Officials in Michigan utilize $65K in COVID Relief to pay bonuses to employees, including to themselves.
According to the Associated Press, elected leaders in Michigan used $65,000 in COVID relief monies to offer staff incentives of up to $25,000, including to themselves.
Last Monday, commissioners voted to provide money to county employees, and every employee received at least $1,000. The chairman of the Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners, Jeremy Root, was given a bonus of $25,000, which was termed as “hazard pay.”
The commissioners’ reactions to the bonuses have been split. Commissioner Cindy Garber said she received $5,000 and wanted to spend it as part of the American Rescue Plan’s goal of reinvesting in the economy.
“I believe I have earned it. This is a job that I put a lot of effort into. “Throughout this hectic year, I was here in person,” Garber told WILX-TV.
Commissioner Marlene Webster stated that she was denying her bonus since she was unaware that the incentives would also go to the commissioners when she voted on them.
“It’s unacceptably inhumane. Webster told WEYI, “It’s annoying to say the least.” “I’ve gone through many stages of anger, sadness, and embarrassment. Just to let you know, I was a part of that decision, that uncertainty. And I’m humiliated on behalf of the Board of Commissioners.”
See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.
Shiawassee County, located halfway between Lansing and Flint, has a population of 68,000 people.
Commissioners are compensated $10,000 per year for their part-time work, plus a meeting stipend.
Commissioners John Plowman and Brandon Marks received $10,000 each, and the other four commissioners received $5,000 each, according to MLive.com.
When money arrived in her bank account, Webster stated she was “mortified.”
Webster said WILX-TV, “I’m paying the money back.” “I believe one commissioner is donating it to a charity, indicating that we had no idea this money was heading our way.”
Root did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Thursday.
Root’s substantial payment was warranted, according to Garber, because he “bears the responsibility of all emergency orders.”
The Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) works closely with counties on how to spend federal virus-related funds, according to Stephan Currie, executive director.
“We are not aware of any other counties considering payments to elected officials, and MAC has not issued any guidance,” says the report. This is a condensed version of the information.