Grand Traverse County could soon pay back nearly $150,000 in employee health care contributions from law enforcement employees.
The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports a three-member panel of the Michigan Employment Relations Commission recently declared that administrators "violated their duty to bargain" with multiple labor unions within the county sheriff's department.
Corrections officers, sergeants, deputies and clerical employees last year filed an unfair labor complaint against the county after county commissioners voted to change the health insurance premiums paid by union members from 6 percent to 20 percent.
The change, however, conflicted with existing union contracts. County Administrator Tom Menzel said the move was rooted in a desire to save the county about $642,000 annually through "structural changes." He says the county will consider appealing.