Officials’ salaries are puzzling

Plymouth Township Supervisor, Richard Reaume, appointed campaign contributor and former township employee Sarah Gatzek to the Compensation Commission.

 

Dec. 4, 2013  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.

 

Opinion

 

Officials in Plymouth and Canton townships will earn more money next year than they did last year, after actions taken-or not taken-by their respective boards recently.

In Canton Township, officials will earn another 1 percent, a modest raise based on what non-elected employees will receive.

In Plymouth Township, officials will earn anywhere from an additional 1.5 percent to 4.5 percent in each of the next two years. The part time trustees will gain an additional 1.5 percent to $11,745, while Clerk Nancy Conzelman and Treasurer Ron Edwards will get a 3.5 percent increase, from $94,668 to $101,410 and Supervisor Richard Reaume’s salary will increase 4.5 percent, from $101,998 to $106,588. Those increases will be mirrored in 2015, too. The township board will receive those raises after they failed to reject the recommendations of the local officials compensation commission on a 4-3 vote. (Reaume, Conzelman, Edwards and Trustee Kay Arnold voted to accept the increases).

It should be noted that the Canton officials are still not making the salary they did in 2008, when they voted to reduce their wages due to the difficult economy. They also took other wage concessions in the form of unpaid furlough days and the elimination of longevity pay. It is hard to argue against their actions-they have not asked employees to do anything that they have not also agreed to do. Plymouth Township officials have not accepted a salary increase since 2007.

Still, we don’t see the need for full-time Plymouth Township elected officials to get such a large salary bump this year or next year. They claim the compensation commission uses other communities to benchmark salary levels, and we don’t see why the clerk and treasurer in Plymouth Township-with half the size, population base and smaller work force-should earn more than officials holding the same office in Canton Township. Plymouth Township residents should be wary of this increase, and the four-member voting block that allowed it to happen.

It also sends the wrong message to the public. Plymouth Township claims it cannot fully man a full-time fire department and there are suggestions swirling that they will ask residents for a millage request to fund a recreation center within the next few years-rather than work with their city counterparts on a proposal for Central Middle School.

In some sectors, we’ve seen signs of an economic recovery. That doesn’t mean our government should immediately snatch up what they feel is coming to them.

We think exercising more fiscal responsibility in Plymouth Township, like their neighbors in Canton, would be the better course of action.

|News Plymouth Michigan

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