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Posted on Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 6:05 a.m.

Washtenaw County commissioners decline to reduce own pay as county faces budget troubles

By Ryan J. Stanton


Washtenaw County Commissioner Ronnie Peterson, D-Ypsilanti, was the swing vote Wednesday night as the county board voted 6-5 against a proposal to eliminate per diem payments to commissioners. Peterson, one of the only commissioners who opts not to collect per diems, said the county has bigger budget problems to face.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Washtenaw County Commissioner Leah Gunn was unable to convince her peers on the county board Wednesday night to reduce their own pay starting in 2011.

Gunn, D-Ann Arbor, proposed eliminating the $25 per diem payments they collect on top of their $15,500 salaries for attending meetings. Those payments add up to thousands of dollars every year and have been questioned by some, including the county clerk.

The board also voted 8-3 to reject Gunn's proposal to eliminate commissioner travel budgets, which would have put an end to county-funded trips to conferences in places like Florida, Hawaii and Nevada.

The vote on per diems originally fell 6-5 in favor of eliminating them, but Commissioner Ronnie Peterson, D-Ypsilanti, was allowed to change his vote due to some apparent confusion. That swayed the outcome to 6-5 in favor of keeping per diems.

In addition to Peterson, others who voted to continue per diems were Jessica Ping, Kristin Judge, Wesley Prater, Ken Schwartz and Rolland Sizemore Jr.

The only two commissioners to support Gunn's proposal to eliminate travel were Mark Ouimet, R-Scio Township, and Barbara Levin Bergman, D-Ann Arbor.

Gunn, appearing defeated, lamented the outcome.

"I tried and I failed," she said, expressing regret that the county soon will begin working to close a massive budget deficit while sending the message to its employees and the community that commissioners are unwilling to cut their own pay.

"To me, this is symbolic," she said. "If we're going to ask for cuts from our departments, and we're going to ask our employees to bite the bullet, and we're going to go out to the community and say, 'We can't fund this or that,' I think we should make an effort to take compensation away from ourselves, but my colleagues didn't agree with me."

The county potentially faces a structural deficit of $15 million to $20 million for the two-year budget cycle for 2012 and 2013. The board will begin building that budget in January, and likely will ask county employees to make concessions.

The compensation changes, if approved, would have taken effect Jan. 1, when four of the 11 commissioners who voted Wednesday night will no longer be on the board. That includes Ouimet, Ping, Schwartz and Jeff Irwin. Ping is being replaced by her sister.

Gunn also brought forward a proposal to eliminate commissioner mileage reimbursements. But after several commissioners argued being reimbursed for driving to meetings was justifiable, even Gunn was swayed and joined her peers in a unanimous vote to keep them.


Commissioner Jessica Ping, R-Saline, listens as a resident addresses the board during Wednesday's meeting.

Ryan J. Stanton |

The issue of commissioner compensation has been an especially hot topic since it was alleged last month that Ouimet may have improperly billed the county for thousands of dollars worth of per diems and mileage reimbursements he shouldn't have been eligible for.

An investigation by the county clerk's office confirmed as much, but the clerk's report also found almost every single commissioner on the board — except for Peterson, who does not bill the county for mileage or per diems — was guilty of collecting either ineligible or questionable payments between 2005 and 2009.

Of the nearly $27,000 in questionable and ineligible payments, nearly $17,000 belonged to Ouimet and nearly $5,000 belonged to Ping, the two Republicans on the board. The other eight Democratic commissioners averaged $675 apiece. Some already have repaid the county or have pledged to repay the county for the amounts that appear to be owed.

The county has engaged a senior auditor from the Rehmann Robson public accounting firm to conduct an independent review of commissioner per diems. According to County Clerk Larry Kestenbaum, the audit was completed more than a week ago and it found "only slight differences" from the report put out by his office.

County Administrator Verna McDaniel said the county is holding off on releasing the auditor's report until each commissioner has a chance to review and challenge its findings.

"We are not done with that process yet," she said. "We are finished preliminarily with one aspect of it, but the full process has not been completed."

McDaniel said it could be another two weeks before a final report is released.

Several commissioners took turns voicing their opinions for and against per diems and travel expenses during Wednesday night's meeting.

Peterson argued "compensation is something that this board deemed appropriate some years ago." He said it's "historical practice" to pay commissioners a salary, per diems and mileage reimbursements for their attendance at meetings.

