Remarks that appeared in the Saturday, July 21, Daily Press entitled, Issues of the Road Commission, written by Peter Mark require further clarification.
Please allow us to address Mr. Mark's comments as were numerically identified:
1. Current staff of over 20 years is unaware of any legal firm being hired in 2003 or 2004 to write job descriptions or spending ten's of thousands of dollars to do so. The road commission continuously reviews its policies, including job descriptions, to better provide service to our employees and the motoring public.
2. A report of suspicious activity was reported to our managing director. Law enforcement was notified and it was decided they would investigate further. Upon completion of that investigation, the prosecuting attorney felt there was sufficient evidence to warrant charges being filed. The DCRC Board of Commissioners or its staff does not have the authority to issue charges.
3. The DCRC meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month. Prior to its regular meeting, a workshop is held to discuss the agenda of the day or any other pertinent issues. Members from the community have appeared at these workshops to discuss their concern and share ideas. Both meetings are open to the public.
The DCRC board and administration have been discussing the possibility of subcontracting its maintenance program for approximately one and a half years. Our managing director, as directed by the board, has periodically discussed this issue with other chief administrators from the county, schools, DATA, airport, cities of Gladstone and Escanaba, depending on interest. Mr. Mark has been publicly informed by several board members that a decision to move forward with subcontracting, has not been made. As to why First Vehicle posted for a general manager, you would have to ask them.
4. Since 2006, the road commission has spent $ 1.25 million on new equipment which includes trucks of various sizes, motor graders, loader scales, crack seal machine, tractor with mower, radios, V-bottom trailers. Recently the board approved to advertise for the purchase of two new plow trucks "with an option" to purchase two more at the same price. The equipment committee (composed of employees) recommends purchases and the board accepts or rejects their recommendations.
5. Our employees and staff do a darn fine job: very able and very dedicated. Employees, administration, and boards have recommended certain types of equipment to be purchased as this equipment allows more work to be done with less employees.
6. Selection process for the appointment by the county commissioners was strictly under the jurisdiction of the county board of commissioners, not the county road commission.
7. The decision to district is not within the purview of the road commission, it lies with the county board of commissioners. Currently, four of the five county districts are represented on the road board. Regarding Mr. Mark's comment of, "this might help eliminate any appearance of violating the Open Meetings Act..", we are not sure just what the implied accusation may be. But, the last time we checked, one is not guilty of breaking the law through "appearance(s)".
8. First, the pension to board members is required by the road commission MERS (retirement) Plan document established in 1994. Regarding bonuses, no "bonuses" have been paid. Negotiations is a process of give and take. With respect to our managing director, he gave up future increases in salary, lost allowable paid time off as well as other benefits to offset increased retirement benefits.
9. On Dec. 19, 2005, The DCRC board adopted an ethics policy. Periodic reviews and updates have been instituted to guard against any ethics violations. Relative to education, within the last three fiscal years, the DCRC has offered workshops on safety, improved operations and practices, changes in legislation, etc. to the road and shop employees, administration and board. As for goals the road commission is required to establish a five-year plan for all federal aid eligible road construction projects. In addition, we have been working with each of the 14 townships in Delta County to establish the same five-year plan for local roads. In 2008 the board of road commissioners adopted the state of Michigan's Asset Management Principles for road repair which helps prioritize what types of treatments are applied to which roads. Accountability to the motoring public has been our number one goal. Board meetings are open, administration strives to respond to various road commission issues, commissioners continue to be available.
Randy Bjork, chair
Dennis J. Stanek, vice-chair