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Government consolidation right on the money

September 18, 2012
The Alpena News

Rarely do I agree with the viewpoints of Stephen Fletcher. However his recent articles on the consolidation of local governments are right on the money.

Local schools districts and the community college have already consolidated many aspects of their operations with cooperative agreements. Also, if one would check the state reports, you will find they have downsized in terms of administrative costs due to the combining of job responsibilities. So they are already doing what has to be done.

On the other hand local governments have done very little in this area. The whole issue of the city council recall is directly related to the attempts of the majority to address cooperative measures while the minority desires to keep the status quo. Like the city council minority, the smugness of township officials demonstrates their desire to be an employment agency rather than be more cost efficient.

I have challenged The Alpena News in the past to provide information on the total salaries and benefit compensation for area councils and commissions. I can understand their hesitancy in doing so because it may lead to less ink purchased by those agencies. I do know that many on governmental agencies receive per diems as well as health care and retirement benefits. Ever wonder why people run for the Road Commission? (Paid "conference" trips to Las Vegas are sweet.) How many part time jobs are available to the public with this amount of total compensation? The "transparency" information provided by agencies does not include detailed total compensation information.

Unfortunately I don't think Mr. Fletcher's concept of a combined government (The Thunder Bay Council) will ever happen unless the public demands it. Maybe Mr. Fletcher would provide us some compensation data for area governmental units via FOIA requests. I think that would make interesting reading.

Paul Mancine Sr.




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