Attorney provides update on legal work in Macomb Township

By: Thomas Franz | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published March 29, 2017

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — New township attorney and Human Resources Director Tom Esordi provided an update on the first two months of his full-time employment during a March 22 Board of Trustees meeting.

Esordi was given the dual-title of HR director and in-house legal counsel in early January. During his speech to the board, Esordi addressed concerns about that title and dual position, stating that several communities, including Ann Arbor, Lansing and the Detroit Water and Sewer Department have or have had similar arrangements.

“I know certain people have opinions regarding an attorney acting as the HR Director, and they have their own individual opinions. Unfortunately, those opinions conflict substantially with a whole lot of places, most everywhere,” Esordi said. “Any suggestion that it’s inappropriate conflicts with everything that’s going on in the industry and with what I do and what people who do what I do.”

One of the justifications for Esordi’s hiring by the board was to create a cost savings in legal fees. Esordi reported that the township saved $11,000 in legal fees in January and $20,000 in February.

“That’s not going to happen every month, but I think it’s a good indication that we’re going in the right direction,” Esordi said. 

In terms of hiring attorneys for work outside of his expertise, Esordi said he is going to establish billing practices to create more cost-effective and efficient rates for the township.

“I’m not so necessarily concerned about the lowest rate. I’m concerned about the most effective service that we have the most efficient service that we have. To me, it will be the overall cost of the project, not necessarily just the straight hourly rate of what’s involved,” Esordi said. 

Esordi said he has decided to keep Paul Addis as the township’s prosecuting attorney when needed. Having Addis on board has helped increase revenue for the township so it doesn’t lose revenue from tickets not being prosecuted, Esordi said. 

“Prior to his involvement, we were losing approximately 25 percent percent of tickets that were being handled because officers were unable to attend the hearing,” Esordi said. “It also substantially increased the revenue, such that in 2016, those increases helped us put another sheriff’s patrol car on the roads, which increased revenue even further.”

In human resources, Esordi said he is completing an audit of the department to figure out where the township needs to address needs and create more efficiency.

 

Township notes
Also during the March 22 meeting, the township board approved providing financial and demographic information to the investment community to allow the county’s public works office to receive a better interest rate for bonds related to the funding of repairs for the 15 Mile Road sinkhole in Fraser. 

Trustee Nancy Nevers expressed reservations about the sinkhole situation and made a motion to table the approval for two weeks. Nevers said she wanted more concrete information on the impact of the sinkhole on ratepayers, and after being assured she would receive that information, she withdrew her motion.

The board also approved the establishment of a committee to oversee the construction of a new public safety building near Fire Station No. 1, on 23 Mile Road near Romeo Plank.

The committee will consist of the township engineer, fire chief, attorney, planner, supervisor and a sheriff’s representative.

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