Washtenaw County Board Starts New Year

Officers elected, new rules adopted after some debate

Washtenaw County board of commissioners meeting (Jan. 5, 2011): In a meeting that combined elements of celebration and some sharp debate, the county board marked the new year by electing officers and adopting its annual set of rules, which had been revised from the previous year.

Donald Shelton, Yousef Rahbi

Before Wednesday's board meeting, Donald Shelton, chief judge of the Washtenaw County trial court, talks with Yousef Rabhi, a Democrat who represents Ann Arbor's District 11 on the county board of commissioners. Shelton later donned his judicial robes to officially swear in commissioners. (Photos by the writer.)

The boardroom was packed with friends and family, many of them turning out especially for the four newly elected commissioners: Rob Turner (R-District 1), Dan Smith (R-District 2), Alicia Ping (R-District 3) and Yousef Rabhi (D-District 11). A reception for commissioners was held prior to the board meeting and was attended by several other elected officials – including sheriff Jerry Clayton, prosecutor Brian Mackie and water resources commissioner Janis Bobrin – as well as county staff.

Newly elected state senator Rebekah Warren was also on hand to watch as her husband, commissioner Conan Smith (D-District 10), was elected to chair the board, as anticipated. Officers for the board, the ways & means committee and the board’s working session were all elected unanimously, without discussion. There was considerable debate, however, over aspects of the new board rules, though they were ultimately adopted with only one minor amendment.

Commissioners Sworn In, New Officers Elected

The first board meeting of the year is initially chaired by the county clerk, until commissioners are sworn in and they elect the board chair. Clerk Larry Kestenbaum began by introducing Donald Shelton, chief judge of the Washtenaw County trial court, who was there to swear in the commissioners.

Curtis Hedger, Larry Kestenbaum

At left, Curtis Hedger, the county's corporation counsel, talks with county clerk Larry Kestenbaum prior to the start of Wednesday's board meeting. The county clerk, which is also an elected position, chairs the first board meeting of each year until commissioners are officially sworn in, and they elect the board chair.

Shelton, wearing his judicial robes, joked that though the clerk might say otherwise, “there’s still time to change your mind.” No one did, and the brief swearing-in ceremony commenced.

Kestenbaum then asked deputy clerk Jason Brooks to call the roll, but also requested that each commissioner respond to the roll call by introducing themselves and the district they represent. Several commissioners took the opportunity to introduce members of their family and friends as well – Yousef Rahbi Rabhi asked his girlfriend and others to wave from the audience, for example. Rob Turner added the flourish of stating that he represented “the No. 1 District in Washtenaw County” – or District 1.

The election of officers occurred later in the meeting, with the board first electing Conan Smith as chair, without competing nominations or discussion. Smith, a Democrat who represents District 10 in Ann Arbor, has served on the board since 2005 and for the past two years has chaired the board’s ways & means committee. All board members serve on that committee, which meets immediately prior to the bi-weekly board meetings.

Smith also serves as board liaison to the county’s budget advisory team, and first reported at a public meeting last October on the county’s projected 2012-13 budget deficit of roughly $20 million. Dealing with the budget is expected to be the board’s primary task in 2011. That process includes making adjustments to this year’s budget – the board made a first stab at that in December, when they approved revisions to the 2011 budget. The county works on a two-year budget cycle, and by year’s end will also set the budget for 2012 and 2013.

The board also elected Alicia Ping as board vice chair. Later in the meeting, other officers were elected: Rolland Sizemore Jr., chair of the board’s ways & means committee; Dan Smith, vice chair of ways & means; Yousef Rabhi, chair of the board’s working session; and Rob Turner, vice chair of the working session. All positions were elected on unanimous votes, with no competing nominations or discussion.

Though Democrats make up the majority of the board – holding eight of the 11 seats – the practice in recent years has been to include the Republican minority in leadership roles. This year, the board’s three Republicans – Ping, Dan Smith and Turner – were all elected to vice chair positions.

New Board Rules Debated, Adopted

At its first meeting of each year, the board adopts a set of rules and regulations to govern its actions. This year, the document contained revisions put forth by Conan Smith. Some of the changes came in response to concerns raised last fall about whether commissioners were inappropriately claiming per diem payments. An independent audit of past per diem claims, commissioned by the county administrator, has not yet been released publicly.

