No matter your thoughts on the coronavirus, there is no denying the damage it has caused to America, the economy, and countless families across the country. From government overreach to media misinformation, it appears the officials who are in charge only know how to do one thing – throw money at the pandemic. Over the course of COVID-19, the government seemed more than generous with approving stimulus packages aimed at keeping American families afloat, but come to find out, those payments were rather small when compared to what Michigan county officials paid themselves using COVID-19 funds.
With the news breaking this week, many Michigan voters are wanting answers as reports show that elected officials used $65,000 of relief money to make themselves richer. And to make it even worse, they are all Republicans. Voting on the matter last week, Commissioners in Shiawassee County decided to award public employees, including themselves, with a one-time bonus of $1,000. Deeming it “hazard pay”, most employees received far more than just $1,000.
According to reports, the average employee was given around $2,100, and that doesn’t include top-level employees like the county board chairman, Jeremy Root. He generously received $25,000 while second-tier commissioners like Brandon Marks and John Plowman were awarded $10,000 apiece. The remaining officials were given around $5,000 each. It should be noted that the County commissioners are currently paid $10,000 annually for their part-time jobs.
Even with the shocking revelation, one county commissioner, Cindy Garber, stood by the decision, claiming she deserved the money. “I think that I earned it. I work really hard at this job. I was here in person all through this crazy year.” Although it has been a crazy year, Garber seems to forget that all Americans, especially the working class, experienced the same hardships as those elected officials.
Knowing the news would dampen their chances of being re-elected, commissioner Marlene Webster, not only said she was mortified to see the money but actually plans on giving it back. “I’m giving the money back. I think one commissioner is giving it to a nonprofit so those actions indicate that we truly did not know this money was coming to us.”
With the money meant to help small businesses, many locals are upset and calling for the money to be returned. One resident said, “They saw some money on the table and they grabbed it.”
Another resident added, “There are so many businesses that struggled and closed … there’s [sic] a lot of people that could’ve used that money.”