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 The company agreed to increase the price to $69,000,  but that offer was later rescinded.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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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