The primary changes to board rules and regulations are as follows:

  • A list of committees, boards and commissions that are eligible for per diem payments was deleted. The rules had previously listed nearly 30 committees for which commissioners could request a $25 per diem payment, if they attended a meeting. More general language was included, which (1) exempted county employees from per diem and mileage, and (2) stated that all “duly appointed representatives of the county” could request per diem payments. In an email explaining the changes to his fellow commissioners, Smith said that eliminating the committee list “addresses the concern that we may have missed some committees … or that we may amend the committee structure in the future.”
  • The new rules eliminate the ability of commissioners to transfer any unspent money from their flex accounts to other commissioners’ accounts. Each commissioner has an expense account capped at roughly $3,500.
  • A new section clarifies that individual commissioners do not have the authority to direct the work of county employees. That section reads as follows:

G. Per M.C.L. 46.11 the board of county commissioners is authorized to act as the policy-making body of a county, adopt ordinances and rules necessary for the conduct of county business, establish committees of the board necessary for the efficient conduct of business, adopt the annual county budget, and exercise all other powers in the area of legislation authorized by law. As such, legislative authority for the county is vested in the board of commissioners as a collective body; no individual commissioner may speak for the board.

H. Per M.C.L. 46.11, M.C.L. 46.13B and county policy, the supervision, direction and control of all departments of a county, except those headed by elected officials, is vested in the county administrator, who has the duty to coordinate the various activities of the county and unify the management of its affairs. Therefore, subject only to policies adopted or directions given by official actions of the board of commissioners, the county administrator shall be responsible for the general supervision, direction, administration and coordination of all the affairs of the county except those conducted by the other elected officials of the county.

Individual members of the board of commissioners do not have the authority to direct the work of county employees; only the board as a collective body speaks for the county and provides policy direction to the county administrator and employees.

[.pdf of proposed rules and regulations]

New Board Rules: Commissioner Deliberations

Wes Prater began the discussion by asking two questions about the new section related to directing the work of county employees: (1) How does the board enforce this rule? and (2) What’s the remedy if the rule is violated? Those issues need to be considered, he said.

Barbara Bergman said that for her, it seemed to be “incredibly simple” – if the board approves a project, then county staff will be deployed. But if an individual commissioner tells staff to do something independently, the county administrator or deputy administrator can recall the staff from that project.

Kristen Judge expressed her faith in the ability of county administrator Verna McDaniel and deputy administrator Bill Reynolds to know when their employees are being misused or overutilized. The board doesn’t need a policy to address this issue, she said.

Ronnie Peterson, Rob Turner

Commissioners Ronnie Peterson, left, and Rob Turner.

Ronnie Peterson weighed in, observing that only the board chair has the right to chastise commissioners – they don’t report to the county administrator, and the administrator shouldn’t be a tattletale on the board. He cautioned anyone against calling him and telling him not to talk to a county employee. The public expects commissioners to respond to their requests, he said. There might be a process that could be put in place to address these issues, but this new rule doesn’t seem to do that, he said.

Conan Smith responded to these comments, making a distinction between talking to employees and directing their work. The rule does not prohibit communication – commissioners can certainly request information, he said. But the rule does clarify that commissioners can’t tell staff what work to do, he said. Smith gave an example from his own experience, where he felt he had overstepped his authority in the past in directing the county staff to work on an energy grant – he characterized his actions as “heavy-handed,” especially since they were in conflict with the wishes of some other commissioners. [Smith is executive director of the Michigan Suburbs Alliance, a nonprofit which also operates the Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office.]

It’s also about self-discipline, Smith said. He noted that the board had just gone through the “nightmare” of the per diem and travel controversy because the rules weren’t clearly articulated – that’s a problem, he said. By clarifying the rules, they’re asking each commissioner to abide by a community standard that they all set.

In stating his support for the new rule, Rob Turner said it seemed to him that asking employees a question or notifying them of a situation was different than directing work. As far as enforcement, how are the other rules enforced? he asked. He didn’t see enforcement of the new rule as any different from how the board enforced the existing rules – it is a board responsibility, not one for the county administrator. Noting that he was new to the board, he asked if he was wrong in his understanding.

“I share your interpretation,” Smith said.

