Archived Story

Council disagrees on compensation for wastewater committee

Published 9:31am Thursday, July 17, 2014

After a new wastewater treatment board for Ontwa Township was assembled last month, township officials disagreed on who should be paid to attend meetings.

Since the council met last, the newly formed wastewater treatment board met for one regular meeting and one special meeting.

“During open public comments, we had a lot of discussion on the problems with the current sewer system, which I’m sure you’re all aware of,” said committee chairman John Bradt. “We did set our meetings to be the fourth Wednesday of every month at 6:30, so our next meeting will be the 23rd of July.”

Bradt asked the Ontwa Township board to approve the addition of a recording secretary. The board accepted the proposal unanimously.

While the council was in agreement on how much the wastewater committee members should be paid, councilmembers had conflicting opinions of who should receive compensation.

“I would like to see the sewer members be paid at $40 for the members, just a suggestion, $40 for the recording secretary and $60 for the chairman,” said trustee Jerry Duck. “And people who are employed by the township would not be paid on this. That would not come out of there.”

Duck said the police and fire chiefs and ambulance administrator are not paid to attend meetings they are required to attend because they are paid on a salary from the township. Following this example, he believed council supervisor John Brielmaier and wastewater administrator Jim Robinson should not be paid for attending meetings as they are both salary employees of the township.

“[Jim Robinson has] got to be at the meetings. Him and I both have to go to those meetings. You’re not going to pay either one of us?” said John Brielmaier, chairman. “To me, if you’re going to pay one, you should have to pay all.”

Trustee Jerry Marchetti agreed that Brielmaier and Robinson should not be paid for attending meetings, pointing out that if the board were to break precedent for the wastewater board, it would have to do the same for the other boards with salary officials.

Trustee Norm Krupp disagreed.

“I think it’s not fair that Jim is not paid for part of that. I know that Jim was strictly an hourly and paid by the hour, and that we as a board made him salary. I don’t know whether he should fall into that. I don’t disagree as far as the supervisor, necessarily, but I do as far as Jim as a member,” Krupp said.

Township clerk Paula Ralph said the recording secretary should be paid $60 due to the extra amount of work required to prepare minutes. Everyone on the council agreed.

Marchetti, Ralph and Duck voted to pay all wastewater committee members except Brielmaier and Robinson. Brielmaier, Norm Krupp and Meryl Christiansen voted against the motion, splitting the board. Councilmember Nathan Brousseau was not present at the meeting.

Treasurer Meryl Christiansen made a motion that the chairman and recording secretary receive $60 per meeting and all other members be paid $40 per meeting with no exclusion.

The motion passed with Krupp, Christiansen, Ralph and Brielmaier voting in support and Duck and Marchetti opposing the motion.

“They have to be paid,” Ralph said.

Duck said his concerns are about how Robinson has handled the situation with the wastewater treatment plant.

“I just have a problem with it because of the way — not that [Robinson] hasn’t worked a lot, but some of the problems we are finding, I’d say a lot of the times I think if he would have been doing some of those things a little bit better it might have made paying him a little easier,” Duck said.


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