Small towns, big hearts; its not about the money

The pay is low, the hours long. But every two to four years around election time there are over 75 job openings scattered throughout Alcona County. The same is true for other counties in Northeast Michigan.

To get these jobs though, you need to apply some six months to a year in advance, usually through a signed petition. Then there is the campaign.

Previous experience helps, such as serving on a planning commission or volunteering for a local political party. For other qualifications, it helps if you like people. It also helps if you have a lot of free time. Most elected officials in Alcona are retired, while others own a small business or run a farm. A few have young families or work full time, yet are also able to meet the demands of public office.

“When you make decisions you always try to remember you’re here to serve these people and take care of them,” said Phillip Jordan, president of the Village of Lincoln. “We try to make decisions that are good for the village, move us ahead, make us competitive, but do not cost taxpayers additional funds.”

Harley Hopp is a trustee for Curtis Township, and does the job as a public service.

“It’s a follow up of when I was a police officer,” he said, taking a break from working on a historic building in Glennie.

“I was to protect and serve the people, and defend the constitution of the United States,” the 73-year-old said. “When I retired in 1992, they didn’t rescind that.”

Kevin Boyat has been chairman of the Alcona County Commissioners for 17 years, and is a cattle farmer. In return for his service, he receives a base pay of $4,200 a year, plus per diems for attending numerous meetings a month, earning a total of under $10,000 a year.

Alcona Township Supervisor Roger Carlin, a retired school teacher, said he receives $10,500 a year.

“Our board tries to do what is best for the community,” he said. “Political affiliation plays no part in our decisions. We do what our conscience tells us, not what a political party says.”

The highest wages go to City of Harrisville clerk Barbara Pierce, who earns approximately $14,640; Treasurer Tom Keerl receives $15,370. Pierce puts in at least 20 hours a week in the town hall, and Keerl works similar hours to keep up with federal, state and local paperwork.

Aldermen and trustees are usually paid for each meeting they attend, ranging from $45 to about $165 a month.

County, Municipal and Township Pay

* Alcona County

Population: 10,800

On top of their base pay, county commissioners receive a per diem of $35 for a half day meeting and $60 for a full-day session. They meet at least twice a month.

District 1 Kathleen Vichunas, base pay of $3,499

District 2 William Thompson, $3,499

District 3 Carloyn Brummund, $3,499

District 4 Sheila Phillips, $3,499

District 5 Commission President Kevin Boyat, $4,200

* City of Harrisville

Population: 487

Mayor John Dobis, $8,350

Clerk Barbara Pierce, $15,500

Treasurer Tom Keerl, $16,230

Aldermen, $45 per meeting; to increase to $75 next year. They meet at least once an month.

* Village of Lincoln

Population: 337 as of 2010

Mayor Phillip Jordan, $6,000

Clerk Linda Somers, $7,137

Treasurer Mary Kossa, $6,752

Trustees, $75 per meeting, monthly.



Population: 955

Supervisor Roger Carlin, $10,500

Clerk Dawn LaLonde, $13,480

Treasurer Tina Gauthier, $13,400

Trustees, about $150 per meeting

* Caledonia

Population: 1,146

Supervisor Ronald Ott, $10,060

Clerk Helen Timm $12,652

Treasurer Gailen Thornton, $12,652

Trustees, $165 per month

* Curtis

Population: 1,220

Supervisor Darrell Kenyon, $7,200

Clerk Teresa Perkins, $9,600

Treasurer Betty Bonner, $9,600

Trustees, $75 per meeting

* Greenbush

Population: 1,390

Supervisor Edward Roddy, $10,800

Clerk David Dailey, $14,100

Treasurer Patricia Dailey, $14,100

Trustees, $125 per month

* Gustin

Population: 639

Supervisor John Klinger, $5,000

Clerk Brenda Cordes, $8,000

Treasurer Cindy Leesberg, $8,000

Trustees, $100 month

* Harrisville

Population: 1,331

Supervisor Thomas Stone, $6,000

Clerk Roger Jamieson, $11,400

Treasurer Carole Johnston, $11,400

Trustees, about $125 a meeting

* Hawes

Population: 918 in 2010

Supervisor Rodney Cordes, $6,600

Clerk Janette Richardson, $10,700

Treasurer Esther Budreau, $10,700

Trustees, $110 per meeting


Population: 712

Supervisor James Effrick, $4,952

Clerk Sharon Schefferly, $9,019

Treasurer Maxine Sterner, $9,019

Trustees, $75 per meeting

* Mikado

Population: 935

Supervisor Jesus Yruegas (Yogi), $7,326

Clerk Rita Sands, $8,760

Treasurer Ruth Travis, $8,760

Trustees, $110 per meeting


Population: 398

Supervisor Jim Burger, $5,000

Clerk Gwen Cox, $7,200

Treasurer Barbara Bartlett, $7,200

Trustees, $75 per meeting

* Mitchell

Population: 348

Supervisor Gregory Murnock, $6,000

Clerk Warren Cross, $12,000

Treasurer Kevin Small, $12,000

Trustees, $100 per meeting, (10 meetings a year)

Betsy Lehndorff can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5693. Follow Betsy on Twitter @bl_alpenanews.