IRON RIVER—A long-time officer with the Iron River Police Department has been hired as the city’s new police chief.
Laura Frizzo, who has been with the department for over 18 years, received the appointment. A contract with Frizzo was approved by the Iron River City Council during its Dec. 19 regular meeting.
She succeeds long-time Police Chief Mike Goriesky, who retired last summer.
City Manager Perry Franzoi said the city had received about 25 applications for the position, from as far away as Alabama and Nevada, with many from lower Michigan.
Franzoi, Marquette Police Chief Mike Angeli and Escanaba Public Safety Chief Ken Vanderlinden went over the resumes to select the top three candidates.
The same three conducted the interviews. The two chiefs made a recommendation to Franzoi, who hires department heads. “The three of us were in agreement that Laura was the top candidate,” Franzoi said.
After that, the city attorney and Frizzo prepared contracts, which were merged and approved by the City Council at the Dec. 19 meeting.
Frizzo first worked for the Grand Rapids Police Department and graduated from the Kalamazoo Police Academy. She moved back to the Upper Peninsula when she was offered jobs by the city of Iron River and Marquette County Sheriff’s Department.
She chose the Iron River job and had been an officer here ever since.
• During the meeting, Franzoi reported that a grant application will be put together that would fund an expansion at Global Response, adding up to 25 jobs.
As part of the expansion, the Economic Development Corp. is asking the city to contribute several city-owned lots near the Global Response building on Washington Avenue. Franzoi said he is working with the city assessor to get an evaluation of the property and will probably ask the council to make the property available.
City attorney Mark Tousignant said the city primarily uses the lots for storing snow.
• The council ratified a contract with the city’s public works workers. It is for three years and retroactive to last July 1. The mayor thanked the DPW workers for their patience—the agreement with the AFSCME union was reached with help of a state mediator. The union had accepted the contract earlier.
• Iron River’s recreation committee may be coming back to life--maybe.
Mayor Terry Tarsi said that the old rec committee had been dissolved, and the City Council took over that role. With three new council members taking office in January, he asked whether the committee should be restored.
Tarsi talked about the city’s problems in filling vacancies on its planning commission, zoning board and board of review. Franzoi said he plans to ask again for volunteers early in 2014—he said he could include the recreation committee to see what the interest is.
“We had a pretty active board,” said Tarsi. “We did get things done,” although, he noted, applications for projects at Nelson Field have not yet been approved for a DNR grant.
Jeff Bal of GEI Consultants said April 1 is the deadline to submit DNR grants. “Those things take about two years to bring to fruition.
“So if you’re thinking about something, now’s the time to act, get your committee together, look at your rec plan and see if you’ve got to make any changes.” Any changes to the rec plan have to be approved by the DNR in March.
• The city will attempt to obtain a property on Minckler Street, behind the Oldenburg plant, in an upcoming tax sale.
“These properties tend to get flipped,” said Franzoi, “picked up by people, and they are typically the blighted properties that we have problems with.”
This particular house is a smaller, older one, padlocked, and its owner lives in San Diego. The same person owns property on Seventh that the city has had problems with.
Franzoi suggested that the city demolish the Minckler Street house so it won’t get picked up by someone else. “We have a lot of properties out there that are in that situation, and that is a factor contributing to the blight problem.”
It led to a discussion of demolition fees. Franzoi said the DEQ requires that the material be checked for lead paint and asbestos—if the material meets a standard, it could qualify for a reduced tipping fee at the landfill.
Asked by Tarsi, Franzoi said city crews could do the demolition work itself as long as the city provides paperwork at the disposal site. The manager also noted that under the county’s current waste disposal plan, construction waste can be taken to any site that will accept it. “We aren’t restricted to one landfill site, like it was in the past.
“This is an opportunity to do a little experimentation, to see how this works. It may not be the silver bullet, but I think the positive part is that it takes one of those blighted properties out of circulation.”
Council Member Bill LaRock made a motion that the Franzoi look into purchasing the Minckler Street property, and the council approved 3-1, with Brozak opposed. Brozak said he wanted to see what the costs would be before a decision is made.
• In other business:
--The council approved purchasing BS&A software for the assessor’s office. The purchase was budgeted.
--Approved the county’s hazard mitigation plan for the next five years.
--Agreed to have Franzoi attend the winter institute of the Michigan City Managers Association in Grand Rapids. Franzoi said it is a three-day training session, and the cost is in the budget.