IRON RIVER—After a long discussion, the Iron County Road Commission decided during its April meeting not to contest a lawsuit in Circuit Court.
The suit was filed by Kris Hughes and Daniel and Rhonda Sampila, asking the Road Commission and other defendants to vacate a 44-foot wide parcel on the west shore of Hagerman Lake.
The parcel has been dedicated for an access road to the lake in a 1927 plat, attorney Mark Tousignant explained, but the road was never built. The suit asks that the land be divided equally between the plaintiffs, who own the adjacent parcels. Stambaugh Township has already agreed to the request.
The Road Commission’s main concern was about the area being replatted (at the plaintiffs’ expense) once the parcel is vacated and whether the Road Commission’s right of way for Hagerman Lake Road would be affected. Road Commission Superintendent Doug Tomasoski said the road is not included in the plat.
The motion to sign a stipulation of consent passed 4-1, with Commissioner Ernest Schmidt opposed—he wanted a public hearing before any decision.
• Tomasoski reported on a MIOSHA surprise inspection last week. “It went relatively well,” he said. Several problems had already been corrected before the inspector left.
Three were left: frayed extension cords; soap bottles not labeled “soap”; and an office copy machine closer than three feet from an electrical panel. “Some minor things.”
The formal report won’t come for three to six weeks—after that, the county will have 15 days to make corrections.
• Raymond Kudwa, Mastodon Township trustee, talked about a culvert needed for a low spot on McLaren Road, asking that the Road Commission check it out. He also asked about snow fences that a citizen wants on Buck Lake. Tomasoski said the commission leaves snow fence decisions up to the local foreman.
“Tell him it’s spring,” said Dan Germic, chairman.
Kudwa also asked about several road names the township had submitted. Tomasoski said he had checked logs dating back to 1944 and 1952 and old Act 51 maps. As long as names are not duplicated, he saw no problem. The names may be on the May meeting agenda.
Related to road striping for the 424 project, Mastodon Township and the Road Commission will work together on center-line striping on 27.6 more miles of township road.
• Tomasoski said the commission will discuss sealcoating existing township roads. “It’s been a while since we’ve done any.” The commission will seek bids from contractors and then contact townships about their share of the cost.
• After hearing from Lawrence Wiegand, the commission agreed to have a tree removed from the right of way along Forest Highway 16. Wiegand says the branches block his view of traffic when he tries to leave his driveway.
The tree, which was removed later last week, was 15 feet off the edge of the road, well within the right of way.
• Mansfield Township Supervisor Richard Dryjanski asked about snow fences near Camp Sagola. After some trees were removed, there have been drifting problems, partially closing the road. Tomasoski said the state tells the county where to put snow fences—the county only puts them up and takes them down.
Commissioner Charles Battan said part of the problem is that the mail boxes should be on the other side of the road. “That’s been a problem there.”
• Commissioners discussed how the board should evaluate Tomasoski and its own work. Chairman Dan Germic spoke about Lou Bender, a mediator who works with other agencies, including road commissions. Marquette County has used him on a specific issue, and he has worked with them several times since.
Most of the commission seemed uninterested in using an outside mediator or his $2,300 fee. “We are the watchdogs who watch Doug,” Commissioner Joe Sabol said. “In the long run, I feel we’re doing a good job.”
Germic said a personnel committee should create a objective system for evaluations. “Every time,” he explained, “it’s a different board, a different chairman and a different set of criteria. He probably doesn’t know what is expected of him.”
• In other business:
--Heritage Trail proposals have been sent to a selection committee. There may be a special meeting to approve a consultant.
--State bid lettings will take place in May.
--Sabol complimented the county road crews for their extra work during an extremely long winter. “They’ve really been giving it out there with this crazy weather we’ve been having.”