Dickinson adopts county board rules of order

IRON MOUNTAIN — Rules of order are in place for the Dickinson County Board of Commissioners, providing guidance for conduct of the county’s main governing body.

Approved by the board Tuesday, the rules “basically codify everything we are already doing,” Commissioner Barbara Kramer said. The 10-page document, she added, “puts something on the books” for the next generations of county commissioners.

The rules continue to allow special meetings of the board when requested by at least two board members or the county administrator. In compliance with the Open Meetings Act, a notice is required at least 18 hours before the start of a special meeting. Notices include — but are not necessarily limited to — a posted notice in the lobby of the courthouse and an announcement on the county website.

Emergency meetings may be called without formal public notice in situations involving injury to persons or property, or immediate financial loss, but only where the timing of a notice is impractical and increases the likelihood of harm or damage. The media is to be notified of such sessions.

Once approved by the board, minutes of meetings must be made available to the public within eight business days of the meeting at which they were approved.

The rules address appointments to external boards and commissions, a subject that drew controversy in March when a majority of commissioners insisted that applicants for two positions on the Northpointe Behavioral Health Board participate in public interviews.

Commissioner John Degenaer Jr. objected and did not take part, saying no policy had been approved for the interviews. Also, he said, a precedent would be set discouraging citizens from applying for other panel vacancies.

The new rules do not mention interviews, stating the board will “advertise from time to time as necessary the impending vacancies on the external boards and commissions.” Respondents or other persons may be nominated during a regular meeting of the board to fill those slots.

Further, the rules state, it will be the “policy of the board to solicit from the public and from various boards, committees and commissions to which it makes appointments, the names of qualified individuals who might be interested in serving on specific boards, committees and commissions.”

An application for appointment must be completed and “submitted timely” to the county administrator or clerk to be considered for a board or committee appointment, the rules state.

The new document also includes a code of ethics, stating “board members shall maintain a professional level of courtesy, respect and objectivity in all county board activities.” It calls upon board members to “utilize social media web sites judiciously.”

Amendments to the rules of order will require a four-fifths vote of approval from the board.

In other action, commissioners approved updated wage scales for the positions of county controller; controller assistant; and the superintendent for courthouse, grounds and parks. The action is based on a wage study conducted by MGT Consulting Group of Bay City, representing the final group of employees to be evaluated in a process that began four years ago. Under the approved scale, Controller Brian Bousley’s annual salary is now listed at $115,984; Controller Assistant Christy Paul’s salary is listed at $54,089; and Superintendent Eric Robinson’s salary is listed at $57,889.

The wage scales provide potential step increases over the next two years, raising the controller’s pay by up to $17,179, the assistant’s pay by up to $6,066 and the superintendent’s pay by up to $7,124.

The highest current annual pay scale for the controller was $95,171, for the assistant it was $50,177 and for the superintendent it was $54,093.

Jim Anderson can be reached at 906-774-2772, ext. 226, or janderson@ironmountaindailynews.com.


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