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Twp. board approves internal pay raises for most

February 05, 2014 - By Meg Peters

Review Staff Writer

The Orion Township board of trustees adopted the township's 2014 pay rates Monday night and increased non-union employee salaries by three percent.

Non-union employees include all the full-time firefighter positions, the department heads and a couple other positions within the township including the administrative assistant, the assistant DPW director and building official, Supervisor Chris Barnett said. 

"It was originally going to be across the board but the board chose to exempt the three full-time elected positions and the deputies," Barnett said.

The supervisor, Clerk Penny Shults, and Treasurer Mark Thurber, along with the deputy clerk and deputy treasurer will not receive increases.

"Talking about your own pay is always an awkward conversation, and it was on our agenda tonight so we had to. We do this for a living, so it's a decision we made. It's awkward, but I definitely think we did the right thing tonight supporting our department heads," Barnett said.

Trustee Donni Steele made the first move.

"I don't necessarily agree if you are an employee you should get a pay increase unless it's based on merit," she said. Steele stressed the township should undertake a review for its employees so raises aren't based on automatic increases. Performance reviews are conducted on department heads.

"I'm not tickled with some of the jobs that are being done at the township level right now, so I don't agree on giving a raise arbitrarily. For example, the treasurer and the treasurer's report. Here we are on the first quarter and we haven't received the treasurer report from the last quarter," Steele said.

Treasurer Thurber said Steele had never made an appointment to speak with him about the report, and instead she was speaking publically to attract attention.

"This is just grandstanding in front of the public, and I am offended," Thurber said.

Trustee Neil Porter said he has not received previous investment reports "that were supposedly done. So I'm way behind in finding out where our money is."

Thurber responded that the treasurer's report for the last quarter is part of the last board packet that is available. "It's part of your board package, so I don't know what you're talking about," Thurber said. "I'm in my office, I don't get calls, I don't get requests, I don't get people dropping in."

The board packets are now available to the public in full-package form, meaning citizens can access the same packets trustees view during the meetings. They can be found at Fridays before Monday night meetings every first and third Monday of the month.

Thurber said the report he intended on reviewing at Monday's meeting will be ready at the following township board meeting on February 18.

The motion to pass the increase for all non-union employees was passed with a 6-1 vote with Shults dissenting.

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