Firefighters to become employed by G-A
Glen Lake Fire and Rescue will provide Advanced Life Support Services on its own beginning Sept. 2.
Glen Arbor Township officials Tuesday night adopted an ordinance that outlines how department employees will be paid and receive benefits after the department parts with NorthFlight, a subsidiary of Munson Healthcare.
Officials have been working on what they call an “amicable break-up” since April when the medical service notified the township of its intentions to end a 12-year relationship in which emergency medical staff were employed by the agency. The responders also served as township firefighters.
To work toward a transition, township supervisor John Soderholm established a committee and the board authorized up to $6,000 in expenses to work with consultants Liz Sayre-King and Rex Rudolf. Requests for proposals were sought for insurance and payroll services with five vendors responding to each.
In June the township selected Burnham & Flowers of Kalamazoo and Traverse Tax and Accounting (TTA) to provide insurance and payroll services.
“The transition is going well,” Soderholm said. “The ordinance states the benefits offered the department employees.”
The ordinance will become effective upon publication Aug. 30, the supervisor said.
Last month the board acted on the supervisor’s recommendation to select Blue Cross/Blue Shield PPO 3A, which Soderholm said is not only comparable to that of NorthFlight but in some instances better. The board also acted on his recommendation to establish a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) through which they can designate “pre tax” moneys for insurance co-pays or prescription costs. Each department employee will be given $250 to be put in the FSA with the opportunity to contribute on their own.
The cost to process the payroll will come to $2,500 annually in the threeyear contract. An upfront charge of $1,880 will cover the cost to set up benefit programs, township officials said. Soderholm said that TTA will take over all township payroll responsibilities starting Sept. 2 for an additional cost of $1,400 annually. Department and township employee compensation will go electronically into bank accounts rather than using paper checks.
In other business during the brief, 30-minute meeting the board scheduled a special meeting next Wednesday, Aug. 29, to begin preliminary discussions about the proposed 2012-13 fire department budget. The 9 a.m. meeting at the public service building on State Street will include members of the department’s Emergency Services Advisory Commission. Officials from Empire Township are also expected to be invited to the meeting as the Glen Lake Fire Department serves both Glen Arbor and Empire Townships.