He spoke in favor of travel to conferences, saying it's important that commissioners take the time to "come up to speed" and educate themselves on issues facing counties. He said "the books are open" when it comes to those costs and voters can "check how much we spend."

"They're not honeymoons," Peterson said of the conferences.

Peterson noted the concept for the Urban County came from a national conference that commissioners attended. The Urban County is a consortium of the cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti and many of the surrounding townships. It formed in 2001 and allocates federal money for housing rehabilitation, shelter and public service programs and projects.

On the topic of mileage reimbursements and per diems, Ping said she doesn't think it was made clear until this year which meetings commissioners can and can't bill the county for. She said she drives to many meetings of the various municipalities she represents in her district and thinks she should be compensated for attending those.

"In order to properly represent the county, you are expected to be in front of these people … and you can't do that for free," she said.

Judge said she actually would be in favor of expanding the county's mileage policy to allow commissioners to be reimbursed for driving to meetings now deemed ineligible.

Bergman agreed with Ping and Judge and said commissioners shouldn't have to sacrifice their personal vehicles on county business without proper mileage reimbursement.


Commissioners Jeff Irwin, left, and Ken Schwartz chat during one of the slower points of Wednesday's meeting.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Prater argued in favor of per diems, using his appointment as a liaison to the Road Commission as an example. He said there are more than two dozen Road Commission meetings a year, and each one can last two hours. Providing a little compensation to commissioners who sacrifice their time, he said, is justifiable.

Commissioner Conan Smith, D-Ann Arbor, countered Prater's argument, saying commissioners make about $18 an hour through their salary, and they're already "well compensated" without per diems. Adding in per diems, he said, they make 140 percent of what an average resident makes.

"My base salary compensation is enough," Bergman agreed. "I don't need $25."

Under new rules put in place this year, each commissioner is entitled to spend one-eleventh — or about $3,500 — of the board's $39,000 "commissioner flex account." That is their annual allowance for all travel, per diems and mileage reimbursements.

Prater said he thinks that limit keeps costs down well enough, so commissioners don't need to worry about eliminating travel, per diems or mileage reimbursements.

Peterson questioned why commissioners were spending so much time debating such a small amount of money, which he compared to the pay of an entry-level clerk.

"We're dealing with a huge deficit," Peterson said. "If we're going to deal with the issue of saving money, let's be real. Let's put the hardcore numbers on the table."

Commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to move their retirement accounts from the county's money purchase pension plan into new deferred compensation plans. The change is expected to save the county $10,000 it had paid annually in management fees for the plan.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Tue, Nov 30, 2010 : 11:46 a.m.

Keep up the good work, Commssioner Gunn! I hope this proposed resolution can be re-introduced before the end of the year and one of the swing-votes turns around and votes for amending the current reimbursement system.

Leah Gunn

Mon, Nov 22, 2010 : 9:17 a.m.

I want to thank those people who have expressed support for me in my efforts to reduce compensation for Commissioners. I tried, and I failed. However, I do not believe, as Commissioner Judge remarked, that this is a "petty item". Although the total savings would be $38,500, that is a little more than the amount that we allocate from the General Fund to Food Gatherers. Considering that their requests for help have increased 128% in the past year, perhaps we might have been able to increase our allocation to them, or to other struggling non-profits who are serving those in our community who are most in need. No item is "petty" and it would have been a strong symbolic gesture of the Commissioners to recognize that.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 5:43 p.m.

SNEHAL - County Commissioner's are not public employees. The are elected officials voted in by the public. Most of the county (with the exception of the County Adminisitor Gunzel,who did not take a paycut) employees have not have any raises in several years and took a 3.08% this year and next year. I think Commissioner's are already getting paid enough and in addition (base on the last paragraph in the artcile) they are getting retirement benefits and it makes me wonder if the county pays their medical insurance. Most county employees with the exception of several top heavy non-union staff are not making any more and sometimes less then their counter parts in the public sector. I am aware of several people who will be looking or are looking for better paying jobs and getting them. Government spending is out of control but don't blame the lower paid employees but look at the county Commissioner's and County Admistration who consently spend money in shameful ways, Check out the Checkbook on the public site and ask what is that for. I see money spent on a new dishwasher for the Commissioner office downtown, not a cheap standard one but a top of the line, most expensive, look at the trips they take and the money they waste in every department, the small things do add up and until they see that a dollar here and a dollar there spends just as quickly as spending $25,000 on something expensive (maybe not necessary) but wanted anyhow. Also, if you are aware the Commissioner's did not post the agenda with the information that there would be any discussion regarding their pay or per diem's. They most likely sneaked in at the end of the meeting to avoid public screaming. I think it would be great if they were forced to reopen this issue to the public or make it a public vote regarding their pay. The choose to be elected, they use that in many different ways, for their own benefit as well as any county benefit.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 4:25 p.m.

