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Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners assigned themselves hazard pay

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 9:07 PM EDT
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CORUNNA, Mich. (WILX) - County commissioners in Shiawassee County are receiving bonus checks. The County Board of Commissioners voted to pay 250 county employees a one-time payment using federal COVID-19 relief money.

That money is meant to help businesses and local governments deal with the effects of COVID-19.

The average payment for each employee was $2,100. But at least one commissioner received $25,000. Right now, it’s not known why some county employees were paid more or less than others.

They allowed the county to pay employees and elected officials anywhere between $1,000 and $25,000, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.

The Michigan Association of Counties released a statement regarding the controversial decision, saying it is up to the county’s board of commissioners in each county to decide how to use the money.

“We have been consistently advising our members to focus on making strategic investments in their services to the public, through documents, through regular briefings for commissioners and administrators and through webinars put on by such partners as the state of Michigan and the National Association of Counties,” said Stephan Currie, MAC executive director. “We are not aware of any other counties considering payments to elected officials, and MAC has not provided any guidance or advice to do so.”

Commissioner Marlene Webster says when she voted for the bonuses, she didn’t realize it would go to commissioners, as well.

“I’m giving the money back,” she said. “I think one commissioner is giving it to a nonprofit so those actions indicate that we truly did not know this money was coming to us.”

Commissioner Cindy Garber - who made $14,000 through her position last year - also got $5,000 that she plans to spend. She says the point of the American Rescue Plan is to put the money back into the economy.

“I think that I earned it. I work really hard at this job. I was here in-person all through this crazy year,” she said.

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