Thursday, December 29, 2011

Bloomfield Township Library Contemplates "Agreement" with Troy Library

Hi All,
Just when you think the Bloomfield Township Library Trustees are listening to the public, an agenda item appears on their last meeting of Dec. 19, 2011.  This particular item was listed under "unfinished business".

Troy Public Library Reciprocal Borrowing Agreement
The Library Board of Trustees were ready to sign an "agreement" with the Troy Public Library.  As a guest at the board meeting, I could not add to the conversation during this discussion.  I did however, make faces, eye rolls, hand waving, etc. in a ridiculous way to try to be called upon, but was politely told that I could not speak to the issue.  I was hoping the trustees would vote NO on this item.

The Troy library is NOT part of the TLN library network.  They do NOT have reciprocal borrowing privileges. What are our trustees thinking?  It should have been an easy discussion and vote.  Other communities have been told NO, why the hesitation?

The trustees' conversations mentioned that Township residents borrowed 3420 items from the Troy library in the 2010/2011 fiscal year.  Meanwhile, Troy residents borrowed 14,889 items during the same period from the Township library.  One trustee did not want to cut off privileges for the undetermined number of Township residents that may use the Troy library.  Please.  Trustees are elected or sometimes "appointed" to represent the majority and their best interests.  That trustee suggested a "study" or a 6 month "trial" period.   Why?

This library has defended itself in a lawsuit, held its ground to obtain fair fees from the City of Bloomfield Hills, and stopped borrowing privileges for the contract cities that have agreements with Baldwin Library.  So why is this even an agenda item on the Township Library board for reciprocal borrowing with the City of Troy?

Why should the Township taxpayers be paying Township library employees to service non-paying patrons?  There is no guarantee that the Troy library will continue to remain open full time or even to continue to exist.  Will the Township library then absorb the library borrowing of all of Troy and their business' employees?  For free?  I don't think a fee should even be considered.  NO.  If our library staff has excess time on their hands, then the library needs to reduce staff or do some Township community outreach to get more of OUR taxpayers visiting the library.  The 2010 census says there are 41,070 residents in Bloomfield Township.

Bottom line:  the item was TABLED until the next meeting. 
I see no reason to enter into an "agreement" with the City of Troy.  If they wish, they can become part of the TLN library network. Then borrowing privileges come with that honor.  There is no incentive for the citizens of Troy to continue to work hard and strive for a better Troy library if they are given something else for free.

The Troy library website says they value:   
Community Collaborations:  Promote and enhance partnerships to fulfill the Library's mission.   
The "community" is Troy, not Bloomfield Township. The first library in Troy was opened in Sept. 1962 with a collection of 1000 books. They now have a 40,000 sq. ft. facility which serves over 56,000 patrons. 

This Jan. 2012, the Troy library will be working on a "strategic plan".  The Troy library website did NOT mention this proposed agreement with the Township.  They did mention getting input for their strategic plan from the various groups in their city, ie:  schools and universities located in Troy, businesses located in Troy, the Friends of Troy Public Library committee, library staff and most importantly from the residents of the City of Troy.  I wish them good luck and a successful library.

The Bloomfield Township Library should notify the Troy Public Library that their strategic plan will not include our library and that there will be no reciprocal borrowing agreement.

Township Taxpayers Need to Voice Their Opinion to the Bloomfield Township Library Board
I encourage the Bloomfield Township Library Board to vote NO on a reciprocal borrowing agreement with the Troy Public Library.  I also encourage the Township residents to send the same message to the Township Library Board before their next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 17, 2012 @ 7 pm at the library.

To share a comment with the Trustees, please send your message to

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bloomfield Township Library Employees and Public Act 152

Hi All,
I'm still concerned about the new health care bill for public employees (PA 152) that was signed by Governor Synder in September 2011. The Township passed a six year contract with the township employees before that date and therefore can exempt itself from the requirements until a new contract is approved.  The township did vote to exempt.
No figures were given by the Township at the Dec. 12, 2011 Board of Trustee meeting that showed choosing "exempt" saved the taxpayers money.  It might have saved money, or might not.  Why weren't any details given?

The Bloomfield Township Library is a separate taxing authority from the Township government. However, at the last library board meeting there was an agenda item concerning PA 152.  Since the public may only listen to the board discuss the agenda item, and make no comments what-so-ever, there were questions unanswered in my mind.  Asking questions after the meeting did not resolve the issue.
Here's the big question:  Did the library exempt itself from the requirements of PA 152?  There was no such vote at the meeting, but I did hear them say they had a six year contract with the Township until 2017.  Are the library employees on the same health care plan as township employees?  Did the action by the Township Board of Trustees at their December meeting when they exempted from the PA 152 requirements also exempt the library?  Remember, these are two separate taxing authorities.

