PERE MARQUETTE TWP. — Pay increases for elected officials in Pere Marquette Charter Township were approved during Tuesday’s regular meeting of the township board.
The township approved three resolutions, each increasing the salaries for a different elected official — Township Supervisor Jerry Bleau, Clerk Rachelle Enbody and Treasurer Karie Bleau — whose salaries are each set to increase by 3 percent, starting Jan. 1, 2022.
The three resolutions were supported in three 6-1 votes, with only Trustee Ron Soberalski opposing. Soberalski stated that he believes the elected officials had a significant pay bump in 2020, and he’d like to see that rate stay as-is for the time being.
“Let it be known that I was not in support of the increase last year. I felt it was way beyond 3 percent,” Soberalski said during the discussion about Jerry Bleau’s salary increase.
He added, during the discussion for Enbody’s salary increase, “After last year, I think it should be held the same. I’m not looking for a decrease, but I think it’s … too excessive.”
When the raises go into effect, Jerry Bleau’s pay will be bumped up from $71,179 to $73,314, while Enbody’s salary will increase from $69,674 to $71,764 and Karie Bleau’s is set to rise from $68,851 to $70,917.
The pay increases do follow some significant pay bumps in 2020, which were based on the recommendations of a municipal compensation firm, according to Bleau.
“In the past, those salaries have been set basically by a resolution brought by the personnel committee,” Bleau told the Daily News prior to the meeting. “I sit on the personnel committee and I didn’t want to bring that forth on myself, so last year we hired a rate expert for municipalities and we had a compensation study done.”
Municipal Consulting Services conducted the study, which compared P.M.’s pay scales for both elected and non-elected employees to those of other comparable townships, based on size, taxable property value or both, to find a market average for those positions.
The study concluded that the salaries for supervisor, clerk and treasurer in P.M. Township were “low in relation to the labor market,” and recommended that the township board use the data in the study “to determine an equitable level of compensation.”
Based on that data, the township board voted in November 2020 to adopt new salaries for those three positions to bring them up to the market average reached in the study.
Jerry Bleau’s salary — which at the time was $66,337 including a stipend for continuing to serve as building official for the township hall — increased to $71,179, with the stipend decreased to $1. Enbody’s salary increased from $59,197 to $66,664 and Karie Bleau’s salary increased from $59,197 to $69,674. Those changes went into effect at the start of 2021.
“There was a pretty significant increase last year and it was based on market value for our positions,” Jerry Bleau told the Daily News.
TRUSTEE PAY, COMPENSATION PLAN
In addition to the salaries for elected officials, the board also voted to establish a $2,000 annual salary for township board trustees, which is a change from the previous per-meeting pay scale.
The measure passed in a 6-2 vote, with Soberalski opposing because he said he was against increases for anyone, himself included. Jerry Bleau also opposed it because he said it was “too low.”
“You guys deserve more,” he added.
The personnel committee was also involved in setting those rates, which were largely based on inflation rates, according to Jerry Bleau.
The municipal compensation rate study is available to view on the township’s website.
The study was also used to help the township develop a compensation plan for the coming years, which includes planned pay increases for all employees.
It only serves as a guideline for elected officials, since those salaries need to be set by resolution. But, for the township’s other employees, it constitutes a plan to increase those employees’ wages in 2022, 2023 and 2024.
While subject to change, the compensation plan was approved on Tuesday, in a 6-1 vote, with Soberalski opposing it.
Trustees approved a bid from Edgewater Concrete Solutions to install epoxy floors in the men’s and women’s bathrooms at Sutton’s Landing and Memorial Tree Park for $4,400.
The board also approved a bid from Absolute Service of Michigan for demolition, mold remediation and the installation of a new roof at the former Dow Activities Club Park, which is now part of the township’s Conservation Park area. The cost will be $8,550.
The bid was approved in a 6-1 vote with Enboy opposing, saying more bids should be sought since some of those received only covered two or three portions of the project.
The bid from Absolute was the lowest submitted for the project, and the only one to cover all of the work, according to a memo from Parks Manager Kelly Smith.
ALSO ON TUESDAY
The township board approved appointment to the Pere Marquette Fire Department, with Larry Gaylord as chief, Scott Graczyk assistant chief, Dan Marek as captain, Scott Kelsey as first lieutenant, Paul Bray as second lieutenant, Jim Mitchell as safety officer and Ross Kissel as training officer.