Rolland Sizemore Jr. wanted to know if he needed to come to the board for approval before working on a project with county staff. Smith drew the distinction between projects that are already in an employee’s work plan, and those that are new. He gave another example from his own experience, saying that he and Kristin Judge are passionate about pursuing grants, and worked with staff to develop a grant-writing program. That project should have been brought to the board for approval, he said, or vetted with the county administrator first.

Sizemore said he thought they were putting the county administrator “in a bad spot,” if the administrator is the one expected to enforce the rule. If Sizemore were told he can’t do a youth summit, for example, “I’ve got a problem with that,” he said. [Sizemore has championed several county programs for youth, most notably the Washtenaw Area Teens for Tomorrow.] While he agreed that some controls are needed, Sizemore said he wasn’t sure this rule was the best approach. Each district is unique, he said, and people elected him to represent their needs and work on their behalf. If the rule passes, Sizemore added, “good luck if you tell me I can’t do something.”

Leah Gunn praised the programs that Sizemore has initiated, saying they benefitted the county and had the full support of the board. In fact, she recalled that he had asked the board for their support before he started them, she said. That won’t change, she added.

Gunn described the new rule as more of a guidance than a regulation, and said it’s something they should already be doing. It won’t stop them from asking the staff for information, but they shouldn’t put a burden on staff to do things that are outside the scope of a work plan. That’s especially true as they face tough financial times, she said. Now isn’t the time for new initiatives – they need to hunker down and do the best they can with their existing programs, she said.

Judge then made a motion to strike the last paragraph:

Individual members of the board of commissioners do not have the authority to direct the work of county employees; only the board as a collective body speaks for the county and provides policy direction to the county administrator and employees.

It simply restates the information that’s already covered in state statutes, she noted. Further, she has full faith in the ability of the county administrator to tell commissioners when they’re overstepping their authority – she hoped the staff didn’t have the attitude that you can’t say no to a commissioner. Commissioners shouldn’t be treated differently, she said, and certainly aren’t above reproach. It doesn’t give the staff enough credit to believe they can’t handle this, she said.

Washtenaw County commissioners

Washtenaw County commissioners, from left: Alicia Ping, Wes Prater, Kristin Judge, Conan Smith. At right is deputy clerk Jason Brooks.

Bergman disagreed, saying that it was, in fact, difficult to say no to a commissioner. “We’re 11 pretty scary people,” she said, because they control jobs. She said she’d be voting against the amendment.

Prater noted that no existing county policy addresses this issue. The way it’s written, however, isn’t enforceable, he said. They needed to “clean it up” before approving it.

In response to a question from Peterson, Smith clarified that it was him who had proposed the changes to the rules. The last paragraph was added to clarify the existing law, so that all commissioners are operating under the same set of assumptions. [See the rule referencing M.C.L. 46.11 above.] Members of the board have been violating this law for years, he said. By incorporating it into their rules, they’d be acknowledging that it’s part of their standards of conduct.

Peterson again stated his objection to the rule, saying it was hard to support without the element of accountability.

Yousef Rabhi agreed that a lot of Peterson’s concerns were valid, and said that putting responsibility for enforcing the rules in the chair’s hands seemed like a good approach. But so far, state laws haven’t been sufficient, he noted, so it was worth keeping in the paragraph that clarified the role of commissioners with relation to county employees. It reminds commissioners that they need to get the board’s blessing before embarking on projects with the staff. He said he wouldn’t support Judge’s amendment to strike that section.

Alicia Ping voiced her support for the rule, saying that it also clarified the role for staff. Turner restated his support, noting that not understanding the law had gotten the board into problems in the past.

Outcome: The amendment to strike the final paragraph of the proposed rules failed, with support only from Judge, Peterson and Prater.

After the vote, Peterson said he’d support the overall rules, but cautioned that it wasn’t clear how they’d be enforced. He stated that he didn’t work for the government – he worked for the citizens of Washtenaw County, and he’d do what he needed to do to represent them.

Prater said he’d been a bit confused at the beginning of the discussion regarding what kind of “work” the rules referred to – he was even more confused now, he said. It didn’t seem like an effective rule, he said, but he’d support it. However, he still wanted to know who would enforce it, and what the remedy would be for breaking it.

