Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Filling vacancies from resignations of Worringer, Milbridge

Kladivo, Maus appointed to Greenwood Town Board

Jodi Summit
Posted 8/11/16

GREENWOOD TWP- With the recent resignations of two of the five members of the Greenwood Town Board, a table of three met on Aug. 10 to decide how to fill the vacancies.

After formally accepting …

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Filling vacancies from resignations of Worringer, Milbridge

Kladivo, Maus appointed to Greenwood Town Board

Posted

GREENWOOD TWP- With the recent resignations of two of the five members of the Greenwood Town Board, a table of three met on Aug. 10 to decide how to fill the vacancies.

After formally accepting both resignations and declaring the two vacancies, Chairman John Bassing talked about the procedure set forth in state statute to fill the openings.

Bassing said state rules call for the creation of an appointment committee, which includes the remaining board members and the clerk. The committee then makes an appointment, which much then be approved by the majority of the remaining board members. If the board fails to agree, he said, then a supervisor and voters can petition to hold a special election.

“No exact process is set forth for select the appointees,” he said.

Bassing then made a motion to appoint Jeff Maus to the board, to fill the remainder of Rick Worringer’s term. Maus had previously run for a seat on the town board, and was planning on running again in March.

The vote was approved 2-1, with Bassing and Carmen DeLuca voting in favor, and Gene Baland voting against.

“He has a lawsuit against us,” Baland noted.

Maus explained to Baland that the State of Minnesota (Human Rights Department) has a lawsuit against the township, not Maus himself.

Bassing noted that he also had a case against the township, relating to open meeting law violations.

Clerk Sue Drobac then had Maus read the oath of office; then he joined the supervisors at the table. Maus’s term will expire in March 2017.

Then the board addressed the Milbridge vacancy.

Gene Baland made a motion to appoint Don Doroff.

“He’s been on board before,” Baland said.

The motion died for lack of a second.

Bassing then made a motion to appoint Randy Kladivo, a former supervisor and long-time fire department member and former fire chief.

The motion passed 3-1, with Baland voting against, and Kladivo took the oath, and his seat at the table.

The rest of the meeting was conducted without any disagreements. Every single vote, from that point on, was unanimous.

MATIT insurance issue

While the MATIT insurance cancellation issue was not on the agenda, Bassing asked the audience if they had any questions. Copies of the letter from MATIT to the township were available for all those at the meeting.

Bassing explained the township’s insurance claim history, which includes $248,000 in claims since 2004. While the majority of these claims were for equipment damage/loss and planning and zoning issues, the insurance carrier had major concerns over claims and potential future claims resulting from internal township disputes.

Bassing explained that the township would most likely agree to the conditions set forth by MATIT, which would continue coverage for the township’s insurance needs except for coverage relating to the areas of concern. The township will need to secure a second insurance policy, Bassing said, for what is termed comprehensive liability coverage which covers employees, errors and omissions, and open meeting violations. Bassing said he hoped the additional coverage would only be required for a couple of years.

The League of Minnesota Cities revoked insurance coverage for a town in Hennepin County, Bassing said, but after two years reinstated coverage, once the issues of concern were resolved.

Gene Baland noted that he had asked MATIT attorney Eric Hedtke to attend this meeting, but Hedtke declined, and told Baland that he was concerned that the town board did not take his advice at the July meeting, when the board was discussing the resignation of a fire department employee, who had then asked to be reinstated.

Meeting procedures

The board passed two motions relating to how the regular township meetings are run.

Attorney Mike Couri had attended a special meeting set for July 13. The meeting did not have a quorum, so no town business was completed, but the two supervisors in attendance, Bassing and DeLuca, spent time discussing ongoing township issues with the attorney.

“Couri urged us to remove the Concerned Citizen item from the agenda,” Bassing said. “He also urged us not to allow public input after a motion is made, but only during the public input time at the beginning of the agenda.”

Two motions, one to remove Concerned Citizens, and the second to change the public input policy,” were both approved with unanimous votes.

Barb Lofquist wondered if the township could create a place on the website where residents could submit public comments prior to the meeting, after reviewing the agenda.

