepted that offer at the time.

Flanagan said it was nothing personal and his best interest was with the township.

“My issue on the lack of leadership is just the condition of the township. In 2018 we’re looking at needing to cut five police officers because of the budget,” stated Flanagan. “You don’t wait until you get to a critical point to take care of those matters. You have to do it beforehand. My feeling was that Kim could not stand up to the board because she didn’t have a contract.”

Some residents questioned Flanagan’s motives.

“It does seem a little out of the ordinary that this person you’re trying to get rid of holds a position that you were let go of previously,” said Ruth Kistler who lives in the township.

Butler Township Trustee Mike Lang listens to residents' concerns and addresses the crowd. (WDTN Photo/Kelley King)
Butler Township Trustee Mike Lang listens to residents’ concerns and addresses the crowd. (WDTN Photo/Kelley King)

Trustee Mike Lang said he stands by Lapensee and said she recently had a good evaluation.

“She’s doing a fantastic job. I don’t want to see her go anywhere. We’ve got to make a decision that’s smart and right for the township,” stated Lang. “We all care very deeply about the township. This is not Butler Township politics. That’s what really blows us all away. We got a lot of people here who love this place and want to make the right decisions for the right reasons and tonight we’re going to try to do that as well.”

Lang contacted 2 NEWS just after 10 p.m. Friday stating that the board accepted Lapensee’s resignation.

Lapensee has entered into an agreement that provides a severance to her.

In a press release, the township said Erika Vogel, the Assistant Township Administrator, will assume the role as acting Township Administrator immediately upon Lapensee’s resignation on December 30.

The Board of Trustees said they thank Lapensee for her dedicated service to the Township.

Flanagan will be sworn in in January.

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