Firefighters approved to receive hazard pay related to COVID-19

Clerk’s Office election position approved

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published August 24, 2020

 Payments of $1,000 were made to 62 Macomb Township firefighters recently. The added benefits were a way to further reward frontline workers for their work during the pandemic.

Payments of $1,000 were made to 62 Macomb Township firefighters recently. The added benefits were a way to further reward frontline workers for their work during the pandemic.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Many workers have been on the frontlines of protecting the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Macomb Township, as a way to further reward frontline workers, that means firefighters receiving hazard pay.

At the Aug. 12 Board of Trustees meeting, Human Resources Director and Legal Counsel Tom Esordi said the firefighters have maintained their commitment to keeping the community safe during the pandemic.

“The township recognizes their tremendous work and dedication, which is especially crucial during this unprecedented time,” he said. “Given the nature of the work, firefighters may have an increased risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus. While many businesses and places of employment were closed, the Macomb Township firefighters continued to report for duty.”

Funded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES Act, the First Responder Hazard Pay Premiums Program was created to reimburse and/or pay for qualifying first responder hazard pay premiums provided to first responders who have performed hazardous duty or work involving physical hardship related to COVID-19.

“I don’t think anyone can question our firefighters and being involved at that level,” Esordi said.

Macomb Township is an eligible applicant for the program.

The program specifies the maximum amount per eligible employee is $1,000.

Payments were made Aug. 20.

In all, 62 Macomb Township firefighters — 27 full-time and 35 paid on-call — were approved to receive hazard pay. The township’s expense is $4,743, with $62,000 coming from base pay.

Esordi said Stacy Smith, the township’s finance director, identified the available funds and applied on behalf of the township.

Also at the meeting, the board approved a request to add an additional part-time election coordinator position in the clerk’s office.

“We’re averaging our temporary workers at 30 hours a week,” Clerk Kristi Pozzi said.

She said that due to the increase in absent voting in the primary election, clerks from other municipalities are attempting to bring on temporary workers in an attempt to staff accordingly in November.

Pozzi added the preparation the clerk’s office was able to do in the past during an election year and in the off-year is no longer an option.

“We need the off years to completely prep and the on-year, we’re all issuing, receiving and accounting for applications and ballots,” she said. “This is a permanent part-time position that we are in need of right now.”

From the supervisor’s office came a request to purchase two backup servers.

Beth Case, BPI Information Systems president, said the servers would replace the township’s critical backup hardware infrastructure, which has reached end of life and can no longer be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

BPI services the township’s information technology.

Case added that replacing the backup servers will not eliminate any data from the current backup servers, rather it will preserve the information that is on them by transferring it automatically to the new servers.

The board approved the purchase of two backup servers from BPI for $17,096.54, including installation.

“We have already experienced failures, and I am hesitant to delay requesting replacement because this equipment provides essential data backup for the township’s employees,” Case said.

The board also approved payment to Foster, Swift, Collins & Smith PC for services rendered for $4,927.50.

Supervisor Janet Dunn said Attorney Mark Koerner of the law firm has been doing work for the township on issues that are not appropriate for Esordi to do, based on Esordi suing the township in April.

Koerner is charging the township for just under 22 hours of work.

In other township legal news, Koerner was approved to represent Dunn, Pozzi, Treasurer Karen Goodhue, and Trustees Nancy Nevers, Charlie Oliver and Kathy Smith in the case filed against the board, Dunn and Pozzi, by Trustee Tim Bussineau.

Since he is a plaintiff in the case, Bussineau recused himself from the vote.

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