2012-02-23 / Front Page

Janik inks contract

New county administrator from Cedar
By Alan Campbell of the Enterprise staff


CHET JANIK, left, signs a contract making him the seventh Leelanau County administrator along with County Board chair Tom Van Pelt. Clerk Michelle Crocker is shown between them. CHET JANIK, left, signs a contract making him the seventh Leelanau County administrator along with County Board chair Tom Van Pelt. Clerk Michelle Crocker is shown between them. On an evening that appropriately included free paczkis bought by commissioners, the Leelanau County Board of Commissioners approved a contract making Chet Janik the seventh county administrator since the position was established in 1985. Janik will resign his current position as superintendent at Charlevoix Public Schools.

Janik, who immigrated to Cedar in 1961 with his family at the age of

5, will receive an annual salary of $73,780, which along with benefits raised his overall compensation over $80,000.

He joined County Board chair Tom Van Pelt in signing the contract at the board’s monthly meeting on Tuesday — also known as “fat Tuesday, leading into lent”

Janik took a pay cut from his present compensation of $102,000 to take the Leelanau County position, although his long career in public education will provide him a pension upon retirement. He and his wife, Jane, have a home in Elmwood Township.

The salary level — some 8.5 percent above the starting pay of former county administrator Eric Cline, who resigned in October following an unfavorable review — caused some grumbling by commissioner James Schaub. But the contract was approved by a 7-0 vote, a good omen considering that Cline’s contract was approved in September 2009 by a 6-1 vote, with commissioner Melinda Lautner opposed.

Schaub compared Janik’s level of pay with that sought by former County Board chair Bob Hawley, who in interviewing suggested that he could handle the position for about half the compensation while working three days a week in the county building and two days at home.

“I just think it’s a very expensive contract,” said Schaub.

Janik may have deflected some of the criticism by offering to begin working well ahead of the contract’s official employment date of May 1. He told commissioners that he plans to spend the majority of 16 days of vacation he has accumulated in his present job to get an early start at the county administrator post “at no cost to the county.”

He also addressed concerns by Schaub that the contract, negotiated by interim county administrator David Gill, did not require Janik to work a minimum number of hours per week. Schaub said his interpretation was that Janik could work one day a year, and collect a full salary.

“I think (working) 60 hours (a week) would be about fair. That’s what I’m accustomed to working right now in Charlevoix,” Janik said.

Added Gill, “If he is only here one day a week, you should probably invoke the at-will clause real quick.”

The three-year contract makes Janik an “at will” employee, allowing the board to terminate his employment “without just cause” while paying Janik for an additional 120 days of work. He is exempted from overtime pay.

Janik will begin at the “Step 4” level for vacation; he can take five weeks off during the next year. As provided for other county employees he will also receive 13 personal days and 11 paid holidays.

“It’s no different than what our employees receive up here on top of a 35 hour work week,” Lautner said. “So it’s a very generous package that all of our employees get ... but I certainly wouldn’t give him less vacation days, holiday and personal days.”

Janik was also provided a $300 monthly vehicle allowance for incounty travel and travel to destinations within 100 miles of round-trip from the peninsula.

Janik started his professional career as an administrator at the age of 23 with Northwestern Michigan College, and previously served as superintendent in Buckley before accepting the Charlevoix position.

Proud of his heritage, Janik couldn’t help but comment about paczkis being gobbled up by officials and residents during a short break in the meeting agenda that allowed he and Van Pelt to sign his contract.

“In my honor, I hope,” said Janik, smiling.

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