DPW director to be shared

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:13 PM

Spring Lake Village Council is expected to vote on the plan next week.

The village hired Roger Belknap as its public works director last month. Township Manager Gordon Gallagher was part of the interview committee that selected Belknap, who previously worked with Village Manager Chris Burns when she was city manager of Cedar Springs.

The proposal is for Belknap to work eight hours a week on township business at a rate of $42 per hour, including benefits. That will cost the township $6,400 for the 19-week trial period.

Belknap would report to Township Public Works Director Ron Brondyke until Brondyke retires, which is expected in the next couple of years, Gallagher said, and then possibly take over the position.

Belknap's salary is $57,470. Brondyke makes $66,996 a year.

Brondyke, 60, said he has no opinion of the plan and isn't certain when he will retire.

“I don't know enough to have an opinion," he said. "I know only what some of (the township public works staff) have heard from their counterparts at the village.”

At least one current township public works employee is upset with the plan. The employee, who asked not to be identified, said it doesn't seem fair that somebody unfamiliar with the township can be in line for the top Department of Public Works job instead of a long-time worker with better qualifications and certifications.

The employee also said that township leaders had not talked to the public works staff about the proposed plan prior to the board's discussion.

Gallagher said he told township public works staff about the proposal on Tuesday, the day after the Township Board approved the sharing plan.

“Until the board had made a decision, it didn't make sense to talk to them,” he said.

Both Burns and Gallagher said the shared position is in line with Gov. Rick Snyder's recommendations for municipalities to collaborate whenever possible.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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