Ypsilanti Citizen Opinions Los Amigos Mexican Restaurant

Thank you Ypsilanti
By Dan DuChene & Christine Laughren
Jun. 23, 2010   ·   5:07 p.m.

Christine Laughren and Dan DuChene, co-owners of the Ypsilanti Citizen, pose in front of their company's banner at Frenchie's during the Citizen's one-year anniversary party.

The Ypsilanti Citizen was launched in November 2008 to inform the Ypsilanti community about the news and events that were happening in their area.

Since our launch,...read more

Crossroads Summer Festival; rockin’ ladies night
By Dave Heikkinen and Frank Wright
Jun. 23, 2010   ·   4:37 p.m.

Barbara Payton and the Big Boss Trio rock Washington Street.

A special Ladies Night was held Friday at the 2010 Ypsilanti Crossroads Summer Festival in conjunction with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Just...read more

Crossroads to hold Ladies Night for Relay for Life
By Dave Heikkinen and Frank Wright
Jun. 16, 2010   ·   9:13 a.m.

On June 11, the 2010 Ypsilanti Crossroads Summer Festival featured a rousing opening set from roots and blue grass band Dragon Wagon.

Dragon Wagon was joined on...read more

Electric rail pollution leads to dirty laundry
By Laura Bien
Jun. 15, 2010   ·   11:42 a.m.

From the approximate vantage point of the present-day Materials Unlimited, the interurban car barn and powerhouse on Michigan Avenue loomed large.

Maggie Smith was not looking forward to a forenoon of sewing pleats.

She put down her newest customer’s summer dress. Downstairs, she offered to get potatoes...read more

EMU students in wartime
By Laura Bien
Jun. 1, 2010   ·   10:32 a.m.

The 1942 Aurora yearbook, the 50th
anniversary edition, included images that contrasted modern and
old-time students.

Leroy Grindle was an Ypsilantian soldier who lost his life in WWII. He was a member of the Michigan Normal (EMU) class of ’41, and is memorialized with a black...read more

Council should make pay concessions with no strings

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Editorial

By Citizen Staff
Dec. 21, 2009    ·    12:58 p.m.


As Ypsilanti City Council discusses another bout of cuts to find cost savings in the face of shrinking revenue, they considered reducing their own budget Tuesday.

The matter was brought up by City Councilmember Peter Murdock, D-Ward 3, toward the end of a rather lengthy meeting. He said he was looking to save 12 percent of the group’s $111,754 annual budget.

Of the total budget, $40,700 – or 36 percent – is spent on City Council’s annual salaries. The elected officials make an average of $5,813 a year. This averages $252 per regular meeting, not including special meetings, workshops and other functions.

Mayor Paul Schreiber and Mayor Pro Tem Trudy Swanson, D-Ward 1, make more than average salaries, at $8,964 and $5,976 respectively. Each Councilmember makes $5,151 a year.

Murdock’s proposed cuts were across the board, but included 5 percent reduction in City Council’s salary. This would result in an average yearly loss of $290 per councilmember.

The plan generally received positive feedback from councilmembers at the meeting.

“I can understand,” Councilmember Michael Bodary, D-Ward 2, said.

While the city would not be able to balance its budget through this measure, he said it would show that City Council is willing to make sacrifices as it asks other city employees to do the same. He said it might inspire the city’s bargaining units to make similar concessions in reducing salaries.

“People get embittered with us,” Bodary said. “They think we should cut our salaries out and we can’t ignore that.”

Schreiber agreed.

“It’s good for Council to lead by example,” he said.

Few, if any, councilmembers rely on the salary from the political office as a sole source of income. Most have full-time jobs or live on retirement. Bodary said he uses all of his salary to make donations to various charities in the community.

However, Swanson did voice opposition to the measure.

“I’d like for those that want to participate in a reduction – do it,” she said.

With more than 20 churches in her community, Swanson said she is often invited to several services a week, and most expect a donation.

“I’d like to put in a motion that every city employee take a reduction across the board,” Swanson said. “Whatever we give up, they give up also.”

The matter was eventually dropped in favor of considering it at the same time as other proposed cuts to the city budget.

City Council missed an opportunity last week and should have voted on the matter independent from other proposed budget cuts. If the act is truly one of symbolism, then it should have been given the chance to actually be exemplified. Discussing this relatively small budget reduction will have it lost amongst larger cuts to police, fire and administration.

Murdock’s proposed $13,410 in cuts will look like pittance compared to other cuts the city will likely be considering. Even if City Council were to totally wipe out all of its salaries, it would still be difficult for the concession to stand out against losing police officers, firefighters hours of operation at City Hall.

Councilmember Bill Nickels, D-Ward 2, said City Council had actually considered completely cutting out its own salary four years ago, but the move was not adopted because it would under-value the work councilmembers do in the community. He said he would favor Murdock’s proposal.

Not only would considering a pay reduction amidst larger cuts to the city budget be a mistake, so would tying it to mandatory salary reductions across all city departmental employees. This would make the move seem less sincere and create the opposite of the desired outcome.

A resolution passed by City Council asking for salary reductions from city employees at the same time it reduces its own would likely be seen as a resolution asking city employees for a pay reduction and nothing else.

Instead of creating an environment that might reflect positively on City Council, tying self-proposed salary reductions to employee reductions would likely generate more animosity and make concessions from bargaining units harder to come by.

City Council should pass this resolution separately and without strings attached and send the message it intends to send. If the matter can’t be passed unanimously, then so be it.

If Swanson were to equally divide all of her salary between every church service she says takes place in her neighborhood every week, the proposed 5 percent cut would result in less than a $0.25 reduction per church, per week.

A quarter. Don’t let that stand in the way of what could be seen as a decent gesture on part of City Council.

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