by ANDREW NEAL
The Macomb Township Board of Trustees narrowly approved the creation of a new HR/General Counsel position in January, and the fallout from that 4-3 vote was on display at last Wednesday’s meeting.
The current Human Resources Director will expand his role to serve as General Counsel. He will continue working for two other municipalities, with the ability to work flexible hours. His newly approved employee contract with the township pays $150,000 a year plus benefits.
At January’s meeting, Supervisor Dunn said the HR Director’s performance in the last 21 months led them to expand his role. “As a result of that positive review, it was decided that we expand the job duties of Human Resources Director to include the duties of General Counsel.”
“The expansion of the job duties will serve to contain legal costs and streamline the Human Resources department,” the Supervisor said. As authorized by the Board, she extended an offer and negotiated the terms of the contract. She added that it was reviewed and cleared by outside legal counsel.
Trustee Tim Bussineau’s main complaint was not with the person selected for the position, but that the Board did not have enough time to review the contract before voting on it. He said the Board received the final employment agreement only hours before the scheduled vote, which was also a last minute add-on to the agenda.
When he asked to table the vote, he was denied.
“He’s presently doing both jobs.” Supervisor Dunn said. “I don’t see any reason to postpone it because I don’t see what advantage there would be to that.”
The Supervisor called the roll and ultimately served as the deciding yes vote.
Bussineau clarified his no vote at the Feb. 8 Board meeting. He said it wasn’t an attempt to embarrass the Supervisor, and citing the way he believes the process was handled said, “I could make the claim there was an attempt to embarrass me.”
“Before I vote on one of the highest paid municipal employee contracts in the State of Michigan, I would like more than a six hour notice that the vote is going to happen and more [than] six hours to review this generous contract,” Bussineau said in a statement.
“I owed it to our residents to offer resistance during the voting process.”
NOTE: A previous version of this article said the person selected for the HR/General Counsel position was a partner at a law firm, but he was a “Shareholder” and no longer works at the firm, and while a malpractice insurance policy is in his employment agreement, an exact dollar amount was not included. We apologize for the errors.