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Board approves raises for elected county officials

By: Thomas Franz | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published April 18, 2016

Lyudmyla Kharlamova/Shutterstock

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MOUNT CLEMENS — The Macomb County Board of Commissioners approved by a 9-4 margin April 14 to give their positions and other county elected officials pay raises beginning at the start of 2017.

The raises are part of the 2017 compensation ordinance and are the first pay increase for county officials in more than a decade.

“I’m actually shocked it went through the way it did, but I think everybody agreed it was the right thing to do,” said County Commissioner Andrey Duzyj, D-Warren, who introduced the ordinance.

The county commissioners, who are part-time officials, will now make $35,000 annually after previously making $30,746. The board chairman position, which is full time, will see its annual salary increase from $66,596 to $90,000.

“Frankly, I think Macomb County is overdue on this,” Duzyj said. “We’ve been compared to the junior kid on the county block for so many years, and we’ve been so fiscally responsible in the past. Why would you stay in a position where there’s no room for advancement? I think it’s about time; it’s way overdue.”

The results of a compensation study, which were recently presented to the board, revealed that for many positions, Macomb’s elected officials had been making less than their counterparts in similar counties in Michigan and the midwest.

The study showed that county commissioners have been making 28 percent less than what the market has dictated, but the board chair position was making more than 18 percent above market value.

“Nobody has gotten a raise here since 2002, when times were hard and things were getting tough in the county. This board was willing to cut its pay by five percent one year (2008) and five percent another year (2010),” Duzyj said.

For other elected official positions, the county clerk position will see its salary increase from $106,745 to $108,880 in 2017, and that will increase incrementally to $115,544 in 2020. The clerk’s position was the only other elected position earning above market value previously. 

The county prosecutor will make $148,619 in 2017 and go up to 157,716 in 2020. The prosecutor currently makes $115,482, which is 22 percent below market value.

The sheriff position will earn $121,469 next year after making $106,913 in 2016. The sheriff’s salary will rise to $128,904 in 2020.

The county executive will begin making $164,964 in 2019 and move up to $175,061 in 2022. The executive earns $139,773 now, which is 12.3 percent below market value.

“This is to not get an individual person a raise, so if someone wants to run for office, this is what you know going into when you decide running for public office,” said Commissioner James Carabell, R-Shelby Township. “I just wish we could’ve done this sooner, but after looking at all of the numbers, we’re not going over the averages by any means.”

The county’s public works commissioner’s salary will increase from $130,034 next year to $137,993, after making $111,540 in 2016.

The county treasurer’s salary will be $112,342 in 2017 and will increase to $119,218 in 2020. The treasurer now makes $106,745.

The ordinance also ensures that the next compensation study issued by the executive’s office will include all county employees, which was important to Prosecutor Eric Smith.

“This is something I’ve discussed with our staff. Everyone here, starting with the county executive through the board of commissioners, has been in favor of this,” Smith said. “I think this is a good first step to get that approved to not just get us up to market average, but all of the county employees up to market average. That’s all we did today. We got up to market average.”

Commissioner Steve Marino, R-Harrison Township, was one of four commissioners who voted against the raise.

“I just don’t think it’s the right time. People are angry, and giving ourselves and other elected officials pay increases isn’t a good way of showing we’re listening right now,” Marino said prior to the vote.

Also voting no were commissioners Veronica Klinefelt, Fred Miller and Kathy Tocco.

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