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Published: Wednesday, 1/24/2001

Monroe County axes raises for road panel

MONROE - Monroe County road commissioners will see a familiar sight when they open their next paycheck: their old salary figure.

County commissioners last night voted 5-3 to rescind huge pay increases that had been approved for road commissioners in December, agreeing that the previous board acted too precipitately.

The move might only be temporary, because several members of the nine-person board agreed the road commissioners are in line for a raise. At issue will be how much, they said.

On Dec. 19, county commissioners voted 6-3 to increase the annual pay of road commissioners and the road commission's vice chairman from $7,365 to $10,972.

The same board voted to increase the road commission chairman's salary from $7,365 to $13,440.

Objections have since been made because the vote was taken without being placed on the county commission's agenda for that day.

Two commissioners who took office Jan. 1 - Jerry Oley and Paul Iacoangeli - were among the five who voted last night to rescind the raises. The other three were Chairman Thomas Mell, Vice Chairman William Sisk, and Commissioner Floreine Mentel.

The motion Mr. Oley introduced calls for the county's personnel committee to review the matter and make a recommendation at the county commission's Feb. 27 meeting.

Tony Majauskas, the road commission's chairman, said the vote was not as spontaneous as it appeared. He said he brought a proposal for raises to county officials more than a year ago.

Commissioner Gail Hauser-Hurley, who twice has voted in favor of the raises, agreed. She distributed copies of minutes from meetings in 2000 which she said documented times when the public had opportunities to speak up.

Mr. Majauskas issued a report last night that shows Monroe County had been last among 14 other Michigan counties of similar size and demographics, in terms of salaries for road commissioners.

The raises that were approved in December bumped Monroe up to 11th on the list for road commissioners and the road commission's vice chairman, and to eighth for its road commission chairman.

Commissioners said they were referring the matter to the personnel committee, in part because no such report was issued at the December meeting.

Mr. Majauskas said road commissioners have received two paychecks at the new, higher level, which took effect Jan. 1.

He shrugged when asked about the board's decision to rescind the raises, at least temporarily.

“That's their decision,” Mr. Majauskas said.

County commissioners, who are elected, set the salaries for road commissioners, who are appointed.

Any new raises likely would be paid retroactive to Jan. 1, minus the difference that already has been paid, Mr. Majauskas said.



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