Voters to decide on village council compensation by resolution

By David Fleet
Goodrich — On Monday night the Goodrich Village Council voted 3-2, for a ballot question in the Aug. 6 election, to have each council person including the president to have their compensation fixed by council resolution and shall take effect after the next regularly scheduled village council elections, not to exceed $7,500 in any fiscal year. The salaries shall be paid yearly and is the only compensation for their office duties.
“Our (village) Charter is not up to date,” said Keith Walworth, village council president, who approved the ballot initiative. “We are bringing this in line with what other communities have in their charter. All other salaries in the village, such as the planning commission, zoning board of appeals, DPW, clerk treasurer are raised by resolution. It’s not so with the council.”
The cap of $7,500 per year is set so as the years go by council will not need to go back to the electors every time the salaries are changed, he said. If approved, the council could then vote on raises by resolution.
Currently, the council members receive as compensation $35 for each regular and special meeting when they attend, but not in excess of $840 in any fiscal year. The president receives as compensation of not less than $840 and nor more than $1,400 per year.
“To get good qualified people they should be paid,” said Walworth. “In 1959 it was $15 per meeting and then raised about 20 years ago to $35 per meeting.”
In comparison, $15 paid 65 years ago is $159 today. Other Michigan communities include Village of Marion council members (population of 800) are paid $100 per meeting and $250 for the president; Village of Blissfield (population 3,200) council $3,400 and president $4,920 annually; City of New Haven (population 6,097) council $200 per meeting, president $14,000 annually.
Shannon McCafferty, council president pro tem, supported the ballot initiative however, said there should not be a cap at all on the compensation.
“It makes it more difficult to have the charter amended,” said McCafferty. “I would hope the citizens of the village would be cognizant of who they are voting in office and would be in favor of an increased dollar amount. There’s a lot of work that people don’t see.”
Sherry Ann Moore, council member was not in favor of sending this for a vote.
“I don’t feel comfortable sending this to a vote, I think when we want to give ourselves raises, it should go to a vote of the people,” said Moore. “They should have to vote on this every time.”
Melissa Schluentz, voted no on the ballot proposal.
“I’m glad there is a cap, but $7,500 is incredibly excessive for (monthly) one hour or two hour long meetings,” said Schluentz. .

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