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Posted on Mon, Nov 5, 2012 : 10:45 a.m.

Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners may change compensation

By Amy Biolchini

The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners may consider changing the way members are compensated, according to a report by the Ann Arbor Chronicle.

Conan Smith, chairman of the county board, may propose a change Nov. 7 from the current per-diem system to an automatic stipend that commissioners would receive with their compensation, the Chronicle reported.


Conan Smith

Ryan J. Stanton |

The per-diem payment system came under heavy scrutiny in the 2010 election and resulted in a change in the way that per diem requests were approved.

Board members are paid a base salary of $15,500 — though some receive more based on their appointments — and then receive per-diem payments that require the approval of County Clerk Larry Kestenbaum.

The Board of Commissioners sets its own compensation in the year prior to the new term, and has two regular meetings left this year: Nov. 7 and Dec. 5.

The commissioners haven’t publicly discussed a compensation change since the spring, when Commissioner Dan Smith’s proposed a 5.7 percent cut to compensation and benefits that failed to gain support.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.


Dog Guy

Tue, Nov 6, 2012 : 3:35 a.m.

Members of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners are worth every other penny they get.


Mon, Nov 5, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

I propose Conan Smith donate his stipend for all time to the rescue of homeless pets in our community.

Ghost of Tom Joad

Mon, Nov 5, 2012 : 8:03 p.m.

too bad this wasn't a focus of concern BEFORE Quimet raided the coffers.

Alan Goldsmith

Mon, Nov 5, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

The Chronicle article reports this new process creates political cover for County Commissioners. And that Smith brought it up at the work session when it wasn't on the agenda. This sounds like a hack politician trying to get his ducks in a row over a past misdeed before he sets his sight on a higher political office. No thanks Conan don't need your for ANY other elected post. You can't be trusted.


Mon, Nov 5, 2012 : 6:52 p.m.

Could this be compensatory policy change because Kestenbaum did not perform his fiduciary responsibilities of properly vetting past per diem requests? I think Kestenbaum ought to step up to the plate and make a statement as to how this change reflects upon the competency of his department.

Basic Bob

Mon, Nov 5, 2012 : 8:17 p.m.

They changed the policy two years ago because the board couldn't police themselves. Even after dragging the clerk and an outside auditor into the mess, the chairman has refused to pay back what he owes. The junket queen continued to take trips to Traverse City and Reno until she reached her annual spending limit, then abruptly resigned. Maybe we should blame the voters, since the BOC only reports to them.

greg, too

Mon, Nov 5, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

How about we pay them with thank you's and handshakes? We could also up the donut and coffee budget if they want.


Mon, Nov 5, 2012 : 5:22 p.m.

Let's let Mark Ouimet decide.


Mon, Nov 5, 2012 : 4:32 p.m.

Well, if they go to the automatic STIPEND, then Mr. Smith can have an automatic DEDUCTION until he's paid up?

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Nov 5, 2012 : 4:17 p.m.

A politician who wants to give himself a raise after getting caught.... gee whiz has that ever happened before?

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Nov 5, 2012 : 4:13 p.m.

I have a better idea. lets keep the per-diem system and add a GPS tracking unit to the ankle of every politician. Then lets have the tracking units available for public viewing beginning an hour before through an hour after any meeting the politician is supposed to attend.