From West Bloomfield Township Trustee Lawrence Brown:
I am writing you to address the article that appeared in the (Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011 edition of the Spinal Column Newsweekly) headed “Board eliminates furlough days in township budget.” This article appeared on pages 16 and 17 in reference to our board meeting in West Bloomfield on Nov. 28.
It is my concern that this article is misleading by implying that the board unanimously passed the elimination of the furlough days, when in fact (Clerk) Cathy Shaughnessy and (I) voted against such action. My reason for voting against such an action is in essence giving the township employees a type of raise which was not the purpose of having had the public safety millage increase pass.
When the board evaluated how large the additional millage needed to be, our projections included the furlough days being left in place for the years 2012 and 2013. It’s not that I believe the township office staff doesn’t deserve to have these days reinstated, it is my opinion that we first see how all of the instituted decreases in costs affect our budgets going forward before making such a decision. It is presumptuous on the other members of the board to place an increase in our costs before knowing the long-term impact on our fund balance. The furlough days might have been able to be eliminated later next year once we have a better handle on the revenue side exclusive of the new millage money.
It is interesting to read the Commerce board article (“Commerce board split on budget over wage issue,” Nov. 30, 2011 Spinal Column Newsweekly) where your staff writer at least reported the split vote and included the reasons why from the minority. Why didn’t we get that same coverage?