Van Buren Township
Public Safety Wages & Actual Cost to Twp. 1/1/16 – 12/31/16
Van Buren Township
Van Buren Township
Public Safety Wages & Actual Cost to Twp. 1/1/16 – 12/31/16
— Rosemary K. Otzman
I think it’s good that it’s in print but it doesn’t seem to phase our elected officials. I can’t keep shelling out tax increases to pay for these guys making 6 figures. It’s abusive and please don’t try and tell me these are priceless jobs. I can’t stand that. These are the jobs they selected and there is a compensation with it, but these wages scream fraud. How can 1 person make $150,000 for an hourly job? It seems he.would never sleep.
Julie M. Yes, there are serious concerns about the current budget in it entirety. There was much discussion on the budget total, raises to some salaried employees, and many other expenditures. During my term as Supervisor, budget management was a top priority. We are spending our residents tax dollars, whether the money goes to DC, the State of Michigan or any other government agency. The money eventually comes back to our local govt. through the money allocated process. There fore, look at some of the votes by our elected officials often being 4-3 on issues . Representing our residents in a legal fashion is a priority for me. Paul D. White
The police in VBTP sucked almost half our budget for 2019, their peice of our 17 million dollar pie, was over $6 million. More than every other service we pay for combined, except for fire department, (which cops can join to get overtime). And that 150,000 hourly.
$208,000 compensation is bloated and fiscally irresponsible. If you look back on the 2016 Moral Survey you will see comments from fellow police officers attesting to Floro purposefully violating department policy. There is a lack of control and poor supervision of Floro.
Either Floro has something on Laurain or Laurain is totally incompetent and should be forced into retirement. Is this happening because he was promoted without proper credentials?
We have lost several excellent fire fighters that have complained about Floro being AWOL while on duty. Stating Floro takes his children to school or goes home. Rather than getting rid of the problem, the hard working fire fighters are pressured to leave.
Diane is correct. These milked wages will continue until the Supervisor or Public Safety Director puts a stop to it. Greg sure won’t, so it’s up to you McNamara. Do something worthwhile and don’t drink Sherry Budds kool-aid. We elected you because you told us that you would end blended rate among other things. Everyone other than the top 3 are waiting for this day. The morale would be restored, I guarantee.
Aren’t you all glad the millage passed? Good use of our tax dollars.
Laurain is a joke, incompetent is the understatement of the year. He needs to go and his second in command is no better. The fire chief is probably the smartest of them all by leaving, at least he can’t get in trouble anymore the the ridiculous things laurain allows. These guys never made this kind of money under Carl McLanahan or Paul White they were responsible and kept an eye on the blended tate officers. It’s time to clean house !!!
The public safety director is part of the old way of doing things and it’s encouraged by the one in charge (Kool-Aid). The new supervisor needs to be warned to distance himself from the career politician so he can have a fair chance of being successful.
I remember conversation with Carl McClanahan at the time he was in the Directors seat. Carl said this was one of the cheapest ways to provide service, the few cross trained employees.
The numbers reflected are somewhat inaccurate. When you have a benefit package, thats not technically “compensation,” in fact, some of what is being labeled benefits is being paid for out of the enployees own pocket. (Health care, mers, etc.)
Remember the Township spent $400000 to remodel offices, prior to asking for a millage increase, and just gave themselves another 3% wage increase.
There are solutions to this, buyout, rewriting contracts, making true public safety positions, etc. The Township wont do it, because its been looked at and this is the cheapest.
Robert, the total cost figure to the township is accurate. Benefits include Wages, FICA, Medicare portion, Pension, Health Care, Dental, Vision, Life Insurance. Also, the township opts out of the government employee 20% mandate and only pay 10% premiums.
“Its been looked at” – I would like to see the details, until then I’m not buying what you are selling. Part-time coverage should not cost $60,000. All of these blended rate guys work part-time and you should probably look into the trainings that they DON’T show up for. Why don’t they show up to training? Not worth the minimum training wage that everyone gets.
If McNamara comes out to say that the blended rate has “been looked at”, I will know that Sherry got to him and we will have pretty much the same for the next 4 years. Hoping the board will stand strong and make some changes.
I ll respond to both you and Diane with this post. Im not saying I agree with what is going on, but I think in a way it is misleading.
I would like to see total hours worked, along with overtime hours and do the math calculations myself.
I know one of the cross trained guys and I’ll say if I didnt see his name in the paper every year, i would not know the difference. Sure some of them make a lot of money, but this is a person (s) that will take a bullet, or pull you out of a burning house.
Similar to that, my next door neighbor works a assembly line at GM. He makes almost $200000 a year installing one part on one vehicle. Nobody questions that when they purchase a vehicle, because its not brought to your attention.