At Smith’s request, Bergman proposed a friendly amendment to add a section addressing this issue:

I. Concerns with violations of this rule shall be addressed by the chair of the board of commissioners.

In the past, an amendment has been considered “friendly” if it is accepted by the person who made the original motion and the person who seconded that motion – a vote of the full board would not be taken. However, at Wednesday’s meeting Curtis Hedger, the county’s corporation counsel, said he’d been reading up on this procedure and had determined that friendly amendments needed to be handled in a different way, to conform with Robert’s Rules of Order.

When the main motion is made and recognized by the chair, it then belongs to the entire board, Hedger said. If an amendment is considered friendly, the chair should ask if anyone on the board objects – if no one objects, no vote is required. But if even one commissioner objects, then the amendment must be handled like any other amendment – with a motion to amend, a second to that motion, debate and a vote.

No one objected to the proposed amendment.

Outcome: The amendment stating the chair’s role in enforcing board rules passed on a voice vote.

A roll call vote on the rules as amended was then taken.

Outcome: Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt the new board rules and regulations, as amended.

After the vote, Turner asked for clarification about what they had just voted on – he said he thought they’d voted on the friendly amendment, not the overall rules. Conan Smith clarified that the friendly amendment was handled by a voice vote, while the rules were subsequently approved on a roll call vote. He then apologized, saying he’d moved through the process too quickly and should have better accommodated the new commissioners by taking a slower pace.

Misc. Communications

The meeting provided several opportunities for communications from commissioners and the county administrator on a variety of topics.

Appointments Caucus

An appointments caucus will be held immediately following the Jan. 12 administrative briefing, which begins at 5 p.m. The caucus will focus on commissioner assignments to the more than 50 boards, committees, commissions and agencies that call for a county commissioner to serve. The board chair, Conan Smith, will officially make the appointments, which the board is expected to confirm at their Jan. 19 meeting.

Both the caucus and the administrative briefing are open to the public and held in the county administration offices at 220 N. Main St.

State of the County Report

County administrator Verna McDaniel told the board that she’d be giving a state of the county report at the Jan. 19 meeting, including a financial update. The board got its last official update – for the third quarter of 2010 – at its Nov. 3, 2010 meeting. They approved revisions to the 2011 budget at their Dec. 1, 2010 meeting, but additional budget adjustments later this year are expected.

Request for Working Session, Executive Session

Rolland Sizemore Jr. asked to set up a board working session on the Washtenaw County Road Commission. Earlier in the meeting, Wes Prater had reported that there were leadership changes on the commission, and that Doug Fuller was now chair. [The three road commissioners are appointed by the county board, but are an autonomous entity. Other road commissioners are Ken Schwartz and Fred Veigel.] Prater had also suggested inviting the road commission officials to a working session, to give the board an update on their operations.

Sizemore also asked that the board hold an executive session soon regarding the lawsuit against the county over sheriff deputy patrols. The three townships of Augusta, Salem and Ypsilanti sued the county in 2006 over the issue of contract deputy prices. The county has prevailed in the case and settled with Salem Township this summer, but is still trying to recoup more than $2 million from Ypsilanti Township and Augusta Township. [For recent Chronicle coverage on the deputy contract issue, see "What's Next for Washtenaw Police Services?"]

Finally, Sizemore requested that the board discuss, at an upcoming meeting, the relocation of the juvenile court to the downtown courthouse.

Kudos for Head Start

Kristin Judge reported that the Washtenaw Head Start program recently received the results of its review by officials of the federal program, and had received high marks, outpacing national averages in most categories. The local program is over-enrolled again, she noted. [.pdf of federal review findings and .pdf of observation report As an area of strength, the report highlighted the local Head Start's site-monitoring system, calling it an innovative process. The review found only one area of noncompliance – of Head Start's 35 employees, a required criminal record check was not conducted for one teacher assistant prior to employment.]

Public Commentary

Two people spoke during public commentary time at Wednesday’s meeting.

Public Commentary: Tasers

Douglas Smith, who has spoken regularly during public commentary at the University of Michigan board of regents meetings, told commissioners that he was there to appeal the county’s denial to his Freedom of Information Act request. He said he’s taken an interest in the use of Tasers by local law enforcement. In particular, he cited two deaths last year, in Livonia and Superior Township, and others in 2009. He said he is concerned about whether Tasers are being used appropriately. [In August 2010, Michael Sheldon Ford died from injuries caused by a fall after being Tasered by Livonia police. Also in August, Stanley Jackson Jr. of Belleville died hours after being Tasered during a drug raid in Superior Township.]

