Rebecca Shetella, an independent person who chairs the Michigan Independent Citizens Transformation Commission, pushed for the move, saying she had heard “a lot of public feedback that was very negative about wage increases.”
Democrat Britney Kellom said it goes along with the territory, but the increase is justified because of inflation. Inflation rose 7.9 percent in February the highest in 40 years.
“We have been criticized all this time, so I am not surprised that … any discussion of the commission’s decisions may be unfavorable. I’m not worried about that, “Kell said.
“I’m concerned about the livelihoods and well-being of these people in front of me, and I hope some of you are too.”
The Michigan Independent Citizens’ Commission was established in 2018 after the overwhelming majority of voters supported an amendment to the constitution that removed the legislature from responsibility for political boundaries.
The old system allowed the Lansing ruling party to hold lines every 10 years, resulting in some of the most republican constituencies in the country.
Salary increases occur even when commissioners the work is mostly done. The commission’s budget is $ 3.1 million, but the deficit is projected to be nearly $ 1.2 million for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.
According to constitutional amendment which set up the group, “the commissioners’ term expires after the commission fulfills its obligations under the census cycle, but not before the trial of the census plan is completed.”
The commission approved new state legislative maps and congressional maps on Dec. 28. The cards are due to take effect this month, but there are two lawsuits against the commission.
In recent weeks, commissioners have moved to meetings twice a month from almost daily ones late last month. Meetings last less than four hours, not more than six hours when members set up constituencies.
Some commissioners say their workload has not diminished.
Democrat Dustin Vites, who is the new deputy chairman of the commission, told reporters it was his full-time job.
“I can tell you without a doubt that there is absolutely no way anyone can work full time and do it at the same time,” Vitesse said.
“You saw how busy we were – to assume that we could do that and be fully employed is absolutely nonsense.”
At least one commissioner, Kell, retained her full-time job as a commissioner. Last year, she faced criticism for Fr. a significant number of absenteeism.
Shetella told reporters that at least three other commissioners had returned to their full jobs.
“No matter what the rationale may be for wages in September, August or even October, I think many of these excuses are disappearing because the reality is that we meet twice a month,” Shetella told reporters.
“Today we had a two-hour meeting. I think at the last meeting we had a three-hour meeting, so it’s six hours a month when we meet and we get paid thousands of dollars.
“I think we could stop having lower wages at the moment because we just don’t get that much work, even though we’ve done a huge amount of work and much more than a full-time job in August, September, October, November and December. ”
During Thursday’s meeting, commission executive director Sue Hammersmith announced she was at the end of the month.
“It’s been a lifelong experience, and I really appreciate the opportunity to work with this commission on this historic initiative,” Hammersmith told reporters.
Hammersmith will replace Edwards Woods III, the current director of the Commission on Communication and Advocacy.
The commissioners offered to give Woods a salary of just over $ 150,000 a year. However, Woods will have to negotiate a new contract.