County OKs road commission to one meeting a month

ALPEMA — The Alpena County Board of Commissioners voted to allow the road commission board of trustees to reduce the number of meetings it will have next year. The compensation for the trustees, however, will remain the same.

Currently the road commission meets twice a month, but often there is little on the agenda and meetings are often canceled or short. Because of this it was proposed there only be one meeting a month in 2018. Each of the three trustees on the board receives $150 per meeting and one of the action items Tuesday would be to increase that amount to $300, so there wasn’t a loss of compensation.

Commissioner Ron McDonald said he thought that amount was too high, because road commission staff and administrators do a lot of the legwork before the meetings. He made a motion to send the issue back to personnel committee to be reviewed. It was seconded, but the vote was a 3-3 tie and was failed to pass. McDonald, Cam Habermehl and John Kozlowski voted for the motion, while Brad McRoberts, Bob Adrian and Nick Modrzynski voted against sending it back to committee.

“Basically we are cutting the workload in half and doubling the compensation,” McDonald said. “How do you plan to explain this to the people on the street in Alpena County? I can’t. That kind of money, for what they’re doing, is not justified.”

McRoberts said the personnel committee researched what other counties paid their road commission trustees and said the $300, plus the balance of their monthly salary, falls in line with many of them. He said even though there will be fewer meetings, the workload will remain the same. A higher per diem, McRoberts said, also will be an incentive for trustees not to miss a meeting.

“One of the complaints that came to the committee was absenteeism, so how else do we make it so that there is some penalty for not appearing?” McRoberts said. “We lowered the base wage and made the attendance important, so if they miss it makes a difference.”

Each trustee will make $750 a month, if they attend the monthly meeting and their base pay is added.

A motion was made to increase the meeting per diem and passed 4-2.

McRoberts, Adrian, Modrzynski and Habermehl voted for the increase, while McDonald and Kozlowski voted against it. Commissioners Brenda Fournier and Bill Peterson not in attendance.

The change in pay will take place after Jan.1 and has yet to be determined when the monthly meeting will take place. Currently the road commission meets on the first and third Tuesday each month.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews.