by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
The Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners voted during its Committee of the Whole meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 11 to forward two financial changes to its Thursday, Dec. 12 regular meeting for final approval. Pending final approval by the board, meeting pay for county appointed boards and committees will be raised, and a six-step pay scale will be implemented for the county’s non-union employees.
The board has struggled for years to fill the citizen representative seats on the county’s many boards and committees. To remedy that issue, the board plans to increase compensation beginning Jan. 1, 2020. The payment for in-county committee meetings will be set at $50, the payment for out-of-county meetings or meetings lasting more than four hours will be $65 and compensation for planning commission and zoning board of appeals meetings will be set at $75.
“This is something we looked at with our wage study,” explained board chairman Jeremy Root. “And before we go any further, I want to add that, this is not for Board of Commissioners meetings; this is for our citizen boards and county appointed boards. We obviously see that we have a lack of people interested. Nobody wants to serve. One of the townships in my district pays their planning commission members $100 per meeting, and we pay $25.
“We haven’t looked at meeting pay since 1973, so it’s a long time overdue,” continued Commissioner Root. “That is probably our problem. Everyone thinks we are just holding applicants or we’re not getting the message out, so hopefully this helps us attract more candidates to fill these important committees.”
The pay scale for non-unionized employees would be changed from a nine-step wage scale to a six-step scale, which is already in place for the county’s union employees. This change would be implemented on March 17, 2020, and future step increases will remain on each employee’s anniversary.
“This also came about as a result of the wage study,” shared Commissioner Root. “Our union and non-union employees are doing the same work, really, but being compensated differently. Moving forward, not that I want to take anything away from unions, but I think it is our job to remember to look out for our non-reps, because they are the ones who decided not to unionize. So in other words, they trusted this board to make financial decisions for them. They’re the ones that, no matter what we do, they don’t get a say. Now that we’re negotiating with the unions to move them from a nine-step scale to a six-step scale, I think it’s only fair to look out for the people who do not have representation.”