Published March 19, 2013
Judge formally requests court’s change of venue
By Robert Guttersohn firstname.lastname@example.org
MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Before the Board of Trustees have even voted on its portion of the 41-A District Court interlocal agreement, the chief judge of the court made a formal request for Macomb to build a new courthouse.
“I am pleased, as Chief Judge of the 41-A District Court, to formally extend to Macomb Township the opportunity to serve as the funding unit for the court,” wrote Chief Judge Michael Maceroni.
The Macomb board voted to file the letter from the judge and authorized the township’s 41-A Court building committee to meet with court personnel within the next two weeks. As of print time, a meeting date had not been established, but when it is, the meeting will be open to the public, said Township Clerk Michael Koehs.
Koehs said meeting with the court’s staff will let the township know if their needs and desires have changed since the last time the committee met with them.
“It’s been several years,” Koehs said. “So we need to get the train back on track.”
Koehs also announced that the interlocal agreement will come up for a vote at the March 27 meeting.
The Shelby Township Board of Trustees approved March 5 its end of the agreement, which defines how the townships will split the legacy costs of the current court employees.
The agreement proposes that Shelby, the municipality in which the court currently resides, assumes the health care and severance costs of the employees, based on the percentage of their career worked in Shelby. For example, if an employee worked 10 years in Shelby, 20 years in Macomb and then retired after 30 years, Shelby would pay a third of the employee’s health care premium. Any benefit increases made by negotiation while the court is in Macomb would be paid for solely by Macomb.
The version of the agreement passed by the Shelby board also includes a Sept. 5 deadline for Macomb’s approval.
Macomb Trustee Dino Bucci questioned if two weeks would be enough time for the trustees to fully understand the agreement — the part he feels is the most important factor in the building of a new courthouse.
“The actual agreement itself is more important than anything, in my opinion,” Bucci said. “If we’re aggressive enough and get it done in two weeks, that’s fine. But as you know, I’m not shy to table.
“If I feel that there’s an issue, I will do what I need to do.”
Because the board has seen previous drafts of the agreement, Koehs said the board should be ready for a vote in two weeks.
“I think two weeks is plenty of time because you’ve already seen the draft,” Koehs said. “So what we need to do is look at (the agreement), make that decision in two weeks and that will determine which path we go down.”
Trustee Roger Krzeminski questioned the decision to have the building committee, and not the 41-A finance committee, meet with the court personnel.
“Wouldn’t you think that the finance committee first should be the people to look at it and see whether it should go, rather than the building (committee)?” Krzeminski asked.
Koehs told him the finance committee would come into play later, when more is known about the project.
“We won’t know what to price out until we know what we’re building,” Koehs said. “In other words, if we don’t know size of a building and shape of a building and equipment and everything else, we won’t know what we’re seeking prices on.”