Raises planned for Berrien County Road Commission members

Published 9:01 am Friday, February 19, 2016

Members of the Berrien County Road Commission appear on the verge of receiving their first raise in more than two decades.

The four commissioners currently make $3,000 a year, with the chairman of the board receiving a slightly higher salary of $3,500. The salaries were established back in January 1993.

The Berrien County Board of Commissioners, which acts as the governing body for the road commission, is in the process of creating a resolution that would increase the annual salaries for the five road commission members by $2,000 — bringing their pay more in line with what road commissioners receive in other Michigan counties.

Jon Hinkelman, chair of the BCBOC, said he expects his fellow commissioners to vote on whether or not to approve the raises by the end of the month.

Several Berrien County commissioners said they would support the increase in salaries at Thursday’s regular meeting in St. Joseph.

“I feel very comfortable with the raises,” said Berrien County Commissioner Andy Vavra. “23 years without a raise is certainly being patient enough.”

There was some discussion about whether to make the raises retroactive to Jan. 1 of this year, with several commissioners indicating they would be in favor of such a move.

Berrien County Road Commissioners are August Zielke (chairman), Timothy Lynch (vice chair), Jess Minks, William Hodge and Joseph Margol.

The road commission is in charge of maintaining and keeping safe the majority of the roads within Berrien County.

Also Thursday, the Berrien County Board of Commissioners revealed the results of its annual evaluation of county Administrator Bill Wolf, who has served in that role since 2005.

Vavra said Wolf received a rating of 4.41 on a five-point scale. The results, Vavra said, were an improvement from last year’s rating of 3.93.

“That’s an exceptionally high number in my estimation,” Vavra said.

Vavra said Wolf received the highest marks for his work in financial matters and capital projects, including the consolidation of the county’s health departments and the ongoing project to construct a new animal control facility.

The area in which Wolf could improve the most, Vavra said, was communication, according to the evaluation.