2011-10-20 / News

Road board updates contracts, gives raise to manager

In two special meetings held in early September, the Roscommon County Road Commission approved an update to non-union employees’ health insurance and employment agreements, including a raise for its manager.

The non-union agreement discussed on Sept. 12, includes that terms started on Sept. 1, 2011 and end June 30, 2013. The agreement states that the employees are “at will” and employment “may be terminated at any time” by either party “with or without cause or reason.”

Other terms include that the employee shall be provided with health insurance by the employer with Priority HSAPOS 100% Plan or equivalent with $10 generic and $40 brand name prescription coverage with contraceptives after deductible. The terms state that a premium coverage will be paid by the employer and that the employer will pay into a health savings account on behalf of the employee. During the calendar years for the health savings account, $1,200 will be paid in for a single person and $2,400 for family coverage, “as applicable.”

According to a press release from the County Road Association of Michigan, Under Public Act 152 of 2011, legislation capped the amount of money a public employer can contribute toward employee health care premiums. The legislation was created to “bring down the cost of public employee benefits” however, road commissions are unable to “opt-out” like county, city, village and township public employees are.

The release also stated that the provisions had to be “implemented for all medical benefit plan years beginning on or after Jan. 1, 2011, and for all collective bargaining agreements or employee contracts executed after Sept. 15, 2011.”

RCRC Manger Tim O’Rourke said in an Oct. 17 interview he is not sure why road commission employees are unable to opt out, however, he added there is not a penalty if a road commission does.

O’Rourke wrote in an Oct. 17 e-mail, the 2012 cap for a single person is $5,500. The current cost is $5,194 and the 2012 cost will be $6,173. For a two person plan, the 2012 cap will be $11,000. The current cost is $11,187 and the 2012 cost will be $13,340. For a family, the 2012 cap for a family will be $15,000. The current cost is $13,384 and the 2012 cost will be $16,020.

These costs and caps are for the administrative (non-union) employees. Covered are one “single person,” three “two persons,” two “families” and two opt outs.

The board then held another special meeting on Sept. 14 to discuss options for O’Rourke as he is the only employee who has a year-to-year contract. O’Rourke’s contract is up for negotiation yearly on Nov.1, however, because all negotiations had to be completed by Sept. 15, RCRC Board Chair Jackie Bertsch said in an Oct. 12 interview “we had to act quickly” and “keep equality” among all RCRC employees.

O’Rourke said he would have been the only RCRC employee who would have had to pay for part of his health insurance if the board opted into Public Act 152.

O’Rourke also received a $1,600 raise for the next two years. Bertsch said the raise is comparable to the 2% raise all other RCRC employees recently received. O’Rourke’s annual salary as of Nov. 1, 2011 will be $82,800.

“I feel our manager brings some unique skill to our organization,” Bertsch said.

She added O’Rourke’s raise was deemed appropriate because he often works overtime without additional pay, he works cohesively with his co-workers and he brings “insight and vision” to RCRC.

O’Rourke said the raise was extended until 2013 so his contract would not have to be open again. He said it created a “long term rolling contract” that the board voted on to “protect” him from having to pay part of his health insurance.

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