Click for Ann Arbor, Michigan Forecast
Saturday February 25, 2017
Follow us: facebook twitter RSS feed
drawing of a wrapped Tax package

Snyder's gift?

Less benefits = more cops

by James Leonard

From the December, 2011 issue

In their radical reinvention of Michigan, governor Rick Snyder and the Republican-controlled legislature have passed plenty of laws that have riled local governments, including expanding the power of emergency managers to take over failing cities. But you'd think that the new law making public employees pay at least 20 percent of the cost of their benefits and pensions would be a hit with local leaders, since it preempts a lot of the problems they've complained about in past union negotiations and arbitrations.

Not in Ann Arbor, says mayor John Hieftje. "It didn't really preempt the problems since it affects only people [working for the city] who don't have a contract. It may have attracted new urgency for people to sign a contract. But even there, I'm not sure how much it helped with the police, because we also had a helpful arbitrator who acted as a mediator."

Hieftje concedes "it's a good law for taxpayers. It'll save [the city] a million dollars a year in health care costs. And because it's reduced the amount we have to pay for benefits, we can have more police and firefighters." Between the new contracts and impending retirements, the mayor hopes the city will be able to hire eight to twelve new cops next year.

But that's all the mayor will concede. Asked if any other recent Lansing legislation has helped local governments, Hieftje replies with an emphatic "No! They've done lots of stuff, most of it harmful. Take the emergency manager law: I'm not sure that's even constitutional."

So what would Hieftje like to see from Lansing? "Full payment of the costs for fire protection for the university," he replies. "They never pay up to the degree of the contract. We're talking millions of dollars."    (end of article)

[Originally published in December, 2011.]

 



 
Bookmark and Share
Print Comment E-mail

You might also like:

Meredith Monk - On Behalf of Nature Meredith Monk - On Behalf of Nature
The Rock - I Spy: December 2016 The Rock - I Spy: December 2016
My Very Own Vacation: My Neighborhood My Very Own Vacation: My Neighborhood
Subscribe to the Ann Arbor Observer Subscribe to the Ann Arbor Observer
Tropical Smoothies on the East Side - Smoothies... Tropical Smoothies on the East Side - Smoothies...
Mary Szybist - Longing for God Mary Szybist - Longing for God
Map of Health Care - Hospice and Home Health Care Map of Health Care - Hospice and Home Health Care
Photo: Agree to Disagree Photo: Agree to Disagree
Ann Arbor Nightspots: Conor O'Neill's Ann Arbor Nightspots: Conor O'Neill's
Crime Map Crime Map
Regent Hotel
custom blinds and window treatments, flooring, and furniture
top of the lamp. All your in home lighting needs.
Become of Fan of the Ann Arbor Observer on Facebook
Your guide to summer camps and activities for kids.
A visitor's guide to Ann Arbor