I found it interesting that Commissioner Ken Schwartz voted to keep per diems when he will be gone anyway from the Commission. I can see why Jessica Ping may wanted to preserve the per diems for her sister, but why did Peterson vote for the per diems when he does not collect any? Probably good old-fashioned logrolling.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 11:49 a.m.

This was a good move by Ms. Gunn and those who supported her and very revealing about the others. Those who tried to defame Mr. Ouimet while billing their vacations to us are disgraceful. Yeah, sure, they are not "honeymoons" Mr. Peterson. Odd that all these conferences are in lush resort spots, Hawaii, Reno. And they get a pension plan for a part time job? I would rather have commissioners who know how to do their job and do not need education and will not suck money from a crippled budget. Then we would not have a budget problem.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 10:02 a.m.

Mr Peterson's vote was not only the swing vote, but he was allowed to change his vote to as well. "Peterson questioned why commissioners were spending so much time debating such a small amount of money". Duh. The subject was on the table. A yes vote would have ended the debate. Instead, he changes his vote to no. His buddy, Commissioner Schwartz, was number 3 on the list of the percentage of diem dollars being considered inappropriate. I'm sure Peterson will vote to give Schwartz another $10,000 to be on the Road Commission. Try looking at the details of "travel reimbursement". The Federal mileage rate is, and always has been, absurdly high. Commissioners use their personal car to make a profit. The "national association of County employees" choose to place their conventions at posh places, and then the local county employees get to wring their hands and say it's not my fault. It's all part of the philosophy of "if you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours". It's always about spending more and spending more, and putting more into one's pocket. Attending extra meetings here and there is often part of doing the job that they already are paid to do, and they shouldn't be paid more.

Basic Bob

Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 5:35 a.m.

"Note, I have not taken per diem or milage for 2010." Yes, this is a wonderful half-truth. You spent your entire budget on convention travel to fabulous resort communities. And please, tell us again about the Caremark CVS card that "saves" county residents money by charging more than walk-in customers.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 9:41 p.m.

Ok, fine keep the per diem... But get rid of the salaries and retirement benefits at least until the budget is balanced...


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 7:54 p.m.

Kristen Judge: I'm glad you weighed in. I'm sure there was more to this than meets the eye and you seem like a reformer, so I'm interested in why you voted to keep the per diems and travel budgets.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 6:59 p.m.

well i just think we should get rid of a few more cops so they can have more money..blah!! they are just like the people in lansing.. greddy and think they can do what ever they want with our money... Lansing meets for 165 days a year and get paid for the whole year.. wish i could do that.. public servants.. " servants " being the important word. i can see certain trips.. but plan ahead.. and provide all info.. and get it approved..


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 6:54 p.m.

Why did you vote to keep the per diems, Commissioner Judge?

Kristin Judge

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 5:33 p.m.

Unfortunately, Commissioner Gunn and Bergman were unable to save the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars and vote with me to get rid of the real perks of health care and pensions. I brought that resolution to the board last month and did not even get a second. If we do not pass a resolution getting rid of this by the end of this year, Commissioner Bergman will receive health care at taxpayer expense for life! Read about your wonderful Commissioners who think it is a "morally wrong" to take away a commissioner's life time health care. My resolution would have saved much more than the $3,500 in expenses. Note, I have not taken per diem or milage for 2010. Our expenses are now online due to the transparency initiative Commissioner Prater and I brought to the county. You can see how each commissioner is compensated now at: The commissioner budget has been reduced by about $30,000/year in "expenses" since Commissioner Smith and I created the Flex Spending accounts. To see previous commissioner spending go to this page: and look at Board of Commissioner Spending 2005-2010. I do hope that Commissioner Bergman and Gunn spend as much time looking at the budget items that really impact residents as they did on this petty item.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 5:12 p.m.

The commissioners who voted to keep the per diems should be voted out of office. If they cannot comprehend the suffering thousands of Washtenaw residents are having due to home foreclosure, job layoffs, and bankruptcies, they do not belong on the Board of Commissioners; the elimination of the per diems would largely be a symbolic gesture of sacrifice.

Bob Needham

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 5 p.m.

