Cass County commissioners discuss hiring freezePublished 6:12pm Friday, June 3, 2011
CASSOPOLIS — Commissioner Robert Ziliak, R-Milton Township, Thursday night urged the Cass County Board of Commissioners to consider a hiring freeze.
“We’ve got about five months to go before the new budget takes effect,” the 2010 chairman said. “I’m thinking there might be a reduction in force based on our revenue. Maybe we should implement a hiring freeze at this time so we do not get someone on board now and let them go in a few months. I’m just throwing out that we need to be looking at that at this point.”
County Administrator Charles Cleaver said the state authorized the withdrawal of $170,000 remaining in its revenue sharing fund balance.
“The state, as you know, did vote to cut our revenue sharing by a third in spite of the fact that in 2004 they promised to restore us in whole, which they did with some counties, but we’re being cut despite their word.
“Revenue sharing was increased $15 million for counties, which is about 10 percent. If that’s accurate, that means I anticipate us getting $75,000 or $80,000 more than projected.”
Cleaver reported that at 5:05 p.m. “we finally got confirmation of the energy grant we’ve been working on since I’ve been here. I’ve been extremely busy. I thought I was busy in Saginaw County, but I’ve found a new definition for busy since I’ve been here.
“It’s been a long, tedious process, but (this) morning I’ll be making phone calls. There are no general tax dollars in the solar project and boiler. The $10,000 consultant fee is. We were approved at $181,000, but the RFPs (requests for proposals) came in lower and I think the grand total is $144,000 and some change.
“We’re going to put a little clock on how much these grants save us, so schoolkids can go on our Web site and be able to see that. Nine weeks ago when I got here, we had plenty of time. Now we are facing a July 31 deadline, but the consultant assures me 30 days will be plenty of time. I’m very confident.”
“I want to thank you for jumping in and saving it,” Commissioner Ann File, R-Cassopolis, said.
Cleaver attended a collaborative law enforcement meeting at the college, where former St. Joseph County sheriff and state Rep. Matt Lori, R-Constantine, advised, “That’s exactly what the governor’s looking for.”
By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star
CASSOPOLIS — Christa Underwood was doing a favor for a homeless ex-boyfriend when she allowed him to stay with her for a night. But Justin Bashore repaid that favor by stealing more than $1,500 from her while she was sleeping.
Bashore, a 25-year-old Dowagiac resident, was sentenced Friday at Cass County Circuit Court to a year in jail for his actions with credit for one day already served. Judge Michael Dodge will allow for his early release after 240 days if Bashore pays the $1,513 in restitution in full.
The offense took place in February when Underwood allowed Bashore to stay the night at her residence at the Baymont Inn in Dowagiac. Bashore stole her tax bank card while she was sleeping and withdrew more than $1,500 from an ATM.
Underwood spoke in court Friday, expressing how important that money was to her family.
“He took a large amount of money. It was supposed to be money for a home for my children. It was my start money on life,” she said.
Defense attorney Lawrence Quigley said his client has been struggling to find work — the reason he has been unable to pay restitution to Underwood.
Bashore was remorseful in his comments.
“I apologize to Ms. Underwood and take responsibility for what I did,” he said. “I don’t know why I did it.
Bashore has three juvenile felony convictions on his record, and he was on probation for a domestic violence conviction when he committed the offense.