Macomb Township Trustees talk water projects, pay increase and parks

By: Dean Vaglia | Macomb Chronicle | Published August 9, 2023

File photo


MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Macomb Township trustees held the floor for over an hour during their second bimonthly meeting on July 26, discussing a variety of items pertaining to future developments and plans for the township.

Of all the items discussed, the issue of full-time elected official salaries captivated the board for the longest. The plan proposed and eventually approved would see the pay for the supervisor, clerk and treasurer; their deputies; and their trustees increase immediately, with further increases occurring in July 2024 and through the next election cycle.

For the three full-time officials, the clerk’s and treasurer’s pay is now set at $109,000 with an increase to $115,000 in July 2024 and increasing by 2.75% annually from January 2025 to January 2028. The supervisor’s salary will be 6% higher than the clerk’s and treasurer’s, starting at $115,540 and becoming $121,900 after the July 2024 increase. The deputies to each official had their pay increased to $94,000 and then set at 85% of the three elected officials. Trustees had their pay increased to $210 per board meeting attended with a salary of $9,200, with annual increases of $10 per meeting and $200 to the salary between July 2024 and July 2027.

The pay increases were approved 5-2 with Trustee Frank Cusumano Jr. and Township Treasurer Leon Drolet voting against. Drolet was the most vocal against the increases, taking issue with linking the salaries of the officials with those of their deputies, as well as the five-year lifespan of the salary increases.

“I view this as a public policy decision and whether the elected officials’ compensation should be linked in any way to the salaries of the employees,” Cusumano said. “I’m not satisfied that the linkage should be made since there’s a danger that the elected public officials, who are in part or fully responsible for negotiating the compensation of those employees, have a pecuniary interest in the outcome of those discussions and negotiations.”

Supervisor Frank Viviano mentioned the five-year span is to the benefit of candidates and workloads of future boards.

“The purpose of using a five-year plan … is so that anybody who decides to run for any of these three positions, which is coming up next spring, will know exactly what it is they are committing themselves to,” Viviano said. “These are full-time positions; they’re not part time, there is no township manager to do the functions that I do, so anyone choosing to do this job should know what the compensation is attached to the position. Also, I believe it is good policy that the next board should have to vote on their current salary.”

Agenda packet documents introducing the increases states increasing the pay is meant to make the supervisor, treasurer and clerk positions attractive to “qualified candidates” and bring Macomb Township’s compensation in line with similar-sized municipalities.

“People that are in positions of leadership currently seeking a role such as these would have to possibly leave a high-paying job to take this,” Trustee Peter Lucido III said. “If we don’t stay in competition with competitive wages with those types of businesses, with those types of leaders, we’re not going to be attracting the right people to govern effectively.”

Future boards are able to cancel further salary increases if desired.


Water facility plans
Another item the board spent much time discussing was a request to proceed with the engineering and design work for a new water metering facility near the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church’s youth center. Costing more than $3.09 million before the easement acquisition, the biggest point of discussion around the site came from Cusumano’s uncertainty with going forward while only having a verbal easement agreement at this stage. According to Viviano, negotiations with the church require a preliminary design.

The building the meter will be housed in will be styled to match St. Peter’s. There are two other meters in the township which will need to be replaced in the future.


Art and alcohol in the parks
The board approved revising the alcohol policy in the parks to allow the consumption of alcohol in select cases when approved by the board. This was a step taken to facilitate the use of the old Lions Club building at Lucido River Park as an event space capable of serving beer and wine. Each party that wishes to have that degree of alcohol served at their event will require approval from the township board.

Macomb County Commissioner and realtor Joseph Sabatini presented the board with a $5,000 placemaking grant from the Greater Metropolitan Area Realtors. The grant will be used to pay for die-cut art to go along the fencing at the Pitchford Park dog park depicting people with dogs.