Morenci police contract expiring 6.25

Written by David Green.

Morenci’s police union contract is set to expire June 30, but talks between the city and the association have yet to begin.

Keith Pennington, chair of city council’s Finance and Legal committee, told council members Monday that no action has started on negotiations.

“We have not been given any dates from their rep to negotiate the contract,” he said.

Pennington said the city has tried to get activity underway for the past three months.

The union has now asked for a 30-day extension to the contract, but Pennington suggested it should be denied due to lack of activity. Council members unanimously agreed.

“Hopefully we’ll see some correspondence,” Pennington said.

He expects that full-time and part-time officers would continue to work without a contract but under the terms of the old contract after it expires.

TOWER—Pennington reported that SBA Communications reneged on an agreement to buy 0.75 acres of land from the city for $69,000.

The company currently leases the parcel in the industrial park where a 300-foot tower is located.

In March, SBA offered to buy the property for $67,000, but council made a counter offer of $75,000. The company agreed to increase the price to $69,000,  but that offer was later rescinded.

Council voted unanimously Monday night to accept SBA’s offer of $63,000.

STAFF—Councilors approved the promotion of Sheri Frost, a 10-year veteran of the Stair Public Library staff, to assistant director. She will replace Colleen Leddy who was named library director, effective July 1.

Janelle Thomas was hired as a new library assistant.

Council approved a library board request for the purchase of new chairs in the reading area, at a cost not to exceed $3,000.

Retiring library director Elizabeth Stella announced that this was her last meeting. She thanked council and former council members for helping the board accomplish what needed to be done at the library, and for giving her the pleasure of working there.

CONTRACTS—Contracts were unanimously approved for police chief Larry Weeks, city superintendent Lonnie Vanderpool and city administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder.

CLEAN-UP—Weeks commended Vanderpool and the DPW workers for their efforts in cleaning up after a series of storms in recent weeks.

“Sometimes we take them for granted,” Morenci mayor Doug Erskin said, “but Barney’s always there.”

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.

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