Smith appointed MERS conference delegate, Haskins alternate

BURTON — The city council considered a motion Sept. 9 to name Mayor Duane Haskins as the city’s MERS (Municipal Employees Retirement System) Conference delegate and Charles Abbey, city human resources director, as the City of Burton MERS Conference alternate.

However, when the council was prepared to vote, Councilman Tom Martinbianco offered an amendment to the motion which would make Councilman Vaughn Smith the city’s conference delegate and Haskins as the alternate.

“I really think the city council should be represented equally with the administration with this,” he said. “Mr. Smith has shown forthwith his understanding and knowledge about our situation that he can bring forth and compare notes with other people who have that same interest and elevated knowledge of what happens, so that’s what I would choose.”

Smith has shown the council his knowledge about the city’s MERS obligations and the efforts in recent years to pay down what the city owes into the retirement plan.

Council Vice President Greg Fenner asked what was customary if it has always been the administration who represented the city with MERS, or can it be anyone from the city.

Martinbianco said there is no requirement, but he said he thinks it should always be one councilmember and one from administration.

The council voted unanimously to appoint Smith as the representative with Haskins as alternate.

The MERS Conference will be held Oct. 7-8 in Grand Rapids. — G.G.