New council member added, former clerk's errors caught, holidays now paid for new employees
South Range Village, Nov. 11, 2021
Catching former clerk’s mistakes, recovering available funds
The village’s new clerk, Kristen Archambeau, has been catching and fixing several errors made by former clerk Joe Morgan.
One of these, while small, was unfortunately unrecoverable. A small error in the millage rate which was caught by county employees cost the village about $119 because the tax bills had already been printed and would have cost more than that amount to reprint.
Michigan tax withholding had been paid late or not at all nearly every month since Morgan had taken over for the clerk who preceded him, Jason Coffey. Late payments and fees have been paid. The fees for late payment totaled over $1,000.
The American Rescue Plan application had been filed incorrectly by the previous clerk, but Archambeau communicated with the department to fix the errors and refile them. The deadline was only days away, and the errors nearly cost the village more than $76,000.
No quarterly reports had been submitted to the Michigan Municipal League’s unemployment fund for 2021. This has been rectified with little expense to the village.
Several other small details were also updated or fixed during the last month and communicated to the board during the meeting.
Only one letter of interest was received to fill the vacated position left by Houghton County Sheriff Joshua Saaranen. The council briefly discussed holding off to fill the role but ultimately decided they could not, given the empty position and the letter of interest.
Paul Saaranen was added to the council in a 4-0 vote (two members of the council were absent from the meeting).
Previously, village employees only got paid holidays after having worked for the village a full year. The council voted to make paid holidays available on initial hiring. They agreed that not only was Clerk Archambeau doing a job worthy of immediate holiday pay but that attracting good employees in the future warranted the increased benefit.
Trustees Cody Bonini and Carol Petrelius were absent from the meeting.
The council discussed allowing the clerk to use Remind, a text and email messaging service, to create a sign-up list for informational messages from the village.
The council approved arranging a time for a citizen who requested it to walk laps in the community hall during the winter rather than on the sometimes-icy sidewalks. The citizen that requested the access told the clerk that 26 laps around the inside of the community hall are a mile.
The council formally gave permission to the clerk and other village employees who also volunteer as first responders to respond to emergency calls while on the clock with the village.
The council approved a $30/hr rate for Coffey, the clerk who preceded the last clerk, Morgan. Coffey has logged some time helping the newest clerk learn her duties and tools.