L'ANSE - Determining the future of 911 service in Baraga County has been quite a rollercoaster ride over the last 10 months, but Monday night the Baraga County Board of Commissioners put some closure to the situation by naming a new 911 director.
Based on a recommendation from the 911 committee, which commissioner Bill Menge brought before the board, the board approved naming Bob Larson to the position. Menge has been filling in temporarily since March when county equalization director Lora Osterman resigned as 911 director.
"(The 911 committee) had our meeting this morning. We've done interviews and so on for the 911 director and we've chosen Bob Larson from Second Sand Beach," Menge said. "That's their recommendation."
Stephen Anderson/Daily Mining Gazette
Baraga County commissioner Bill Menge, right, updates the county board of commissioners Monday of the 911 committee’s decision to name Bob Larson the county’s new 911 director. The board unanimously approved the appointment. Also pictured, from left, are commissioners Pat Reilley and Gale Eilola.
Jim Loeper, Gogebic County 911 director and member of the state's 911 audit committee, will train Larson and help with pre-audit work to make sure all procedures are followed.
"Jim has removed himself as auditor for Baraga County. He will audit other parts of the state," Menge said. "That's really nice. They're really being helpful and they want to get this done. They don't want any mistakes in this."
The 911 committee has seen its share of ups and downs.
On Dec. 12, 2011, the Baraga County Board of Commissioners voted to switch county 911 service from Negaunee Regional Dispatch to Iron County Dispatch, based on a 6-5 vote that morning from the 911 committee. But a bylaw violation, as announced at the Jan. 9 county board meeting, nullified the switch.
Since then, internal disagreements led to Osterman's resignation in March, county emergency coordinator Daune Smith's May 7 resignation as 911 committee chair and his June 4 resignation from the committee altogether. The committee was ready to name a new director in August until it found out that person had already accepted a full-time job elsewhere.
On Feb. 13, the county board decided to continue 911 service with Negaunee through Sept. 30, and in July, the 911 committee chose to stick with Negaunee through a five-year contract.
In other business at Monday's meeting, the county board:
approved a $797 bid from Dave Whitman Construction for replacing two windows at the courthouse. Other bids for $1,780 and $924 were also considered. County Clerk Wendy Goodreau noted all bidders received the same specification sheet for the project.
heard a funding request from the Great Lakes Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, an auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force comprised of volunteers who do search and rescue operations around the region.
"All the funding we get comes from the federal government through the Air Force, but it doesn't cover joint training with local agencies," said Mike Roth, squadron operations officer.
"We realize the county is on a tight budget, but anything that can be directed our way would be greatly appreciated," said Don Elmblad.
No decision was made Monday night, but the 911 committee and Smith will look into it further.
"I know they're a very, very good organization," board chair Mike Koskinen said. "We know you do a good job and it's needed."
named L'Anse resident James Loman to the Baraga County Memorial Hospital board of trustees to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Phil Ott.
approved a Western Upper Peninsula Planning & Development Region lien agreement with Daniel and Bobbie Fitzgerald.
appointed James Craig to the U.P. State Fair Authority for 2013.
approved a fund request from the Baraga County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The item was in the existing budget.
heard from commissioner Gale Eilola about an interlocal agreement through U.P. Works that must be passed by Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties so the counties can administer Michigan Works programs.