Routine, regular and drama free—Greenwood Town Board considers monthly business on its agenda
TUESDAY, February 12, 2019 — Vice-chairman Carmen DeLuca, Township Supervisors Paul Skubic, Larry Tahija and Byron Beihoffer along with Clerk Sue Drobac and Deputy Treasurer Nancy Ralston were on hand when Greenwood Chairman Mike Ralston convened the Board of Supervisors’ meeting for Greenwood Township on Tuesday, February 12—the routine, second Tuesday of each month, meeting date.
Everything about the Greenwood Town Board of Supervisors is routine and regular these days.
The controversy, headlines, drama and theatrics of previous town boards appears to reside firmly in the township’s recent past, for now, anyway.
Chairman Ralston began the meeting conducting the routine business before the township with the board approving the January meeting minutes, the official record of actions undertaken by the township; listening to the monthly financial reports, prepared by Treasurer Pam Rodgers, and read into the record by Nancy Ralston; and paying the township bills totaling $12,881.35, as presented by Clerk Drobac.
The first action the town board undertook was unanimously supporting a motion by DeLuca, and seconded by Tahija, to allow Fire Chief Dave Fazio’s contract to expire in March and the Chief, and Safety & Training Officer Ed Borchard, whose contact has already expired, to continue serving in their positions as fire department officers. Ralston explained that he believed that there was no need for the township to enter into a new contract because the fire department standard operating guidelines, which have been recently completely updated following years of adjustments and discussion, serve the township in all matters of its governance of the fire department. The fire department is welcome to come forward to the town board and let the board know if they have any concerns, now, or in the future Ralston said.
Federal Labor Complaint dismissed; no written report to be filed
The United States Department of Labor has completed its investigation into Greenwood Township regarding a labor complaint filed against the township and the town board by Jeff Maus last year.
Maus asked the town board to pay for his fire fighter officer training and then billed the township for wages on his time spent completing all the required coursework, including study time.
The board objected to paying the additional hours of “study time,” and frank comments were made by the township chairman. Maus took offense and turned his issues over to the U. S. Department of Labor.
Chairman Ralston reported to the town board that he conducted a final, verbal, exit interview with the U. S. Department of Labor and was informed that “no written report will be issued” and the claim is considered closed by the federal government.”
Ralston further reported that the U. S. Department of Labor found that “Greenwood Township has no labor violations in its past history;” that paid on call practices and records were investigated and that “Everything is in compliance and that there is no need to change anything.”
“I’d like to thank Treasurer Pam Rodgers for her quick response on very short notice, her knowledge and human resource experience was very helpful to the township during the investigation” Ralston said.
Past Greenwood Township business revisited
Former fire chief and long-time fire fighter Scott Kregness again wrote the township seeking fire department pension credits which the township fire department maintains has not been earned.
The town board called on Fire Chief Dave Fazio for clarification of the events leading up to the town board setting Kregness’ service credits at 25 years, over the department’s record of service at 23 years, seven months. Chief Fazio responded with written documentation.
In December 2017, the town board, chaired by Dr. John Bassing voted to inform the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) that Kregness served 25 years on the department. A problem arose, however, when Fire Chief Dave Fazio refused to inform PERA of the town board’s decision. On January 9, 2018 the fire chief wrote the town board a letter where he clarified that he is required to document why the PERA credits should be changed. Because fire department bylaws require a firefighter to attend 50 percent of all meetings and drills, (24 total) to earn pension credits and Kregness attended none after October 2013, attendance records show, Chief Fazio reported that he would be unable to document something that did not happen.
The chief acknowledged that Kregness did earn paid on call in 2014, but reported he just did not meet pension credit requirements.
In what was to be one of his last acts as Greenwood Town Board Chairman, Chairman Bassing, on February 14, 2018, unilaterally wrote PERA asking them to “Please make a correction” to Kregness’ PERA records placing the correspondence over his and the fire chief’s name, and township address in an effort to suggest that the memo was sent with the chief’s approval.
It was not. Bassing’s deception was revealed and PERA was informed two days later that the Greenwood Township Fire Department was going to stand by its records reflecting 23 years and seven months of service completed by Kregness.
The town board took no action but acknowledged that if Kregness were to provide evidence that he did indeed meet pension credit requirements in 2014 they would reconsider amending the credits.
In other action, the Greenwood Township Board of Supervisors:
- Learned that St. Louis County will hear a campground land use application at Daisy Bay this month
- Discussed broadband internet options in the Lake Vermilion area
- Learned, in Chief Dave Fazio’s monthly fire department report, the department has received $800 in revenue from used radio sales, offsetting a near $8,000 investment in new communications equipment
- Approved making a $100 donation to the St. Louis County Fair
- Accepted a $200 donation from Greenwood Quilters by unanimous resolution
- Entered into a service agreement for maintenance on the township’s generator
January 2019 Greenwood Township Treasurer’s Report
Beginning Fund Balance: $ 699,224.38
Ending Fund Balance $ 676,551.84
Total Ending Fund Balance: $676,551.84
Checking Account 194,101.93
Long Term Investments 251,725.95
Savings Accounts 330,726.97
PERA Deposit Adjustment (3.01)