Morenci city council: Day care complaint 1.21.09

Written by David Green.

First at the city council meeting, then at the planning commission meeting, questions arose about an incident in December in which the residential zoning administrator gave a warning about unlicensed day care center.

At the Jan. 12 council meeting, audience member Peggy Decker asked how the investigation came about.

City administrator/clerk Renée Schroeder explained that an anonymous letter arrived that listed seven or eight people as operating unlicensed day care centers.

She investigated city and state requirements and contacted Baird. He visited the people on the list and told them about the requirements.

“Why is it the city’s decision about where kids go?” asked Chad Schisler from the audience.

Schroeder said the city was responding to a complaint.

“Does the city respond to every anonymous complaint?” Schisler asked. “It seems that if a person was really serious, they would have signed their name.”

That same question arose Monday at the planning commission meeting. Scott Merillat thought that a name was required on complaints and mayor Doug Erskin asked if the city follows up on all anonymous complaints.

Merillat questioned the use of city resources to investigate an anonymous complaint.

Schroeder said she has mixed feelings about the issue. In this case, it could have been ignored, but if it was ignored and an incident occurred at an unlicensed day care center, she wondered if the city could be ruled negligent.

Erskin said the issue falls under the state’s jurisdiction and it should have been referred to the agency that handles child care matters.

Baird pointed out that city law addresses child care in homes that have fewer than six children.

“Some complaints aren’t acted on,” Erskin said. “I wonder why we jumped on this one.”

Baird said that some complaints are of a civil nature and they wouldn’t come to his attention.

“I think we would be negligent for not looking into this situation,” Baird said.

Erskin said that a problem in this case was the letter that was sent to day care owners. It sounded threatening, he said, and gave day care owners only five days to respond.

  • 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.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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.
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