County Board Elects Officers for 2014

At its first session of 2014, the Washtenaw County board of commissioners elected officers for the coming year, and approved the board rules and regulations. The actions took place at the board’s Jan. 8, 2014 meeting.

As expected, the board officers who were first elected in January 2013 were re-elected. Yousef Rabhi (D-District 8) will continue to serve as board chair. Also re-elected were Alicia Ping (R-District 3) as vice chair, Felicia Brabec (D-District 4) as chair of the board’s ways & means committee, and Andy LaBarre (D-District 7) as chair of the working sessions. There were no competing nominations and all votes were unanimous, although Rolland Sizemore Jr. (D-District 5) was out of the room when the votes for Brabec and LaBarre were taken.

Based on compensation that was approved by the board’s Dec. 2, 2012 meeting, the three chairs – Rabhi, Brabec and LaBarre – will each make a base salary of $18,750. That’s $3,000 more than other commissioners. None of the positions are considered to be full-time jobs.

Commissioners also receive stipend payments based on the number of meetings that a commissioner is likely to attend for a particular appointment to the other various boards, committees and commissions. One or two meetings per year would pay $50, three or four meetings would pay $100, and the amounts increase based on the number of meetings. Each commissioner typically has several appointments. Commissioners who are appointed as alternates receive the same stipend as the regular appointments. Some appointments were not designated to be paid because no meetings were expected to be scheduled.

Commissioners can waive their stipends by giving written notice to the county clerk. Otherwise, the stipend payments are made automatically.

In 2013, only Dan Smith (R-District 2) waived all of his stipends, according to the county clerk’s office, which administers the stipends. Brabec waived her stipend for the accommodations ordinance commission. Ronnie Peterson (D-District 6) was not appointed to any boards, committees or commissions and therefore did not receive any stipends.

For 2013, the following stipends were paid [.pdf of chart indicating appointments and eligible stipends]:

  • Yousef Rabhi (D-District 8): $2,700 (11 paid appointments, including several stipulated by virtue of Rabhi’s position as board chair, plus 3 unpaid appointments)
  • Rolland Sizemore Jr. (D-District 5): $2,350 (11 paid, 2 paid alternates, 1 unpaid)
  • Conan Smith (D-District 9): $1,800 (6 paid, 2 paid alternates, 1 unpaid)
  • Felicia Brabec (D-District 4): $1,450 (8 paid, 1 alternate with stipend waived)
  • Kent Martinez-Kratz (D-District 1): $800 (4 paid)
  • Andy LaBarre (D-District 7): $550 (3 paid, 1 unpaid)
  • Alicia Ping (R-District 3): $400 (2 paid, 2 unpaid)

In total, seven commissioners were paid $10,050 in stipends for 2013. There is no mechanism in place for validating attendance, other than checking the meeting minutes of these various groups. No one is designated to do that, however.

The board appointments and stipends for 2014 haven’t yet been set. That will likely happen at an appointments caucus that is expected to be scheduled for later this month or early February.

Regarding revisions to the board’s rules and regulations, corporation counsel Curtis Hedger made four recommended changes, including three that related to voting requirements. The fourth change inserted language to clarify that binding action may not be taken at a board working session. [.pdf of draft rules & regulations, with changes indicated in bold and strike-through] [.pdf of Hedger's staff memo]

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the county administration building at 220 N. Main in Ann Arbor. A more detailed report will follow: [link]