St. Clair Township Road District employees make $26.25 per hour. They have 12 sick days, 14 paid holidays and up to 25 vacation days per year. They are eligible for free family health insurance with no deductibles at a cost of $27,000 per employee to the taxpayers. They are eligible for free individual health insurance for up to five years after retirement. The total cost for each employee exceeds $100,000 per year.
This lavish wage and benefit package must be brought into line with the wages and benefits that taxpayers receive for doing similar work in the private sector. Only one man can accomplish this: Highway Commissioner John "Skip" Kernan. He alone will approve a new contract in December. He does not have to seek citizen input or board approval. He can make the decision alone in the privacy of his office.
Since the employees' union endorsed Kernan, he will be under enormous pressure to maintain or even increase the wages and benefits. He will also benefit personally by maintaining the gold-plated benefits because his benefits are tied to the employees' benefits. Will he remember that he was elected to serve the taxpayers?
Even though he has not sought public input on what a reasonable wage and benefit package should contain, I am sure he would be glad to hear people's suggestions. Kernan can be reached at 618-233-3437 or at or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Timothy L. Buchanan