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Board cuts $10,600 in longevity pay

November 07, 2012 - Four Independence Township non-union employees will not receive annual longevity payments after 2012 since the board voted unanimously to eliminate longevity on Oct. 20.

Longevity pay rewarded senior non-union employees after they worked for over five years. After eight years, those employees would receive an increased longevity payment, and they would see those pay increases every three years if their employment continued.

In March 2011, the board voted to eliminate longevity for all employees except those who were "grandfathered in."

Under the longevity plan, both Fire Chief Steve Ronk and Department of Public Works Director Linda Richardson earned $3,500 a year. Ronk has been employed with the township for 37 years, Richardson for 35 years.

Building Director David Belcher, employed with the township for 13 years, was paid $2,100 annually. Finance Director Susan Hendricks acquired $1,500 in annual longevity payments; she has worked for the township for 14 years.

Longevity payments for department heads will end in 2014, which will save the township $10,600. After longevity is no longer paid to the department heads, no employees will receive annual increases based on their time serving the township.

"I've never agreed with the fact that someone should be paid extra just for being here longer," said Treasurer Curt Carson.

While every member of the board felt longevity payments were inappropriate, they did express an interest in rewarding employees based on performance.

Trustee Larry Rosso said he favored "raises by evaluation and merit."

Human Resource Director Carol Gabris introduced two alternative options during the meeting. One option would have raised annual deferred compensation from $1,500 to $2,000. The second option would raise the employees' pensions annually from 10 to 12 percent.

The board did not approve either option and asked Gabris to go back to the drawing board and return with "something more merit-based" similar to a "performance management plan," said Gabris who intends to offer the board new alternatives at a later date.

Clarkston News reporter
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