Congressman: Federal virus aid wasn’t for elected officials

July 23, 2021 GMT

CORUNNA, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan congressman is criticizing COVID-19 bonuses awarded to county commissioners and other elected officials in Shiawassee County.

“American Rescue Plan dollars were intended to help frontline workers and families impacted by the pandemic, not elected officials,” said U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, a Democrat whose district is on the edge of Shiawassee.

Kildee was reacting to news that Republican county commissioners last week signed off on more than $500,000 in “hazard pay” for dozens of county employees. What’s unusual is that commissioners rewarded themselves and other elected officials.

Workers got at least $1,000 but many received much more. The county board chairman and sheriff each got $25,000, along with the county administrator. The prosecutor and county clerk each received $12,500.

A lawsuit was filed Thursday to try to rescind some of the bonuses.

County administrator Brian Boggs said he decided how much most employees would get while Chairman Jeremy Root “and a couple of commissioners” decided how much the seven commissioners would receive.

Commissioner Marlene Webster, who got $5,000 before taxes were withheld, returned the money.