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Board gives Feys 'hefty raise'

September 22, 2010 - Thirty percent. More than $13,000.

That was the raise granted Monday to Orion Township employee Allan Feys after the board of trustees voted 4-3 to approve the request made by Supervisor Matthew Gibb.

The board officially approved Feys' hiring in November 2009 when Gibb asked to bring a "supervisor's assistant" on board at an annual salary of $42,663.46, plus benefits.

The board's agreement was unanimous, and the new hire, Gibb told the board at the time, would handle responsibilities like central purchasing, requests for proposals and management of related matters. The person would also serve as a liaison to the Safety Path advisory group, as well as the Parks and Recreation advisory.

The position was created to help offset staffing shortages after a handful of employees were laid off due to budget considerations.

"This person would have a substantive role as a liaison and taskmaster to get things accomplished," Gibb said in 2009. "There's a lot that hasn't been getting done for a long time."

In November 2009, Gibb returned to the board with a recommendation to approve renaming the position "operations manager," and hiring Feys into the a non-union salaried position at $45,000, plus full benefits.

On Monday, the board approved Gibb's request again, this time to rename the position "operations director," and bump Feys' salary to $58,200, plus full benefits.

"I believe it is time to consider rounding out the team," he said, noting among numerous other responsibilities, he planned to officially assign Feys to oversee all grounds and parks maintenance positions, custodians, and crew leaders.

Trustee JoAnn Van Tassel voted against the proposal, noting the township's prior commitment to work toward consolidation of services with other local entities—the Village of Lake Orion, Lake Orion Community Schools and the Orion Township Public Library.

"If we go out for bid on the grounds work, there's no need for these workers," she said. "I just wonder if that piece (of the job description) really applies."

Over the last year, Gibb wrote in his memo to the board, Feys' position has evolved into a "complex mixture" of duties absorbed from various departments.

"The position has become integral in union intervention and negotiation and often acts as a stand-in for my role at functions and meetings with county and state representatives," he wrote.

According to the memo, Feys also handles bids and contracts for maintenance and improvements to township facilities, special project oversight, signage, roundabout maintenance and other capital efforts, and will also now serve as a direct assistant to the supervisor's public relations efforts.

The change will allow Community Programs Director Lisa Sokol to shift her focus away from day to day operations and onto making parks programs self-supporting, Gibb said.

Feys' hike in pay will be funded by an amendment to the administrative fee charged to the safety path fund.

The fee, now set at $27,000 annually, will be bumped to $36,275 annually, with the remaining $3,900 drawn from the general fund. Gibb, along with Clerk Penny Shults, and trustees John Steimel and Mark Crane voted in favor of the motion.

Treasurer Alice Young and Trustee Neal Porter voted against change.

"The township is in a financial bind," said Porter after the meeting, noting, nevertheless, Feys is "doing an excellent job," and likely deserves a raise. "It's not a good time to hand out increases. The whole economy is in trouble. It's not the right time."

Young agreed.

"I just thought it was too much," she said. "Almost 30 percent—29.3—that's a pretty hefty raise."

With the 4-3 vote, Feys "hefty" raise becomes effective the first pay period in October.

Lake Orion Review Editor
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