CRYSTAL FALLS—Iron County commissioners once again tabled approval of its 2012 budget, pending a decision on the undersheriff’s salary increase.
Discussion of the topic was introduced during the county’s Dec. 13 bi-monthly meeting by correspondence from Commissioner Rosalie King, who was not in attendance.
She wrote that she was opposed to giving Undersheriff Tom Courchaine a 13 percent pay increase when the other elected and appointed officials received a 3 percent increase.
There has been no change in his job description, she wrote, and the animal control position was eliminated to save money. How does the County Board justify a $6,000 increase?
She also wrote that she feels more County Board decisions are being made in the finance committee, than the whole board.
County Clerk Joan Luhtanen addressed the commissioners, after reading the letter, saying the undersheriff hasn’t been in the position for “even two years, and he’s making more than many others, who are getting a 3 percent increase.”
County Treasurer Marcia Cornelia said she also felt his salary increase should be 3 percent.
County Prosecuting Attorney Melissa Powell agreed.
County Board Chairman Wayne Wales said the decision was made by the board’s finance committee, and he did not want to undermine its decisions.
Commissioner Carl Lind, chairman of the finance committee, said the decision was made on the undersheriff’s salary because he has been hearing he (the undersheriff) was underpaid.
It was a justified request, Lind said, to bring the undersheriff’s salary in line with other counties.
The board approved 3 percent wage increases for central dispatchers, deputies and corrections officers for 2012.
The board tabled wage increases for elected and appointed department heads and officials, which had previously been tabled at the board’s Nov. 22 meeting.
It also tabled the resolution adopting the 2012 final county budget, general appropriations act and millage, which had also been tabled in November, pending recalculation of the undersheriff’s salary.
The budget will be reviewed, and the resolution presented at the board’s Dec. 27 meeting.
the board approved appointments to several committees.
Re-appointed to terms beginning in January to the Iron County Library Board were Luhtenan, Cornelia and Sharon Gagnea, and appointed to the board was Amy Marinoff.
Alice Clement was appointed to a term on the Iron County Housing Commission; Julie Harp was appointed to a term as the Chamber of Commerce representative on the Economic Development Corporation’s Board; Krist Atanasoff was re-appointed as airport manager; and Duane Lortie was re-appointed to the Construction Code Commission and Appeals.
Two terms on the EDC board are expiring at the end of the year, and the county received four applications.
Two were from incumbents John Archocosky and Jim Quayle. Applications were also received from Jay Barry and Peter Djupe.
With four commissioners voting, two selected Barry and Quayle; two voted for Barry and Archocosky. Barry will be appointed; the second appointment will require a re-vote.
The board also approved the DICSA/Iron County agreement, as presented by Powell.
Wales commended her on the work involved with reaching an agreement, noting it will solve a lot of issues.
County resident Richard Sloat addressed the board during the public comment period on the land transfer agreement the county is entering into involving a parcel of park land south of County Road 424.
Sloat said he recommends the board suspend the amendment to the park ordinance until interested parties, such as the Lac Vieux Desert tribal community and other who, he said, have ties to the land, can be contacted for their input.
Wales told Sloat that, with the trade, the county is getting property for county residents to use.
“We’re trying to improve park property,” Wales said. The traded parcel, he added, is basically an easement for ingress and egress.
Mansfield Township Supervisor Richard Dryjanski asked the board about its position on pending state legislation allowing County Boards to dissolve Road Commissions and place them under county control.
“We’re not at all interested in running the Road Board,” said Wales.
The courthouse will be closed Dec. 23 and Dec. 26.