Police pact may get green light Monday

The long-running police protection question may be coming to a close for the Village of Spring Lake and City of Ferrysburg.
Marie Havenga
May 17, 2014

The councils for both communities are expected to vote on a new intergovernmental contract at their respective Monday night meetings.

The elected officials are also expected to approve a contractual agreement for the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department to provide police protection for both communities, thus closing the book on the Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Department.

The current Spring Lake/Ferrysburg police officers would become employees of the county, but under proposed contract provisions. Spring Lake and Ferrysburg would foot the bill for the difference in salaries and vacation time.

Village Council made some minor revisions to the intergovernmental agreement earlier this week — including arbitration provisions and adding the previously-discussed language about vacation time — but Ferrysburg City Manager Craig Bessinger said he didn’t believe they were substantial enough to put the contract in jeopardy.

Village President Jim MacLachlan said he’s hopeful both communities will finalize the police agreement Monday.

“We’re both in agreement to terminate the contract and negotiate a new one,” he said. “These are kind of fine-tuning items, nothing in my mind to create a difference of opinion, but we’ll see.”

Although most City Council members appeared onboard with the pact at their May 5 meeting, Councilwoman Regina Sjoberg still voiced displeasure with continuing a partnership with the village. She is upset about the unfunded pension balance.

The village is in charge of administering police and pension arrangements, and had been contributing annually the amount recommended by the Municipal Employee Retirement System of Michigan. The current shortfall is more than $600,000.

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




Please read the last paragraph and ask yourself "What kind of ignorance and oversight of the former or current management of Spring Lake has led to this?"
Way to fix this Chris Burns, by just totally dismantling the police force as you had done in Cedar Springs. Seems like the easy way out as opposed to actually fixing the problem. Or in short "managing" it!
And shame on the Village Council for cowering and giving into this despite what many Village and Ferrysburg residents want and deserve.
And why has this not ever had ANY public input? Other than meetings that were cancelled the same day they were to happen?
I bet that Ms. Burns pension is WELL funded and she makes that a priority.


Good one village1, they said salaries and vacation would be about the same, but the pension is in question, that would be a biggie for me, i thought maybe Grand Haven, Ferrysburg and Spring could work together in this deal, i call it mismanagment !!!!


The Village Council should be recalled, Burns and Bessinger both fired for mismanagement of the pension. If this is the real reason for dissolving the Police Department ? A few years back, Grand Haven allowed their citizens an opportunity to voice their opinions on what they wanted in a Police or Public Safety Department. The Village and City of Ferrysburg Officials don't care what the people want ! Both Councils should be replaced and remove Burns and Bessinger. I am a Village resident and own Property in Ferrysburg. I pay for both Governments but have no say in keeping our merged Police Department ?


Some how i don't see people really fighting for what they want, the boss is doing exactly what they want and want no interference, lets gather at city hall with signs and protest, other country's do it, are we afraid, we protested in the streets during the 70,s


People I seem to think your missing the underlying issue here. In Grand Haven the citizen were never ask about whether they wanted a Police/Fire department or a Public Safety Department. In Fact they slid all of cost increase facts under the table. They had department heads from Kalamazoo Public Safety come in and paint some pretty picture on the cost savings.. I don't care how you put it.. You can have public safety officer or police officer on the scene.. but if you don't have a fire truck to put water on the fire it will burn down. In fact it cost the tax payers of GH and the surrounding areas more in cost with this joint response garbage which has not cost the tax payers of citizen who have part paid fire services which they want. I certainly get why a hand few of people are upset and don't think they will get the service. I don't think factually anyone person has any evidence that will support that case. Once again if the residence of Coopersville City and Hudsonville City were upset with the contract agreement with Ottawa County, they certainly would be voicing their displeasure.

Secondly maybe Mrs Burns is at fault a little with who thing were presented. But I hardly think for one minute that she got both cities in trouble with the pensions being under funded. This is a common issue all across Michigan. Its the governmental units councils fault for this... they should of stepped on the managers baseballs. Most councils are not told the truth or the managers keep them in the dark. People are upset or under funded pensions and I get it... But these managers then use the pension monies for other pet projects and when people start retiring oh boy where is the money. The same issues have occurred in Grand Haven City. It's high time that the citizens get involved on oversight of their local, county and state governments. If people don't attend these meetings then don't complain.

I guarantee the Ottawa County Sheriff Department will provide an excellent and professional service to the citizens of Ferrysburg and Spring Lake Village. I can't wait to see when Zeeland City will follow suit. I hoping we see similar cost savings cuts in future with the merging of fire services in Ottawa County. This is happening on the east side of the state today. With building codes and fire suppression systems today it far out ways paying for full time fire services.

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