FLINT TWP. — In a move toward board conciliation, Clerk Kathy Funk resigned from her positions on the Negotiating Committee for AFSCME Local 1918-01 (Clerical) and Teamsters Local 214 (Police Communication Operators aka Comm Ops).
However, Funk made clear that she is not, resigning from her position on the Personnel Committee and retaining her right to serve on the Personnel Committee for both AFSCME Local 1918-01 and Teamsters Local 214. Funk also said she is retaining her position on the Negotiating Committee for the Police and Fire Unions.
The board approved Funk’s recommendation that Treasurer Lisa Anderson be appointed to those positions to replace her.
Funk’s action is an olive branch in the wake of a contentious 4-3 board decision in November to replace Anderson with Trustee Tom Klee on the township’s contract negotiation team, for the remainder of their fouryear term, ending in 2020.
Anderson vigorously fought against the change which started in 2016 at the beginning of her term in office, when she agreed to have Klee serve in her place during negotiation of contracts with township firefighters. Klee is the township’s fire commissioner.
Anderson said she did not agree to permanently turn over her spot to Klee. She also cited a township policy which established that the personnel committee is made up of the township supervisor, clerk and treasurer. Anderson offered supporting documents from past negotiations of which none were signed by a trustee, she said.
Township Supervisor Karyn Miller argued the board policy identifies the members of the personnel committee but not the contract negotiation team. She said that she consulted with the township’s labor attorney who said the decision of who serves on the negotiating team could be decided by a vote of the township board.
Klee said that he wanted to remain on the team in the interest of continuity. He cited more than 50 hours put in on the firefighters’ contract.
Township Clerk Kathy Funk, Trustee Barb Vert and Miller and Klee voted in favor of appointing Klee.
Trustees Frank Kasle and Carol Pfaff- Dahl and Anderson voted no. Kasle, a trustee since 2007, and the longest serving member, said it seemed more appropriate that negotiating team duties be fulfilled by the three full-time board members – the supervisor, clerk and treasurer.
Klee works full-time for the Carman- Ainsworth School District.
Anderson added that she agreed to allow Klee to temporarily fill her spot on the team because of his experience with members of the fire department.
She also noted that she and Klee cannot both serve on the committee because it would constitute a quorum – four members of the township board – which would require an open meeting.
Since Anderson was removed, residents speaking during public comment have frequently criticized the board’s action as biased and unfair.
Funk said that after “much consideration and thought” she decided to resign from the two stated positions, in light of the Board’s Retreat where a mediator was brought in to lead training exercises aimed at improving board relations.