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Village Council to require written contracts

Marie Havenga • Aug 17, 2017 at 2:00 PM

Joyce Hatton is no longer a part of Spring Lake Village Council, but an issue that she brought up caught the attention of the council’s current members.

At last month's meeting, Hatton said she dug into the contract between the village and Ottawa County for the services of Marv Hinga, who works as the village's clerk and treasurer. He is an employee of Ottawa County, but has worked for the village since the first contract between the county and village was signed in December 2013.

Hatton notified council that, according to the agreement, the contract between the county and village is renewable for up to five successive one-year terms, “by mutual written agreement of both parties.” 

Village Manager Chris Burns said she and county officials have typically agreed to continue the relationship via emails or phone calls. 

Burns said this week that she has consulted with Ottawa County officials for clarification.

“Their legal counsel said we can continue as we have been,” she said. “All the risk really falls on them. If we decide we want out, we don't want to pay anymore, they've already paid him. Any potential risk falls on their lap.”

Hinga makes $78.01 per hour for his financial work with the village, which includes health insurance, life insurance, and Social Security and retirement payments. He started at $61.55 for the first contract, which expired in June 2014.

Burns said even though the county legal advisers said the pact could continue as they have, without a formal extension in writing, Burns and Village Council decided to abide by the original contract provisions and from now on will get extension agreements in writing.

“Is it legally necessary? Probably not,” Burns said. “But I'm recommending council go ahead and do that. (Hatton) had a good point. Is she technically correct? Yeah, we probably should have done it in writing because that's what the contract and agreement says. Is it necessary? No.”

Council members agreed Monday that they would like to “clean it up” and extend Hinga's contract in writing from now on.

Council is expected to formally approve the measure at Monday's meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. at Barber School.

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