Oh and McNamara is a career politician. If you believe he is going to do what he said when you sold him your vote, I would not bet on it.
I didn’t vote for McNamara. He didn’t appear to be overly interested in our community issues. I did send him an email with no response. I don’t expect much out of him.
Payroll supported by a corporation and payroll supported by tax payers are two entirely different monsters. Let us not compare public and private sectors as these are not comparable. This is the sole reason that these wages are reportable to the public. You couldn’t get away with that in a private sector.
Maybe an investigation by Michigan State Police should be launched to put everyone’s minds at ease. This topic plagues us every year. I certainly hope that any wrong doings would not be found but simple math shows the potential is there. It is hard to determine without looking at other details. However wages alone seem to be on the higher end when compared to other municipalities that have cross trained employees (Walker and Grosse Point).
Officers already completed a morale survey, in which there were several statements about wrongdoing and criminal activity. You think that was looked at? Or forwarded to MSP?
Robert. In the past The Independent has had to sort thru each employee’s monthly costs, and benefits on individual sheets with font so small we had to use a magnifying glass. It took weeks to put it together. Thanks to the new township computer program and the township using it, Vern can send it in one spreadsheet.
You are correct though, we used to be able to chart overtime. That is how we figured Floro is costing the township over $50 per hour when he “works” in the fire department. While our paid FFs make what, $18 an hour with no benefits? I’m sure you could FOIA this information.
True we lost a few good firefighters, because they went full time, they left on their own terms.
Not all Robert and you know it.
You right Diane, Karver was run out. But who else was run out?
We lost great fire fighters that were content working at VBT part-time along with their full time gigs. Besson is the reason most of them left, don’t be fooled. Many chose not to bother with part-time anymore because of the tyranny that is running rampant.
I don’t think VBT will get any quality chief applicants either because no one wants to work for Greg, the Public Safety community knows that he is not a competent leader.
Most full time fire departments that have members paying into a union will not allow their employees work at another fire department. Same would go for police, most full time police agencies would not allow their officers to work part time at other police departments, or security for that matter.
Robert, there is a law preventing departments that are IAFF based from preventing FF’s working at another department. it’s called the two hat law.
On October 15, Michigan’s governor signed into law HB 4624, state legislation introduced by Representative Joseph Haveman that enables career firefighters to volunteer in their off-duty time. The law guarantees that, “Collective bargaining between a public employer and a bargaining representative of its employees shall not include the subject of a prohibition on an employee volunteering for or obtaining employment with another fire department.”
Pretty much any POC department looses members to full time. It s the nature of the system and understood by us in the service. I’ve given plenty of recommendations to members who want to make this profession their career versus us who consider it community service, and I am happy for them and their families.
Laurain is uneducated and incompetent !! Blended rate is killing us, don’t let Marc Abdilla’s numbers fool you he was off 6 months recovery from back surgery or he would have been over 200,000 as well. Laurain is not smart enough to solve this problem it’s time McNamara bought these guys out. It’s been 11 years and nothing. How many more years are we gonna let certain employees get rich ? Everyone is leaving the fire department why?? All that means is more shifts for the blended rate guys. Hail to the new millage maybe next year they will make 300,000. Diane is right about Floro I have heard story’s that would make you sick !! The fire guy he knows what’s going on at the FD and yes morale is terrible from what I hear. It’s time to get ride of the pubic safety director and clean house. The chief is gone it’s time for a change in leaderdhip across the board in the public safety department. We are sick of the same incompetence at the top and we deserve accountability, transparency and qualified educated leadership. Laurain made over six fingures and from what I am told takes more time off and leaves early more than anyone. Diane maybe you need to look into that !!!!
To be frank here, the cross trained employee doesn’t serve any benefit. They are not performing dual roles on a police scene and definitely not on a fire scene. When a police officer is on shift for FD he isn’t writing up traffic citations nor should he be. They should be focused on the service they are providing. How could anyone expect these gentlemen to do both at the same time? It puts our officers safety at risk because they are overly tired. This is a lot of responsibility that is put on them and cheaper isn’t always best. I think you would pay the same to hire full-time firefighters and then have fresh boots on the ground, highly trained in fire skills.
If PSO was such a great cost saving idea then why were other police officers denied to do the training to be a PSO?
That morale survey was posted here after it was done and the results were not flattering. I don’t remember reading any investigations were started. It probably isn’t worth the states time to do so. I wonder if that survey even changed anything at the police station.