“This is how the controversies all started,” she said. “Things happened that weren’t on the agenda. The board ignored our feelings about issues, such as planning and zoning.”

Lofquist also asked if supervisors would be willing to meet, individually, with groups of residents, perhaps once a month, to discuss concerns.

Bassing said he would be more than willing to attend such gatherings.

Maus said he agreed with the two motions, but just wanted to make sure that everyone who attends the meetings feel they have the opportunity to speak.

Pavilion update

The board approved a list of requests from the Greenwood Community Recreation Board: construction of an informational sign/bulletin board at the pavilion area which will be funded by the group; permission to add landscaping and flowers to the Welcome to Greenwood Township sign on Highway 77; have the pavilion open to all area residents, not just those living in Greenwood; have the town clerk handle pavilion reservation request and the $100 refundable damage deposit being required; allow the construction of a slab for the picnic table area by the tennis courts; and approve serving wine and beer to those attending the grand opening celebration for the pavilion, set for Sept. 10, which will include a free dinner.

The group will cover the costs for all the above. They did ask the township to apply striping to the handicap parking spaces by the pavilion.

Dean Panian, speaking on behalf of the group, also thanked the township for their $7,000 contribution towards landscaping costs, and said the committee would be picking up the additional costs, because of higher than expected charges for black dirt, due to the extremely wet weather making a local source of black dirt unavailable.

Panian said they are still working on the horseshoe pits, and needed to wait until all the sod is in place. He said none of their plans would impact the township skating rink area.

Mary Richard, in the audience, said she and her family love using the rink in the winter, with their grandchildren.

Panian said they are looking into options for some sort of children’s play area, also, and have talked with a local attorney about any potential liability concerns.

Other business

‰ Bassing reported that the township will be meeting with St. Louis County Planning Department officials on Aug. 11 to review the township’s zoning map and make sure it is compatible with the county’s.

‰ Reminded Fire Chief Dave Fazio about an upcoming deadline for getting the paid on-call information to the clerk for the new quarterly payment schedule.

‰ Asked Fazio to transfer the 911 fire number information to the clerk.

‰ Will get some quotes on updating the lighting at the town hall.

‰ Created a new town board/fire department committee to work on areas of concern. Kladivo and DeLuca were appointed to the committee, and three members of the fire department will also be appointed.

‰ Discussed, but did not act, on a request to transfer the fire department pension program to the state-run PERA program. This move, Fazio said, would reduce the annual accounting costs from approximately $5,000 to closer to $1,500. Fazio said it would take about a year to transition to PERA.

fi Set the pay rate for the temporary fire department administrative assistant (Julia Maki) at the most recent rate paid for that position before it was combined with the 911-coordinator.

Comments

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The comprehensive plan was very clear that no more recreational facilities should be added to the township property. A children's playground? Really? Liability issues come to mind. The idea of 'electronic' messaging at the entrance to the town hall is abhorrent. The tacky, moving electric signs are usually seen at liquor stores or auto dealers. That signage is not appropriate for Greenwood. Thanks to the recreation committee for what you have done. Time to dissolve the group, your work is done!

Saturday, August 13, 2016
An observer

Mr Panion that was NOT a report you gave, it was a proposal!! You unfortunately successfully bullied your ideas through to the Board and citizens with no prior notice!! You now have dreams of and want a children's playground!! Are you kidding?? NO NO NO. what part of no don't you understand. And you say attorney Jeff Peterson says there would be mo liability to the township??? Somehow I just don't believe that. Deepest pockets you know!! Next time you have a pipe dream put it in writing before hand so it can be included in the agenda and we can all look at it!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Fritz The Frugal One

Oh how things have changed, or have they? The fire chief has to be asked again to get information to the town board. How many times has the request been made? Several, I believe. I hear the fire chief and his cronies are only interested in pension issues. Really? What about fire protection and serving the community? Can the town board reduce the pensions? Maybe that's what needs to happen. I hope this new committee brings some brooms and cleans house. I'm glad Maus and Kladivo are on the board, along with Deluca and Bassing. Let's get this fire department back to where it should be!

Friday, August 19, 2016