New boss same as the old boss: Koskela re-elected as chairman

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Houghton County Board Chairman Al Koskela, center, presides over Tuesday’s organizational meeting. The board re-elected Koskela as chairman and Tim Palosaari as vice-chairman.

HOUGHTON — The Houghton County Board re-elected Chairman Al Koskela at its organizational meeting Tuesday.

Koskela was the sole nominee, as was Vice Chairman Tim Palosaari.

“I have confidence in the rest of the commissioners for doing that,” he said. “We’ve been handling it pretty well.”

Board members, including newly returning board member Tom Tikkanen, will get committee assignments this week.

Tikkanen was appointed as the county’s representative on the Copper Country Mental Health board, replacing Koskela, who sought a new person for the post. The Western Upper Peninsula Health District representatives will be Anton Pintar, Palosaari and Scott Ala. After a tie on the initial vote between Tikkanen and Ala, there was a runoff vote. Members questioned Ala over his attendance record at meetings over the past year; Ala said he had stayed in contact with the health’s board’s chairman.

Tikkanen, Pintar and Ala voted for Ala, while Koskela and Palosaari voted for Tikkanen.

The board also appointed two Planning Commission members: Eugene Londo and Matt Huuki. Londo will take over the seat held by Barb Lewis, who stepped down after serving on the commission for eight years. The board chose Huuki, who has been serving on the commission, over Gregg Nominelli, who also applied for the post.

The board will continue to meet at 5 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month. No individual meeting dates were adjusted at the meeting.