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April 24, 2013

City manager wins Outstanding Service Award

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

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Rochester City Manager Jaymes Vettraino received an Outstanding Service Award, which is given to recognize those who have gone “above and beyond the call of duty” in supporting the Michigan Municipal Leagues’ legislative efforts in Lansing.

ROCHESTER — City Manager Jaymes Vettraino was recently honored for his legislative work in Lansing during the Michigan Municipal League’s annual Capital Conference April 10 in Lansing.

Vettraino received the Outstanding Service Award, which is given to recognize those who have gone “above and beyond the call of duty” in supporting the MML’s legislative efforts in Lansing on behalf of Michigan communities, according to Matt Bach from the MML.

“The award recognizes individuals who have helped us with our legislative efforts in Lansing,” Bach said.

Vettraino has been instrumental in working on legislation to give communities additional pension flexibility, according to Bach.

“It was a bit of a surprise to receive the award, and I do appreciate Michigan Municipal League’s recognition,” Vettraino said.

Last fall, Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill that allows communities with AA bond ratings to bond for the cost of switching from defined benefit to defined contribution plans.

Vettraino, according to Bach, went to Lansing to testify on multiple occasions, worked regularly with the league reviewing legislative language.

In the last session, Vettraino worked with the MML on a package of legislation designed to maximize resources and allow communities to make more cost-effective pension decisions.

“Rochester had been looking at that issue for a number of years, and we had provided MML some information on state law that actually caused it to be more difficult than necessary to convert those types of pensions for new employees. Lo and behold, some legislation got passed,” Vettraino said.

Vettraino said the award was a nice tribute from the MML for the legislative work that Rochester did.

“I have to compliment the Michigan Municipal League staff who did a lot of the heavy lifting,” Vettraino said. “Myself and Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Cuthbertson were able to provide that local perspective that I think helped change some legislation as it pertains to city pensions — allowing cities to have more flexibility in addressing our pension expenses.”

Bach said the league continues to work on legislation allowing communities to switch from defined benefits to defined contributions more easily, as well as to remove barriers to more cost-effective pensions.

Northville City Manager Pat Sullivan, East Grand Rapids City Manager Brian Donovan, and Grand Rapids Economic Development Director Kara Wood were also honored during the awards ceremony.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.