Shiawassee county commissioners keep a portion of the COVID-19 relief money

Shiawassee county commissioners keep a portion of the COVID-19 relief money

“I checked my bank account balance and I had had a $3,500 deposit from the county,” Webster said. “I was appalled and still am. I withdrew the funds immediately and have a cashier’s check ready to take back to the Treasurer’s Office.” Her bank account showed otherwise Monday morning. She later learned all commissioners received some level of payment. According to Webster, board Chairman Jeremy Root received $25,000, two commissioners got $10,000 and most other commissioners received around $5,000.

The average payment for each employee was around $2,100 with some receiving more and some receiving less. Last Thursday, the Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners discussed how the county was going to spend some of their $13.3 million from the American Rescue Plan. The commissioners voted 6-0 to give all 250 county employees a one-time payment.

District 1 Commissioner Marlene Webster did not ask for a breakdown of what every employee would receive. She was under the impression this would not include payments to commissioners. Some commissioners applauded the payments while at least one is appalled.

Root said factors that played into how much a person received included seniority, how much someone worked during the coronavirus pandemic, specific achievements. Regardless, he said commissioners wanted to do something nice for all the county employees’ hard work. Root did not comment on why he received the $25,000 payment while all others received substantially less. Root issued a statement Tuesday saying that these funds had specific allowable uses that included what are called premium payments. Those allowed the county to pay employees and elected officials anywhere between $1,000 and $25,000, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury.

“Personally I feel I earned every penny of that money and I am going to use it for the intended purpose to stimulate the economy,” she said. District 6 Commissioner Cindy Garber said employees and elected officials like herself deserve the payments.

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