Macomb Matters January 2017 Issue 50
Click for a pdf version of Macomb Matters.
Happy 2017 everyone! I hope all of you had a great Christmas filled with plenty of time with family and friends and that 2017 has started off well for you.
The New Year has been busy for me right out of the gate. The past couple of weeks, I’ve been promoting Macomb County’s assets at the 2017 North American International Auto Show (which unfortunately ended this past weekend). Right now, automotive investment is at an all-time high in Macomb County.
- Since 2010, the auto industry has invested $7.4 billion in Macomb County including 123 separate investments above $1 million.
- The “Detroit Three” account for $4.8 billion of that total, which includes significant commitment to developing technologies for connected cars and also testing autonomous vehicles in both private facilities and public streets.
- Combined, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford Motor Company and General Motors employ more than 35,000 people and operate 10 facilities in the county, covering more than 25 million square feet.
- In addition, there are more than 1,600 manufacturers in Macomb County employing more than 69,000 individuals.
I’d also like to take a moment to welcome all of the new officials that were elected in November but officially started their first days on Jan. 3:
Candice S. Miller, Public Works Commissioner
Lawrence Rocca, Treasurer
Karen A. Spranger, Clerk/Register of Deeds
Board of Commissioners
Elizabeth Ann Lucido
Joseph V. Romano
Judge of Circuit Court – 16th Circuit
Michael E. Servitto
I look forward to working with each of you as we strive to make Macomb County the best place it can be for our residents and visitors.
You may have also seen another new face around in our Department of Roads office. In October, I appointed Bryan Santo as the new director of the department, but he officially started in his new post on Jan. 1, 2017. Santo took the place of Roads Director Bob Hoepfner, who retired on Dec. 31, 2016 after 43 years of service to Macomb County.
As director of the Department of Roads, Bryan will manage the department’s 236 employees and a budget of over $119 million. He will also be responsible for overseeing the design and construction of multi-million dollar rehabilitation and capacity reconstruction road projects and keep in direct contact with the Michigan Department of Transportation and local municipalities to coordinate construction projects. The Department of Roads maintains more than 1,700 miles of roadway with over 900 traffic signals and 60,000 signs.
Since 1994, Bryan has worked as a project engineer for the Department of Roads. He has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Michigan. I know Bryan will do an excellent job as director of our Roads Department because he has the background to get the job done.
William Donovan – Bluecoat
By Sarah Cormier, Macomb County Executive Office
William Donovan (far right) is honored in this month's Employee Focus.
On most days, it’s likely a bluecoat will be one of the first people we will interact with as we enter our respective county workplaces. They usually are the first to greet us, to comment on the weather or the latest news, to make small talk. They also scan our bags and the bags of our co-workers and those who visit the county to make sure everything is on the up and up. They are probably our final “goodbye, have a nice night” as we exit our building for the night.
It’s an interaction that’s easy to take for granted because it’s pretty routine. But no one can deny that the bluecoat serve an extremely important role: keeping everyone safe from potential harm.
One bluecoat in particular has shown a particularly high aptitude for the position, said his boss, Chet Keller, chief supervisor of the bluecoat. William Donovan (better known as “LT” or “Peewee” to the other bluecoat) “possesses the skills needed to perform this current job with all the knowledge necessary,” said Keller, adding Donovan is “well rounded and very personable.”
Donovan has spent his whole life protecting the public. Like many of the bluecoats, he has a background in law enforcement, working for the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office until he retired in 2009. Not long after retiring, Donovan realized he wanted to be back in law enforcement in some capacity, and working as a bluecoat for the county offered him the perfect opportunity.
“I missed being with people and dealing with people,” he said.
Donovan said the job of a bluecoat is to maintain security for county facilities by screening citizens to stop contraband and weapons from entering the county facilities. There are bluecoats at the entrances of every county facility in downtown Mount Clemens. The bluecoats work from open to close and have a part-time schedule of working one week, then having the next week off.
“It’s a great group,” said Donovan. “It’s retirees. They are working because they want to work.”
Donovan said the bluecoats are generally placed in positions suitable to their respective personalities. So a bluecoat who is more social will be placed at an entrance with a lot of public interaction whereas a more private bluecoat will be matched with a more quiet location.
“We try to accommodate the public and the bluecoat,” said Donovan.
Keller said Donovan excels no matter where he is placed.
“He treats the public and employees with the courtesy that is needed and can talk to agitated persons entering the buildings to get them to settle down and go on with their business,” he said. “He is a great employee.”
On his weeks off, Donovan enjoys traveling with his wife – recently going to Las Vegas, the Upper Peninsula and Mississippi. The couple have lived in Macomb Township for 19 years.
“It’s a very diverse county,” said Donovan, referencing the range of blue collar workers locally. “The skill set for the people of this county is amazing, and I think it’s really coming into focus.”
Donovan said his favorite part about being a bluecoat is interacting with the public, particularly the employees, who, he said, have had to deal with a lot in terms of a decline in benefits and pay offered.
“I tip my hat off to the county employees and the hard times they have endured,” he said, adding they are also very accommodating to the bluecoat. “They know we have a job to do, and they make our job so much easier.”
By Macomb County Human Resources and Labor Relations
As a county employee, you may be eligible to participate in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. This program aims to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full time in public service jobs.
Participants may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance due on William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program student loans after 120 qualifying payments have been made while employed full time by certain public sector employers.
Full-time Macomb County employees may be eligible to take part in the PSLF if they meet certain criteria.
For more information on the program, criteria and eligibility, visit studentaid.gov. To apply by submitting the employer certification, visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/public-service-employment-certification-form.pdf and follow the instructions provided.
News from Macomb County Animal Control
The Animal Control Department would like to thank everyone who donated funds, gifts and their valuable time to the animals in our care. We are thankful for the support and hope that it continues! As always, if you are interested in volunteering in any capacity, please give Danielle Reske a call to discuss volunteer opportunities and let her know how you would like to help out!
Our big push for dog licensing is already underway, so we encourage our fellow employees to get your dog licenses before March 1 to avoid late fees – whether you are renewing or getting a license for the first time. If you have any questions about licensing, give us a call at (586) 469-5115, and feel free to send in license paperwork via interoffice mail for added convenience if you do not have an opportunity to stop by and see us!