In a phone conversation with East Lansing City Manager Robert Belleman on Monday (Dec. 18), ELi asked the questions our readers have submitted concerning recent community happenings.
Where is the money coming from to pay the Country Mill Farms settlement?
Sunday (Dec. 17), the Lansing State Journal reported East Lansing has agreed to pay more than $800,000 to Country Mill Farms, the vendor that was denied a spot at the East Lansing Farmers Market due to its policy of denying same-sex couples the right to marry on their property. ELi asked Belleman where that money would be coming from?
“We’re working on a press release that’s not quite ready yet,” he said. “But we’re hoping and believe that those settlement legal fees will be covered by the insurance policy we had at the time of the suit.”
The city no longer holds that policy.
Here is an ELi story from June that provides history and details of the lawsuit.
Council has not yet set its priorities for the next two years.
With three new Council members, the new body has not yet met to determine priorities.
“We’re looking at a retreat [in] late January, early February to set goals for the next two years,” Belleman said. “Maybe a Friday morning or weekend. They might start their process at a discussion only [meeting] in January.”
Belleman has not identified a facilitator for the goal-setting process. He did confirm that due to the Open Meetings Act, the session will be open to the public.
“I imagine we’ll be looking at the income tax, pension liability and making decisions that continue to reinforce our financial ability,” Belleman said about the coming year.
Bids are being accepted for a consultant to perform an employee compensation study.
Raises, reclassifications, and benefit adjustments coming in former Interim City Manager Randy Talifarro’s final days in office caused some in East Lansing, including now-Mayor George Brookover, to express concern about the city’s financial future. Belleman, and Talifarro before him, have worked to get a pay study off the ground, looking at how East Lansing compensates its employees. The city plans to contract with an experienced consultant to perform the study.
Belleman updated ELi on that project.
“The call has been released,” he said. “[East Lansing Director of Human Resources] Emily Kenney is receiving the bids.”
ELi requested a copy of the request for proposal (RFP) from Kenney and received it within minutes of contact.
“The City of East Lansing is requesting proposals from experienced, licensed, and qualified Consultants to perform a job classification/total compensation survey utilizing benchmark regional market analysis approach,” it reads. “The City is seeking an expert to analyze the current structure and make recommendations regarding updated job classifications and compensation competitive within comparable governmental entities in the Greater Lansing Region labor market and reflective of the scope of work being performed in positions.”
Bids are due by the end of the business day on Jan. 5.
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