More Michigan local governments report boosting pay

ANN ARBOR--Five years after the depths of the recession, more local governments in Michigan say they’ve boosted employee pay while subtracting in other places such as benefits.

A University of Michigan survey of top elected and appointed officials in the state’s 1,856 units of government found that, among those that have paid employees, the percentage that reported boosting employee pay rose in each of the last four years, from 22 percent in 2011 to 48 percent in 2014.

"Keep in mind, most increases were likely modest since almost no jurisdictions reported giving ’greatly increased’ pay rates at any time since 2011," said Thomas Ivacko, administrator and program manager of the Ford School of Public Policy’s Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy.

The poll, part of the Michigan Public Policy Survey series at CLOSUP, reports:

  • Most leaders continue to think their employee pay rates are ’about right,’ although one-quarter still think their pay rates are ’too low.’
  • Officials were much less likely to say their jurisdictions’ fringe benefit packages (among those who offer them) are ’too generous’ today compared with four years ago.
  • Among jurisdictions that provide health care benefits, many have been asking employees to take on a greater share of the costs, from a peak of 51 percent in 2012 to 43 percent in 2014.

The study, conducted April 8-June 10, 2014, involved surveys sent via hardcopy and the Internet to top elected and appointed officials in all counties, cities, villages and townships in Michigan. A total of 1,344 jurisdictions returned valid surveys, resulting in a 72-percent response rate. The survey had a margin of error of 1.4 percentage points.


  • Survey: Michigan local government leaders’ views on employee pay and benefits