On June 7, Jerry Champagne began work on his new job: Public Safety Director of the City of Ecorse.
This was little over a year after he was fired as public safety director of Van Buren Township.
Recently, his civil rights law suit against VBT and township officials was settled out of court with a payout of $457,000 for him and his lawyer.
Joyce Parker, appointed Ecorse emergency financial manager by Governor Granholm last year, was quoted recently as saying she would be looking at the two other top candidates for public safety director after the one they chose worked a few days and decided to back to St. Clair Shores.
Public Safety Director Stephen Poloni, who had worked at St. Clair Shores for 23 years and sought other employment during a recall drive there, decided to stay after the recall failed.
Poloni was to work through the end of July. Also, Ecorse’s police and fire chiefs had retired in November and continued on their jobs until the new public safety director could be appointed.
Ecorse has a $14.8 million budget, with 19 police officers and 14 fire fighters. The city levies 64.1 mills, and the emergency financial manager said the city would have to levy an additional 10.4 mills for police and fire as of July 1, which will cost Ecorse taxpayers about $200 more a year.
Without the millage, the city would have to lay off 9 police officers and 7 fire fighters, Parker said.
Van Buren Township’s population is about 27,000 with about 11,715 households. Ecorse has a population of 10,137 with about 4,000 households.
VBT has 45 sworn police officers and 36 fire fighters. Ten fire fighters are blended (cross-trained) police/fire officers.