OUR VIEW: Montcalm County compensation should be considered

By Daily News • Last Updated 11:20 am on Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Montcalm County commissioners are some of the highest paid officials compared to six neighboring counties.

Our commissioners earn an annual salary of $8,331, second only to Clinton County commissioners, who earn $8,694.

The Montcalm County Board of Commissioner chairman and the Finance & Personnel Committee chairman earn even more — $9,581 — for their duties.

In comparison, Gratiot County commissioners earn the lowest salary at $4,200, followed by Ionia County at $5,776, Isabella County at $7,000, Mecosta County at $7,988 and Newaygo County at $8,500.

Commissioners for Montcalm County and surrounding counties all have health insurance (including dental and vision) and life insurance, with the exception of Gratiot County. Commissioners in all counties but Gratiot, Ionia and Isabella also have a retirement plan.

We know these statistics thanks to the results of a 19-county survey. Montcalm County Controller-Administrator Chris Hyzer recently provided the results to commissioners.

In the 19 counties surveyed, the average annual salary for a commissioner is $8,175. Montcalm County commissioners earn $156 more than average.

Our commissioners are debating whether to make changes to their own compensation, although any changes would not take place until newly elected terms begin in 2013.

Our commissioners slashed this fiscal year’s budget by $1.3 million. Budget cuts are expected to be even more drastic in the next fiscal year.

Montcalm County’s budget situation is representative of the majority of those who live within the county. Many of us and our neighbors are continually making budget cuts in our own lives, deciding what’s necessary and what’s luxury.

Commissioners are expected to discuss whether to make changes to their own compensation — and that of future elected commissioners — at their regular meeting Feb. 27.

We think it’s an issue worth studying. Our commissioners do a good job overall and we don’t begrudge them their pay, but they are our representatives and we look to them as an example of fiscal responsibility and good decision-making.

We encourage our commissioners to study this issue throughly.

Editorial opinions are a consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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