Editorial: Sign on to cut commission’s pay

The Detroit News

A Wayne County public employee union wants to do to its political bosses what those self-serving politicians did to them: force them to sacrifice for the good of the county. And it’s a great idea.

Michigan American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 25 is spearheading a drive to cut the pay of Wayne County Commissioners, who have stubbornly refused to participate in the concessions most labor unions have been asked to give to help the county out of its financial crisis.

The union is circulating ballot petitions that would cut the pay of the 15 county commissioners by 25 percent, to $45,000 a year from $61,000.

And even at that lesser amount, the commissioners will be overpaid based on the amount of service and value they provide.

The ballot measures would also make it illegal for county employees to double-dip, collecting both a paycheck and a pension check from the county at the same time. That, too, is a fiscally prudent measure for a county whose pension fund is roughly two-thirds underfunded.

County commissioner brought this on themselves. They are among the greediest bunch of elected leaders in the state.

While County Executive Warren Evans crafted a consent agreement with the state that allowed him to wrest health care and pension changes from most of the county’s unionized workforce, the commissioners voted themselves out of sharing the pain.

They continue to be eligible for full lifetime health benefits after only a few years on the commission, and many will receive pensions when they leave their elected offices.

These commissioners meet just twice a month in regular session, and another couple of times in various committees. In other words, the job demands just one day a week of their time.

Many hold other full-time jobs, including one whose main employment is in Lansing.

Yet the commission continues to pretend it is a full-time body.

It isn’t, and members shouldn’t be paid as if it were.

The workload for Wayne County commissioners is the same as it is for Oakland County Commissioners, who make about $33,000 annually.

To get on the fall ballot, organizers must collect 66,000 signatures over the next 60 days. It’s a big challenge.

Help them out.

Stop by AFSCME offices on West Lafayette in downtown Detroit, or call the union at 313-964-1711 to get petitions.

This is a wonderful opportunity for voters to remind their politicians that there’s a price for unchecked greed.