Last week, at the Barry Cuonty Commission meeting, citizen Jack Miner said that the Barry Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD) 2019 draft budget hides all employee expenses from the public. He alleged that $4.25 million dollars is being hidden from the taxpayers for fiscal year 2019 and told commissioners that it is time for them to, “start asking some questions.”
This week, Miner said during public comment that the lack of transparency on budget figures, “is the result of Commissioner (Ben) Geiger’s arbitrary decision to change the health department budgeting process, apparently without consulting with other commissioners or the health board.”
Miner said he has asked repeatedly to be put on a county commission committee of the whole meeting agenda to discuss the topic, and has been denied.
According to Miner, the average wage for a health department employee 2017 was $70,665; in 2018 it was $70,255 and in the 2019 draft budget, it is $76,265 for each employee.
“That’s a year over year increase of $6,010 dollars for each employee a total of over $335,000 next year,” he said.
Commissioner Jon Smelker said he submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the BEDHD for the employee’s salary schedule and got hourly information.
“I get the feeling that I’m being snowballed on this…If you changed something, I’m going to be very upset,” he said to Geiger, “I’m going to be extremely upset.”
Smelker later said he has received a schedule of current salaries from the BEDHD.