Macomb Township, Shelby TownshipSeptember 19, 2012
Macomb reactivates district courthouse committee
By Brad D. Bates and Robert Guttersohn
C & G Staff Writers
MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Once referred to as a dead deal by Macomb Township officials, the relocation of the 41-A District Court to Macomb from Shelby seemingly has new life.
The Macomb Board of Trustees approved Sept. 12 to reactivate the 41-A District Court Committee in order to review and respond to a draft agreement from Shelby.
The draft, prepared by Shelby’s attorney, Rob Huth, proposes a formula that would determine shared cost of the future retirees’ health care.
“I’m very comfortable with the draft because it very clearly defines the financial obligations of both parties,” said Shelby Township Supervisor Richard Stathakis.
On the Macomb committee are Township Clerk Michael Koehs and trustees Roger Krzeminski and Nancy Nevers.
Koehs said the township received the document two weeks ago, and the board members have had a chance to review it, but have not had a chance to publicly discuss it or get legal feedback from it.
“They did propose they would be responsible for their obligation and that was one of the key things we were looking for,” Koehs said.
Koehs called the draft a step forward.
“It’s a draft, but it is a resolution that if we agree to it and they adopt it, it could become binding on both parts,” he said.
Koehs has said a new courthouse needs to be built, but both sides have been hung up on how to pay future health care premiums when the current courthouse employees retire.
The Shelby Township board unanimously voted May 1 to approve a resolution that allowed Macomb Township to study the court’s finances, revenues and financial commitments, and then bring a proposal to Shelby Township concerning how much it believes Shelby Township owes for legacy costs for current court employees.
In July, Macomb officials claimed Shelby had $8 million in unfunded liabilities, and several Macomb board members referred to the court matter as “dead.”
The latest proposal is the first time both sides have spoken positively about a possible deal.
The draft agreement proposes:
• Shelby would assume the health care 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.
• Employees must be full-time in Shelby in order to be part of the breakdown.
The agreement also carries a “no obligation to hire” clause, meaning the agreement does not obligate Macomb to hire any current court employees.
Koehs said he hopes the board will have a reply to Shelby within the next 30 days.
Until then, it is a waiting game for Shelby.
“We’ll wait to see if there is something formal from Macomb Township, and the board will look at it again in Shelby,” Huth said. “Shelby has stated that it is interested in moving the court, so if (Macomb Township is) interested, the next move would be more formal.”
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