Commission agrees to reimburse Register of Deeds for legal fees

Linda Gallagher, Associate Editor

Patty Niepoth

BELLAIRE – After a quick tour of the former bank building and property that is being purchased to allow for a future consolidation of the county’s law enforcement complex, Antrim County’s Board of Commissioners decided, by a close vote last Thursday, to reimburse Antrim County Register of Deeds Patty Niepoth for legal expenses the elected official incurred in 2012 when she challenged a decision by the board to cut her pay.

The board’s decision to rescind its October 2012 decision to cut Niepoth’s pay by more than $25,000 – claiming that she was not in the office enough to be paid a full-time wage accorded an elected Register of Deeds – came in December of that year after the Commissioners were advised by outside legal counsel that salaries could not be legally changed after the August primary election.

Following limited discussion last Thursday, Commissioner Christian Marcus made a motion to consider reimbursing Niepoth a total of $2,190. His motion was supported by fellow Commissioner Bryan Smith. The motion passed 5-4 with board chair Ed Boettcher, Dawn LaVanway and Scott Kruger joining Marcus and Smith in approving the measure. Voting against the motion were Karen Bargy, Brenda Ricksgers, David Heeres and Melissa Zelenak.

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