‘Not…in public interest’: Calumet Village Council president removes ZBA chairman

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette Calumet Village President Dave Geisler took the action of removing Nathan Anderson from his position as chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals, which sparked an intense Village Council discussion.

CALUMET — The Calumet Village Council voted 4-2 to remove Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Nathan Anderson for a number of alleged reasons, including his role in a rally protesting a decision of the council at the Dec. 19 regular monthly meeting. The motion was made by Village President Dave Geisler.

“I am removing Nathan Anderson from the Zoning Board of Appeals,” Geisler said, “as that being in public interest.”

Geisler cited three reasons for his action, alleging that Anderson has tried repeatedly to either boycott or threatened to boycott, businesses if they disagreed with him. He also said as a result of actions taken by the Zoning Board of Appeals, a suit was filed against the village, which ended with the village having to settle in favor of the plaintiff. He also said that because of repeated disturbances at the October council meeting, Anderson was removed from the room.

“And finally, for the action of Wednesday night (Dec. 13),” Geisler said. “This man is not fit for public office, and again in the public interest I am removing him, and I’m going to ask the council by voice …vote whether they want to confirm that decision or not.”

Trustee Peggy Germain began to speak, but was cut off by Geisler.

“If the Zoning Board is supposed is supposed to make decisions,” she said, “and it goes to the court, now the council has made its own decision –“

After the voice count was made, at which Germain and Trustee Jim Camps voted nay, Germain questioned the process.

“I’m just questioning the logistics,” Germain said. “If the Zoning Board is supposed to go to the court, and now, the council voted to go back to the original plan, I don’t think we’re in that mix, so I’d like to discuss this consent before the judge, and I’d like to talk him (the judge) about it. I don’t like having rules, then we go out of them, then the council makes different decisions and reverses everything. It says in black and white that we shouldn’t be involved, we just took the power away. Our attorney drafted a new ordinance to make the council the Zoning Board. Nobody asked you to do that, did they?”

The question was not answered and the board moved on to other business.