Mike Austin

Township Officials Table Firefighters’ Raises

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Manchester Township Hall

Manchester Township Hall

The Manchester Township board voted to give themselves and almost every other official and employee of the township raises over the course of the summer… except the firefighters. And this was done over the objections of the treasurer and against the recommendations of a report a compensation review committee made just a year ago.

In 2014, at the request of township supervisor Gene Derossett, a compensation review committee was formed. The committee did a very detailed analysis of the compensation of other comparable townships. In June of 2014 the compensation review committee presented its report and recommended no raises for administration, finding that Manchester township administrators “… are at the top now and above other townships” in regards to their compensation.  The committee also recommended, based on a comparison to other on-call fire departments, raises for firefighters. The committee found that the firefighters “are the lowest paid of all township employees.”  One other recommendation the committee had for the fire department was that officers be paid an additional stipend, either monthly or annually, for the extra paperwork and hours they put in.

Nevertheless, At the June 22 meeting all the elected officials, except the township supervisor, were given a 3.2% cost of living raise. At the July 14 meeting, all other employees were given the same cost of living raise with the exception of the township firefighters, the Planning Commission and Zoning board of appeals. The firefighters were not given a raise, while the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals were given the largest increase.

Despite the fact, as Township Treasurer Laurie Carey pointed out, that according to the Michigan Township Association members of the Planning Commission and Board of Appeals were being paid well above the median range for people in their positions, their pay went from $53 to $65 a meeting–a 20% increase–and the chairman’s from $84 to $95 a meeting, a 12% increase.

At the June 22 budget workshop meeting, Fire Chief Mike Reisterer presented the board with a revised compensation plan for the fire department. Not only did the plan make the pay scale more equitable for fire fighters with various advanced certifications, the average hourly rate across employees (an average figure based on experience and certifications) decreased from $17.35 to $17.25. And although in the suggested plan the chief’s hourly rate would go down, from $28.67 to $20.50, the major sticking point seemed to be the addition of a $1,000 per month stipend for administrative duties the Chief performs. When taking the stipend for the chief into consideration the overall budget for fire department compensation would increase about $9,000 under this plan. Although the board budgeted for these increases in June, they voted down any pay raises and tabled the issue until the August 11 meeting.

The Manchester Township Board meets again tomorrow night August 11th at 7 pm in the Manchester Township Hall Board Room.

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