FLINT TWP. — In a 5-1 vote, the township board approved a stipend of $50 per meeting for the secretary of the volunteer Road Advisory Committee. The nine-member advisory committee typically meets once per month on the second Monday.
The secretary records the minutes of every meeting, sends them out to all members for approval and then makes the necessary corrections, said Township Supervisor Karyn Miller, in her request to the board to approve the stipend. Secretary John Whiteside also compiles and assimilates information needed to complete the township’s road plan. The general role of the Road Advisory Committee is to research and recommend spending decisions to the township board for annual road millage funds.
Township Clerk Kathy Funk was absent. Trustee Barb Vert cast the sole no vote against the stipend.
Vert, who also serves as a volun- teer on the township’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, said she did not want to establish a precedent for paying volunteers. She asked if the board was prepared to approve stipends for other volunteer boards.
“Everybody has trouble getting volunteers,” Vert said. “You do it because you want to , because you have a passion for it or you love it, but when you start giving people money, they expect it and then it is hard to get volunteers.”
Township Treasurer Lisa Anderson made a motion to pay a $50 stipend to all nine Road Advisory members.
Trustee Frank Kasle suggested separating the vote to pay the secretary from the vote to pay all committee members. The secretary does a lot more work than the other committee members, he said.
Anderson amended her motion to pay a $25 per meeting stipend to other members of the road advisory committee. It was defeated 3-2 with Vert, Kasle and Trustee Tom Klee voting no. Anderson and Trustee Carol Pfaff- Dahl voted yes and Miller abstained because she is a member of the Road Advisory Committee.
Kasle said he did not think most members of the committee would want a stipend. Most of them serve because they care about the roads and streets, he said. He acknowledged the value of the service they provide but said he did not think it a good idea to pay them all per-meeting stipends. The approved stipend for the secretary alone amounts to $600 per year if the panel meets once per month. Added to payments of $25 each to other members could amount to about $3000 per year.
Klee suggested that the board might look at a different compensation for other volunteers at a later date.