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 The company agreed to increase the price to $69,000,  but that offer was later rescinded.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.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
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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • 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.
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    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • 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.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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