Flint Township approves hazard pay for first responders

FLINT TWP. — Flint Township police officers and firefighters will be receiving extra compensation for working through the COVID- 19 pandemic.

On Monday, the Flint Township Board of Trustees voted to give hazard pay to Flint Township police officers and firefighters who have worked the past 13 weeks during the coronavirus outbreak. Each police officer and firefighter who worked full-time through the pandemic will receive a one-time payment of $1,300. Part-time firefighters will get a $300 payment, per a recommendation from Flint Township Fire Chief Tom Stadler.

Flint Township Supervisor Karyn Miller said that four township police officers tested positive for COVID-19, with two officers having to go into quarantine until they came back virus free. She said that first responders need to be compensated for continuing their duties despite the risks associated with COVID-19.

“Some employees who worked were able to maintain the appropriate social distance or avoid contact with the public,” she said. “Because of their job, our first responders sometimes did not have a choice. They had to arrest suspects or enter into houses without knowing whether or not the people they came into contact with had the virus.”

Miller said that hazard pay for most of the township’s police officers will likely be covered by the police budget, while the rest would be paid for out of the township’s public safety millage. Hazard pay for Flint Township firefighters would be funded by the public safety millage.

Flint Township Trustee Tom Klee, who supported the hazard pay measure, initially suggested that the township could offer police and fire personnel a week of vacation in place of the hazard pay. However, Flint Township Police Chief Kevin Salter and Flint Township Fire Chief Tom Stadler said that additional vacation time wouldn’t be feasible at this point for their departments, given the vacation delays already caused by COVID-19.

Flint Township joins a list of several other local municipalities—including the City of Flint, City of Flushing and the City of Burton—who have authorized hazard pay for their first responders.