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Underfire Shiawassee County leaders to meet Sunday

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

A controversy over elected officials in a small mid-Michigan county giving themselves hazard pay bonuses from federal COVID-19 relief funds is the subject of a meeting Sunday.

Shiawassee County is located between Lansing and Flint.

On July 15, the county Board of Commissioners voted to give county employees bonuses with money from the American Rescue Plan.  The federal program was intended to compensate front line workers who were called upon during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

But the commissioners didn’t just give bonuses to county employees.  

They also gave themselves $65,000. Board Chairman Jeremy Root received $25,000. Other commissioners received between $10,000 and $5,000.

A firestorm of criticism followed. Last week, a judge ordered the commissioners to return the money.

Sunday’s extraordinary meeting could see commissioners move to oust the board chairman amid the growing controversy.

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Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.