After debate, BOC agrees to fund deputy clerk

March 31, 2016

Sheryl Pressler, RESD supt., addressed the Board of Commissioners, seeking their support for the RESD millage that is on the May ballot.

Sheryl Pressler, RESD supt., addressed the Board of Commissioners, seeking their support for the RESD millage that is on the May ballot.

By Rosemary Horvath

Clare County animal control has a part-time 25 hour a week kennel worker position to fill. Deadline for application is April 15. An application can be submitted on the county website.

Commissioners at their March 22 board meeting also authorized Pam Mayfield, county clerk/register of deeds/circuit court clerk/abstractor, to fill the position of chief deputy clerk and to move a part-time employee to full-time. She estimated the cost will be $68,000 more a year.

Mayfield acknowledged the chief deputy will be made aware employment could be short-lived if she is defeated. Mayfield seeks re-election this year and has two challengers already so far.

Peggy Dundas is a chief deputy but her office is entitled to a second one. Commissioners at the time she first took office nearly eight years ago nixed a hiring. A few years ago Mayfield hired three part-time employees to replace a person who retired. Circuit Court clerical duties are handled by a staff of three but there are now two judges.

And the office acts as a collection agency when defendants skip out on paying court costs. Mayfield said the money collected doesn’t cover the time spent on tracking the people.

Because this is an unusually crowded election year the office is understaffed. After the presidential primary in March, there is an election in May, the primary in August and the general election in November, all of which the clerk oversees.

Plus, Lansing lawmakers continue to dump added responsibility.
“These are mandated offices. They say you shall do it,” she said, adding “we are at a critical spot.”
Board Chairman Jack Kleinhardt suggested delaying action until budget time in a few months. Mayfield firmly objected and said a delay would be unfair, especially since commissioners had already agreed to putting $10,000 toward an airport authority and approved a request from the sheriff’s department for more patrol cars.

“It would not be fair to make her wait,” said Commissioner Jim Gelios. Commissioner Don David agreed, saying “We need to take care of it now.”

After a lengthy discussion, Commissioner Dale Majewski moved to hire a chief deputy/register and to move a current part-time worker to full-time immediately. The move will be reevaluated at budget time. Seconded by Commissioner David, the motion passed unanimously.

In other business, the county board:
APPROVED having the sheriff’s department enter into a 3-year finance program to receive nine patrol units at a cost of $123,100 per year. Cars will be delivered immediately but the first payment is due Oct. 15. Sheriff John Wilson said engines on the Chevrolet police cars bought in 2009 and 2011 haven’t held up and maintenance costs are rising. Wilson added that revenue from jail rentals has increased and can be put toward this expense. Commissioner David said this option “is the best way to go. This will cut expenses.” Undersheriff Dwayne Miedzianowski said the department will begin a rotation using the nine. Commissioner Gelios suggested leasing four cars then look at four more at budget time but when the vote came around, he supported the motion.

CLARIFIED responsibilities of an existing committee charged with reviewing current policies and setting new ones related to the building’s Information Technology department. County Administrator Tracy Byard is in charge of the department’s management. Commissioner Gelios had Commissioner Majewski replace him on the committee. Chairman Kleinhardt will appoint new members at the next county board meeting.

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