September 23, 2014

Commissioners clarifying benefits, or lack thereof, to part-time employees

By Jeff Patrus|Staff Writer
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ARENAC COUNTY —The Arenac County Board of Commissioners took the first step on Dec. 1 toward clarifying what benefits, if any at all, may or may not be available to part-time county employees before they start their employment.

At its last meeting, the board authorized Labor Relations Manager Bill Borushko to draft a letter, to be sent to incoming part-time county employees, clearly defining “all applicable benefits before they start employment,” Borushko said.

“We would ask them to confirm it — that way, we will not have any issues raised in the future,” he said.

Borushko said the board’s decision was in response to a situation earlier this year, when a county employee had questioned a retirement contribution being deducted from her paycheck. He said the employee, in her viewpoint, believed that was not clearly outlined upon her hiring.

“What the board’s doing is to establish a policy so there will be no misunderstanding,” he said.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Raymond Daniels said once the draft of the letter is approved, the county would send it to three newly hired part-time cooks at the Arenac County Jail, as well as the newly hired part-time county housing director, Jill Eyre. Daniels also said he expects the board to formally adopt the letter at its next regular meeting Dec. 22.

“It’s to make sure they understand there’s no vacation, sick time, paid holidays, or insurance,” he said.

In other business at the meeting, the board authorized a one-percent pay raise for all elected county officials, with the option to give them an additional two percent pay raise pending a July review of the county budget. The motion passed by a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Joseph Sancimino casting the dissenting vote.

“I feel that elected officials have that job because they want to be there,” Sarcimino said in explaining his vote. “I think elected officials should set an example.”

However, Daniels said he believes that the officials deserve the raise. He contended that the county is facing the possibility of employees taking furlough days to deal with the county’s economic situation, and if that were the case, the officials would still be responsible for making sure their office ran smoothly.

“Officials would still have to do their office work, even if employees took furlough days and the office was shorthanded,” he said.

The board also voted to move its next regular meeting from Monday, Dec. 15 to Monday, Dec. 22. The committee of the whole meeting is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m., with the regular meeting scheduled for 1:30 p.m. and a public hearing on the county budget set for 2 p.m.

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