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Baraga commissioners shoot down retirement, reappoint Miron

At a well-attended, virtual, special meeting of the Baraga County board of commissioners held Tuesday night, the board affirmed Harold Miron’s reappointment to the Baraga County Road Commission, and quickly dismissed the idea of a retirement benefit for commissioners.

At the regular meeting of the board on Dec. 14, the board failed to come to an agreement over what is required before someone is appointed to the road commission.

According to the unofficial meeting minutes, Chairman Mike Koskinen held that a two-thirds majority of the 5-person board is required for the appointment, but only three of the commissioners voted in support of reappointing Harold Miron. Commissioner Bill Menge and Koskinen initially voted against, with Koskinen agreeing to abstain afterward because he was also interested in the appointment. The board eventually voted 4-1 to table the matter until Baraga County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph O’Leary could review the rules of order and give an opinion on how to proceed.

Tuesday, after an abridged public comment session with brief comment against the proposed retirement for commissioners serving 20 or more years, O’Leary addressed the board with his opinion. 

O’Leary told the board a two-thirds majority is not necessary, and a simple majority is enough.

“It’s pretty clear, you need a majority of those elected, not not necessarily those present, but those elected,” O’Leary said. “And of course, in the case of Baraga County, there’s five members, you need three votes to appoint a road commissioner.”

As to whether the vote held at the last meeting was official, O’Leary said that wasn’t his – or any lawyer’s – decision.

“Quite frankly, whether it was a valid vote or not, is a question for the board to decide,” he said.

He said if the board believes the vote is binding, it was, and if not, they would need to vote again. While the board is governed by their own rules of order, which are largely based on the often-used Robert’s Rules of Order, O’Leary pointed out that ultimately the goal of those rules is to ascertain the will of the elected public body, so if the first vote is for some reason invalidated, a second vote is all that is really needed.

After some discussion, Commissioner Bill Rolof made a motion, supported by Commissioner Dan Robillard, to vote on whether or not the previous vote was valid. Rolof, Robillard and Eilola voted yes, Koskinen abstained. Commissioner Menge was not present at the meeting.

This confirmed Miron’s reappointment to the Baraga County Road Commission.

“I’ll try to serve the road commission to the best of my ability,” Miron said.

The board then quickly took up a motion to dismiss the possibility of a retirement plan, and all four of the present members voted in favor of dismissal.

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