2024-05-25T20:51:46-04:00May 25th, 2024|

The following was posted by one of my colleagues, Commissioner Joe Moss, on May 16, 2024.  I want to share it with my supporters in hopes of answering any questions regarding commissioner compensation.

Did the County Commissioners give themselves a 60% raise? (Spoiler: No.)

Who is Larry Jackson, and why was he appointed to the Officers Compensation Commission?

Is the local news trustworthy or biased?

  1. I removed the Officers Compensation Resolution from the Agenda today because it was invalid.
  2. I will explain the details and what happens next.
  3. To summarize, I would say: “You’ve been played.”
  4. The Officers Compensation Commission is an independent board not overseen by this Board of Commissioners. It is independent.
  5. I have heard this morning comments about this board giving itself a raise, I suspect partially because of misleading headlines, and words like disgusting, disrespectful, dishonest, disingenuous, embezzlement, etc.
  6. The Officers Compensation Commission only has 45 days to determine the compensation of elected officials, including the Prosecutor, Sheriff, Clerk, Treasurer, Water Resources Commissioner, Board of Commissioners, and Road Commissioners.
  7. The first meeting this year occurred on March 11, 2024.
  8. The deadline for determining compensation was April 25, 2024.
  9. The final meeting and votes occurred on May 2, 2024.
  10. The Chair of the Officers Compensation Commission is Larry Jackson.
  11. Larry Jackson was appointed by the prior Board of Commissioners in December of 2022, right before the current board was seated.
  12. At that time, Larry Jackson was a known Democrat activist and Democrat candidate when he was appointed by the prior Board of Commissioners in 2022.
  13. As Chair of the Officers Compensation Commission, Larry Jackson is responsible for seeing they do their duty on time and in accordance with the law.
  14. The Officers Compensation Commission has 7 members, which is required by law.
    1. The members have staggered terms, and four of the members were appointed unanimously by this Board in 2023, as required by law.
    2. The process for appointments was open and available to anyone in the county. The process that was implemented goes far above and beyond what is required in the law.
    3. Last year only four eligible people applied, and they were appointed unanimously by Talent & Recruitment and this Board.
    4. Every single applicant for this board was presented to the public and the Board of Commissioners for review.
  15. On April 11, the Officers Compensation Commission met and voted to increase the pay for the elected officials, including a 60% increase for the Board of Commissioners and a 39% increase for the Road Commissioners.
  16. There was no media fanfare in April, no articles, nothing.
  17. The determination was not even presented to the Board of Commissioners.
  18. On May 2, the Chair of the Officers Compensation Commission, Larry Jackson, called another meeting, an invalid meeting, to increase the pay of the Water Resources Commissioner and Treasurer, above and beyond what was already determined on April 11, 2024.
    1. At that meeting, the Officers Compensation Commission voted for a $12,000 raise for the Treasurer and a $21,000 raise for the Water Resources Commissioner position.*
    2. Just to be clear, all of the increases are for 2025 and 2026.
  19. For an unknown reason, local media were in attendance at that May 2 meeting and interviewed Larry Jackson about the phantom 60% pay raise.
  20. The local media proceeded to write many articles, claiming the Board of Commissioners was imminently ready to approve a 60% raise for themselves. This was not true.
  21. One media outlet even reported that the Board of Commissioners had already voted to approve a 60% pay raise for themselves.
    1. Talk about clickbait, fake news headlines!
  22. Instead of investigating the facts, local news continued to write clickbait headlines to cause chaos. If they would have looked deeper, like I did, they would have realized the phantom 60% raise never actually existed.
  23. It should be noted that the news articles appeared just days before the recall election against Republican Commissioner Lucy Ebel.
  24. It should also be noted that Larry Jackson is not only the Chair of the Officers Compensation Commission, he is also the Chair of the Ottawa County Democratic Party.
  25. Larry Jackson has a vested interest in seeing Republicans lose elections.
  26. Additionally, Larry Jackson is also the individual who filed the recall against Commissioner Lucy Ebel.
  27. Was there collusion between the Democratic Party and the local media to influence the recall election? Was this election interference?
  28. Furthermore, we now have the opportunity to face two problems.
    1. FIRST: Since the May 2 meeting called by Larry Jackson was outside the 45 day requirement outlined in the law for his commission to do it’s work. The meeting itself was invalid, any determinations made at that meeting are invalid, whether or not he has sent them to the Board. They cannot be voted on, because the meeting itself was invalid.
    2. SECOND: The resolution signed and presented to this Board by Larry Jackson is invalid also because it includes the phantom 60% raise.
      1. The vote on April 11 that supposedly approved the 60% raise, was 3-1 at that meeting.
      2. The law requires in MCL 45.474 there be a minimum of 4 “YES” votes.
      3. So to be clear, Larry Jackson signed and submitted an invalid resolution, in violation of MCL 45.474, and the Board will receive NO RAISES in 2025 or 2026.
    3. TO SUMMARIZE everything I just said:
      1. The May 2 meeting was invalid. The law is clear, Larry Jackson shall not submit a recommendation based on votes taken outside the 45 day window.
      2. The phantom 60% raise was never actually approved by the Compensation Commission.
      3. There are no Board Raises whatsoever in 2025 or 2026.
  29. From my perspective, the prior Board of Commissioners should have heeded the warnings from former Treasurer Amanda Price who contacted the prior Board of Commissioners to warn them against appointing Larry Jackson to this position.
  30. This is why I removed the Resolution from the agenda.
  31. If you have any other questions, please contact Larry Jackson.

I requested the Officers Compensation Commission submit a resolution that complies with the law. It should not include determinations made at the invalid May 2 meeting.

* Although the vote on May 2 was invalid, the Compensation Commission was attempting to align the salaries of the Clerk, Treasurer, and Water Resources Commissioner to the same amount. All three positions will still receive raises in 2025 and 2026, because they were approved on April 11, 2024. However, the final salary amounts will remain somewhat different for these three positions, as they have been historically.