2013-01-03 / Front Page

Emergency manager to receive raise

Schoolcraft County signs on to share service

MANISTIQUE – The Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners has decided to contract with Delta County Emergency Management coordinator to provide services within the county. The board also agreed to a pay increase for the position during a recent meeting.

The emergency management coordinator position became available in August, following the resignation of Robert Madden. At the time, commissioners voted to post the position opening and have Commissioner Craig Reiter attend any meetings in the meantime. In September, three candidates were interviewed for the position, but none were hired and commissioners opted instead to have Robert Berbohm, Delta County Emergency Management coordinator to temporarily fill the spot.

Commissioners expect Berbohm’s expertise to assist them in redeveloping and updating the county’s plan.

“I would say that, in the short time that he (Berbohm) has been working in our county, we have really begun, as far as I’m concerned, to right the ship,” Commissioner Dan LaFoille said during the Dec. 27 meeting. “I have great confidence in his ability to keep doing that.”

Before Berbohm continues his work within the county, however, LaFoille noted the emergency manager had requested a pay increase.

“We were paying $6,500 a year of which $2,400 was EMPG (Emergency Management Performance Grant) grant,” he said. “Mr. Berbohm is proposing that the wage be increased to $10,000 or $833.33 a month, and that the grant would increase to $3,700, which still gives us a net increase as to what we’re paying for emergency manager.”

According to LaFoille, the pay raise would also come with a year contract. He explained Berbohm had already begun meeting with school officials as well as the local planning team to conduct an emergency training exercise sometime in March or April.

“We’ve met with Lt. (Don) Brown (Michigan State Police Emergency Management Coordinator for Region 8) on this,” Commissioner Craig Reiter said. “It’s (the help of Berbohm) beginning, I think, to regain some credibility lost, for more reasons than one, with regard to our emergency management system.”

LaFoille added the contract would not extend past one year and that he was confident Berbohm’s assistance would improve the county’s situation. He also noted the proposed contract price includes mileage, whereas a separate approximately $589 bill from Berbohm for his services from October until December charged for both time and mileage.

“Schoolcraft County was the lowest (paid) in the emergency manager (position), the next step up was Luce County,” said Reiter.

Commissioners unanimously approved Berbohm’s proposal, and requested a contract be drawn up between Delta and Schoolcraft counties to finalize the move.

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