GRAND BLANC TWP. — Grand Blanc Township residents are being asked to use the online payment option, rather than paying their bills in person at the township hall, in order to give the treasurer’s staff some relief from their heavy workload.
Treasurer Earl Guzak became visibly frustrated at times during the Thursday, Sept. 10, Board of Trustees meeting when he asked to close his office for an hour a day due to short-staffing.
Guzak said his employees are working through lunch, and they are helping the clerk’s office due to a large volume of absentee ballots.
“They haven’t complained, but I can see it’s stressful,” he said.
More than once during the online meeting, Guzak remarked that Supervisor Scott Bennet had muted him, which prevented him from speaking. Guzak was, on occasion, in midsentence when his audio cut out.
Bennett said he is attempting to shift some of the staff from other departments, including arranging for an employee from the police department to work in the treasurer’s office three days a week.
Guzak said two employees are currently on leave, and one won’t return until at least December. He said he has been asking, for a year, to hire another part-time worker.
“I tried to get a part-timer, but I was denied,” he said. “So, we tried to work through it, but now we have two people who are not here.”
Bennett said finding qualified employees to fill in the treasurer’s department isn’t as easy as it may seem, partly because “they have to have certain skills that (Guzak) wants.”
Guzak said there are two people who currently work in other departments in the township who previously worked in the treasurer’s office.
“I’ve asked our (Human Resources) specialist to try to find someone part time,” Bennett said. “Also, with the union, we can’t just move people from one area to the other without some approvals. So, we have a couple things working against us. One, Mr. Guzak wants them to be qualified or what have you. They have to be trained. So, at this point, with several people out in that department, we have to commit some resources for training.”
Bennett said he will try to find someone to hire part-time, but he’s not in favor of closing the treasurer’s office for lunch. The township offices are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Not everyone has a schedule that allows them to be in this area,” he said. “When they do (go to the township offices), I hate to tell them to come back. We have to find some kind of way and I’m committed to doing that.”
Clerk Cathy Lane, whose department also is working through lunch, said she believes the treasurer’s office needs another full-time employee.
“When the DPW needed somebody, they took someone from the finance department,” Lane said. “Then, all of a sudden, they needed to keep that person and, in doing that, they shorted (Guzak’s) department. That’s what happened in the past. They take from Mr. Guzak’s department.”