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Note to village: Get it in writing

• Aug 25, 2017 at 1:00 PM

A popular phrase often heard is to “make sure you get it in writing,” and it’s a motto we’re glad to see the Village of Spring Lake taking up.

This is especially true after some concerns were raised by Village Council about how agreements between the village and Ottawa County for the services of Marv Hinga are handled.

At a council meeting earlier this summer, then-Village President Joyce Hatton noted that she dug into the contract between the village and county for Hinga, who has worked for the village since the first contract between the two local governments 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.”

But, according to Village Manager Chris Burns, she and the county have typically agreed to continue the relationship via emails or phone calls — a move she said county legal counsel said could be continued.

While it may have been fine for the village to continue the work agreement with Hinga in this fashion, for the sake of transparency and being good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars, a written agreement should be in place.

The agreement between the two governments might be running smooth now, but we’d hate to see a situation emerge where the village and township don’t see eye to eye, and there is no written contract to back up any disputes or issues.

Not to mention that the agreement between the village and county says that a renewal or extension should be done in writing.

After all, what good are contracts and agreements if they aren’t followed as written?

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Mark Brooky. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to [email protected] or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

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