Has Alcona Co. looked hard enough at perks?

To add to Ken Short’s recent letter, Alcona County Board of Commissioner meeting minutes can be reviewed on the Alcona County website. Several meeting minutes contained references to “closed sessions” to discuss union negotiations. After each closed session, the finance committee commissioner made a motion to “authorize the chair to sign the negotiated union contracts” when presented.

Is this a method of finalizing union contracts without bringing the contracts to a commissioners’ meeting for discussion during an open meeting? Is this the method by which the residents of Alcona County are never advised of increased benefits in salary, health insurance, etc.? As the property taxes were declining 10 to 11 years ago, has the public been advised how much salaries and benefits have increased during these years due to union negotiations? What about health insurance for commissioners who by law are part-time? During this same period, how could the county afford to pay the first two-thirds of the employees’ and commissioners’ health insurance deductible?

Only recently, employees and commissioners were required to pay the first one-third of their health insurance deductible! And, only within the last couple of years were employees and commissioners required to pay a very minimal amount toward their health insurance coverage. Are there other benefits provided to the employees that are never addressed in an open meeting for public scrutiny?

Yes, there is a financial crisis in Alcona County. But, when the slide began, why weren’t measures taken to reduce expenses? Now, we are threatened with reduction in services and layoff of employees. And, as employees are laid off, overtime costs and unemployment costs will increase and continue to add to the financial crisis.

Will more millage money cure the long-standing “golden goose” perks?

KATHY VICHUNAS,

Hubbard Lake