This sounds like a  possible "partnership" between the Library and the Township government as it relates to public employee health care.  Some "partnerships" are not beneficial to the taxpayer. 

What the library board members did vote on was choosing the "limit payment" vs the "80/20 %" formula.  The library chose the limit payment...but only two limits were mentioned, the $5500 for single employee and the $15,000 limit for a family.  Even though I heard mentioned the $11,000 for an employee and a spouse, I do not believe it was included in the vote.  Why?  Wasn't that part of the new law?  Scott Patterson, an attorney from Butzel Long was available for a conference call during the meeting, but the telephone was never used. 

Taxpayers elect trustees to make decisions in our best interest. Knowing the issue before the meeting is necessary and clarifying the issue before a vote is essential. In my opinion, saving taxpayers money would be the right decision.  Was that done?  Were there calculations performed by the attorney or health care provider that showed the trustees what savings could be made when choosing which option under the new law?  I did not hear that at the library board meeting.  Action on the new law needed to be taken before Jan. 1, 2012.

If the library and township are under the same six year contract, why did the library need to choose an option?  The Township did not choose an option?  More answers are needed. 

The following was copied from the Municipal Employees' Retirement System (MERS).  I am including it here for reference as to what PA 152 (or Senate Bill 7) states.

Governor Signs Health Care Bill New law requires health care contributions by public employees
Oct. 4, 2011 - Governor Snyder signed Senate Bill 7 into law on Sept. 24, 2011, legislation that requires the following for public active employees:
  • An annual employer payment limit of $5,500 for single employee, $11,000 for an employee and spouse and $15,000 for a family
  • Annual adjustments in the payment limit based upon the medical care component of the US consumer price index
OR, by a majority vote of its governing body, a public employer could adopt the following:
  • Health insurance coverage with an employer payment limit of no more than 80% and an employee contribution of at least 20%.
The new law, Public Act (PA) 152 of 2011, does not affect current retirees. Current collective bargaining agreements would remain in effect until they expire, but any agreement executed on or after Sept. 15, 2011 must comply with the new limits. A local unit of government could exempt itself from the requirements of the legislation, but to do so would require a 2/3 vote of its governing body and also the approval of the chief executive of the entity. Failure to comply could result in a reduction in economic vitality incentive program (revenue sharing) payments.
The legislation has an effective date of Jan. 1, 2012.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Does Your Christmas Wish List Include A Bloomfield Township Job?

Hi All,

One of the themes of my writings has been the lack of communication by the Township. While their website does contain a lot of information, who has time to click on each category to find the latest postings and news every day?  Not even I will check every day.  Here are two job openings available at the Township. Act quickly and good luck with the application.  Merry Christmas.


On the 16th of December I posted a blog containing contract information by discovering a job posting on the Township website.  The Township is taking applications for the position of firefighter/paramedic until March 1, 2012. 

The Bloomfield Township Fire Department is now accepting applications for its entry-level Firefighter/Paramedic eligibility list. Firefighter duties include fire suppression, emergency medical response, hazardous materials, confined space, public education and other related duties.
Do NOT mail, fax or email applications. They will NOT be accepted. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Return completed applications, with ALL required documents, in person to:

Bloomfield Township Central Fire Station
1155 Exeter Rd., Bloomfield Twp., MI 48302

During Business Hours Only


Today, I discovered another job posting, but this application must be submitted by January 12, 2012.  I certainly hope this job position is posted in all the important newspapers and online job search sites in the Detroit area.  Beware of the 3 day work week holiday schedule for Township employees, applicants must plan wisely to actually find the Township open to get the application form and to also submit it on time. Late applications are not accepted.  The application MAY be online, but there MAY be a special application for this particular job.  Please check with the Township.

This document is available to view in PDF format. Master Mechanic Job Description
The Department of Public Works - Motor Pool Division is seeking to fill the vacant position of Master Mechanic by accepting applications from qualified candidates. This full-time position will include the Township's standard benefits package for newly hired employees and has a starting salary of $56,484.25. Attached is a copy of the current Master Mechanic Job Classification and position requirements.
A State of Michigan Certification as a Master Mechanic in both Light and heavy vehicle classifications and an active State of Michigan Commercial Driver's License (CDL) with air brake endorsement are required to be considered for this position.

Interested employees should provide a Township job application and resume to Noah MehaIski, Fleet/Facilities Manager no later than end of day Thursday, January 12, 2012.

 It is ESSENTIAL that an interested applicant click on the job description link.  There is a lot to read.  Below is just a snapshot of the requirements copied from the Township website:

There are 16 bullet points listed under this are two.  Obviously, there is more to the job than being a master mechanic.

There are 10 bullet points listed under this is one.  I wonder who pays for this exam?