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Appointment controversy continues

October 24, 2012
The Daily News


Staff Writer

CRYSTAL FALLS - Controversy over the Iron County Board of Commissioners' appointment to the U.P. State Fair Authority continued at the board's Tuesday meeting.

During the last meeting, applicant Lisa Masnova informed the board that she had been threatened by another applicant. Board Chair Wayne Wales apologized to Masnova and made a motion to advertise for the position for another week before making an appointment.

At Tuesday's meeting, Masnova's husband, Gary Burk, informed the board that his wife withdrew her name from consideration. He added that he submitted his own name for the position.

"I'm a retiree, so no one can threaten me about my job," said Burk.

He told the board that he used to work as a postmaster in Iron River and has experience serving on several different boards.

Other applicants for the position were Richelle DePuydt and George Brunswick.

Brunswick was not present at the meeting, but he submitted a letter explaining the alleged threat incident.

"Lisa said she was told by Mr. Wales that I was not eligible to apply for the state fair board position, so she should apply," said Brunswick. "That was a total lie, and Lisa said had she known that, she would not have applied."

Brunswick said that Masnova asked him what she should do, and he suggested that she withdraw her name.

"She said 'I can do that'," said Brunswick. "When I left her house, I thought that was the end."

Wales denied having any involvement in the matter.

"It's just one more lie," he said. "We don't doubt her (Masnova's) word whatsoever."

The board ended up selecting Burk for the position. Commissioner Rosalie King voted against the motion, and Commissioner Bev Camp was absent.

In other business, the board:

- Tabled action on funding for the Iron County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) director position.

Commissioner Carl Lind said that the EDC board never submitted information requested by the county board. EDC board member Tom Lesandrini, who was in the audience, said that since the county board has to approve all EDC projects, it should already have the information it needs.

Lesandrini added that the EDC board could have EDC director Gary Hough make regular reports at each county board meeting.

Both Lesandrini and Wales acknowledged that the future of Iron County's EDC is up in the air. Wales said that the county's other options include sharing a regional economic developer through the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR) or employing an economic developer in conjunction with a neighboring county.

- Accepted the 2012 apportionment report from equalization director Joan Mussatto. She said that $20 million in taxes was collected.

- Authorized the drain commissioner to solicit proposals for the tri-annual lake level inspection. The county is mandated to conduct the inspections.

- Tabled action on purchasing BS & A software for the courthouse until January, when the new board is seated.

- Tabled action on Lynn Harvey's recommendations for the county board's rules of order until January, when the new board is seated.

Nikki Younk's e-mail address is



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