Michigan Officials Used COVID Relief Money To Give Themselves Bonuses
By Bill Galluccio
July 23, 2021
Elected officials in a primarily rural Michigan county are under fire after voting to give over $500,000 in federal coronavirus relief money directly to employees and themselves. Records obtained by The Flint Journal show the Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners voted to give a $25,000 bonus to "top-level administrators" and $12,500 to department heads. In total, around 250 employees bonuses, which officials described as "hazard pay."
"I think that I earned it," Commissioner Cindy Garber said. "I work really hard at this job. I was here in person all through this crazy year."
Shiawassee County Administrator Brian Boggs, who was awarded a $25,000 bonus, said he also supported the payments, which were meant to help the employees who work for the county.
"It was to the benefit of the employees," he said, "and perhaps we should not pursue other ideas like this to get them additional funding if this is how it's going to be received."
Not all of the commissioners agree. Marlene Webster said she was "mortified" when she saw the money in her bank account and vowed to return it.
The Argus-Press reported that county resident Nichole Ruggiero has filed a lawsuit to block the payments.
"The arrogance of this board is outlandish," Ruggiero said.