There was and is so much Covid-19 slush fund money floating around in Michigan and the United States many seem to be taking advantage of it.  The Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners has awarded themselves huge hazard pay bonus checks and then turned around and gave small hazard pay bonus checks to the County employees who actually interacted with the public. Shiawassee County is northeast of Lansing and west of Flint.  The city of Owosso is right in the middle of the county.

MLive’s Ron Fonger has done some great reporting on what some might call a shameful act of people who have the power of the purse strings.  The County Board voted to pay 250 county employees a one-time bonus using federal taxpayer dollars from one of the many Covid-19 “relief” fund accounts.  What they did not tell the employees and the press was they were going to give themselves a lot more cash than they were giving to the frontline employees.

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In his piece, Ron detailed the self-enrichment plan and it goes like this:

“Records obtained by MLive-The Flint Journal show

  • “top-level administrators” in the county received $25,000 each from the COVID-19 relief funds awarded to the county
  • Department heads each received $12,500.
  • “Middle management” officials received $5,000 each
  • Chief deputies, Health Department employees, and attorneys received $2,500.
  • The breakdown written by County Coordinator Brian Boggs shows employees identified as “cleaning staff” received $2,000 each and all other employees received $1,000.”

Does that sound fair to you?  The employees who had the most direct contact or could have had the most direct contact with the public received the least amount of taxpayer hazard pay bonus cash.  While the Commissioners who had the least amount of interaction, via their position of Commissioner, received the most amount of taxpayer hazard pay bonus cash.

According to the article the Commission voted after a closed session of the commission and low and behold they “did not provide a breakdown of which employees would receive how much hazard pay or if county commissioners would receive the extra payments”.

Commissioner Marlene Webster, a Republican who represents a portion of the city of Owosso said:

“It’s a sad day ... I feel badly…It’s a blow to county workers’ morale at a time when it’s difficult to keep good workers ... I think (it shows) a serious lack of acknowledgment of what people did (during the pandemic).”

Yes, it is a sad day Marlene. Marlene said she did not know that board Chairman Jeremy R. Root would be giving himself a $25,000 hazard pay taxpayer bonus check.  We also find out that Commissioners John B. Plowman and Brandon Marks received $10,000 hazard pay taxpayer bonus checks with the remaining four commissioners each receiving $5,000 hazard pay taxpayer bonus checks.

Why would you vote on something that did not have the breakdown of who is receiving what?

One Commissioner by the name of Cindy L. Garber said she has no intention of giving her $5,000 hazard taxpayer bonus cash back.  Why, because employees of the county who were laid off were collecting unemployment that paid them the additional federal unemployment bump in the Counties; let's lay off our employees one day a week so they can collect the $600 federal unemployment bump money scheme.

She then had the gale to say the $25,000 payment to board Chairman Jeremy R. Root was justified because he “bears the burden of all emergency orders.”  That is not what the hazard pay was meant for Cindy.  It was meant for those who risked their health and possible lives interacting with the public or around the public.

She then put the cherry on the ice cream when she stated:

“I am going to follow (President Biden’s) advice and spend the money. That’s what it’s for ... stimulate the economy”

I would suggest you give the money to someone who deserves it or you can help out and let them spend the money to “stimulate the economy” as Biden said.

Or just give it back to the taxpayers.

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