Kalamazoo was one of the first areas to institute a a true Public Safety Organization. PSO (Public Safety Officers) were created and the standard Firefighter and Police Officer were no long in existence. Kalamazoo has a higher run rate and more citizens than Van Buren Township, yet the salary for PSO is by FAR less costly than Van Buren’s non-standard true PSO. You can find this info on the Kalamazoo PS website. Shocking how much we pay these guys.
Salary & Benefits
PO I $40,972
PSO I $45,034 (police & fire certified)
PSO II After first year $50,407
Maximum base salary of $68,228
Effective first of the month after 30 days of service.
Effective first day of month, after 30 days of service. PPO plan.
$20,000 term life.
Voluntary Supplemental Retirement Savings Program. May contribute 25% of salary per year, up to $17,500/year.
12 days per year.
Defined Benefit Plan. Vesting: Ten years; employees contribute 4.5% of pay (tax deferred). Exempt from Social Security (FICA portion). Pension Benefit Eligibility: 25 years of service with no age requirement or age 50 with ten years of service.
Accumulate eight hours for each month of continuous service.
Years of Service Vacation
1-4 80 hours
5-10 120 hours
11 128 hours
12 136 hours
13 144 hours
14 152 hours
15 160 hours
Kalamazoo does not pay a blended rate, that is how they keep their costs down. This model has pros and cons. I think the township residents like having seperate police and fire service people. They did agree to a tax increase based on that.
I would be devastated if the township ever went this route because I would lose my job but then again I would understand it. Good thing I have a full time job that supports my family.
I’m not taking things away from any of the people in blue. They do do a job most of couldn’t do but how can they be justified in making more than the people they serve!!!
Many of us make less than min, wage if we are on Social Security and face losing everything we worked for all are lives! We ask for help we get laughed at and told we make to much money for a family of two! Than there is people who the cost of their medications take as much as they bring in per month Now if they’er disabled it a whole other ball game as a disabled citizen and just trying to live with my disabilities. I Feel that the people that we are suppose to trust with the $2000.00 + in property taxes that we pay each year would first consider the people that pay the money to them.
Yes I agree morale is low do to leadership. If it wasn’t for the Senior officers (Battalion Chief, Captains or Lieutenants) at the dept the place would be a mess. If you look at the fire wages after the Chief and excluding your blended rate employees, the part time firefighters are all under $40,000 a year doing a job that most people wouldn’t ever do. That is running 4 firefighters only at a time handling almost 3,000 runs a year covering 36 sq miles Which is busier than most full time communities. Not to mention mutual aid agreements with neighboring cities which sometimes leaves the twp with 2 firefighters to handle everything, because its hard to get call back personnel during the day due to most of the members having full time jobs elsewhere. If the residents want things to change they need to consider hiring strictly full time firefighters and buy them an ambulance to transport the patients. Which would in the long run be better for the citizens because HVA is so short staffed firefighters are waiting on scene for extended periods of time when they could have already transported the patient which would bring revenue back to the twp to help off set some of the costs. People see that there’s an HVA unit at the station, when in reality the truck is down and not running due to no manpower from HVA. HVA is no so desperate there sending ambulances from Monroe and Jackson county to runs in the twp. When matters most and its your family needing an ambulance do you want to continue to wait for HVA when the firefighters are already going to be on scene and are highly trained and would be capable of transporting. In the near future your going to have a high turn over rate again since the younger firefighters are going to leave for full time departments since that’s what there working toward the opportunity to go full time and the older firefighters will be retiring soon. The dept is just a training ground for the younger members. In the past 5 years 14 members have left for full time dept’s. Obviously full time is the answer.
Concerned, I agree with some of your statements but I don’t agree with your senior leadership comment. Both Capt’s are the blended rate and part of the morale problem. Also you lost a great BC and now the only BC has so many issues it is not worth commenting here. Pretty much the FC and Lt’s are holding it together. Also the FF union president is yet another blended rate person so why would they get rid of the gravy train.
On HVA I do agree and the main reason is HTFD figured out that unit 604 which was supposed to be their contracted unit was going on VB, Sumter and Belleville calls instead of remaining in Huron per their contract. Now with unit 604 placed way down in their twp near Monroe unit 701 it takes a lot longer for units to arrive. I was on a call this past week where it took over 20 min for a rig to show up for a Priority 2 call. It wouldn’t hurt VB looking at Rapid for a unit. I don’t think FT is the answer and quite frankly even with the new millage it can’t be afforded unless you drastically raise tax rates to pay for it.
Pretty much VB needs to use MABAS correctly and automatically for response from the next closest unit from Belleville and/or Sumpter and not requesting units that are coming from 6-7+ miles away because time does count.
Given what I read about Belleville fd in the paper, i wouldnt call them either. Their employees call OSHA on themselves! Not to mention they have former employees that were felons, plus current employees that have been arrested, (including one impersonating a cop).