(Comment removed because it was in all caps.)


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 4:22 p.m.

I guess this will be their last year. The almighty dollar and just plain greed! Come on voters, remember this when the time comes. that one commissioner had $35,000 last year he charged the taxpayers and the taxpayers thanked him and revoted him in. Be careful what you wish for!


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 4:20 p.m.

I understand getting a mileage reimbursement. If you are doing County business, you should be compensated for wear and tear on your vehicle. However, I do not understand the per diem rate. That is what the salary is to cover. Normally people do not get a salary and then an extra per day bonus. Interesting that the Republicans seem to be the bigger abusers.

David Briegel

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 4:09 p.m.

dotdash, The Dems can be proud! I am laughing hilariously at the complainers who just promoted the biggest abuser to Lansing. And defended him every step of the way! Ludicrous! Ace, "To make this into an issue that poor politicians are better than rich politicians is just silly." Do you not see the point that not all are financially able to serve and thus deserving of some modest compensation? Otherwise all you will get are rich bankers like Dr. Ouimet! Yeah, where are all those Rob Steele, Thayrone Tea Party supporters who would do this work for free?

Tom Wieder

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 4:07 p.m.

I don't know why Ronnie Peterson voted to keep the per diems, but it doesn't seem to be based on financial self-interest. He does not ask for or receive either per diems or mileage reimbursement. That has been his personal parctice for years. It's not fair to accuse him of greed, since he doesn't take a penny above his salary.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 2:56 p.m.

Arrogant and greedy, greedy, greedy.

Jay Thomas

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 2:22 p.m.

Kristin Judge is a piece of work.:|


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 1:49 p.m.

ell if you as me everyone needs to be taking a cut somewhere because everyone is broke but no need to cry now because these are the people that we voted in in its not a suprise to me that mr peterson voted against this seeming that he needs the money because he still has not paid out any money towards his case he loss in court so since he voted against this maybe the more money that he gets can help get the victims there money owed to them i am only speaking on mr peterson because he is the only one i know on the board!!!!!!!!


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 1:15 p.m.

Good Job, Ronnie Peterson. It is a politically difficult decision, but everyone needs to be compensated for their time. If the county benefits from sending you to a conference, then let the county pay for the trip. Per diem and mileage reimbursements are merely making things even between the county and the individual. If you believe cutting payments are beneficial, then stop all training completely. Stop all learning, put your head in the sand, man, and hope no one else will learn a better way to fix our problems by attending the seminars that Washtenaw County residents can not afford. These payments are not benefits, they're expense reimbursements. Yes, Mark Ouimet went way out there with his claims, but do an audit and get over it. How about promoting the problem to Lansing, so he'll have a much larger budget to grab from...I can not believe this issue is such a problem when Mark Ouimet was given the biggest vote of confidence on his past performance by getting elected to a more powerful office in Lansing. You want to solve the budget issues; stop all human services funding and allow the non-profits do it without public funds, sorry Ronnie, I know you can't support cutting this one. I think you commissioners are doing a great job...keep it up.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 12:55 p.m.

Kudos to Bergman and Gunn -- and note that they are Democrats from Ann Arbor, so let's have no carping about that. Ypsilanti, Pittsfield, Saline, Chelsea -- it's your commissioners who voted against. Where's that vaunted everywhere-but-Ann-Arbor fervor for saving money? I challenge you to name a local politician more committed to the good of the county than Barbara Bergman.

dading dont delete me bro

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 12:53 p.m.

i wouldn't vote for a pay cut either...


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 12:23 p.m.

The Commissioner to come out of this dirty business looking principled is Leah Gunn. She has an excellent history of taking a stand against special interest groups, including the snakes of the Ann Arbor Airport Advisory Committee. It is a shame that the list of special interest groups now includes that of her own fellow Commissioners.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 12:05 p.m.

Time for a recall...anyone interested?


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 11:17 a.m.

Anyone care to add up what Dingell oops Prater has collected in per Diems, mileage and travel during his 100 year tenure?


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 11:17 a.m.

They should be reimbursed for travel expenses just like any other business person who travels. They should be reimbursed for mileage just like any other business person who travels. Per diem should ONLY be for days they aren't working in their office. Oh, and since the universally accepted conference hotspots of Florida, Hawaii, and Nevada are too exotic for taxpayers to foot the bill for, all conferences should be held at the A2 Public Library.

Tim Darton

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 11:06 a.m.

