2014-03-13 / Front Page

Commissioners: We are the Thumb

By Kelly Taylor-Jerome
Editor * 810-245-9343 * kjerome@mihomepaper.com

HURON COUNTY — Leaders of Huron, Tuscola and Sanilac counties, fed up with the state grouping the counties with those along the I-69 corridor, are in the preliminary stages of etching out a new designation for the area.

Huron County Commissioner Clark Elftman said during Tuesday’s Board of Commissioners meeting that the three counties are planning to hold quarterly committee meetings that aim at having the state designate the area Region 6A. Currently, Huron, Tuscola and Sanilac counties are in Region 6, which comprises the Thumb and the I-69 corridor, including St. Clair, Genesee and Shiawassee counties.

Commissioners Steve Vaughan and Elftman met in Sandusky recently with representatives from Sanilac and Tuscola counties to discuss the plans.

“We are going to work collaboratively together to try and address some of the issues that just our area needs to focus on,” Vaughan said. “We all entered into that room with the same objective, and I think we were all on the same page. Huron, Tuscola and Sanilac, we work well together, and we would like to keep working well together.”

Elftman said that while counties south of Huron often refer to themselves as the Thumb, “we are the Thumb.”

He said those attending the meeting agreed that lumping the Thumb with St. Clair, Genesee and Shiawassee counties causes our area to miss out on opportunities. He said those counties are using Thumb statistics when applying for grants and other governmental funding, and Huron County sees little or none of the proceeds.

“There is no reason why we can’t be a separate entity. We have nothing in common with those people down there. They’re nice people, but they don’t know where we are,” Elftman said.

He said our state legislators support the plan, as it would better allow the three Thumb counties to share resources.

Elftman noted that dividing the region into subgroups has precedent in Michigan. The Upper Peninsula broken up into four regional subgroups and a region on the west side of the state is also broken up into two or three subgroups.

In other business

• Approved the applications to allow acreage into P.A. 116 in two townships as requested by various persons (Goretski, Smaglinski, Karg).

• Employed Scott Jobes as a part time dispatcher trainee in Central Dispatch at a rate of $10.75 per hour while in training, effective March 12.

• Employed Laura Horkey as a part time dispatcher trainee in Central Dispatch at a rate of $10.75 per hour at a rate of $10.75 per hour while in training, effective March 12.

• Employed Catherine Parsch as a part time dispatcher trainee in Central Dispatch at a rate of $10.75 per hour while in training, effective June 1.

• Reassigned Rochelle Kinnee as Deputy Treasurer II, Grade 120, Step 9, with a salary of $34,140, effective March 11. For Kinnee, who was formerly the Chief Deputy Treasurer, this represented a pay cut of approximately 20 percent. Commissioner Steve Vaughan adamantly objected to the salary cut. See next week’s Huron County View for more details.

• Promoted Deb McCollum to Chief Deputy Treasurer, at Grade 130, Step 6, with a salary of $32,692, effective March 11.

• Elected John A. Nugent, Dale Koehler, Robert Witherspoon and Richard Koehler to serve three-year terms on the Mental Health Services Board.

• Elected Lisa A. Pridnia to serve a five-year term on the Health Board.

• Appointed Larry Schmitt to the Region VII Advisory Council for a three-year term.

• Appointed LeRoy Boensch to a three-year term on the Zoning Board of Appeals.

• Recommended Elftman be allowed to serve as the Huron County representative for the Riverhaven Coordinating Agency Substance Use Disorder Advisory Council, and a letter stating such will be forwarded to the Bay Arenac Behavioral Health Authority.

• Moved to terminate Volunteer Energy Services Inc. as Huron County’s natural gas supplier for the Huron County Building, Sheriff Department, 9-1-1 building, Expo Center and Senior Center.

• Authorized the Huron County Child Abuse and Neglect Council to hold the annual Pinwheel Planing and ceremony in front of the courthouse at 10 a.m. April 14.

• Authorized Elftman to sign a letter of agreement between the Huron County Health Department and the Tuscola County Health Department for the purpose of sharing the management information system manager between the two facilities.

• Adopted a county-based 9-1-1 surcharge of $2.20 on communication devices pursuant to a Michigan Public Service Commission Settlement Agreement. For more on this story, see next week’s View.

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