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Macomb Township fire chief’s contract amended

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published January 7, 2020

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — An employment agreement has been amended nearly three years after it was filed.

At the Dec. 18 Macomb Township Board of Trustees meeting, the board unanimously approved to insert certain language into the 2016 employment agreement for Macomb Township Fire Chief Robert Phillips.

The agreement now reads, in part, that the employer should provide the employee with retiree medical and hospitalization, dental and vision insurance, provided he retires under the provisions of a regular retirement, as defined by Act 345.

A letter from Tom Esordi, the township’s human resources director and legal counsel, states that in 2016, when Phillips’ contract was updated, language regarding his medical benefits upon retirement was inadvertently left out.

At the meeting, Esordi said the provision was not negotiated to be removed and suggested that it be included in the agreement.

Esordi called what he placed on the agenda an administrative change to correct documentation.

In regard to the line of “provided he retires under the provisions of a regular retirement under this agreement,” Trustee Tim Bussineau had concerns with what a “regular retirement” is, and asked how many years the chief needs to work under a “regular retirement.”

Bussineau asked for “as defined by Act 345” to be added after “the provisions of a regular retirement” in Phillips’ 2016 contract.

Esordi said this is the exact language that was in Phillips’ previous contract that was not negotiated out.

“Regular retirement that’s generally approved by the township means that they retire and provide appropriate notice to the township, meaning they’re in good standing at the time they retire,” Esordi said.

Bussineau said he would like to see a certain amount of time put in, if full lifetime benefits are included.

Esordi said “regular retirement” is defined under Act 345, the state retirement program for police and fire employees.

Phillips addressed the board, saying his retirement is subject to Act 345, which states that 10 years of service must be put in by age 60, or 25 years of service by age 50.   

Phillips said he had been asking for that part of his contract to be fixed for two and a half years.