Grand Blanc Twp. board seeks public input on trustee wages

GRAND BLANC TWP. — After months of research, discussion and committee meetings, the Grand Blanc Township Board of Trustees expects to decide on a trustee wage increase next week.

“This is such a thorny issue because it’s us,” said Trustee Joel Feick. “No board really feels comfortable … raising our own wages. But I think, since it’s been that long, and if you look at the comparisons, it would be a bold step and the right step to do.

“But I don’t want anyone to say ‘you slid this in in the middle of the night and no one saw.’ I really want to encourage the public to give us your feedback. I want to hear how you feel about this.”

Supervisor Scott Bennett agreed.

“The challenge is, none of us, as board members, is comfortable,” Bennett said.

Historically, previous boards also were uncomfortable tackling the topic.

“That’s why we kicked the can down the road,” he said, adding that he wants to make sure this board does it “the right way,” which includes soliciting public input.

“We have not heard any negative comments with regard to looking at this topic,” Bennett added.

Township Superintendent Dennis Liimatta said no one is really sure how long it’s been since the trustees’ compensation was increased.

The research includes comparisons of trustee compensation in similarly-situated townships, including Independence, Delta and Meridian townships. Considerations included population and public services.

“We took it at the 90th percentile of the range,” Liimatta said. “Realistically, at the very least, you guys are Grand Blanc Township. This hasn’t been looked at or adjusted … we can’t even determine when the last time was.”

Liimatta called the current trustee compensation “woefully inadequate.”

The committee recommended raising the wage from $5,700 per year to a little more than $13,000 annually.

The committee also recommends adopting a formal policy compelling a compensation review at least every four years, possibly occurring the year before an election.

The township board will revisit the topic at its next regular meeting Tuesday, July 27.