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Reelected Greenwood clerk resigns during meeting

Debby Spicer leaves table following pay vote

Jodi Summit
Posted 3/30/22

GREENWOOD TWP- With the seating of newly-elected Supervisor Rick Stoehr, changes were all but certain during Greenwood’s annual reorganization meeting, and changes, some anticipated, others …

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Reelected Greenwood clerk resigns during meeting

Debby Spicer leaves table following pay vote

Posted

GREENWOOD TWP- With the seating of newly-elected Supervisor Rick Stoehr, changes were all but certain during Greenwood’s annual reorganization meeting, and changes, some anticipated, others not, did occur. The biggest surprise of the meeting was when Clerk Debby Spicer, who had just been releected, got up and left the table after the board voted to continue the current rate of pay for all township officials and employees.
The vote was included in what is normally just a laundry-list of items that is dealt with during the annual reorganization.
“Why do we need this?” asked Supervisor Paul Skubic. The board had set township salaries earlier this year.
Clerk Spicer responded, “Because I continue to fight for the pay to go where it was.”
Spicer had repeatedly asked the board to increase the clerk’s office hours and pay to the level it was at prior to the summer of 2020, when the board slashed the pay of Clerk Sue Drobac, who resigned shortly thereafter.
After the motion to maintain current pay levels passed 4-1, with Mike Ralston voting against because he said the issue had already been decided in January, Spicer was visibly upset that her repeated requests had been denied.
“Congratulations to the new clerk,” said Spicer, who then walked out of the room. Spicer returned briefly to say her resignation would be effective at the end of the month.
A motion to accept the clerk’s resignation passed 3-2, with Ralston and Skubic voting no.
“It is not in writing,” said Ralston.
The town board will need to address the clerk opening at their next regular meeting in April.
Greenwood voters rejected the option of moving to a paid clerk and treasurer position (versus elected) in two previous votes, in 2020 and 2021. This option would have given the town board the authority to hire for these two positions, instead of having to elect a clerk and treasurer.
Drobac elected chair
Supervisor Sue Drobac was nominated for the chairman’s position and was elected by a 3-2 vote, with Drobac, Barb Lofquist, and Stoehr voting in favor, and previous Chairman Mike Ralston and Paul Skubic voting against. Lofquist was nominated as vice-chair, and that vote was 5-0 in favor.
Drobac had served four-and-a-half years as Greenwood’s elected clerk, but resigned from her seat on Aug. 31, 2020, due to actions taken by the town board to reduce the position’s pay, install surveillance cameras in the clerk’s office, and restrict the township’s public data policy. She ran for supervisor in the next election and ousted incumbent Byron Beihoffer, 184-144. Lofquist was also elected at that time, running against incumbent Larry Tahija and winning with a narrower 167-160 margin.
Lofquist and Drobac formed a clear alliance on the board, but the two were often outvoted by the block of Ralston, Skubic, and Carmen DeLuca. The election of Stoehr, who easily out-polled incumbent DeLuca in the March 8 township election, changed the balance of power on the board.
This new board majority also made changes to improve the transparency of township and department meetings. The board passed, again on a 3-2 vote, a motion that all township meetings, including departmental meetings like the fire department, must be held at the town hall, will be open to the public unless considered closed under state law (for example, to discuss specific personnel or legal issues), and that audio and video recording of meetings is permitted. The previous board, with one supervisor objecting, had allowed the fire department to meet in private, had no issues when a fire department business meeting was moved to the chief’s private residence, and had passed a motion to not allow any audio or video recordings of these meetings.
The board also unanimously approved the payment for any MAT-sponsored trainings for township officials and deputies, without the prior approval of the town board.
Other business
The board did other routine business during the reorganization, including:
• Selected the Timberjay as official newspaper on a 3-2 vote, with Ralston and Skubic voting against. The Timberjay’s bid was higher at $1.49/$3.25 versus The Tower News at $.65/$2.50, but Lofquist said the Timberjay had an online edition and a larger circulation. The Timberjay publishes all its legal notices online, and they are archived by week and available to view at no charge.
• Set the meeting dates for the upcoming year, with regular board meetings on the second Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. except for August and November when, due to elections, meetings will be held the next day (Aug. 10 and Nov. 9).
• Noted the continued annual meeting will be held on Thursday, June 23 at 6 p.m. to set the 2023 levy.
• Voted to continue with the firm of Couri and Ruppe as township attorneys but will look into finding a different law firm.
• Heard that St. Louis County will not plow Birch Point Extension in the future unless the township signs a hold harmless agreement.
• Updated signing authority for township checks.
• Appointed Rick Stoehr as Tower Area Ambulance Commission representative and Lofquist as the alternate.
• Appointed Stoehr as grounds and maintenance supervisor and also responsible for 911 signs. A vote to reduce the spending authority of the maintenance supervisor from $1,000 to $500 failed on a 2-3 vote, with Drobac and Lofquist voting in favor.
• Appointed Drobac as noxious weed inspector.
• Ralston thanked Carmen DeLuca for his years of service to the township and welcomed new Supervisor Rick Stoehr.

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