December 12, 2017 Greenwood Township Board of Supervisors
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2017 — The usual first order of business at Greenwood Town Board meetings is approval of the previous meeting minutes. In December, at the regular meeting of the town board of Supervisors, held Tuesday, December 12, the board approved the minutes of both the October and November meetings of the town board. Supervisor Mike Ralston objected to approving the October meeting minutes when they were first presented to the board in November. At that time he voiced concerns over the serious allegations in public comments made by Jeff Maus and asked Township Clerk Sue Drobac to attempt to acquire a transcript of the comments from Maus. Because a transcript was not forthcoming, Ralston and Drobac transcribed Maus’ comments from the audio recording tape the township made of the October 10 meeting and moved to approve the October minutes including the transcribed comments. The motion to approve the minutes was unanimously approved by the town board. Moving on to the November 14 minutes, Ralston moved to approve them with a slight amendment specifying that the water available to the public outside the town hall was “non-drinking water.” The motion to approve the November 14 minutes, as amended, also received unanimous support.
Steve Lenertz and Mike Indihar appeared before the town board to give an update on the Penguins Snowmobile Club’s intent to build a permanent workshop and equipment storage space in the township. The club has located a 10-acre tax forfeit parcel and is asking the town board to request the land from St. Louis County “for the public good.” Indihar explained that the club has met with County Commissioner Tom Rukavina and he recommends this plan as the easiest way for the club to acquire a location on which to build and that Rukavina will support this action at the county. The Penguins can then work with the township to pursue funding for the building and lease it from the township or build it themselves, it was discussed.
“We should support the Penguins, whichever direction they take,” Supervisor Ralston said and moved to support the Penguins and to work with St. Louis County. Supervisor Paul Skubic supported the motion, which passed 4-1. Chairman Dr. John Bassing cautioned that the township needs to assure itself that statutory requirements are met first, as he made his dissenting vote.
Chairman Bassing reported that in reviewing former firefighter Scott Kregness’ record he discovered that the township did not pay Kregness for two fire calls and one EMS call in 2014. “He did not get credit, or paid, for the calls,” Bassing said. He explained that Kregness’ subsequent retirement, based upon 23 years and seven months of service, “does not feel accurate.”
“I think he was shorted a year on his service,” Bassing said, moving to pay Kregness for the 2014 calls and contact PERA to correct the record to show that he has 25 years of service. Supervisor Carmen DeLuca provided support for the motion.
Fire Chief Dave Fazio said that he believes the town board is conflating two separate issues. He explained that there was the issue of service credit and the issue of the pension. Kregness did not attain the “50 percent of meetings and training” requirement to be qualified for the extra pension credit, Fazio told the board. “This is definitely a different way to figure pension credits,” Fazio said.
Bassing was not swayed. “I find it very curious he did not get paid,” Bassing said, calling for a vote on his motion. The vote to pay Kregness for the three service calls, and to extend his pension from 23 years, seven months of service to 25 years was unanimous.
The Town Board again took no action on concerns raised by Township Attorney Mike Couri in a November 13 memo to the town board. It instead moved to table any action until the next meeting.
The issues were raised conceringn Donovan Strong serving as the interim Assistant Fire Chief. Earlier in this meeting, the town board hired Mike Indihar as Assistant Fire Chief. This should satisfy the attorney’s recommendations. Strong spoke to the town board during the public comment period. He explained that there were no state statutes that prevented his service as a firefighter and said that he worked for St. Louis County and the Department of Natural Resources. Strong readily acknowledged that he made mistakes in the past, but has corrected them. He also noted that during his recent 18 months of service there has not been any complaints about his work for the fire department. Strong requested copies of town board minutes, audio tapes and all email correspondence, to and from the town board, regarding his service to the fire department over the past 18 months.
In other action, the Greenwood Township Board of Supervisors:
• Approved paying $7,321.86 in claims against the township in spite of Bassing’s objection
• Approved the November Treasurer’s report noting balances of:
— Fund Balance: $770,908.38
— Checking Account: $292,710.65
— Long Term Investments: $251,499.47
— Savings Accounts: $226,698.26
• Approved placing a Christmas advertisement in the Timberjay
• Learned that Chairman Bassing would commence working on the budget levy to be presented to the Board of Supervisors in February before it is presented to the township at the annual meeting held in March 2018
• Heard, but did not act upon, a request to drill a well to provide potable water at the township’s pavilion and recreation area
• Approved purchasing a new set of firefighting turnout gear for a new firefighter who has completed training
• Approved donating old cellular telephones and other obsolete electronic equipment to the Veterans of Foreign Wars
• Approved authorizing Clerk Drobac to arrange to print ballots for the upcoming March township election
• Discussed the need to “put together” a maintenance checklist for the Township’s airboat
• Again discussed a need to consider creating a contract labor pool to call when a need maintenance work on township facilities and equipment arises
• Heard a report from Supervisor Ralston on his efforts to prepare the township’s skating rink
• Learned that the township has not completed an inventory of its equipment since 1998. Clerk Drobac noted that “the township is probably due for another inventory.”