The candidate chosen to serve as St. Joseph County treasurer has indicated he will decline the position in light of a controversy over his proposed salary.
Centreville native Barry Miller said he will retain his job as vice president for Century Bank and Trust in Three Rivers after county officials had a disagreement over his starting salary.
According to minutes of the county’s executive committee meeting Friday, it was suggested Miller be paid about $56,000 to start, even though the salary for the position currently held by Phyllis Bainbridge is set at almost $58,600. But county officials overlooked a 2003 Michigan attorney general’s judgment indicating the salary of an elected official may not be decreased at any time once a four-year term has started, even if there is a change in who is serving in the position.
Members of the County Commission were lambasted Tuesday by Bainbridge, Prosecutor John McDonough and Judge Tom Shumaker for not offering the $58,600-a-year salary to Miller. McDonough, Shumaker and Clerk Pattie Bender comprised the panel that chose Miller from a pool of eight candidates.
Following about 30 minutes of discussion, commissioners on Tuesday agreed to ask Miller to reconsider his decision and take the job at $58,600 a year. Though he wasn’t present at the meeting, Miller said afterward he is content to stay at the bank.
Bainbridge is retiring Jan. 31 for health reasons and her term expires at the end of 2012.