Robert, did you inquire why someone contacted OSHA?
Which BC did we lose? Not sure I follow. Fire Marshall was created and he has major issues but the current BC has been around and trying to get threw the mess.
Fire guy you and I need to talk
Every time I read the salaries in the paper I ask myself do these people deserve these wages? Are they to high are they to low? I don’t know what its like to be a cop or fireman but I do know whats it like to struggle to put food on the table. I want to make sure the people who help me are fully compensated for what they do. But I also hope that they are not taking advantage of the system to live the good life when the tax dollars I pay could go toward paying my bills or being able to splurge and eat out at Cracker Barrel one night. I just hope that if any wrong doings are happening that the new Supervisor puts it to an end. The tax payers have been generous and we could use a break.
Full time has been the answer for a long time…the money is there, someone just needs to prioritize by getting rid of the blended rate and realize the importance of our fire fighters.
Take a good look at the wages of the elected officials in Sumpter Township compared to the wages in Van Buren. The money is there for full-time firefighters, the residents would rather pay for the fire-fighters than pay over $100,000. for an elected official. Cut the high wage at the top and there’s plenty left for a more important/vital service: firefighting full time. VBT has a full time treasurer and a full time deputy treasurer, VBT has a full time supervisor and a full time supervisor assistant, full time clerk and full time deputy clerk. This is excessive and wasteful. Let’s spend wisely on a service we really need, we’ve lost some fantastic fire-fighters, it’s time to fix this problem.
The Trustees in Sumpter make $22,000 and in VanBuren the Trustees pay is $16,000. And, the Sumpter Trusees earn their Trustee pay. as do the VBT Trustees.
VB T Trustee Paul D. White.
Former Chief Nicholai tried to educate the board on hiring full time firefighters but he was pushed out by former Director Champagne who is responsible for the blended rate mess. To bad Champagne had napoleon syndrome or our township would have been much better off. Now we are left paying a high price for a service that stayed in status quo.
I agree the Trustees most certainly do earn their wages but they are part-time so I was not referring to them. I was referring to the full-time elected officials at $100,000 each and their full time deputies and assistants.
I think the role of of the full time board members are important and the salary is rightfully justified. They probably work after hours and weekends all the time.
No Name Please, be assured that I work as many hours as a Trustee as some of the “full time” elected. There is not Full Time and Part Time Elected Officials. Simply Supervisor, Treasurer, Clerk and the Four Trustees. The Board packet I received yesterday was almost 2 inches thick, and I will read it. Took me two hours to separate into agenda sections, punch hole it, and put into binder notebook. While Township Supervisor with a half time Executive Assistant, my work week was usually 60-70 hours weekly. Four days off in four years. Budget under control, efficient and effective work force, Directors performing their job, and professional management of our township business.
Dear Paul, is there a chance the board would look at making the fire department a full time department with paramedics? HVA was really slow to respond to my aunts call last month. They told us that the ambulance had to come from the Chelsea area. It would be nice to have a service just for us and not a shared service.
Kevin, please email me at [email protected].
Full time for fire fighters is long overdue in this community.
no name please. The large City of Troy, Michigan uses the ‘paid on call” for their city. 7 FT FF, and 180 Paid on Call FF. This will work for VBT with proper management and Board oversight. Challenging, yes, workable, yes, benefit to our community, yes. But, the magic word is “proper management”. From the Supervisor to the Director of PS and the Deputy Director Fire Chief. With the Board of Trustees consent.
This is why you were elected, Mr. White because you actually listen to the concerns of the Fire Fighters and you’ve presented a very good idea for our community. You’ve obviously done some research and this will be supported by the residents.
Only one vote CJ.
The recent Public Safety millage that passed should be utilized for full time firefighters. Less wages for the full time elected officials which is top-heavy with too many assistants, more for firefighters. This is what the residents want.
I am proud that VB and Sumpter at least tries to equip their FD’s and have respect of their elected officials. I wish Belleville had the same. I hear their members anguish about how they are treated by their elected officials.
Another FF trust me when I say there is a lot of inner turmoil. There is not alot of respect for the elected officials because in the past they have sided with the director of public safety in the best interest of himself and not the department. There are some very greedy people in control. I’m waiting for an announcement that Greg is retiring. Then we can all finally breathe a sigh of relief. Then maybe we can finally move toward a common goal and that is the best customer service to our community.
From my discussions with members on all three departments I think the city department has the worst turmoil, with VB second and Sumpter a distant third.
It’s difficult to move forward when you’re being held back by the decision-makers that have no vision and are stuck in the old ways of doing things.
It’s going to be ending of mine day, but before end I am
reading this enormous article to increase my experience.