Smith, who noted that he is a former University of Michigan professor of pathology, said he had made a FOIA request for an autopsy report of Jackson, but had been denied. The reason he was given is that an investigation is underway by the state police – the information won’t be released until the investigation is completed, he said.

FOIA standards require a balance between the harm that might be caused from releasing information, and the public benefit that’s provided by access, Smith said. There’s a strong public interest in knowing whether Tasers are linked to the cause of death, he said. That’s especially true, he added, since he expects the state legislature will be considering a law that would allow private citizens to own Tasers. At the least, Smith hoped that the cause of death and major anatomical findings could be released. He concluded by distributing a copy of his appeal letter to commissioners.

In the time set aside for commissioner response to public commentary, Kristen Judge assured Smith that the county takes FOIA issues very seriously, and that there would be a followup to his request.

Barbara Bergman reported that the board of the Washtenaw County Health Organization (WCHO), on which she serves, had received a briefing earlier that day about efforts to train Washtenaw sheriff deputies to use Tasers as a last resort. The goal is to reduce the use of that equipment, she said – though she stressed that this was not an official policy.

Public Commentary: Setting a More Ambitious Agenda

Thomas Partridge spoke during both opportunities for public commentary. As he has done frequently at public meetings in the past, he called for local, state and federal officials to prioritize an agenda that would create affordable, accessible housing, health care, transportation and education for all. Partridge also argued that the public should have a voice in the election of board officers, as well as the election of leaders in the state and federal legislature. Finally, he called for campaign finance reform.

Public Commentary: Commissioner Comment

Yousef Rabhi thanked those who spoke during public commentary, and urged people who might be watching on Community Television Network to come to future meetings and let commissioners know what’s on their minds. “Come on over,” he said. “We’re not that mean.”

Present: Barbara Levin Bergman, Leah Gunn, Kristin Judge, Ronnie Peterson, Alicia Ping, Wes Prater, Yousef Rabhi, Rolland Sizemore Jr., Conan Smith, Dan Smith, Rob Turner.

Next regular board meeting: Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. at the county administration building, 220 N. Main St. The Ways & Means Committee meets first, followed immediately by the regular board meeting. [confirm date] (Though the agenda states that the regular board meeting begins at 6:45 p.m., it usually starts much later – times vary depending on what’s on the agenda.) Public comment sessions are held at the beginning and end of each meeting. The board’s administrative briefing, to preview the Jan. 19 agenda, will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 12 at 5 p.m. in the offices of the county administration building, 220 N. Main St. That meeting will be immediately followed by an appointments caucus.


  1. By Mark Koroi
    January 9, 2011 at 8:26 pm | permalink

    Look for Rob Turner to have a pivotal role in the per diem elimination debate. That measure had failed by one vote and Commissioner Ken Schwartz, who opposed the resolution, has been replaced with Turner.

  2. By Leah Gunn
    January 10, 2011 at 6:30 am | permalink

    Actually Commissioner Schwartz was replaced by Commissioner Dan Smith. Commissioner Turner replaced Mark Ouimet.

    As the one who tried to change the rules on per diems, I am sorry to inform you that it is illegal, according to state staute, to change the compensation for sitting Commissioners, which is why I tried to eliminate per diems last year, before the new Commissioners were sworn in. If there is any change voted in, it won’t take effect until 2013.

  3. By Barbara Levin Bergman
    January 10, 2011 at 8:18 am | permalink

    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.

  4. January 10, 2011 at 9:02 am | permalink

    @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 judgek@ewashtenaw.org

  5. By Leah Gunn
    January 10, 2011 at 10:28 am | permalink

    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.

  6. By Kristin Judge
    January 10, 2011 at 2:25 pm | permalink

    @ 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 AnnArbor.com 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.

  7. By Leah Gunn
    January 10, 2011 at 7:46 pm | permalink

    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.

  8. January 11, 2011 at 9:53 pm | permalink

    @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.

  9. By Leah Gunn
    January 12, 2011 at 6:47 am | permalink

    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.

  10. By Junior
    January 15, 2011 at 4:29 pm | permalink

    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.

  11. By Kerry D.
    January 15, 2011 at 6:40 pm | permalink

    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.

  12. By Kristin Judge
    January 25, 2011 at 8:55 am | permalink

    I have paid the county $55.30 for two meetings that were deemed ineligible.