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Crosslake council accepts settlement, release agreements with former P&Z employees

Web posted January 21, 2014
By Paul Boblett, Editor
The Crosslake City Council unanimously approved agreements with former Planning and Zoning (P&Z) department employees at their first regular council meeting of 2014, held January 13.

A letter dated January 9, 2014 from City labor attorney Steve Fecker contained a brief summary of the agreement for both Ken Anderson and Bryan Hargrave.

Anderson and Hargrave’s positions were eliminated as the council decided to contract P&Z services with Crow Wing County in September of 2013.

The letter stated that Anderson has entered into a Separation Agreement, Waiver and Release pursuant to which he will be paid additional severance pay through March 24, 2014 in the amount of $27,141.84. This is in addition to severance paid to him covering the period from his layoff on September 24, 2013 through November 5, 2013, which severance was authorized by the council on September 24, 2013. Total severance paid to Mr. Anderson is equal to six months’ salary.

In return, Anderson waived and released any and all claims against the City that he is legally able to waive, including any claims under the Veterans’ Preference Act. The City and Mr. Anderson may enter into a mutually agreeable neutral letter of reference for his file. The agreement states that it is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing by either party.

AFSCME Council 65 and Bryan Hargrave also entered into a Separation Agreement, Waiver and Release, which provides that all obligations to engage in effects bargaining regarding Mr. Hargrave’s layoff have been completed. Hargrave is to be paid severance in the amount of $5,000 in addition to the pay he received through November 5, 2013, which pay was required by the labor contract and was authorized by the City Council on September 24, 2013.

Hargrave also waived and released any and all claims he is legally able to waive against the City. In accordance with the collective bargaining agreement, Hargrave retains recall rights for a period of one year from the initial date of layoff. The agreement states that it is not an admission of liability or wrongdoing by any party.

The cost to taxpayers for the change is not yet known, as some attorney fees have not been itemized or billed yet.

Dropped calls addressed by MTA president
Brent Christensen, Minnesota Telecom Alliance (MTA) President, presented some information related to dropped long distance calls that some Crosslake residents and businesses have been experiencing.

Christensen cited two main reasons for the problem, “It’s the ‘Vonages’ and 'Magic Jacks’, they connect calls to the public switch, they’re not regulated, and don’t play by the same rules.”

The other reason is the ‘least cost router’ aggregators, small unregulated  companies who find the most inexpensive way to route long distance phone calls. Christensen called these companies “bad actors” and told council they are making money by switching calls from one provider to another.

Christensen told council this problem has been going on for several years, but finally got attention of the FCC and members of Congress. He added that last May, Senator Amy Klobuchar got a senate resolution passed, that does not take action, but did bring much needed attention to the problem.

He said there has been a lot of lobbying and the FCC has taken some action.

Christensen said the Minnesota Department of Commerce has asked Public Utilities
Commission to open a investigation, but the problem with that is that they can only can deal with calls that originate in Minnesota.

“It’s a complicated issue, and is causing a lot of problems for our membership,” said Christensen, “We’re doing our best to address it and we ask you to  communicate is that when they have this problem, contact Crosslake Communications right away with the number you’re calling from and the number calling to, then it can be tracked and that will help to solve the problem.”

Public Safety
Crosslake Police reported 146 calls in December for the City of Crosslake. The report included 26 traffic warnings, 26 EMS calls, and 24 alarms.

26 calls were reported for Mission Township in December, which included 11 traffic warnings, four agency assists and three motorist assists.

The year-end report for the department showed a total of 2,084 calls in Crosslake, and 417 in Mission Township.

Crosslake Fire reported 17 calls in December, including 12 EMS assists, two motor vehicle accident assists and one search for a lost person.

2014 Appointments
Among the city appointments were Northland Press as official newspaper; Widseth, Smith and Nolting as city engineer; legal firms: Civil (Breen & Person, no change - $125/per hour), Labor (Johnson, Killen & Seiler), Prosecuting (Mallie), Bond Counsel (Briggs & Morgan); Acting Mayor, John Moengen.

Land Use Ordinance Revision
Before the regular council meeting, Chris Pence from Crow Wing County Land Services took comments and questions from the council and public during an hour-long meeting dedicated to the Chapter 26 Land Use Ordinance revision, which is currently underway.

Pence asked the council and public to continue sending comments either in writing or by email.

The information regarding revisions to the ordinance is available at the Crosslake website at: www.cityofcrosslake.org.

The Planning and Zoning Department will be accepting comments on the proposed revisions until January 31, 2014. Comments can be submitted by email to: environmental.services@crowwing.us , regular mail to: 322 Laurel Street, Suite 14, Brainerd, MN 56401.

Written comments can also be dropped off at the Crosslake City Hall. Paper copies of the ordinance and zoning map are available at the Crosslake City Hall for review. Questions can be directed to (218) 692-2689.

Important dates for the procedure: January 31, 2014: Close public comment period (47 day Comment Period); February 28, 2014: P&Z Commission Meeting and Public Hearing; March 10, 2014: City Council Meeting.

In other council action:
• Approved donations in the amount of $3,090.25 for the Parks, Recreation and Library department. $2,855.35 was received from the PAL Foundation for the Light up the Dam Project and an anonymous donation of $200 for the library. A third donation was received from Crosswoods Golf for the Golf and Pizza league during the summer.

• Tim Bray of the Crow Wing County Highway department gave a brief update to council on the the county’s five year plan as well as a CSAH 3 project update. Bray told council that the state aid review is done, they have finished the last corrections and they have been sent to to MnDot. Bray told council that the last of the 90 parcels of land were delivered.

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