Comments on: Washtenaw County Board Starts New Year it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Kristin Judge Kristin Judge Tue, 25 Jan 2011 13:55:30 +0000 I have paid the county $55.30 for two meetings that were deemed ineligible.

By: Kerry D. Kerry D. Sat, 15 Jan 2011 23:40:56 +0000 I would like to know also when monies are paid back.

The length of time it is taking to address the overpayment issue is unacceptable.

The County Commissioners should be tripping over each other going to the payroll office to resolve this matter so it does not continue being a story that is constantly receiving media scrutiny.

By: Junior Junior Sat, 15 Jan 2011 21:29:21 +0000 It seems to me that County Commissioners who oppose per diems do not have to claim them and can therfore put their money where their mouth is.

It seems that the per diem controversy has brought about a level of public dissatifaction for those who have received improper or questionable disbursements from the payroll office. This is not a political but a legal issue as inappropriately received compensation should reimbursed to the county post-haste. Those commissioners who do not return such monies voluntarily should explain why to the public.

As of this date, I am aware of only Leah Gunn who has tendered a reimbusement check to the county based on Larry Kestenbaum’s report. Other commissioners need to speed up resolution of this embarrassing matter and cough up cash to the county ASAP.

By: Leah Gunn Leah Gunn Wed, 12 Jan 2011 11:47:09 +0000 And because it included health benefits, that motion died for lack of a second. One ought to at least inquire whether ANYONE on the BOC supports what you want to introduce, so there could at least be a second, followed by discussion. Doesn’t count.

By: Kristin Judge Kristin Judge Wed, 12 Jan 2011 02:53:13 +0000 @Leah – “And, she had an entire year to submit any resolution that she wanted. She never did.”

The minutes reflect that I did bring forth a resolution that would eliminate the pension. The only difference between our two resolutions was that I added the elimination of the health care benefit.



October 20, 2010

Items for Current/Future Discussion
Comm. Judge moved to adopt a resolution to eliminate Board of Commissioners retirement, pension & health care benefits for all returning and newly elected members as of 1/1/2011 and beyond. Motion failed due to lack of a second.

By: Leah Gunn Leah Gunn Tue, 11 Jan 2011 00:46:58 +0000 If Commissioner Judge was so intent on eliminating pension benefits, she could have brought forth a resolution to do so, by “untabling” the original resolution. That resolution was submitted by Administration, not by me. I have already told Commissioner Judge that, and she chooses not to listen. It is disingenuous of her to claim that she “didn’t have time to study it” – it was very straight forward and simply eliminated the 7.5% of our wages which go to pensions. And, she had an entire year to submit any resolution that she wanted. She never did.

I no longer have dental care, and I never had vision care.

By: Kristin Judge Kristin Judge Mon, 10 Jan 2011 19:25:13 +0000 @ Leah – I am completely aware of our need to vote on our compensation, but what has been lacking in past boards is the taxpayer oversight. A compensation committee is the “right” thing to do for the residents of Washtenaw County. Oversight and checks and balances of the Board of Commissioners has been sorely lacking for the past decade as evidenced by the per diem mess we just went through.

The reason I voted to table the resolution in 2009 was that I had not had a chance to review it or ask questions of the pension administrator. Remember that tabling a vote does not the same as a “no” vote. It just allows the resolution to be taken up at a later date.

I was always in favor of getting rid of the pension, but I wanted to understand the resolution before voting on it. The original resolution was brought to the board by Commissioner Gunn, so the question remains, “Why did she not vote to get rid of the pension when it was brought up again in 2010?” We both agreed that the pension should be eliminated. This should have been a resolution we could have agreed on. [link]

In this article [link] Commissioner Gunn incorrectly states that Commissioner Bergman is the only Commissioner participating in the county health care.

“I don’t think it’s morally right to mess with somebody’s health care, and there’s only one commissioner who has it — she’s singling out Barbara,” said Leah Gunn, D-Ann Arbor, referring to an ongoing feud between Judge and Commissioner Barbara Levin Bergman, D-Ann Arbor.

Actually other commissioners participate in the health benefits along with dental and vision benefits including Commissioner Gunn. To see the history of costs visit: [link]

As I have stated publicly, my reason for supporting per diems is that per diem payments create an equity between commissioner work loads, as long as the system is used correctly. One commissioner may be appointed to 5-6 committees and go to 100 extra meetings a year. While another commissioner who is not appointed to any committees, just attends the county board meetings. Our Chair of the Board and Chair of Ways and Means receive a greater salary than the other commissioners due to the increase in workload. The per diem also works to bring equity to the pay for time worked.

By: Leah Gunn Leah Gunn Mon, 10 Jan 2011 15:28:30 +0000 It may not seem “right” to Commissioner Judge that we should vote on our compensation but the statute law of Michigan requires it, whether or not we have a committee. Remember, please, that despite her protestations against pension and health benefite, in November 2009, Cmsr. Judge voted to table a resolution eliminating pension benefits for Commissioners. I voted, along with Cmsrs. Bergman and Irwin not to table it. In addition, when the resolution to eliminate per diems was voted on in December of 2010, Cmsr. Judge voted, again, no. Her so-called “reduction” in the Board budget had to do with other items, and little to do with Commissisoner compensation, which, at each opportunity, she has voted not not to reduce.

By: Kristin Judge Kristin Judge Mon, 10 Jan 2011 14:02:17 +0000 @Mark – What we can do during our current term is to set up a Compensation Committee comprised of individual taxpayers who would decide what is an appropriate level of compensation for the board. It does not seem right for a board to decide their own compensation and benefits. All of this could have been avoided if there was a third party objectively looking at the pay.

The real cost to the taxpayers is the health and pension benefits that I tried to have eliminated and had no support on. Residents should not be paying lifetime health benefits for part-time elected officials who serve 16 years. We cannot choose to give up our 7.5% pension contribution from the county. Commissioners can choose to not take per diems, and I will not be taking any for my service.

I am hoping that my colleagues will look at the true opportunity to save some money long-term by getting rid of legacy costs for part-time elected officials.

If you would like to see past commissioner spending and how much we have brought that down, visit my website at [link].

Feel free to contact me with any questions or stop by my “Coffee with your Commissioner” events the 2nd Thursday of each month from 10-11am at Harvest Moon Cafe. Evening times coming soon.
734-646-2088 or

By: Barbara Levin Bergman Barbara Levin Bergman Mon, 10 Jan 2011 13:18:18 +0000 Hi Mary,

What I stressed was that the WCHo does not make official policy at the Jail. The Program Committee was interested in and pleased with the report of the psychiatrist we pay for in the jail who reported that because deputies accepted the offer of training in alternatives to taser for inmate control, its use had reduced.

The Sheriff sets policies for the jail. What I lauded was the willingness of deputies to accept training for alternatives to the use of taser. This is another case of county departments working together to improve services.