Commissioner Gunn is to be applauded, she has been doing good work for a long time. Elected officials should be paid a decent salary, they put in long hours and unless there is a salary only the wealthy could afford to run for office. It takes up a lot of time. BUT,, the per diem and travel $$ are over the top. The symbolism is important too when they are asking staff to give up pay. A comparable body, the A2 City Council does not receive per diems and they are not reimbursed for travel. Last year the mayor and all but 2 council members wrote a check back to the city for 3% of their pay, the same amount they asked staff to give up. Of course only the non-union staff took the pay cut but the symbolism was important. The per diem and travel $$ should go away.

scooter dog

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 10:42 a.m.

I think its time for a RECALL of all parties involved in this farce. Everyone else is giving back wages and these high rollers think they are exempt from cuts. Get em out and get some fresh faces


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 10:41 a.m.

Its interesting to note that no one forces these individuals to run for elective office. Supposedly, this is something they do because they want to serve the public and be good public servant. They no before they win office what the compensation is or at least they should. For them to nickel and dime the public for personal compensation once they assume office is typical of the slight of hand behavior of politicians. Kristin Judge should be publicly scolded for her role in accusing her fellow commissioners of wrongdoing when she is just as guilty as any of the others in seeking compensation and using public money to travel all over. We will remember.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 10:38 a.m.

Vote A.B.N. "Any Body New "


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 10:36 a.m.

The amount of money may be small compared to the overall budget of the county, however, as others have pointed out, it is the fact that some of the Commissioners are failing to lead by example. Not only should they give up the per diem, they should also eliminate all out of state travel and plan to take a reduction in their base compensation before they ask any county employee to take a similar reduction. I was also surprised that they have a "retirement plan" considering the fact these are not full time jobs. Perhaps the retirment plan should be eliminated entirely. Why are commissioners given an opportunity to review reports on questionable spending before these are made public? The reports should be made public immediately and if there are questionable expenses, the commissioners involved should step down and provide restitution to the county. The alternative would be for the citizens to force a recall of the commissioners.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 10:33 a.m.

Someone should put up big signs all around the county and show how much they get paid in total. It would get people hot.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 10:04 a.m.

No one else gets paid to drive to work. No one else gets a "per diem" on top of their paychecks to show up for work. Mileage reimbursements in certain cases I can see (not, however, for driving to work). Travel expenses I can also see in certain cases. Most public entities restrict or flat-out forbid travel to "destination" locations like Las Vegas, Orlando and Hawaii. The Washtenaw County Commissioners need to get with the program. Personally, I haven't voted for Wes Prater (apt name, btw) for years, mainly because his sense of entitlement is both sickening and unbelievable. (You should read his campaign literature; it's embarrassing.) The only time we ever hear from Wes is during the election season. In off years, he's exceptionally quiet. I'm sure he was shocked when the voters bounced his hiney off the commission a few years back. Why he was re-elected I'll never understand.

Ace Ventura

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 9:52 a.m.

I have read enough to realize that the politicians in Washtenaw County are nothing old boys and girls club. They steal the taxpayers money and spend it on themselves and their friends. They get a 15,000 dollar salary for meeting a few hours a month and still nickel and dime the taxpayer for more money. When the voters fire them the survivors give their buddy a job on the road commission or some other boards. I have also read enough to know what some posters on this board will write before they post. To make this into an issue that poor politicians are better then rich politicians is silly.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 9:34 a.m.

Maybe Washtenaw County needs some Tea Party people to change the way THEY run OUR County government. Everybody has been cutting back but our GOVERNMENT, maybe it's time we eliminate the Ruling class and elect people with some moral convictions not just "baby kissers".

David Briegel

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 9:26 a.m.

Ace, read up. It used to be a lot more! Now it will be even less. Give 'em a chance. You will see. They really aren't over compensated. If your desire is that only the rich should serve, keep cutting. Not all who wish to serve are independently wealthy. 4x4, there is enough lying and plenty of liars in both parties.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 9:19 a.m.

I completely agree with Commissioner Gunn on this. The amount of money that the commissioners receive for the per diems is small but it is large in symbolism just as Commissioner Gunn stated. How can this board now ask any county employee to sacrifice, when they refuse to give up anything? The board as a whole has lost the respect of the community. These people are completely out of touch with the world around them if they actually think this is acceptable, when these same individuals will be demanding--not asking, but demandingthat county employees cut salaries and employee numbers to the extreme. To me this shows lack of common sense, lack of leadership and no empathy for the employees or citizens that they represent. This whole thing disgusts me. However, Commissioner Gunn has my utmost respect and should be applauded for her leadership in bringing this forward. Thank you to the other commissioners who also voted for the elimination of the per diems and travel reimbursements.

