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 The company agreed to increase the price to $69,000,  but that offer was later rescinded.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.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.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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