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‘Why should this position be unique?’ From the July 28th Lapeer County Press

New asst. prosecutor starts at $11,800 more than last
BY KRYSTAL JOHNS 810-452-2601 • kjohns@mihomepaper.com

 Michael Hodges Michael HodgesLAPEER — After debating what it could mean for future hires, the county commissioners voted six to one in favor of bringing Michael Hodges in as assistant prosecutor at the same level of pay he was at when he left in 2009.

John Miller and Hodges were chosen by Prosecutor Tim Turkelson to replace former chief assistant prosecutor Steve Beatty and assistant prosecutor Matt Funke, whom Turkelson fired on July 15. The hiring of Miller and Hodges was approved by commissioners on Thursday.

On July 18, Turkelson came to the county personnel committee to request that Hodges be hired in at the third level of pay — $29.47 per hour — rather than the $23.57 per hour he’d make at entry level. Historically, anyone hired in would receive entry level pay.

Former prosecuting attorney Byron Konschuh, who was promoted to 40th Circuit Court Judge in April after Judge Michael Higgins retired, said he’d made a similar request in the John Miller past when he wanted to bring former assistant prosecutor Chris Turkelson — Tim’s brother — back at the rate of pay he’d been at when he left.

 Tim Turkelson Tim Turkelson“They said no,” he said.

In investigating the matter, Biscoe said coming back at a higher rate of pay hadn’t been done before, to his knowledge.

“We found two examples of people leaving and coming back and they came back at entry level,” he said.

Commissioner Lenny Schneider called Hodges’ situation “unique” in his motion to bring him back at the higher rate of pay.

“Why should this position be unique?” Commissioner Dyle Henning asked Turkelson.

“(Hodges) has tried more cases than, I would suspect, the whole office combined and has tried them successfully,” Turkelson said, adding that 13 years of Hodges’ experience was right there in the Lapeer County Prosecutor’s Office, so he knows the policies, procedures and players. “Mike Hodges brings that in spades.”

In addition, Turkelson said, it’s a budget-neutral request because, he said, he would use drug forfeiture funds if necessary to make up for any difference.

In the end, the commissioners all voted yes to the higher rate of pay for Hodges, except Ian Kempf, who wanted to see a policy in place first.

Administration is now expected to draft a policy on the matter and have it before the board at its Aug. 15 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Miller, who is being brought in as chief assistant prosecutor, will come in at entry level for that position, which is $27.90 per hour.

The highest level of pay for chief assistant is $34.88 per hour.

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