Ace Ventura

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:51 a.m.

Dear Mr. Peterson, 36,000 is not a small amount of money to the person that loses their job due to budget cuts. What a greedy bunch of people.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:50 a.m.

IN my company if we did not agree to pay cuts then we get fired or laid off. Why the discrimination for these public employees?


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:44 a.m.

Wipe the slate clean and start over with fresh talent so that we can be proactive instead of reactive (or defiant) to trends and reality, it's simply the best & fastest way. The antiquated mentality and system in place is inefficient and hasn't worked for decades. No taxation without representation (the citizens voice). Do you want a "tea party" in the Huron? We're not competitive in our country nor the world in the least. We're entrenched in our old ways like GM was and it hasn't dawned on us that we don't count anymore. We willingly gave away all of our industry (whats the true cost of that cheap item you got from Walmart made in China?) and at every level we're not adapting to changes necessary to compete in the world market. This very public decision sets a bad example in our community and exemplifies everything that is wrong with Michigan and America. Giving these fees up, at least temporarily, would have been a good PR move and simply a token gesture compared to the real hardships experienced within the community. Lesson not learned.

Steve Pepple

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:32 a.m.

An off-topic comment was removed.

Go Blue

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:21 a.m.

How embarrssing! Once again, greed takes the forefront. A base salary isn't good enough and more funds need to be grabbed just because it can be. What part of "reality check" is not understood? Michigan is #5 in the country with foreclosures. The state is lacking in jobs, growth and potential and yet those that were elected to help, will not. Take the blinders off - there are others out there that are not as fortunate and do not have a paycheck or home of their own and the refusal to acknowledge this and just keep taking more needs to be halted. Vote them in? Well, then remember to vote them out. They are voted in to work - surprise - for us, the people that put them in office.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:13 a.m.

Guess they've never heard the term, "lead by example". And many folks wonder why the Tea Party is such a force in politics. They don't care if you are Democrat or Republican, they know that most of them are Republicrats.

David Briegel

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:07 a.m.

4x4, It is a slightly different and improved system and more fair to both those who serve and the taxpayers. There is a limit. These new limits and those who choose not to accept their limit will save the taxpayers. Think of the money that will be "saved" as the taxpayers ignored all this and "promoted" Dr. Ouimet! Now Lansing can watch!


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 7:56 a.m.

The county unions will have a field day with this one when they are asked to cut their benefits next year. Did anyone really expect anything different post-election?


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 7:35 a.m.

I love how during the election, Kristin Judge was in favor of cutting the per diems, and in fact, was the person who called Ping and Ouimett out in the two weeks leading up to the election, and initiated the investigation on "fraudulent" reimbursements, but now that she's been re-elected, she voted "in favor" of keeping the per diem reimbursement. Gotta love politics, especially Democrat liars.

Lifelong A2

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 7:33 a.m.

Good for Commissioner Gunn for bringing this issue forward. The other Commissioners' vote to keep their perks is shameful. They will spend the next several months slashing services to County residents while continuing to collect perks for a part-time job that other elected officials do not collect. Of the six greedy officials who voted to continue to pad their bank accounts during these difficult times, only Judge, Prater, Peterson, and Sizemore will return to the Board next year. I urge Washtenaw County voters in the primaries and general elections in those districts to defeat those commissioners in 2012. A movement will grow on this. Enough is enough.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 6:37 a.m.

Wouldn't vote to cut their perks? Really? Politicians? I am shocked. Shocked, I tell you!


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 6:27 a.m.

Of course they feel we the taxpayers should fund their trips to conferences in places like Florida, Hawaii and Nevada. As for the $25 per diem payments, well, that is just pocket money to them. The reach right into the taxpayers' pockets pull out the money and put it into their own pockets. These are the same people who INCREASED all of our property taxes under Act 88 without allowing the voters to vote on the increase. They increased our property taxes to fund their own personal special interests. Lets be honest here....these people believe our/your money is for them to take and to give to themselves. They remind me of Kwame. Unfortunately "we" the people have voted for them and put them in a position to freely take our money. We the people even voted Ouimet into a new office, why wouldn't they feel like they can spend our money in Hawaii? Maybe we should just make their house payments for them as well.....