County Executive & Finance Committee holds December meeting

The Marquette County Executive & Finance Committee met on December 13 to hear updates from the County Administrator, Corporation Counsel and more.

Administrator Ron Barger updated the committee on some wording modifications he will be bringing back to the group for approval in the coming months regarding family leave policy, temporary light duty policy, and wage setting for the elected sheriff, clerk of court and coroner. The wording changes for family leave and temporary light duty are proposed to close any loopholes and give the county direction in long-term situations.

The wage setting for elected officials dates back several years to a resolution that was designed to bring all the elected officials’ wages closer to “market,” Barger explained. For four years, a 4.1% average modifier was enacted to those wages, and Barger is proposing to continue a 2% modifier for the next four years to keep those wages within the market. This resolution will affect these three officials and will take effect from 2023 to 2026. The remaining three officials are placed in a separate group, as they are elected on a different schedule.

Barger said the aim is to keep wages at 85% of the market wages across the state, noting that Marquette cannot compete with the higher wages of larger markets.

Good news shared by Barger is that quite a few of the departments are over their projected revenues for 2021. He said he does not want to project expenses at this time, as they take several more months to settle.

On the Human Resources front, Barger named several current job openings in County departments, along with the number of applications that have been received to date for each. Many of those are in Human Services and Highway Department. A position for a Buildings and Grounds Lead Maintenance Technician had received 14 applicants as of the meeting date, the highest of those Barger reported on.

Corporation Counsel Natalie Bussan discussed several proposed wording changes for the newly created County Administrator draft ordinance. One of those dealt with the process of moving money around in the budget if needed and how to include department heads and oversight committees in that process. She will also add language that says newly created positions must be reported to the County Board so that supervisors are aware of them. Discussion noted that most new positions are created at budget time so the funding is in place for them. Mid-year new positions are often funded by grants, or else other funding sources are identified in the approval process.

A further modification to the administrator ordinance allows Barger to perform evaluations of department heads. While he is not required to involve a department’s oversight committee, he could if he chooses to do so.

The committee approved sending the draft ordinance as revised to the full county board on December 21st.