Monday, August 23, 2010

Oshtemo Featherbedding

UPDATE: The benefits have been repealed starting in 2012.

Oshtemo Township trustees are paying themselves well at the taxpayers' expense.

Oshtemo reviews 'generous' board benefits: Trustees may add committee to set compensation

Trustees in Oshtemo are currently offered health insurance at no cost, including dental and vision coverage, as well as life insurance, a pension and long-term care coverage. Those benefits come in addition to an annual base salary of $2,400 and a per diem of $50 per meeting.

Trustees who take on additional responsibilities may have a higher annual salary, and the per diem applies to almost every meeting trustees attend, including committees of the board.

The average trustee in 2010 will earn $7,881. The three full-time board members — Supervisor Elizabeth Heiny-Cogswell, Clerk Deb Everett and Treasurer Nancy Culp — make annual salaries of $63,378.

According to a township subcommittee’s report, Oshtemo Township trustees have a lower base salary but a higher total salary than similarly sized townships in the state. The subcommittee also reported that Oshtemo Township trustees receive “generous” benefit packages compared to other townships.

The committee found that only 22 percent of Michigan townships with similar populations as Oshtemo offer health insurance to their trustees. Most that do offer health insurance limit coverage to the trustee only.

In Oshtemo Township, the seven board members are eligible to receive the same family health insurance plan as township employees.

Most townships surveyed contribute to pension plans, according to the report, and average contributions range from 8 to 15 percent of trustees’ salaries. Oshtemo’s contribution for trustees is 12.5 percent.
Heiny-Cogswell, Borgfjord, and McCormick are democrats who were elected in 2008. McCormick is a democrat nominee for county commissioner this November.

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