By Shelby Stewart
Ortonville- During the Monday night regular meeting, the village council voted 5-0 to pay the village council members the standard pay for all regular, special, closed, public hearing, study session, committee, sub-committee meetings attended. The motion also stated that trustees can opt out of payment for any of the listed meetings. Councilmembers Keith Dylus and Tony Randazzo were absent with notice.
“You all know how I feel about increasing any of the pay, I’m not for it. I have made two motions in the past at Jan. 4 and March 8, both have failed, and both were to reduce pay and budget amount for council trustee pay,” said councilmember Melanie Nivelt. “But I do like the box because I don’t always take payment for way finding, I don’t take payment for a lot of things, and I feel people should have that choice.”
Other members of council expressed their support for lower pay for certain meetings, though did not support prior motions Nivelt has made to lower council pay. She did make a motion during the March 8 meeting to lower council pay to $25 per approved committee and subcommittee meetings, but the motion was defeated 4 to 3 with councilmembers Pat George, Nivelt and Hayden supporting the motion.
“I feel when it comes to the committees and sub committees we attend, I feel that there is a lot more preparation that goes into a council meeting or a planning commission meeting, and yet our planning commissioners are paid less than we are,” said councilmember Larry Hayden. “I feel for committee meetings and subcommittee meetings we should have a lesser pay instead of the full council meeting pay.”
Members of the council also were approving of the option to opt out of pay for any of the listed meetings, including regular council meetings.
“By leaving that open for people to check a box, it gives you the opportunity to have your opinion on where you feel you fall on what you do and don’t feel comfortable getting paid for. So that gives that option,” said village president Tonja Brice. “There is an ordinance that you get paid, if you check the box or sign saying you don’t want to get paid, you are more than welcome to.”
Currently, members of council are paid $55 per regular meeting, special meeting, closed session meeting, public hearing, study session, committee meeting and sub-committee meeting that they attend. Village president is paid $75 per meeting.
Members of the public also expressed support for the option to not be paid for meetings.
“I’d like to thank trustee Nivelt for her diligence and dedication to not taking pay when it should be considered voluntary,” said Courtney McClerren, a member of the public, during the meeting. “It’s huge. And to know that you’re meeting with volunteers and not taking pay is even better.”
By Shelby Stewart